With Johnson under fire, Indian-origin Rishi Sunak frontrunner for UK PM post
- A major bookmaker in the UK slashed its odds that PM Boris Johnson will resign soon as pressure mounts
- Indian-origin Rishi Sunak is one of the politicians who could take his place
- Sunak has served as Chancellor of the Exchequer since February 2020
A major bookmaker in the UK slashed its odds that Prime Minister Boris Johnson will resign soon and possibly be replaced by Indian-origin Chancellor Rishi Sunak.
The development is expected in the backdrop of the PM facing severe political pressure for attending the Downing Street party during the first lockdown and allegedly flouting COVID-19 norms.
As calls for his resignation poured in, Johnson issued an apology, telling lawmakers in the House of Commons, “I want to apologise. I know that millions of people have made extraordinary sacrifices in the last 18 months. I know the rage they feel with me and with the government I lead when they think that in No 10 rules are not being followed.
But pressure continues to mount on Johnson, not just from the Opposition, but also from some within his own Conservative party.
One of the frontrunners who could take his place in the event of his resignation, is Chancellor Rishi Sunak.
"In terms of a replacement, long term favourite Rishi Sunak still heads the betting at 15/8, with (Foreign Secretary) Liz Truss at 11/4 and (Cabinet Minister) Michael Gove at 6/1 the next two most likely alternatives should the PM vacate Number 10,” Betfair’s Sam Rosbottom told Wales Online.
Sunak, born on May 12, 1980, has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Richmond (Yorks) in North Yorkshire since 2015.
He has served as Chancellor of the Exchequer since February 2020, the first person of Indian origin to do so. He also spearheaded efforts towards the country's economic revival after the pandemic struck.
Sunak had previously served as Chief Secretary to the Treasury from 2019 to 2020.
Notably, the 41-year-old politician was absent when Johnson had delivered his apology on Wednesday.
"I’ve been on a visit all day today continuing work on our #PlanForJobs as well as meeting MPs to discuss the energy situation," Sunak, clarified in a tweet.
"The PM was right to apologise and I support his request for patience while Sue Gray carries out her enquiry," he said.
On the personal front, Sunak is married to Akshata Murty, the daughter of Infosys co-founder Narayana Murthy, and the couple has two young children.
Other politicians who could replace Johnson include former Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Indian-origin Home Secretary Priti Patel, Health Secretary Sajid Javid and Cabinet Minister Oliver Dowden all tied for fifth place, according to Betfair estimates, PTI report.
The COVID lockdown breaches at the party in Downing Street are being investigated by senior civil servant, Sue Gray.
(With PTI inputs)