Rishi Sunak Appointed as British Prime Minister


On October 25, Rishi Sunak was appointed by Britain’s Conservative Party as its new leader and next prime minister. The King of England, Charles III, asked Rishi Sunak, on Tuesday to form a new government. Sunak succeeds the short-lived Liz Truss and is the country’s first ethnic minority leader. Before being sworn in as prime minister, Sunak held positions such as Chancellor of the Exchequer and Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

Two months after failing in his first attempt to lead the Conservative Party, Sunak emerged as the only candidate with sufficient support in the election. His only rival, the Minister for Parliamentary Relations, Penny Mordaunt, failed to reach the minimum of 100 supporters, among the 357 Conservative deputies. Despite being unable to gather enough support to win the position, Mordaunt described herself as “the best positioned to unify the party with all-wings backing.”

Sunak, the third British Prime Minister in a matter of six months, gave his first speech at the PM’s official residence, on the same day he was appointed. In that speech, Sunak warned his country that difficult economic times were ahead, claimed that his predecessors made mistakes, and stated that he would work hard to earn the trust of the people.

Four days after reinstating the fracking ban previously rejected by Liz Truss, Rishi Sunak has surprised locals and strangers by announcing that he will not attend the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Egypt. 

The new prime minister has been accused of failure of leadership by the Labor opposition. Environmental groups are angry at him and recall how he systematically ignored and voted against measures to prevent climate change in parliament when he was Secretary of the Treasury.

The new Secretary for the Environment, Therese Coffey, further worsened the image launched by the British Government, by alleging that Sunak prefers to “show global leadership” rather than “attend a simple meeting of people in Egypt”. In the end, Sunak will be represented at the conference by Alok Sharma, the president of COP26. 

Overall, results from a recent YouGov poll indicated that the British population is split on how good a prime minister they expect Rishi Sunak to be. A quarter (25%) expect him to be great or good, 29% think he will be average, and another 29% think he will be poor or terrible. While these results are mixed, they represent an improvement over predecessor Liz Truss, whom more than half of the interviewers expected for her to do a bad job. 

Overall, Sunak is entering his position with the mission of getting the country out of its economic crisis, lowering inflation, and reducing financial pressure on citizens. He will also be tasked with repairing the stained reputation that the United Kingdom has created internationally after failing to comply with the Brexit agreements.

Featured image by: AP / Kirsty Wigglesworth

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