New Delhi: Rishi Sunak has inched a step closer to become a frontrunner in the Conservative Party leadership race on Monday and be chosen as Britain’s first Indian-origin Prime Minister after Boris Johnson stepped down from the race saying he realised the country and the Party needed unity. The former UK chancellor formally declared his candidacy to contest the Conservative Party leadership election on Sunday to replace Liz Truss as British Prime Minister and “fix the economy”.
The chances of a Diwali victory for Sunak seems brighter as his former boss Johnson stepped saying it was “simply not the right time” for his comeback.
Rishi Sunak eyes a comeback ahead of Tory vote
Sunak’s formal entry into the race is being widely pitched as one of the most remarkable political comebacks in British politics. The 42-year-old former chancellor, while declaring his candidacy, said he wanted to “fix economy, unite party and deliver for the country.” Sunak had a solid lead with a 100-MPs threshold to get shortlisted for the 14:00 local time Monday deadline, reported news agency PTI.
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Leader of the Commons Penny Mordaunt, the other contestant in the race to UK Prime Minister, still has a long way to hit the 100-MPs mark, raising the chances that the former finance minister may well be declared the new leader as soon as Monday evening.
If both leaders make it to the final shortlist, the next option will be online voting of the 170,000 Tory membership and that result on Friday would prove less predictable.
Sunak’s victory would turn out to be a remarkable turnaround in political fortunes for the former finance minister, who lost out to outgoing Prime Minister Liz Truss just last month. His popularity among party colleagues did not manage to render him wider Tory membership vote.
“I am asking you for the opportunity to help fix our problems,” said Sunak, in his latest campaign pitch, with reference to the economic turmoil he would be inheriting if he does go on to succeed Truss following a disastrous tax-cutting mini-budget last month.
“The United Kingdom is a great country but we face a profound economic crisis. That’s why I am standing to be leader of the Conservative Party and your next Prime Minister,” he said, promising “integrity, professionalism and accountability” at every level of the government that he would lead and to “work day in and day out” to get the job done.
Sunak is born to an Indian-origin general practitioner father Yashvir and pharmacist mother Usha. He had spoken extensively of his migrant roots during the last campaign citing references to making history by lighting Diwali diyas at 11 Downing Street as the first Indian-origin Chancellor of the Exchequer.