In case you’ve missed the earlier posts in this series, here they are: parts 1, 2, 3 and 4.
He represents the Richmond constituency in Yorkshire.
Rishi Sunak’s grandparents moved from the Punjab province of India to East Africa. Rishi’s mother Usha was born in Tanzania. His father Yashvir was born in Kenya. Both are Hindus.
Both sets of grandparents migrated to the UK in the 1960s.
After marriage, Usha and Yashvir settled in Southampton, on the southern coast of England. Usha worked locally as a pharmacist. Yashvir was a general practitioner.
The couple have three children: Rishi, another son Sanjay, who is a psychologist, and a daughter Raakhi, who works on COVID-19 strategy for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.
Rishi Sunak went to the renowned public (private) school Winchester College, founded in 1382, where he was head boy and editor of the student newspaper.
He then went to Lincoln College, Oxford, where he graduated with a First in 2001 in PPE, which is nothing to do with hospital gowns, rather Philosophy, Politics and Economics. Whilst at Oxford, he did a brief stint at Conservative Campaign Headquarters.
During summer holidays he worked at a curry house in Southampton.
Sunak began his career at Goldman Sachs, where he worked as an analyst from 2001 to 2004.
He then decided to study for an MBA at Stanford University in California, where he met his wife, Akshata Murthy, the daughter of the Indian billionaire N. R. Narayana Murthy, the man behind Infosys. The couple married in 2005. Sunak, a Fulbright Scholar, completed his MBA in 2006.
Sunak and his wife settled in England and have two young daughters.
Prior to entering politics, Sunak worked for two hedge funds and was also the director of one of his father-in-law’s companies, Catamaran Ventures.
Former Conservative Party leader William Hague represented Richmond, which has been a safe seat for the party for over a century.
Rishi Sunak was elected comfortably to his first term with a majority of 19,550 (36.2%). Once in Parliament, he was appointed to the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee.
Sunak was also committed to Brexit and was an early advocate of free ports, having written a report on the concept in 2016, the year of the referendum.
In 2017, with Theresa May as Prime Minister, Sunak won re-election with an even greater majority of 23,108 (40.5%). In Parliament, he continued to support Brexit, voting for Theresa May’s deal and against a referendum on a final withdrawal agreement in 2019.
That year, Theresa May stood down as PM. Sunak supported Boris Johnson in the ensuing leadership contest.
That autumn, during the general election campaign, he appeared on a television debate, representing the Conservatives:
I am sure Sunak did better than Iain Dale gave him credit for:
He also participated in a seven-way debate on ITV.
On December 12, Sunak further increased his margin of victory at the polls to 27,210 (47.2%).
The coronavirus Chancellor — and some inside scoops
Then, in February 2020, Prime Minister Boris Johnson replaced Sajid Javid with Rishi Sunak as Chancellor:
He gave his first budget less than a month later, on Wednesday, March 11, which I wrote about at the time.
The following Monday, March 16, Boris announced social distancing rules and the closure of pubs, restaurants and events venues. Rishi spoke at one of Boris’s televised coronavirus briefings with news of a generous financial package:
Guido Fawkes posted the full video and remarked (emphasis in the original):
You wouldn’t guess he’s only been in the job for five weeks…
Full details are here. Sunak also issued a Twitter thread with a summary:
Then lockdown came a week later on Monday, March 23.
A few days later, Boris was struggling with his bout of coronavirus, as was Health Secretary Matt Hancock:
The Conservatives soared to record approval ratings in the polls:
Early in April, Boris was quietly rushed to St Thomas’ Hospital in London. Rishi did another coronavirus briefing to reassure an anxious nation:
The well-spoken, gentle Sunak appealed greatly to the folks at home. The Independent did not like that one bit.
Society magazine Tatler began running articles on Sunak in March. They could see he would quickly become a cult personality.
On March 18, the magazine posted an article by Annabel Sampson, ‘Everything you need to know about Britain’s new Chancellor, Rishi Sunak’.
It begins with this (emphases mine):
The virtues of 39-year-old Rishi Sunak have been extolled many times over; for his charming demeanour, his razor sharp brain and his acute financial sense. Now the man who has come to be recognised as the ‘Maharaja of the Dales’, thanks to his Indian ancestry and Yorkshire home, has been appointed to the highest office in the country, to Boris Johnson’s Cabinet in the role of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the second biggest government job; and the second youngest person ever to take the position.
The appointment follows the ‘Cabinet Reshuffle’ that occurred in February when Savid Javid, the former Chancellor, resigned when he was asked to get rid – reportedly a request linked to Dominic Cummings – of his closest aides. Rishi Sunak’s star has been rising for some time now, so his appointment to the position will have baffled few.
The article has several photos, including one of Sunak in the Yorkshire countryside and one with his dog, which resembles Boris Johnson’s Welsh rescue pup, Dilyn.
Sunak and his wife had a traditional Indian wedding:
Rishi and Akshata were married in her hometown of Bangalore, in a two-day ceremony attended by 1,000 guests.
Akshata is a working mother:
Akshata runs her own fashion label Akshata Designs and is also a director of a venture capital firm founded by her father in 2010. Her designs are wonderful; she’s been profiled by Vogue India and been credited for creating clothes that are ‘vehicles to discovering Indian culture’ – comprised of chic silhouettes with bold, Indian design.
Did we know that the Sunaks throw great parties? We do now:
With their combined wealth, they understandably have a generously sized home in Northallerton, North Yorkshire (in Sunak’s constituency). The Daily Mail reports that their annual summer garden party is a county highlight; where uniformed staff loft around serving ice cold champagne and canapés (no doubt prepared by the prestigious Yorkshire Party Company).
Sunak is a natural at politics:
According to the Daily Mail, ‘While many MPs stutter and trundle their way through their maiden speech in the Commons, Mr Sunak’s at-ease manner provided a glimmer of what was to come’. One ally in parliament told the Telegraph: ‘He’s ferociously intelligent and thoroughly decent at the same time’ …
He was one of the few Conservatives who were let loose on the air waves (14 times in total) and allowed to make public appearances during the election campaign last year. He has even been dubbed the ‘Prime Minister-in-waiting’, we’ll see. His first big challenge was the March budget; and now he is juggling the unprecedented complexity of the impact of the coronavirus on the economy. The UK are in safe hands.
The article also has a photo of him supporting Yorkshire County Cricket at Edgbaston.
Early in July, Tatler‘s Ben Judah travelled to Sunak’s home town of Southampton and reported his findings in ‘Inside the world of Rishi Sunak’.
Naturally, Judah went to the curry house where Sunak worked during his summer holidays:
The kitchen at Kuti’s Brasserie, not far from Southampton docks, was not the sort of place, in August 1998, you would have gone looking for a future hedge funder, son-in-law of a billionaire and Conservative chancellor.
That summer – the summer of the France 98 World Cup and the Omagh bombing – Kuti Miah, the eponymous restaurateur behind the curry house, went to have a word with one of his waiters. ‘You’re going to be someone, Rishi,’ he said. The future UK chancellor flashed his famous smile. He was, adds Miah, ‘a brilliant talker’. Rishi Sunak, then 18, was about to go to Oxford, but that holiday he waited tables for Miah, a close family friend, to earn some pocket money. ‘I saw him grow up,’ says Miah. ‘His father used to bring him in his carry cot.’
Miah was fast friends with Yashvir and Usha Sunak, both Hindu Punjabis born in colonial Kenya and Tanzania respectively, whose parents had migrated from India. After India’s independence, both families left East Africa for Southampton in the mid-to-late 1960s. Yashvir and Usha met in Britain and married. He became a local GP and she ran a pharmacy. They were ‘brilliant conversationalists’ and ‘very strong believers’ who ‘worked very, very hard’, according to Miah, who also recalls that they were ‘passionately British’.
Rishi, the eldest of their three children, was cut from the same patriotic cloth. Not only did the young Sunak fall in love with the game of cricket, he fervently supported England over India at any opportunity. His career, too, has followed one of the most traditional and storied of England’s paths to power. Like five chancellors of the exchequer before him, Sunak was schooled at the ancient and distinguished Winchester College; and like three of those same Wykehamist chancellors, he went on, as was expected, to study at Oxford.
The article includes a photo of Sunak with his wife and in-laws.
Ben Judah had met Rishi Sunak before, in 2015, just before the general election that year. They met up in Northallerton, North Yorkshire:
We were a long way from London – from where Sunak had been ‘parachuted in’ for the seat. During the interview, I had a distinct sense of being the only person in the cafe who knew that this slight man in a Barbour jacket was running for parliament. ‘I tell this story when I’m out and about,’ he said, coffee in hand, ‘that you can come to this country with very little… My grandparents came with very little from a village in northern India, and two generations on, their grandson has this enormous privilege of running as a candidate for parliament. For my family, the route was education.’
Sunak’s candidacy in 2015 raised some eyebrows:
He was vying for a seat once presided over by Tory grandees William Hague and Leon Brittan. But I had spent days in Richmond and the surrounding area, reporting on the resentment his sudden arrival had stirred up among certain local Tory notables, who felt the seat in the Dales was rightfully theirs. ‘There was a very acrimonious constituency battle,’ claimed one source, with a lot of hostility to an outsider coming in.
Sunak’s wife had also met with some resistance on the campaign trail, says Judah.
However, Sunak’s father-in-law enthusiastically flew to England where he helped to campaign:
Sunak’s billionaire father-in-law, NR Narayana Murthy, however, has been so enthusiastic about Sunak’s parliamentary career that he’d flown in, and had even been leafleting on his behalf, wearing a Rishi sweatshirt. ‘To be honest,’ said Sunak in Costa Coffee that day, ‘I think it’s patronising to assume minorities should only run in minority seats.’
The article discusses Sunak’s property profile:
On 7 May 2015, Sunak won, with more than 50 per cent of the vote (a Ukip vote of 15 per cent had appeared from nowhere). He put down roots in his new constituency of Richmond, North Yorkshire, augmenting a £10 million property portfolio (metropolitan digs in London – a Kensington mews house, a flat on Old Brompton Road – and a place in California) with a £1.5 million Georgian manor in Yorkshire set across 12 acres, including an ornamental lake. Here, he now entertains the constituency membership with lavish summer parties at which uniformed staff serve champagne and canapés. He has been repeatedly dubbed by newspapers the ‘Maharajah of the Yorkshire Dales’.
The general public know less about those details. Nonetheless, Rishi Sunak has become a household name:
In a swift few years, Sunak has become known as many things: Dishy Rishi to the tabloids; one of the richest MPs in Westminster; the second-youngest-ever chancellor of the exchequer, presiding over a £350 billion package to boost the economy (the largest ever recorded in peacetime); and a former hedge funder whose profile has risen faster than stocks in a vaccine manufacturer.
However dazzling all of this is now, things were very different when Sunak entered Winchester College as an adolescent:
… Winchester would come at a price for the Sunaks. No sooner was he accepted than Rishi’s good fortune immediately foundered: he missed out on the expected scholarship. Desperate not to let the opportunity go to waste, his parents decided to take on the high fees themselves, picking up extra work and making what the chancellor has called considerable ‘sacrifices’. His brother would later follow.
One of his classmates discussed Sunak and described Winchester in the mid- to late 1990s:
Tim Johnson, now a lawyer, was in the boarding house next door. ‘Rishi was a good chap, in boarding-school idiom,’ he recalled. Sunak, he said, was a ‘reasonable cricketer’, who stood out in friendliness; and he was a solid, but never number one, student. ‘Rishi was always expected to do something,’ Johnson remembered. But exactly what, beyond Winchester, was vague. ‘He was always expected to be head boy as he was clever enough, reasonable enough and well behaved enough.’ This became Sunak’s thing – hard work and attainment, becoming the first Winchester head of school from an Indian background.
Sunak was different to other sixth formers in Winchester: a lifelong nondrinker, he wasn’t distracted by the allure of the pub. But there was something else that marked him out from the herd. He was a conservative in every sense: not only in his outlook and demeanour but in his religious attitudes, too – a practising Hindu who avoided beef. At school, where few boys were political, Sunak was clearly ‘associated with the Tories’, said Johnson. It was 1997, The Chemical Brothers were topping the charts and the mood was rebellious. Counterculture, New Labour and ripped jeans were in; the Conservatives were out. ‘That wasn’t his intellectual jam. Rishi didn’t play that game,’ Johnson explained.
‘Everyone was chipper about it when Blair won,’ Johnson said. But not Rishi. His family’s story was closer to Margaret Thatcher’s than that of his bourgeois Labourite classmates. Watching the early results of the landslide on election night 1997, Sunak sat down to write a gloomy article for the school magazine, The Wykehamist, lamenting the news. His main complaint: Europe. ‘He revels in the label of a patriot,’ he complained of Tony Blair, ‘but has plans for the possible break-up of the United Kingdom and membership of an eventual European Superstate.’ The seeds of Brexit were already in his mind.
‘Already,’ fretted Sunak, ‘the New Labour rhetoric sounds worryingly pro-European and avid pro-Europeans are being sent to Brussels’ …
Later, at Oxford, Sunak had a low profile, unlike his predecessor as MP, William Hague:
He was nothing like the young William Hague, who arrived at Oxford fêted and almost a Tory celebrity, or the young Boris Johnson, the blond beast who tore apart the Oxford Union. At Oxford, Sunak was a nobody, much like Tony Blair.
He continued to eschew strong drink:
Oxford acquaintances remember him as a nerdy teetotaller who was ‘just very clearly going into business’. He would ‘make this big thing’ out of drinking Coke in the pub. ‘Rishi was unknown to the student politicians, that gossipy overlapping world, who all knew each other,’ said Marcus Walker, then-president of the Oxford University Conservative Association, now a clergyman. Sunak was never a member.
It is hard to remember how irrelevant and demoralised Tory circles felt after 1997, but some do recall Sunak as a ‘Thatcherite’ and ‘Eurosceptic’. ‘That was absolutely par for the course,’ said Walker. ‘If you were still a Tory after 1997, you were a Eurosceptic. That was all you had left.’
Nevertheless, Sunak did develop a network from his Winchester College and Oxford days. Graduates from Winchester are called Old Wykehamists:
These days, socially, Sunak has been placed by some in Westminster’s Spectator set. He was best man to his lifelong friend and fellow Old Wykehamist James Forsyth, political editor of The Spectator, at Forsyth’s politician-studded wedding in 2011, to Allegra Stratton, the national editor at ITV News – and gave what one guest recalled was ‘one of the most touching best man’s speeches I’ve ever heard’. (In fact, Stratton has recently announced she’s leaving ITV News for a job with Sunak at the Treasury. Some have seen this as very Cameron-esque in its ‘chumocracy’.)
Allegra Stratton, also a good friend of ITV’s Robert Peston, now works for Boris Johnson as his notional press secretary, although she has not yet begun to give press briefings, probably because of coronavirus.
Imagine the son of immigrants having ties to Britain’s two oldest — ancient — magazines: The Spectator and Tatler. Wow.
Tatler‘s Ben Judah also spoke with people who had worked with Sunak during his hedge fund days. They painted a similar character portrait of the Chancellor:
After two years in California completing a CV-topping MBA, he returned to London and Mayfair in 2006, where a new type of boutique finance was booming: hedge funds. He was hired by Sir Chris Hohn at The Children’s Investment Fund (TCI). It was a dream job: a big role at an activist firm off Berkeley Square at the peak of their fame. ‘He appears to have been trusted,’ said a source. Indeed, Sunak was made a partner two years later. Contemporaries remember him ever-ready to meet and greet; a mixture of a junior, deputy and a bag carrier; the perfect foil to Hohn’s bolshy swagger. ‘Ridiculously nice.’ ‘Affable.’ ‘Approachable.’ ‘Charming.’ These are the words that come up again and again among Mayfair types who knew Sunak. The charm was of a particular kind: ‘There are two kinds of people at hedge funds,’ said one source. ‘Handsome and thin smooth-talkers who are always on the phone or going out to lunch with clients, getting them to part with their money. And then quants in the back room with their shirts buttoned up badly.’
Sunak was one of the smooth-talkers, his charm honed on calls to investors, getting them on board with whatever drastic moves the fund wanted to make. The kind of charm that prizes clarity and persuades people to part with their money. It worked: but hedge-fund charm is designed to hide as much as it reveals. The atmosphere at TCI was buccaneering and bold; it both led and profited from a controversial banking raid that eventually meant a £45.5 billion public bailout of the Royal Bank of Scotland. (The Treasury and TCI say Sunak was not involved in the deal.) He left when TCI split in 2009, and joined the breakaway hedge fund Theleme Partners. His new firm’s reputation took a knock when its founder was revealed to have used a notorious tax avoidance scheme. The Labour Party researched Sunak’s past during the 2019 election. ‘But he was too little known for us to use it,’ said one source …
His reasons for entering Parliament are equally obscure. Those who know him have different opinions as to why. One thing that everyone agrees on is his penchant for order:
Many in Westminster see his motivation as status. ‘He’s not an ideologue,’ said one Tory source. ‘He wanted to enter politics in that old-fashioned way, because it was seen as the good thing to do.’ Good, as in socially ambitious. Whether that’s true is another matter, because first came a stint at Policy Exchange, leading a unit researching black and minority ethnic attitudes. The scruffy but influential Conservative think tank world is seen as a de facto holding pen for future special advisers, but it was nonetheless an unexpectedly technical way into Westminster for someone with means.
Sunak quickly made an impression. ‘He’s got that Blair-like ability to hold your eye,’ says Nick Faith, who worked with him there. Sunak cut a snappy figure amid slovenly suits. ‘He’s into his clothing.’ His is not the fusty establishment Rees-Mogg or Nicholas Soames style, but more the wiry Emmanuel Macron look. Everything Sunak wears, many remarked, is immaculate, even at the end of a Treasury work day, and fits perfectly. Faith says that ‘everything, from how Rishi dresses to how he structures his life, is very well organised’. Sunak’s elegant house in London, with a touch of Indian decor, reflects that. ‘Nothing is out of place. For someone with two small kids, that’s quite an achievement.’
Having learned from his background in finance, Sunak also knows how and when to place his bets:
‘His mind works in Excel,’ said one City contemporary. But like all hedge funders, it also works in bets: and the two biggest bets that Sunak has made in his career have paid off spectacularly – Brexit and Boris. David Cameron knew the gravity of his predicament when Sunak came out for Leave. ‘If we’ve lost Rishi, we’ve lost the future of the party,’ he reportedly said. The same thing played out in reverse in June 2019 when Sunak came out for Boris in The Times with two other MPs during the party leadership elections. This was widely seen in Westminster as a decisive turning point: the one where Johnson won over ‘the sensibles’ and pivoted the backbenchers. The PM seems to agree: all three have been handsomely rewarded.
In Parliament, he keeps a low profile but, to those who know him, is loyal:
‘He’s unknown in parliament,’ said one MP. ‘He doesn’t play the parliamentary game at all.’ Tory Remainers are sceptical of him. ‘It’s Star Wars,’ said one MP, referring to the chancellor’s strange and classically ‘geek-chic’ hobby for minutely detailed models of spaceships and video games. ‘Most of his political philosophy comes out of the Star Wars trade wars that are about the independence of various kingdoms from the Empire. He’s not someone intellectual.’ Loyalty has been his strongest suit. Sunak is a No 10 man. ‘He’s a grown-up,’ said one MP. ‘The only grown-up in Downing Street, despite him being 20 years younger than them.’
… At the height of tensions over Brexit last year, he was cheerfully going around Westminster saying he would back ‘no deal’ if push came to shove. He struck the right note, in the right place, at the right time. Tensions between Boris Johnson and Sajid Javid’s teams exploded in February, when the then-chancellor resigned after refusing to fire his own special advisers and submit to an unprecedented joint team with Downing Street, effectively under the stewardship of Dominic Cummings. It was Sunak, with high skills and no clear agenda or faction behind him in parliament, whom Downing Street turned to. He quickly agreed to the joint team, once again becoming the perfect foil for an outsized boss.
Even now, it’s still too early to say whether Rishi Sunak will become a future leader of the Conservative Party and, as such, a possible prime minister. A week is a long time in politics.
When Boris’s erstwhile special adviser Dominic Cummings broke coronavirus rules in travelling from London to Durham and back during Boris’s time in hospital, Sunak tried to calm the ever-turbulent waters surrounding Cummings, who was never popular with the Remainer media. He tweeted this after Cummings’s lengthy press conference in May:
In June, Sunak was tactful about the reopening of shops and businesses in Britain after the first coronavirus lockdown:
He also warned that his generous financial package could not go on indefinitely:
A few weeks later, in early July, pubs were allowed to reopen:
The Government launched the Enjoy Summer Safely campaign. Pictured below is Piccadilly Circus:
On July 8, he issued a Summer Economic Update, with financial help continuing (more here):
This included the launch of his Eat Out To Help Out plan, which lasted to the end of August:
A lot of Labour MPs didn’t like the plan. I don’t know why. Leftists own restaurants, too.
He cut VAT for the hospitality industry, too.
He also issued a detailed jobs plan, including an apprentice scheme:
Some men in the media were taking a shine to Dishy Rishi, including the leftist Owen Jones of The Guardian and Channel 5’s Jeremy Vine:
At that time, the attention being given to Sunak and Boris Johnson got the better of Conservative MP Caroline Dineage, a Culture minister, who was questioned on masks, which were strongly suggested (mandatory only on public transport) but still optional in what now look like heady days. This was from a BBC interview:
… asked why the Prime Minister and Chancellor Rishi Sunak had not worn one in public, she snapped: “You’d have to ask the Prime Minister and the Chancellor that, with respect.
“But it is something that is advised and we keep it under review.”
At the end of September 2020, the coronavirus crisis dragged on. Talk intensified about a winter lockdown.
On September 24, Sunak issued a Winter Economy Plan, about which I wrote at the time. When he presented it in the House of Commons, he advised all MPs to live ‘without fear’.
By October 6, Sunak was being blamed for an uptick in coronavirus ‘cases’ (positive test results, not necessarily hospital admissions) for the Eat Out to Help Out scheme:
A US study, which did not cover Britain, showed that hospitality venues were shown to be responsible. However, the study did not cover workplaces or hospitals. Nonetheless, it is still a contentious point even to this day.
The Sun‘s Harry Cole rightly, in my opinion, defended the Chancellor’s restaurant promotion.
Then talk of hospitality curfews emerged. Fellow Conservative MP Matt Vickers defended the Chancellor’s Eat Out to Help Out programme, which had come to an end five weeks earlier.
The calls for a winter lockdown grew. The Chancellor rightly opposed them:
By then, more areas of England had moved into tiers, indicating more coronavirus cases. Sunak increased financial support to those cities and counties. He also offered more help to businesses, including the self-employed.
By November, some thought a storm was truly brewing between Boris and Rishi. Despite all the talk from the Government about people being able to meet loved ones at Christmas — for the first time in months, for many — a pessimistic undercurrent, which turned out to be accurate, seemed to be part of every news cycle.
Rumours circulated that Sunak was ready to resign. However, on November 1, the Daily Mail reported:
A source said there was a ‘collective decision’ to back a second lockdown, and that Mr Sunak ‘accepted it’ – and he did not threaten to resign, as some whispers around Westminster were suggesting yesterday.
The November lockdown was supposed to prevent a Christmas lockdown, but that was not to be. There was a brief re-opening before Christmas, and on December 19, the hammer fell once more.
Interestingly, the minority MPs in Cabinet shared Sunak’s concerns.
By the middle of December, Sunak was clearly worried about how long the borrowing could go on. On Saturday, December 19, the day when Boris announced Christmas was cancelled, The Spectator reported what the Chancellor said about borrowing and quantitative easing (QE):
‘Are you or anyone else going to guarantee me that, for the duration of this parliament, rates might not go back to 1 per cent?’ he asks, pointing out that this almost happened in March, before the Bank of England started printing money to bring rates back down. ‘There is this very large QE thing that’s going on. No one has done that before. There are plenty of smart investors who are also thinking about the risks of inflation over the next 12 months. Because we are now so levered, small changes have huge cash implications. If I have to come up with £10-£20 billion a year in a few years’ time because things have changed — well, that’s a lot of money.’
To Sunak, it’s not just an economic problem but a political one. ‘If we [Tories] think borrowing is the answer to everything, that debt rising is fine, then there’s not much difference between us and the Labour party,’ he says.
The media criticised him for going to his constituency of Richmond for Christmas. To be fair, he did work while he was there, visiting a local hospital and a vaccine centre. He did not rush back to London.
On February 3, 2021, Sunak rightly accused scientists advising the Government of shifting the goalposts regarding lockdown:
This might be causing a rift in Boris’s Cabinet:
On a brighter note, Time magazine has included Rishi Sunak on its list of 100 ’emerging leaders’. On February 17, the Daily Mail reported:
Under the ‘leaders’ category, Chancellor Rishi Sunak landed a spot on the list, being described as the ‘benevolent face of the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic’ by Times reporter Billy Perrigo.
The Chancellor’s profile piece discussed the furlough scheme, describing how he approved ‘large handouts’ for people whose jobs had been affected by coronavirus.
The piece also paid respect to Sunak’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme, which the magazine described as an attempt to ‘revive the economy’ by subsidizing dining out at restaurants.
Although his profile acknowledges that Sunak bears more responsibility than most for his calls to ease lockdown restrictions, Time’s profile for the Chancellor admits he has earned himself a ‘legion of fans’.
Sunak’s accompanying profile points to a YouGov poll showing him to be the nation’s most popular politician and even tips him to be the bookmakers’ favourite as the next Prime Minister.
Again, a week is a long time in politics. We shall see about the future as and when it happens.
For now, Sunak is focussing on the budget, to be delivered on March 3. He is asking industry leaders for their thoughts.
Michelin-starred chef Gordon Ramsay was one of those leaders:
If Rishi Sunak ever tires of being an MP or Chancellor, a job in media awaits.
He is an excellent interviewer and researched Gordon Ramsay well. The 15-minute video is worth watching.
The list of minority Conservative MPs continues. All being well, more tomorrow.