Who is the UK's next Prime Minister and Richmond MP Rishi Sunak?

Rishi Sunak will become the UK's next Prime Minister.

Just weeks after losing the Tory leadership race to Liz Truss, the Richmond MP and former Chancellor has now been named as the party's new leader, and the youngest PM in modern political history, at the age of 42.

Mr Sunak, whose decision to quit the Government triggered the torrent of resignations which ultimately ended Boris Johnson's premiership, had said he wanted to "restore trust, rebuild the economy and reunite the country".

His argument had failed to win over Tory party members during the summer's leadership race but following the resignation of Liz Truss after just 45 days he has now been named as the next Conservative leader.

Mr Sunak has already endured one of the most dramatic stints in Number 11.

He presided over the budget throughout the pandemic, amid surging living costs and as war returned to Europe.

He was also forced into the spotlight on a personal level, becoming embroiled in the Partygate scandal and controversies over his wife's financial affairs.

But who is the Coca-Cola-'addicted', rich list-ranked, lightsaber-collecting former chancellor?

Life before politics

Born in Southampton in 1980, Sunak went on to become one of the youngest chancellors in history. But his background is unconventional in the world of politics.

His parents, GP Yashvir Sunak and pharmacist Usha Sunak, were born in modern day Kenya and Tanzania respectively.

Sunak's grandparents were born under colonial rule in India before moving to East Africa and then the UK in the 1960s.

He went to an independent boarding school in Hampshire, where he became head boy, and then Oxford, where he graduated with a first in Philosophy, Politics and Economics.

Sunak has two daughters with wife Akshata Murty. Credit: PA

Sunak met his wife Akshata Murty while studying for his masters at Stanford University. Ms Murty is the daughter of the Indian billionaire N. R. Narayana Murthy, the founder of information multinational Infosys.

Before his time at Stanford, he worked as an analyst for investment bank Goldman Sachs and went on to become partner at a hedge fund management firm and co-found an investment firm.

Member of Parliament for Richmond

In 2014, Sunak was elected as MP for one of the country's safest seats - the last non-Conservative Richmond MP was Liberal Francis Dyke Acland, elected in 1906.

He voted to leave the European Union in the 2016 Brexit referendum, calling it his "toughest decision since becoming MP" but ultimately a "once in a generation opportunity for our country to take back control of its destiny".

His first government post was Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government).

However, Sunak truly rose to prominence in July 2019 when Boris Johnson became prime minister and made him chief secretary to the Treasury.

Sunak's exposure grew when he represented his party in the 2019 elections debates. Credit: PA

Chancellor to the Exchequer

As chief secretary to the Treasury, Sunak became seen as something of a rising star and represented the party in the December 2019 General Election debates.

When Sajid Javid resigned as chancellor in February 2020, Johnson selected Sunak as his successor.

Just a month later, he presented his first budget which pledged £12 million to help mitigate the economic impact of Covid-19, prior to the first national lockdown.

Sunak took historic measures during the pandemic. Credit: PA

He went on to make history by becoming the first chancellor to create a mass job retention scheme.

Known as furlough, employees claimed cash grants worth up to 80% of wages, capped at £2,500 a month per worker.

In July, he unveiled another interventionist plan dubbed 'Eat Out to Help Out', which saw the Government subsidise food and soft drinks at restaurants, cafes and pubs at 50% up to £10 per person in order to stimulate the hospitality sector.

The teetotallin' eccentric

It is probable that no previous chancellor has been positioned so prominently in the public eye.

As a result, the public has come to know the man behind the red briefcase.

Here are some of his highly varied interests:

  • Speaking to two schoolboys, Sunak once admitted to being a 'coke addict' before clarifying he was referring to the soft drink. Sunak is particularly fond of Mexican coke, which is made from cane sugar. He does not drink alcohol.

  • Southampton FC: He's an avid fan of his hometown club.

  • Netflix series: Speaking to the Radio Times, the former chancellor professed to having different tastes to his fellow cabinet members - liking Emily in Paris and Bridgerton in particular.

  • Star Wars: In-keeping with his slightly nerdy image, Sunak is a massive fan and has reportedly collected his own arsenal of replica lightsabers.

Declining popularity

At one point, Sunak - riding high on this pandemic spending - was favourite to succeed Boris Johnson.

But his star has waned in recent months as the cost-of-living crisis has taken hold. The chancellor has been criticised for being slow to react to rising energy bills and not doing enough to help the poorest households.

He also faced controversy over his wife's tax affairs after it was claimed she could have saved millions in UK contributions by not being registered as a permanent UK resident and for revelations he held on to his US green card while serving in government.

In the same difficult month, Sunak faced calls to resign after receiving a fixed penalty notice for breaching COVID-19 regulations during lockdowns. 

End of the line?

But it was not until the scandal surrounding Boris Johnson's response to allegations into deputy chief whip Chris Pincher that Sunak left his post.

"The public rightly expect government to be conducted properly, competently and seriously," he said.

"I recognise this may be my last ministerial job, but I believe these standards are worth fighting for and that is why I am resigning."

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