Meet Rishi Sunak, UK’s Barrier-Smashing Prime Minister

Just two months after Liz Truss beat Rishi Sunak in the race for Prime Minister, Sunak was back as the favorite to succeed Truss. The Southampton-born Indian would make history with his election on the 25th of October, 2022, becoming the first non-white British Prime Minister. 

Rishi Sunak was born on May 12th, 1980 to parents from Punjab, India. His father worked for the National Health Service, and his mother owned an independent, local pharmacy. Experiences at this shop helped Sunak later in his political life, as well as the values he picked up along the way. 

Due to the hard work of his parents, Sunak was able to attend Winchester College, where he became the school newspaper editor, as well as the Head Boy. He then studied philosophy, politics, and economics at Oxford University. After being an analyst for an investment firm, Sunak went back to college in the United States at Stanford in 2004. 

In 2010, Sunak began his political career, working for the Conservative Party, and was named the head of the Black and Minority Ethnic Research Unit in 2014. Also in that year, Rishi Sunak was chosen as the Conservative candidate for the House of Commons in the North Yorkshire region. He was elected in May of 2015 by a large majority. Sunak retained his spot in Parliament in the next two elections, in 2017 and 2019.  

Sunak continued to rise up in the ranks, eventually being promoted to Chancellor of the Exchequer by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in 2020. Rishi Sunak was able to start economic support programs that gave about 400 billion dollars to help with the Coronavirus pandemic. Sunak was looked at as the “welcome face of the government,” according to Britannica. The pandemic helped the British public look upon Sunak as a “superslick, social-media savvy, immaculately dressed, handsome, but down-to-earth politician.”

After a collection of scandals that caused the “Great Resignation” (a term used to describe the mass numbers of Parliament members retiring) Prime Minister Boris Johnson resigned as the Conservative Party Leader. Rishi Sunak, who had resigned from his position, declared his plan to run to replace Johnson. 

While Liz Truss beat out Sunak for the vote, her reign would only last a record-breaking six weeks before her own resignation. Then, the path was clear for Sunak, Truss’s only clear competition, to become the first Prime Minister of color. On October 25th, 2022, Rishi Sunak was officially named the Prime Minister of England. 

By becoming the Prime Minister, he broke many barriers and is currently trying to succeed in stabilizing England’s financial situation, a feat that two former Prime Ministers have tried to accomplish, and have both failed.