In the United Kingdom (U.K.), the prime minister is the top leader. Until recently, Liz Truss held that position. But on October 20, 2022, Truss said she was stepping down. People in Britain wondered who would lead them next. On October 24, they got an answer. Lawmakers chose Rishi Sunak as the next prime minister.
Sunak grew up in England. He later graduated from both Oxford University and Stanford University. Both of his parents are of Indian . Before Sunak, all prime ministers in the U.K. were white. Sunak is making history. He’s the first person of color to hold the position.
Sunak joined Parliament in 2015. After that, he focused on the country’s economy. In 2020, he became the country’s chief financial minister — also called the chancellor. The chancellor controls how much money citizens have to pay the government. The chancellor also decides how much money the government spends. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people and businesses in the U.K. were struggling. Sunak spent billions to get them the help they needed.
Now, the U.K. is facing money troubles again. High levels of are causing problems for businesses in the U.K. After Liz Truss took the top job on September 6, she promised to help grow the country’s economy. Her changes led to more money problems though. The U.K.’s money — the British pound — lost value.
After Truss announced that she was leaving, it was time to replace her. In the United Kingdom, voters don’t elect the prime minister directly. Instead, they vote to fill seats in Parliament. Whichever party controls the most seats gets to pick the country’s leader. Right now, the Conservative Party controls Parliament. Whoever got the most support from the party would get the job.
Many leaders stepped forward to offer themselves as the pick. In the end, it came down to Rishi Sunak and Penny Mordaunt. Mordaunt leads the House of Commons in Parliament. But on October 24, she announced that she was dropping out of the race.
“Rishi has my full support,” Mordaunt said online. She said her party’s choice showed its “ and talent.”
Sunak is ready. “It is the greatest privilege of my life,” he said, “to serve the party I love and give back to the country I owe so much to.”
“I will make it my to bring our party and our country together,” he continued. “That is the only way we will overcome the challenges we face.”
Updated October 24, 2022, 5:02 P.M. (ET)
By Tyler Burdick