Who is Rishi Sunak?

Rishi Sunak, an Oxford University and Stanford graduate, is set to become Britain's first Indian-origin Prime Minister

Who is Rishi Sunak?

NH Web Desk

Rishi Sunak, an Oxford University and Stanford graduate, is set to become Britain's first Indian-origin Prime Minister.

Here are some facts about him and his India connection:

* 42-year-old Sunak was born in the UK's Southampton area to an Indian family. His grandparents hail from Punjab.

* The son of a pharmacist mother and doctor father, he was educated at one of England's most renowned schools, Winchester, and then Oxford. He spent three years at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and later gained an MBA from Stanford in California, where he met his wife Akshata Murthy, Infosys co-founder Narayana Murthy.

* Sunak worked at billionaire activist hedge fund manager Chris Hohn's TCI Fund Management for about three years, before moving to join his TCI colleague Patrick Degorce's hedge fund Theleme Partners.

* He married Akshata in 2009 and the couple have two daughters - Krishna and Anoushka.

* Sunak became a Member of Parliament (MP) in 2015 after he got elected from Richmond, Yorkshire.

* He took oath as MP on the Bhagavad Gita in the Parliament.

* In February 2020 he was designated as the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the most important UK Cabinet post.

As Chancellor of the Exchequer under Boris Johnson's leadership, he lit Diwali diyas at his residence on Downing Street.

* A teetotaler, Sunak is a Star Wars fan who wanted to grow up to become a Jedi knight.

* He often speaks of his heritage and how his family reminded him often about values and culture.

* When Boris Johnson ordered the first nationwide lockdown owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, he crafted a massive financial rescue package to safeguard millions of jobs.

Known to be close to Johnson, Sunak has always cut a contrasting figure from the scandal-ridden former prime minister in his public and private life.

* British tabloids called him 'Dishy Rishi' when his stars were on the rise and he was considered to be Johnson's. But questions over his wife, Akshata's tax status and wealth along with his involvement in the Partygate Scandal and criticism from fellow Tories about his moves to increase taxes for millions, transformed him to 'Fishy Rishi'.

* The Sunak couple's finances recently came under scrutiny when it was revealed that Akshata, still an Indian national, had non-domiciled status in the UK, allowing her to avoid paying tax on her foreign earnings as she planned to return to India to live. Her non-domicile status reportedly allowed her to save around 20 million in taxes on dividends from her shares in Infosys.

* During the campaigning for the PM's post in the summer of 2022, Rishi Sunak faced criticism on various fronts including his lavish house, expensive suits, and shoes.

* Rishi Sunak has a net worth of over 700 million pounds. Apart from owning a mansion in Yorkshire, Sunak and his wife Akshata own a property in Kensington in central London.


* Britain's economy is facing an economically toxic combination of high inflation and rising interest rates. The Ukraine war has sent energy bills soaring for a second time this year. Sterling looks vulnerable on the currency markets.

Sunak's first task will be to restore Britain's international financial credibility after outgoing leader Liz Truss's plan for unfunded tax cuts and a costly energy price guarantee spooked the bond market.

A fiscal statement addressing budget shortfall and spending cuts is due on October 31.

Timeline of main events leading to Sunak's second shot at UK Prime Minister's post

Rishi Sunak on Monday was all set to make history on Diwali as Britain's first Indian-origin Prime Minister after being elected unopposed as the new leader of the governing Conservative Party, following Penny Mordaunt's withdrawal from the race.

Following is the chronology of the main events illustrating Sunak's second shot at UK Prime Minister's post.

2015: Rishi Sunak was elected the Conservative MP for Richmond, Yorkshire.

2016: Sunak is a lifelong Brexiter, and accordingly campaigned for leave, a gamble at the time but one that paid off as it put him in good political stead within the Tory party in the years to come.

2018: Under Theresa May, Sunak is given his first ministerial job as number three at the newly renamed Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

July 2019: Sunak endorses Boris Johnson for British Prime Minister and is rewarded by the new leader with a job as Treasury minister under then Chancellor Sajid Javid.

February 2020: After Javid resigns over a power battle between No. 10 and No.11 Downing Street, Boris Johnson promotes Sunak to the role of Chancellor making him the first minister of Indian origin to hold one of the highest offices in the British government.

April 2020: After the UK goes into full lockdown in March 2020 as the COVID pandemic takes hold, Sunak wins praise for a series of mini budgets to introduce measures such as the furlough scheme, which goes on to save many jobs and businesses.

2021: Rishi Sunak is pitted as a clear favourite to succeed Boris Johnson as Tory leader as Johnson's partygate troubles begin swirling, though the British Indian Chancellor holds firm that his focus is only on the Cabinet job at hand.

February 2022: UK Chancellor Sunak admits being present at a party for his boss Johnson's birthday in the Cabinet room of Downing Street, in breach of lockdown rules in place back in June 2020.

April 2022: In a gruelling week, his wife Akshata Murty's legal non-domicile tax status, meaning she doesn't pay UK taxes on her Infosys income, and that Sunak's own US green card while in office hit media headlines.

July 2022: Rishi Sunak resigns as Chancellor, just moments after his former boss in the Treasury Sajid Javid as Health Secretary.

July 8: Rishi Sunak launches bid to succeed Boris Johnson as UK PM.

July 20: Rishi Sunak races ahead with 137 votes as the frontrunner with his party colleague, to face off with Liz Truss in the final leg of the British PM contest.

August 5: Rishi Sunak wins over voters in a TV debate.

August 30: Rishi Sunak camp accuses Liz Truss of avoiding scrutiny.

September 1: Rishi Sunak closes the campaign on a personal note with parents, wife Akshata.

September 2: Voting closes in the UK Prime Minister race between Rishi Sunak, and Liz Truss.

September 5: Truss defeats Sunak in the Conservative Party leadership race to become the new British PM.

October 14: UK PM Liz Truss sacks Kwasi Kwarteng as Chancellor amid economic turmoil.

October 20: Truss resigns as British PM after six weeks amid an open revolt.

October 24: Sunak wins Tory contest to make history as UK's first Indian-origin PM.

(With PTI inputs)

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