Rishi Sunakwho in two and a half years went from being almost unknown to leading the race to succeed Boris Johnsonwas the first British finance minister of Asian descent and is the richest MP in the United Kingdom.
He was appointed Finance Minister in February 2020, after just five years in the Conservative Party.
A month later the coronavirus pandemic broke out and thanks to his massive aid package he became one of the most popular members of the government, while Johnson was harshly criticized for his handling of the health crisis.
If he replaces the Conservative prime minister in September, the 42-year-old with the eternal smile on his lips and the air of first class would be the first Briton of Indian origin and the first non-white to head the UK government.
When he was elected deputy in 2015, he took an oath on the Bhagavad Gita, the sacred book of Hinduism, written in Sanskrit.
Long regarded as Johnson’s right-hand man, he is now seen in the prime minister’s circle as the man who betrayed him by announcing his resignation on July 5, precipitating another 60 resignations from the government and ultimately the leader’s downfall. conservative.
His image contrasts like night and day with Johnson’s.
While Johnson’s management has been described as improvised and chaotic, Sunak is super-organized and meticulous. In contrast to the tousled hair and disheveled appearance of the prime minister, he always appears well-groomed and dressed in elegant designer clothes.
He takes extreme care of his image of seriousness and modernity in social networks and ensures that he does not drink alcohol.
“To be responsible”
Born on May 12, 1980 in Southampton, on the south coast of England, he is the eldest of three children of a general practitioner and a pharmacist.
Originally from India, her grandparents emigrated to British East Africa in the 1960s.
Sunak, who claims to have been the victim of racism in a fast-food restaurant as a teenager, studied at Winchester College, an elegant private boarding school for boys, and studied politics, philosophy and economics at the prestigious British Oxford and American Stanford universities. .
It was in California where he met his wife Akshata Murty, with whom he has two daughters.
This Brexit supporter declares himself a fan of cricket, football and the film saga “Star Wars”.
For a long time he was seen as the natural successor to Johnson. However, his popularity began to decline when, after the lifting of coronavirus restrictions, he cut aid and began raising taxes and social charges in a context of soaring inflation and cost of living crisis.
This policy was especially unpopular with conservative ranks. “For me, being a conservative means being responsible for money, both that of the people and that of public finances”Sunak justified himself.
On the list of great fortunes
His image has also been damaged by a scandal over the advantageous tax status of his Indian billionaire wife, the daughter of the co-founder of the tech giant Infosys.
registered as “not domiciled” in the United Kingdom despite living with Sunak in an official apartment in Downing Street, he avoided paying taxes in the country for his millionaire income abroad.
The status of “not domiciled” it is legal, but the revelation was badly received by some Britons who saw their purchasing power plummet and Murty had to change his tax situation.
The country’s richest deputy, Sunak, who before entering politics earned millions working at financial firms such as Goldman Sachs, became the country’s first top politician in May to make the list of the greatest fortunes published by the Sunday Times. .
He and his wife have an estimated net worth of 730 million pounds ($910 million, 860 million euros).
In the framework of “partygate”the scandal over the parties organized in Downing Street during the confinements, was fined 50 pounds by the police for having participated, like Johnson, in an impromptu celebration for the 56th birthday of the head of government in the cabinet room .
All this led to fears that his good star had faded when he announced his candidacy to succeed Johnson. But as Conservative MPs voted successively to nominate the two finalists, it was quickly seen that Sunak was still rallying support.
However, his popularity among the party’s rank and file remains to be seen.