Britain’s Next Prime Minister Will Be Rishi Sunak, According to the Orange County Register
After winning the Conservative leadership contest on Monday, former Treasury director Rishi Sunak will take over as Britain’s next prime minister. Sunak now has the enormous responsibility of bringing stability to the party and the nation during a period of economic and political upheaval.
Sunak will be the third leader of Britain this year and the first person of color to hold the position. Liz Truss, who resigned as prime minister last week after 45 turbulent days in power and left behind a floundering economy and a fractured party, will be replaced by him.
His lone opponent, Penny Mordaunt, gave in and withdrew after falling short of the required number of 100 Conservative parliamentarians for nomination. Graham Brady, a party official, stated, “I can certify that we have received one genuine nomination, and Rishi Sunak is therefore elected as the head of the Conservative Party.”
After months of upheaval that engulfed the previous two leaders, Sunak had been the clear choice as the governing Conservatives sought stability during a period of significant economic hardship.
Sunak lost to Truss in the most recent election for the Conservatives, but his party now seems hungry for a reliable advisor to deal with rising energy and food prices and an impending recession. The politician successfully managed the economy during the coronavirus pandemic and received accolades for providing aid to firms who had to close their doors and lay off workers.
If he were to establish a government, he pledged “integrity, professionalism, and accountability”—a subtly critical reference to Johnson, who had been dogged by scandal, and Truss, who had numerous issues. King Charles III will now invite Sunak to establish a government. He will take over as prime minister after Truss steps down later on Monday or Tuesday.
Sunak’s election is significant since he is the first South Asian-born British prime minister, the first Hindu to hold the position and the youngest in 200 years.
His task is tremendous because he must both try to stabilize an economy suffering from Truss’ brief, a disastrous experiment in libertarian economics, and try to unify a demoralized and fragmented party that is far behind the opposition in polls.
Her dramatic tax cut plan, which would have been funded by borrowing from the government, severely damaged the value of the pound, increased the cost of borrowing from the government and home mortgages, and necessitated an immediate Bank of England intervention. Truss made a series of U-turns, and removed her Treasury director, but was met with a mutiny from her party’s parliamentarians that completely destroyed her authority.
After former front-runner Boris Johnson abruptly dropped out of the race on Sunday night, ending a brief, high-profile bid to reclaim the position of prime minister from which he was ousted less than three months prior due to ethics scandals, Sunak’s position improved in the lightning-quick competition to succeed her.
Johnson returned from a Caribbean vacation by plane and spent the weekend attempting to win over fellow Conservative legislators. He claimed late Sunday to have the support of 102 coworkers. He conceded that “you can’t lead effectively until you have a cohesive party in Parliament,” but he was well behind Sunak in terms of support.
Johnson’s potential comeback had further polarised the Conservative Party, which was already fractured. Although he guided the party to a resounding electoral win in 2019, his premiership was marred by ethical and financial scandals that ultimately proved to be too much for the party to endure.
In a statement released on Sunday, Johnson asserted that he was “well situated to deliver a Conservative triumph” in the 2024 general election. Additionally, he claimed that he most likely would have defeated both of his opponents in a vote among Conservative Party members.
But “I have regretfully come to the decision that this would simply not be the appropriate thing to do over the course of the previous days,” he said. “I believe I have much to offer, but I am afraid that this is simply not the appropriate time,” he said, dropping a hint that he might return.
Truss resigned on Thursday after a tumultuous 45 days in office, admitting she was unable to carry out her disastrous economic plan to slash taxes, which she was forced to abandon after it provoked resentment within her party and weeks of market volatility.
The crisis inside the Conservative Party is increasing calls for a general election. There does not need to be one until the end of 2024 under the British parliamentary system, though the government has the authority to call one earlier.
That currently seems unlikely. According to opinion polls, a general election would be disastrous for the Conservatives because the left-wing Labour Party would win a sizable majority.