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Rishi Sunak, unpopular prime minister who failed to redress the situation

Photo: Jeff Overs BBC via Agence France-Presse The 20 months in power of Rishi Sunak, a Brexit supporter who became a millionaire and the husband of a rich Indian heiress, have fueled criticism from those who consider him out of touch with the realities of the British.

Marie Heuclin – Agence France-Presse in London

Posted at 10:14 p.m.

  • Europe

Having entered Downing Street with the mission of bringing economic stability to the United Kingdom, Rishi Sunak will, barring any surprises, leave ingloriously, unable to shed his image as a technocrat disconnected from reality in a campaign which turned into the stations of the cross.

In the home stretch before the legislative elections on July 4, nothing seems to be able to save the head of government, weighed down by the weariness of the conservatives in power for 14 years but also by his low popularity.

Nearly three-quarters of British people think he is a bad prime minister, a proportion which has more than doubled since he came to power at the end of October 2022, according to the YouGov polling institute.

Rishi Sunak's surprise call for these elections was not the shock he hoped for: bad polls keep coming despite promises of tax cuts. And the entry into the race of anti-immigration candidate Nigel Farage is eating away votes from the Conservatives from the right.

Above all, Rishi Sunak, a 44-year-old former investment banker and the first representative of an ethnic minority to lead the country, drags out his campaign blunders like a ball, such as his shortened stay in France for the celebrations of the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings, which forced him to apologize.

Some, even in his ranks, saw a glaring lack of political sense.

Shortly afterwards, his procrastination before sanctioning two conservative candidates suspected in a fraudulent betting scandal was criticized.

Dazzling rise

Born on May 12, 1980 in Southampton, on the south coast of England, to a father who was a doctor and a mother who was a pharmacist, Rishi Sunak is the eldest of three children. Born in India or of Indian origin, his grandparents immigrated from East Africa in the 1960s.

He attended the elite boys' boarding school Winchester College, before studying politics, philosophy and economics at Oxford, then Stanford in the United States, before founding his own investment company.< /p>

Entered politics by being elected MP in Yorkshire, in the north of England, in 2015, his rise has been meteoric. At the beginning of 2020, he was propelled to the prestigious position of Minister of Finance, shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic.

He contributed to the departure of Boris Johnson in 2022 by resigning from the government after yet another scandal involving the former prime minister. A “betrayal” that many conservatives have not forgiven him for.

During the internal campaign to succeed Boris Johnson, activists preferred Liz Truss. But she had to quickly resign, after having caused the markets to sway with her economic measures.

The conservatives then chose Rishi Sunak to replace her, who had his revenge. He promises “integrity” and “responsibility” to the government.

Since then, serenity has returned to the City, the economy is showing slight growth and inflation has fallen. . Rishi Sunak, however, struggles to get credit for it, even within his party, more divided than ever and on which he has never really imposed his authority.

Even his stubbornness in trying to push through the plan to deport migrants to Rwanda – which Labor has promised to abandon if it comes to power – was not enough to satisfy the right wing of the Tories.

Combatative

The 20 months in power of this Brexit supporter who became a millionaire and husband of a rich Indian heiress also fueled criticism from those who consider him out of touch with the realities of the British.

Like when, while visiting a soup kitchen, he asks a homeless man if he works “in business” or what his “weekend plans” are.

The fortune of his wife, with whom he has two daughters and who has long benefited from an advantageous tax status, or a youth video where he claimed to have no “working class” friends », had already caused unease before he came to power.

Despite the announced debacle, Rishi Sunak promised to fight “until the last day”, combative in his televised debates with his Labor opponent Keir Starmer, and two days before the election with an early morning trip to Oxfordshire, several meetings with voters and an evening rally in London.

He implores voters not to “capitulate” to avoid Labour’s predicted “super majority”.

But if he himself should be re-elected in his constituency, considered safe for the Conservatives, as leader of the Tories, Rishi Sunak could lead his party to the worst defeat electoral history.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116