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Rishi Sunak Becomes UK’s First Prime Minister of Colour

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Rishi Sunak Becomes UK's First Prime Minister of Colour

The UK’s Former finance minister Rishi Sunak won the Conservative Party leadership election on Monday, becoming the country’s first prime minister of colour.

Penny Mordaunt, the final rival standing after Boris Johnson stepped aside, failed to obtain 100 nominations from her Conservative colleagues.

Rishi Sunak became leader of the Conservative Party, and Mordaunt vowed her “whole support” for Sunak.

Sunak’s victory came after Johnson announced late Sunday that he was stepping aside and wouldn’t be running for office again.

Sunak accomplished a dramatic turnaround in fortunes just weeks after losing out to Liz Truss to become Prime Minister.

The Conservative leadership campaign, precipitated by Liz Truss’s resignation on Thursday, requires contenders to earn the backing of at least 100 Conservative MPs.

Senior backbench MP Graham Brady announced that only Sunak had passed the test.

Rishi Sunak Becomes UK's First Prime Minister of Colour

Sunak, a son of Indian and East African immigrants, had passed that mark by Friday night, amassing roughly 200 nominations – more than half the parliamentary Conservative party.

After Boris Johnson stepped aside, cabinet member Mordaunt was the only other standing candidate.

However, she could not secure the requisite backing, ending the leadership race.

If she had, the race would have been determined by an online vote of the party’s 170,000 members. With the results not being published until the end of the week.

The victory for Rishi Sunak occurred on the first day of the 5-day Diwali festival; the Hindu festival celebrates the triumph of good over evil.

Rishi Sunak honoured the occasion as chancellor of the exchequer in November 2020 by igniting oil lamps in front of the chancellor’s official house at 11 Downing Street.

Rishi Sunak Becomes UK's First Prime Minister of Colour

The Conservatives were forced into their second leadership election since the summer after Truss resigned after only 44 days due to a dismal market reaction to her tax-cutting mini-budget.

She took over for Johnson in early September, after a government mutiny led by Rishi Sunak over a string of scandals, most notably the “Partygate” affair involving Covid lockdown-breaching parties.

Johnson’s bid to return to Downing Street immediately created the threat of months of chaos and division within the ruling Conservatives.

Backbenchers feared that a wave of resignations under Johnson’s revived leadership may have resulted in the general election desired by opposition parties. One isn’t due for at least another two years.

Johnson cut short his Caribbean vacation to return to the UK on Saturday.

However, in an indication of his declining political stature, Johnson abruptly stepped aside on Sunday, acknowledging that “you can’t lead effectively until you have a united party in parliament.”

“I believe I have much to give, but I don’t believe that this is simply not the appropriate time,” he added, insisting he had obtained 100 nominations.

Rishi Sunak Becomes UK's First Prime Minister of Colour

Rishi Sunak quickly expressed his admiration for Johnson, saying, “I genuinely hope Boris continues to contribute to the Conservative party at home and abroad.”

Mordaunt has claimed she is best placed to take on the opposition Labour Party, which is riding high in the polls.

She also emphasized her dedication to a “lower-tax, high-productivity economy” in an article published in the right-wing Daily Telegraph.

Rishi Sunak kept a low profile, stating on Twitter that the country was in a “deep economic crisis.”

“I want to fix our economy, bring our party together, and deliver for our country,” he declared.

Labour is now calling for a general election.

“Tory MPs are ready to gift Rishi Sunak the keys to No 10 (Downing Street) without uttering a word about how he’d rule,” deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner tweeted.

Sunak becoming Prime Minister was a watershed moment, according to Anand Menon, a politics professor at King’s College London.

“Having a prime minister of Indian ancestry is a huge deal,” he told BBC television soon before the outcome was announced.

Menon went on to say that he was relieved by how little was spoken about it.

“In some ways, we appear to have normalized this,” he remarked.

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