British PM Rishi Sunak’s Conservatives retained Boris Johnson’s former seat but lost two key seats to Labour and the Liberal Democrats in July 2023 by-elections.

Sunak narrowly avoided being the first British leader to lose three by-elections in one day in over 50 years.

Who is Rishi Sunak?

Rishi Sunak is a British politician who has made significant strides in his political career and is currently serving as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party since 2022.

Born on May 12, 1980, in Southampton, Hampshire, Sunak is of Indian descent, with his parents having immigrated to Britain from East Africa in the 1960s. His upbringing and education shaped his path towards a successful political career.

Education and Early Career

Sunak attended Winchester College and later pursued his higher education at Lincoln College, Oxford, where he studied philosophy, politics, and economics, graduating with first-class honors in 2001. During his time at Oxford, he undertook an internship at Conservative Central Office, which led him to join the Conservative Party.

Sunak furthered his education by earning an MBA from Stanford University in California as a Fulbright Scholar in 2006. It was during his time at Stanford that he met his future wife, Akshata Murty, daughter of Indian billionaire N. R. Narayana Murthy, the founder of Infosys.

After completing his education, Sunak worked for Goldman Sachs as an analyst from 2001 to 2004. He later joined hedge fund management firms, including The Children’s Investment Fund Management and Theleme Partners, where he became a partner. He also served as a director of the investment firm Catamaran Ventures, owned by his father-in-law, N. R. Narayana Murthy.

Entry into Politics

Sunak’s political journey began in 2010 when he joined the Conservative Party. In 2015, he was elected as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Richmond (Yorks), a safe Conservative seat in the UK.

As an MP, Sunak actively supported the campaign for Brexit in the 2016 EU membership referendum and held various positions in Theresa May’s government, including as the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Local Government.

Rise to Prominence as Chancellor

After endorsing Boris Johnson in the 2019 Conservative Party leadership election, Sunak was appointed Chief Secretary to the Treasury in Johnson’s government. His role in managing the UK’s finances and economy gained prominence during the COVID-19 pandemic when he became the Chancellor of the Exchequer in February 2020.

As Chancellor, Sunak was instrumental in implementing various financial support measures to combat the economic impact of the pandemic, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Eat Out to Help Out scheme. He also played a crucial role in the government’s response to the cost of living crisis and the UK energy supply crisis.

Leadership Bids and Premiership

Sunak’s political ambitions led him to stand in the Conservative Party leadership elections twice. In both instances, he received significant support but narrowly missed becoming the party leader. However, in October 2022, amid another government crisis, Sunak was elected unopposed as the leader of the Conservative Party and consequently became the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

As the country’s leader, Sunak faced several challenges, including the cost of living crisis and the energy supply crisis. He promised to prioritize economic stability and build a future worthy of the sacrifices made during challenging times.

Personal Life

Rishi Sunak is married to Akshata Murty, and they have two daughters together. He identifies as a Hindu and has a strong Indian cultural heritage while considering himself thoroughly British. In addition to his political responsibilities, Sunak is a fan of cricket, horse racing, and Southampton F.C. He is also known for his teetotaler lifestyle and his love for Coca-Cola.