After weeks of intense campaigning, UK foreign secretary Liz Truss defeated Indian-origin former chancellor Rishi Sunak in Conservative Party leadership race to become new British Prime Minister. Following the announcement of the UK PM poll result, Rishi Sunak called for support for Britain’s Prime Minister-elect Liz Truss.
“Thank you to everyone who voted for me in this campaign. I’ve said throughout that the Conservatives are one family. It’s right we now unite behind the new PM, Liz Truss, as she steers the country through difficult times,” Rishi Sunak tweeted.
Thank you to everyone who voted for me in this campaign.
I’ve said throughout that the Conservatives are one family.
It’s right we now unite behind the new PM, Liz Truss, as she steers the country through difficult times.
— Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) September 5, 2022
Liz Truss polled 81,326 votes, compared to Rishi Sunak’s 60,399 in an election with a high turnout of 82.6 per cent.
Speaking to India Today, UK MP Gillian Keegan, who supported Rishi Sunak, said, “43 per cent is a good turnout for Rishi, particularly when six-seven newspapers were backing Liz’s campaign. So it is perhaps better than the story that’s been written in the last couple of days.”
The weeks-long intense and divisive party leadership contest also raised multiple questions, one of them being: Is Britain ready for an Asian prime minister?
“Of course Britain is ready for an Asian prime minister and Britain would be ready for Rishi Sunak for sureit did not happen this time but Britain is ready for an Asian Prime minister. We got our third woman prime minister, which is great too. I don’t this it has anything to do with his background, colour of his skin or race,” added Gillian Keegan.
Liz Truss will take formal charge as the UK’s Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street on Tuesday after an audience with the Queen in Scotland. Normally this meeting would take place in the Buckingham palace but breaking from tradition, the Queen is in Scotland at the moment.
Once the outgoing PM Boris Johnson meets the Queen, Liz Truss will meet her and be appointment as UK PM officially. Following an inaugural speech to set the tone for her government, the announcements of the key ministerial portfolios are expected to start pouring in by Tuesday evening. Former chancellor Rishi Sunak, who lost the vote 57-43 per cent, is unlikely to serve in a Truss-led Cabinet.
“Liz understands the problems people are facing on the streets. In the end she resonates with people,” said Andrea Jenkins , Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Skills, Further and Higher Education of the United Kingdom.
Liz Truss defeats Rishi Sunak to be new UK PM . She will be the UK’s third female PM and the fourth PM from the Conservatives party. Amid the ongoing energy crisis in the UK, she promised to give a plan to tackle. She aims to secure future fuel supplies. #ITHorizontal #NewsMo pic.twitter.com/SXym6TEkDT
— IndiaToday (@IndiaToday) September 5, 2022
Liz Truss’s election to the top post comes at a time when the country in the throes of its worst cost-of-living crisis in generations, with inflation soaring as energy prices rocket on the back of Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss have diametrically opposite views on the issues, with Truss advocating tax cuts, while Rishi Sunak had raised taxes as chancellor to curb inflation in future.
Talking about the relationship with India under the new UK PM, Tory MP Bob Blackman said, “People in India should recognise that Liz was an international secretary when all this started and as foreign secretary she signed the treaty of foreign co-operation with India. Therefore, in Liz Truss you have a greater friend from the Indian perspective.”
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