Rishi Sunak becomes prime minister of U.K.



INTRODUCTION TO OFFICE: Rishi Sunak prepares to give his introductory speech on Downing Street as Prime Minister on October 25.

On Oct. 25, 2022, Rishi Sunak was announced prime minister of the U.K. following Liz Truss’s resignation amid economic controversy.

“I want to pay tribute to my predecessor Liz Truss,” said Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in his first speech in Downing Street. “She was not wrong to want to improve growth in this country, it is a noble aim. . . But some mistakes were made. . . And I have been elected as leader of my party and your Prime Minister, in part, to fix them. And that work begins immediately.”

Liz Truss had the shortest reign of prime minister, holding office for just 44 days. 

“[Truss] couldn’t do her job as well as she thought she could, especially given everything going on,” said former U.K. resident Edward Cooke ‘25. 

Her economic reforms, including 45 billion pounds in tax cuts, caused investors to become wary of the government’s ability to pay back the money. This began the downward spiral of the valuation of the British pound against the US dollar to its lowest point ever.

“[She] dropped the value of the pound to almost a dollar, and there hasn’t been much good that has come out of her reign,” said Cooke. 

Others have more hope for new prime minister Rishi Sunak,and some hope he can do a better job leading the country than Truss did.

“I am more hopeful about [Sunak] because he seems like he knows what he is doing,” said Cooke. “Hopefully, [he] gets through with a lot and doesn’t mess up the country.”

Additionally, Sunak has shown more support for green energy than Truss, although in the past he has voted against sustainable energy initiatives.

“Unlike Truss, Sunak is a signatory to the Conservative Environment Network’s pledge,” said Sarah George in an article written for media outlet edie. “He has also repeatedly stated the importance of his party delivering on the 25-Year Environment Plan and Environment Bill.”
On the other hand, some believe that Sunak’s election is alarming due to his net worth of over 810 million dollars.

“The ‘rise of Rishi Sunak’ is not a sign of how we’re some great meritocracy,” said Basit Mahmood, British journalist and editor of Left Foot Forward, in a Twitter post. “It’s a sign that class, privilege, going to elite private schools, knowing the right people and having obscene amounts of wealth work in your favor. [This is] the exact opposite of social mobility and meritocracy.”

Regardless of his financial status, some say Sunak’s entry to office is a sign of advancing social norms as he is the first person of color to be prime minister. 

“It’s a step in the right direction: allowing everyone to have an equal, fair shot at a place in the government,” said Cooke.