Britain’s former Chancellor of the Exchequer (finance minister) Rishi Sunak, best known for signing the cheques on the mega-money lockdown policies of the Covid era and pushing the national tax burden to the highest levels in decades, will be the next Prime Minister after the only other serious challenger dropped out at the last minute.
The officers of the 1922 Committee met to scrutinise candidate applications Monday lunchtime, having set the bar to entry unusually high to discourage those the group chairman Sir Graham Brady dismissed as not being “serious” from standing. Finding only one candidate had passed the threshold, Sir Graham declared Rishi Sunak as the winner, electing not to reveal how many backers Sunak got in total.
The handover of power from Liz Truss, who has been the leader of the Conservative Party for just 49 days including today, including both the Tory party leadership and title of Prime Minister, could theoretically all take place this afternoon or tomorrow. Now Sunak has the right to lead the largest party in Parliament, becoming Prime Minister is at this point a mere formality, contracted by Truss visiting the King at Buckingham Palace to tender her resignation, followed by Sunak being invited to form a government by the monarch.
Sunak will be the third Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in just three months. He will also be the youngest Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in over 200 years, and the country’s first non-white Prime Minister.
Update 1620 BST: Sunak Speaks
Sunak has made an extremely brief address at Conservative Campaign Headquarters in London. Technically a message to his colleagues, of course Sunak will know the country was watching. It seems he will become Prime Minister tomorrow, so expect another speech, probably from the steps of Downing Street, then. He said:
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While the Conservative Party’s governing elite will be relieved to finally have their man cemented in power, having had Sunak as their favoured pick upended by ordinary party members last time, this development can hardly be good news for Britain. During his last stint at the top, having been Britain’s Chancellor during the coronavirus era, Sunak already oversaw a huge surge in government spending on Covid projects and a concomitant rise in taxation.
Tragically for hardworking Britons already having their earnings hollowed out by rampant inflation, it looks likely more tax rises will come under Sunak.
But as a Prime Minister now, not just a finance minister, there are other cultural and wider political concerns. Sunak is an acolyte of the World Economic Forum (WEF) and even gained the tacit endorsement of the Chinese Communist Party as a leadership candidate.
It had looked like years of bullish pro-China politics from the Conservative Party were finally waning with the arrival of Prime Minister Liz Truss, but with her brutally quick ouster and the coronation of Sunak it appears the Conservatives may be returning to form on China.