Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson appointed Indian-origin politician Rishi Sunak as the new finance minister in a Cabinet reshuffle on Thursday. Sunak is the son-in-law of Infosys co-founder Narayana Murthy and will join Home Secretary Priti Patel on the top government bench as UK Chancellor of the Exchequer.
This comes after Pakistani-origin Sajid Javid resigned as Chancellor in a shock move, in one of the biggest shakeups since Johnson won a thumping majority in the December 2019 general election.
Sunak, who was until now Javid's junior as the Chief Secretary to the Treasury and seen as a rising star within the Cabinet, will now replace him.
The 39-year-old is set to move into No. 11 Downing Street, next door to the Prime Minister's Office as he takes charge of the second most important government position as the finance minister.
Sunak, married to Narayana Murthy's daughter Akshata, is the Conservative Party MP from Richmond (Yorkshire), and was one of the three Indian-born leaders appointed ministers by Johnson. Last year, he took over as the Chief Secretary to the Treasury in Jul 2019. Sunak was first elected to Parliament in 2015.
As per reports, the 39-year-old minister studied at Britain’s oldest public school Winchester College, where he was the first Indian-origin head boy. He then studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Oxford University. He also has an MBA from Stanford University. He met Akshata at Stanford.
An analyst with Goldman Sachs before joining politics in 2014, Sunak, whose grandparents were from Punjab and emigrated to the UK from east Africa, is MP from Richmond (Yorkshire). He was Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Local Government in the Theresa May government.
In 2015, he won with over 50% of the vote after being selected for a seat given up by foreign secretary William Hague, who held it for 26 years before Sunak won — and many took note because Sunak won from a deeply conservative constituency.
In an interview with Business Standard in July 2019, Sunak said that Narayana Murthy was a great supporter of his political ambitions.
When Sunak was elected MP in 2015, Narayana Murthy had then said, “I am very happy that Rishi has won convincingly in Richmond-Yorks with such a majority. He and Akshata worked very hard, beat the pavement and communicated his merit, integrity and his vision for his constituency.”
Sunak has two daughters Krishna and Anoushka
There are two other cabinet ministers of Indian extraction in the Johnson government - Home Secretary Priti Patel and International Development Secretary Alok Sharma.
With agency inputs