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Former Chancellor Rishi Sunak to become new UK prime minister

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Oct 25, 2022 - 01:33 AM

LONDON (AA) – Former Chancellor Rishi Sunak is set to become the UK’s first British Asian prime minister after winning the Tory leadership race on Monday, as Penny Mordaunt dropped out of the race minutes before the candidacy deadline.

Sir Graham Brady, the 1922 Committee head, confirmed in a short statement that Sunak became the new leader. He announced that the committee had received only one application, which was from Sunak.

Sunak, 42, was the chancellor of the exchequer – top ministerial position for the UK’s finance affairs – in Boris Johnson’s Cabinet in 2020.

He was met by cheering MPs and staff at Conservative Party Headquarters, where he gave a short statement following his election.

The incoming premier paid tribute to his predecessor Liz Truss, and said he was “humbled and honoured” to have the support of his parliamentary colleagues and to be elected the leader of the Conservative Party.

“It is the greatest privilege of my life to be able to serve the party I love and to give back to the country I owe so much to,” he said.

“The United Kingdom is a great country but there is no doubt we face a profound economic challenge,” he said.

“We now need stability and unity. And I will make it my utmost priority to bring our party and our country together. Because that is the only way we will overcome the challenges we face and build a better, more prosperous future for our children and our grandchildren.”

“I pledge that I will serve you with integrity and humility, and I will work day in, day out, to deliver for the British people,” he said.

Sunak was born in Southampton to Indian parents who came to the UK from East Africa. His father was a doctor and his mother owned a chemist shop. He is married with two children.

In his time as the finance minister during the COVID-19 pandemic, Sunak devised and implemented a wide-ranging economic support program for the country that ran into the hundreds of billions of pounds, supporting both employers and employees with generous government funding.

The Tory leadership contest was triggered after outgoing Prime Minister Liz Truss’ resignation last week after only six weeks in the top government office, following a tumultuous run and turmoil in economy due to her mini-budget.

Earlier, Mordaunt, Sunak’s Tory leadership rival, withdrew from the contest, saying: “Rishi has my full support.”

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