The man who would replace Boris Johnson has polish

He is also a walking success story of multiracial Britain, having been born in Southampton on the south coast to Native American parents who settled in the country six decades ago. Should he win the election, Sunak would become Britain’s first black Prime Minister.

Sunak’s father was a family doctor, his mother ran a pharmacy and they saved money to send him to Winchester College, one of the most elite and academically rigorous fee-paying schools in Britain.

He graduated from Oxford University with a top degree and then attended Stanford University where he met his future wife Akshata Murty, the daughter of an Indian tech billionaire.

Sunak made his own fortune in finance, including at Goldman Sachs, and entered Parliament in 2015, becoming Chancellor of the Exchequer in 2020 at the age of 39. Its popularity soared during the pandemic, as the Treasury spent billions to save jobs and support struggling Britons.

But backlash followed with revelations this year that Murty had reduced her tax burden in the UK; After the uproar and days of negative headlines, she volunteered to pay the extra tax. Sunak was also criticized when it was revealed that he had retained a US green card that allowed him to reside permanently in the United States. He gave it up before making his first visit to the country as chancellor last October.

And while his top-notch resume may be a recruiter’s dream, he seems less popular with Conservative Party members from the British countryside.

Based in London, in his Yorkshire constituency and in Santa Monica, California, Sunak looks like a wealthy international jet setter, because he is.

“In the end, maybe he’s just too shiny for party membership,” said Tim Bale, a politics professor at Queen Mary University of London. He added that with rising inflation, rising interest rates and the looming recession, Conservatives might think it would be difficult for someone so wealthy to understand the problems faced by ordinary Britons.

“They live in the real world,” Bale said of party members, “and I think in a way there’s always been a certain suspicion that Rishi Sunak just doesn’t do it.”

That year, a photo op went awry when Sunak seemed unsure how to pay at a gas station. More recently, Sunak’s enemies have pounced on reports that he had worn a suit that cost £3,500, or about $4,300, and that he had been wearing a pair of 490-pound Prada loafers on a visit to a construction site. Even his slogan, Ready for Rishi, sounds a little justified to some.

Asked on Tuesday if he was too rich to understand the plight of ordinary Britons, Sunak said he was lucky to be in his current situation but that he wasn’t “born that way”. He added: “I think in our country we don’t judge people by their bank accounts; We judge them by their character and their actions.”

Speculation that Sunak’s campaign may have suffered from racism has surfaced, but rarely. Bale, an expert on Conservative Party leadership, said: “If it had been a very close race we should have asked ourselves whether racism played a role, but given the gap” between Sunak and Truss “it seems that way to me probably not.”

Much more blame was placed on a campaign that wasn’t safe. It began to portray him as the grown-up politician, emphasizing his fiscal conservatism and determination to fight inflation before cutting taxes.

But with promises from Truss to cut taxes quickly, Sunak has resigned and has promised to temporarily suspend VAT, a sales tax, on energy bills – something he denied not long ago.

“What she’s done incredibly successfully is draw him onto her turf,” said Jill Rutter, a former civil servant and senior fellow at the Institute for Government, a London-based research group, referring to the tax debate.

As the battle between the two candidates heats up, Sunak told the BBC on Wednesday he would rather lose than “win on a false promise” and tell people what “they needed to hear” rather than what was easy and expedient.

Then there’s the role Sunak played in ousting Johnson by resigning from the cabinet. In fact, all of Johnson’s potential successors had been positioning themselves for potential offers for months, including Truss, who was courting with drink invitations nicknamed “Fizz with Liz.”

But she stayed in Cabinet to the bitter end, remaining publicly loyal and now benefiting from the feeling of some that Johnson was betrayed and Sunak led the way.

“There may be a sense of guilt about Boris Johnson’s defenestration that in a way helps them alleviate,” Bale said.


In Cardiff, Patricia Johnson, a retired market researcher from Caerphilly, Wales, said she was one of those who thinks Sunak “isn’t as trustworthy as I’d like it to be”, adding: “I don’t like the idea that Boris was pulled up from the position the country put him in.”

Johnson was far from convinced of Sunak’s ability to handle the problems faced by ordinary Britons. Things, she said, are likely to look a little different “when you don’t have to worry about where the next £3million is coming from”.

The New York Times The man who would replace Boris Johnson has polish

Joel McCord

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