The Race To The Top In The UK: Why Rishi Sunak Has Suddenly Fallen Off Track? 

Indian-origin Rishi Sunak, who was initially leading in the race to become UK’s next Prime Minister, is currently losing momentum and ceding the turf to his rival Liz Truss in the final lap. The 42-year-old ex-chancellor of the exchequer recently agreed to the same by stating that he is “playing catch up” with Liz Truss. As per the latest trends, Truss is way ahead of Sunak in the prime ministerial race. So, the question that is begging for an answer is, what went wrong for Sunak all of a sudden as he was the firm favourite to assume the most important post in the country, not too long back? 

Is It Due To His Indian Identity? 

Lending credence to Sunak’s current crisis, the previous week’s survey of 1,003 party members, done by the Conservative Home website, placed Sunak on 26 percent and Truss on 58 percent. This clearly shows the amount of ground lost by Rishi Sunak after dominating the rival candidates for a major part at the beginning of the campaign to be the next UK PM. Some are suggesting that it is due to his Asian descent and that people in the UK would not accept anyone from ex-British colonies as their PM. This is nothing but mere hogwash. 

Sunak Dismisses The Race Factor 

In fact, Rishi Sunak himself refuted his ethnicity to be the reason behind the sudden meltdown in his ratings in an interview with The Daily Telegraph, “I was selected as a member of Parliament in Richmond … Our members rightly put merit above everything else. I’m sure when they are considering this question, they are just figuring out who is the best person to be Prime Minister … Gender, ethnicity and everything else will have nothing to do with it.” 

Also, while observing the past trends in the Conservative party there is nothing to suggest that it is racist and discriminatory. Several Indian-origin legislators have come up the ranks through merit in the country. For example, Priti Patel, incumbent Home Secretary and Suella Braverman, Attorney General. Also, Sajid Javid, Pakistan, used to be the Chancellor, Home Secretary and, lately, Secretary of State For Health and Social Care. Hence, it can’t be racism as some mischievous elements are alluding to. 

Reasons For His Downward Spiral 

Sunak’s setback in the PM’s race can chiefly be attributed to his stint in the Conservative party more than anything else. After all, it was Sunak who triggered the problems for the Boris Johnson government by putting in his papers in haste. His exit led to many more walkouts and ultimately ended the crises-ridden tenure of Johnson. This has even infuriated the PM so much that he has instructed his supporters that his successor could be anyone but Sunak. So, it won’t be erroneous to infer that his sudden exit from the previous regime has come back to haunt him now. 

This apart, his declaration that he will not be cutting taxes immediately but over a period of time also has not gone well with Tory supporters as opposed to Truss’s promise of imminent tax cuts. Then the other factor to go against him might have been his and his wife’s humongous wealth, placed 222nd on the Sunday Times Rich list, when ordinary Britons are finding it very hard to survive in the face of the high inflation(9%) in the country. On the other hand, there has been no such wealth angle with regard to Truss and is largely a non-controversial candidate. 

Considering these factors, the Indian-origin Rishi Sunak has a difficult task on his shoulders going forward, and the time at his disposal is too short as well. But surprises have happened before, so it would be interesting to see how Sunak finds his bearings in the final lap of the UK PM’s race. 

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