Rishi Sunak Becomes the New Prime Minister of the U.K.

Courtesy of the Wall Street Journal

By Zachary Lichter

On Tuesday, October 25, 2022, Rishi Sunak became the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (U.K.) after the former prime minister, Liz Truss, resigned. 

Truss was the prime minister for forty-nine days, the shortest time a prime minister has served the U.K. Truss resigned because the plans she had for the revival of the U.K.’s economy did not go as well as planned. Her plan to fix the U.K.’s economy was to create a self-mutilating mini budget that was going to remove barriers to banker’s bonuses, and it was going to reduce business taxes. She hired only people that supported her, and there was a lack of talent in her cabinet. Truss had to fire her chancellor and her home secretary, the two most senior positions in her cabinet. Truss was elected by default in the Conservative Party after Boris Johnson resigned.

A junior ancient history and archaeology major student from the University of Southampton, Henry Hughes, who is studying abroad at Catholic University, gave his thoughts about Truss’s resignation.

“I know that a major criticism of Truss’s (and her predecessor’s) government was centered around nepotism in her cabinet – hiring those who were loyal rather than effective. Ultimately this resulted in her appointment of Kwasi Kwarteng who OK’d what were clearly poorly planned economic policies. Regarding public perception, her attempts to cut taxes for the rich fueled resentment and outrage which, when coupled with a growing negative approach to the party generally, saw widespread celebration upon her resignation.”

Sunak was born in Southampton in 1980 and is the son of immigrants. His parents came to the U.K. from East Africa and are of Indian descent. Sunak went to boarding school at Winchester College and studied philosophy, politics, and economics at Oxford University. He also studied business at Stanford University in the United States. Before becoming prime minister, he was a member of the British Parliament for seven years. He is known to be one of the wealthiest members of parliament. After Johnson resigned on September 6, 2022, he ran against Truss for the position of prime minister but lost in the election. Sunak is now the first Asian British Prime Minister of the U.K. 

During Sunak’s tenure as prime minister, he plans to fix the U.K.’s economy after it was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. He created a plan to revive the U.K.’s economy by funding government spending, including making taxation and spending decisions. The problem with his plan is that it could create controversy among members of his party and members of the Labour Party. But he hopes that while he is trying to fix the British economy, both parties will remain united and, hopefully, there will be growth in the U.K.’s economy. Sunak hopes to be in office until 2025 when the next general election is set for the U.K.

“Having previously been Chancellor, I believe Sunkak is more qualified than most to try and recover the current mess, with the markets responding favorably to his instalment,” Hughes said. “However, it’s too early to guess the validity of his plans as he has delayed his economic announcement until November 17th. The main buzzword however is ‘austerity’ which is likely to mean strict budget cuts to prevent further debt.”

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