New UK prime minister: Britain finally ready for Rishi Sunak as the Penny drops

Third prime minister since the 2019 general election.

Sulaiman Daud | Tan Min-Wei | October 24, 2022, 09:51 PM

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Rishi Sunak is set to become Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

The former Chancellor of the Exchequer (equivalent to Singapore's Finance Minister) received the backing of more than 100 Members of Parliament, and has become the new leader of the Conservative Party.

Sunak, born in Southampton, England to immigrant parents of Indian descent, will be the first person of Asian heritage to serve as UK's prime minister.

A more daunting task

This comes as his final competitor for the role, Leader of the House of Commons Penny Mordaunt confirmed that she would be dropping out.

Calling on the 25 or so MPs would who had backed her to rally behind Rishi Sunak, she called the leadership decision process fair, and that they owed it to country to “unite and work together for the good of the nation.”

The leadership contest was a much abridged version of the contest that ran over the summer that finally returned the short lived Liz Truss as Conservative Party leader.

Truss would lead a tumultuous reign which would see the pound crash, mortgage rates spike, and the Bank of England mounting a multi billion pound rescue effort of the British economy.

Truss was eventually forced to resign after firing her finance minister and losing her Home Secretary.

Aptly, it was against Sunak whom Truss had campaigned. She won over the members of the Conservative party with promises of economic deregulation and tax cuts, which Sunak opposed, saying that the country could not afford them and it was against Conservative ideas.

The Conservatives are traditionally known as fiscal conservatives, and some within the party see Truss and those she represented as radicals within the party.

There was a brief moment in the recent contest where it looked like the penultimate PM Boris Johnson might return, but it appears that he was unable to meet the 100 backer threshold and as a result stepped out of the race.

He has also claimed that he did so for the sake of unity.

Some of his supporters within the party are saying that he is the only one with an electoral mandate, and that new elections must be called.

This opinion will likely resonate with the opposition parties. Leader of the Labour Party and the Opposition, Keir Starmer, has been calling for new elections since Truss resigned.

It now seems unlikely that new elections will be called soon, as the Conservatives are trailing badly in the polls. The Conservatives have until Jan. 2025 before another general election must be called.

Rishi Sunak has become PM at the second try. The question is now: for how long.

Top image from Rishi Sunak's Facebook page.