5 Curiosities of Rishi Sunak, the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
(CNN Spanish) – Hold on to Barack Obama. This is how the head of a Hindu temple in the United Kingdom described his choice Rishi Sunak as the new prime minister. In the midst of the political turmoil the country is going through, his arrival in Downing Street is in itself a historic event.
Sunak, who succeeded Liz Truss, achieved a rapid rise to power in the United Kingdom, first as a Member of the House of Commons and then as a Cabinet Minister. Here are some facts about him that make him a unique Prime Minister.
1. He is of Indian origin
sonak, whose parents came to the UK from East Africa in the 1960s, is of Indian descent. His father was a doctor, while his mother ran a pharmacy in southern England, which Sunak says made him want to serve the public.
In this sense, he is the first person from an ethnic minority and the first British-Asian person to reach the position of Prime Minister.
Sunak has spoken publicly about his parents. In 2015, he said in an interview with Business Standard that he checks the British-Indian square in the census. “I am completely British, this is my home and my country, but my religious and cultural heritage is Indian, my wife is Indian. I am open to being Hindu,” he told the newspaper.
On Monday, after his election as a new leader, India’s President Narendra Modi published a message expressing his desire to work with him and calling him a “living bridge” for Indians in the UK.
2. He is Hindu
He is also the first Hindu to hold the position of British Prime Minister. He took office on the day of the celebration of Diwali, the festival of lights that marks one of the most important days in this religion’s calendar (Sunak himself made history in 2020 when he lit Diwali candles in front of Number 11 Downing Street, the official residence of the Economics and Finance Adviser).
The head of the Hindu temple co-founded by Sunak’s grandparents in 1971 said in the country on Monday that the fact that Rishi Sunak took over as prime minister is a “Barack Obama moment” for the descendants of UK Indians.
“It’s a proud moment for us, no doubt, that someone from the temple holds the highest office in the country as prime minister of the United Kingdom,” Sanjay Chandarana, president of the Southampton Vedic Hindu Temple Association, told CNN.
This year, Sunak and his wife Akshata Murti – the daughter of an Indian billionaire – appeared in the Sunday Times list of the 250 richest people in the UK. The newspaper estimated their total net worth at 730 million pounds ($826 million).
Rishi Sunak was educated among the elite: he studied at the exclusive Winchester College and at the universities of Oxford and Stanford.
He is known for his extravagant tastes when it comes to fashion and has worked in banks and hedge funds such as Goldman Sachs.
4. He was fined for ‘Partygate’
Sunak was fined for the so-called “Party Gatethe scandal involving former Prime Minister Boris Johnson for months after it emerged that parties were held at 10 Downing Street while the rest of the country was under covid-19 restrictions.
For a long time, Rishi has supported Sunak Johnson. However, he turned on him after the then prime minister slowed down to act when the deputy chief of staff, Chris Pincher, was accused of sexually assaulting two men at a party in early July.
Sunak’s sudden resignation from the Johnson government over the Pincher scandal led to a series of high-profile resignations that led to Johnson’s departure, and eventually his promotion to Downing Street.
5. He is the youngest prime minister in centuries
Sunak took over his new position after a meeting with King Charles III, and Sunak, 42, became the youngest prime minister in more than 200 years.
With information from Ivana Kutsova and Luke McGee.