Rishi Sunak is U.K. Prime Minister. Now What?

Can the former chancellor of the exchequer get the U.K. through an unprecedented economic crisis? Experts say the answer is not so clear-cut.

Sanchita Kedia

November 1, 2022

Rishi Sunak is U.K. Prime Minister. Now What?
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak makes a statement after taking office outside Number 10 in Downing Street on October 25, 2022. (Getty)

“I will unite our country, not with words, but with action. Trust is earned, and I will earn yours,” Rishi Sunak said during his first speech as the Prime Minister (PM) of the United Kingdom on Tuesday, October 25. “I can’t underline how big of a historical moment this is — first PM of color, first PM of Indian descent, and his grandparents were directly affected by Partition,” said Parama Chaudhury, an economics professor at University College London. “He was shaking hands with the King, whose great-uncle, Lord Mountbatten, enacted Partition.” Sunak’s ascension comes at a moment when the U.K. is in an economic crisis. Inflation is above 10%. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has doubled gas prices. In part due to his predecessor Liz Truss’s policies, the British pound hit an all-time low of $1.03 to the pound, and the Bank of England increased interest rates from 1.75% to 2.25% in September. Though many have focused on Sunak’s role as one of many firsts or his privilege, he has a tough road ahead when it comes to bringing the U.K. out of crisis. It’s still unclear whether Sunak will be able to deliver.