Updated: Nov 10, 2022
Rishi Sunak, the third Conservative PM this year and the runner-up to Liz Truss in the leadership race over the summer, was the only name on the ballot paper only four days after his predecessor’s resignation after less than 50 days in office.
The swift coronation of Mr. Sunak as PM came as a huge relief to the public who, last time, had to sit through a long and tedious leadership contest spanning from July 13th to September 5th, putting the financial security and quality of lives of millions of UK families into complete freefall – not to mention, an election that only a tiny percentage of the population had a say on, being around 160,000 Tory Party Members.
In Liz Truss’s final week in office, her Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, resigned after admitting to sending confidential government documents using her private Gmail account which was a clear breach of the ministerial code.
However, when Sunak assembled his cabinet soon after stepping into Number 10, he immediately reappointed Suella to her previous role, a decision that has caused mass outcry every day since.
During a Prime Minister’s Questions, he defended her by saying “The Home Secretary made an error of judgement, but she recognized her mistake and took accountability for her actions.”
Many believe that other Prime Ministers would have re-evaluated their decision to appoint somebody who has shown such incompetence in the Home Office, thus threatening national security to an extent, but given how many U-turns Liz Truss’s government pulled off, Rishi Sunak wants to stand his ground to show commitment and strength in his actions.
Something else he faced backlash on was his initial hesitancy to attend COP-27 in Egypt on November 6th, explaining how there were more urgent matters domestically he had to deal with, for example working on his budget alongside Jeremy Hunt, the Chancellor he kept from Truss’s government after he reversed almost all of her tax cuts to steady the markets.
Boris Johnson gave an exclusive interview to Sky News in which he confirmed he himself was invited by the Egyptians to attend COP-27, which some think was the reason Sunak has now decided to go after all, as to try to recover some popularity and reputation in the public eye.
This isn’t the only U-turn Mr. Sunak may have to make in his premiership though, as it has been reported that 20 of the pledges he made during the summer leadership contest are now “under review,” for example a cut to the basic rate of income tax, and the infamous promise he made to charge patients £10 for missing NHS appointments which proved unpopular back in the leadership race anyway.
These pledges were made “a few months ago now and the context is somewhat differently, obviously, economically,” a spokesperson for the PM has explained.
Rishi Sunak has addressed the public on only a couple of occasions, but with the looming pressure over the UK’s failing asylum system, as well as the potential return to austerity he and Jeremy Hunt might have to implement, with tax rises clearly being the Prime Minister’s economic plan, he is sure to face a premiership full of tough and unpopular decisions.
But given Sunak’s experience as Chancellor from the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is widely believed that he has the most economic expertise that the Conservative Party has to offer during this cost-of-living crisis.
“You saw me, during Covid, doing everything I could to protect people, and businesses, with schemes like Furlough. There are always limits, moreso now than ever. But I promise you this – I will bring that same compassion to the challenges we face today.”
Photo: Rishi Sunak on Twitter