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Rishi Sunak assembles ‘big tent’ Cabinet with Jeremy Hunt set to stay in No11

Rishi Sunak is vowing to create a ‘big tent’ Cabinet today as he becomes Britain’s third PM in just two months.   

The incoming premier is expected to offer olive branches to former rivals and bring back big beasts from exile as he battles to stabilise the Tories.

Aides have insisted Mr Sunak will not repeat the mistakes of his predecessor Liz Truss by stuffing the top echelons of government with his allies. 

Jeremy Hunt is almost certain to stay on as Chancellor, a week before the crucial Halloween Budget and after the markets calmed somewhat, while Grant Shapps could hang on to the Home Office. 

But he is expected to find a big job for leadership rival Penny Mordaunt, as well as right-wingers such as Suella Braverman and Kemi Badenoch. There could also be returns for Michael Gove, Dominic Raab, and former education secretary Gavin Williamson.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, who backed Ms Truss over the summer and then Boris Johnson’s abortive comeback bid over the weekend, is likely to make way – possibly for Ms Mordaunt.  

An early area of tension will be military spending, with respected Defence Secretary Ben Wallace seen as at risk after Mr Sunak refused to commit to increasing budgets to 3 per cent of GDP by 2030. 

The new premier told MPs yesterday that he wanted his government to represent the ‘views and opinions’ from across the Conservative Party. 

Liz Truss will hold a final Cabinet this morning before handing over to Rishi Sunak – sealing her fate as the shortest-serving PM ever.

Ms Truss is gathering her senior team, and will make a valedictory speech in Downing Street just after 10am as she draws a line under a disastrous 49 days at the helm of the country.

She will then head for Buckingham Palace to tender her resignation to King Charles, before being replaced by Rishi Sunak – whom she defeated soundly for the Tory leadership just seven weeks ago. Friends say she will ‘take a break’ from politics.

The ignominious departure comes as Mr Sunak gears up for a dramatic day as he faces a hellish in-tray, with more evidence of soaring inflation and a £40billion blackhole.

The new PM will then give his own address to the nation from outside No10, and turn his mind to forming his first Cabinet.

Mr Sunak has pledged to run No10 with 'integrity and humility', but warned of 'profound challenges' to come as he prepares to begin his premiership

Mr Sunak has pledged to run No10 with ‘integrity and humility’, but warned of ‘profound challenges’ to come as he prepares to begin his premiership

Penny Mordaunt (centre) and chief whip Wendy Morton (left) arriving in Downing Street for Cabinet today

Penny Mordaunt (centre) and chief whip Wendy Morton (left) arriving in Downing Street for Cabinet today

Jeremy Hunt is rumoured to remain as Chancellor

Suella Braverman, who resigned as home secretary under Liz Truss, could return to the role

Jeremy Hunt has been tipped to remain as Chancellor, while there has been speculation Suella Braverman could return as home secretary

Incumbent Ben Wallace is not a natural Mr Sunak supporter and had said he was ‘leaning towards’ backing Mr Johnson last week

Incumbent Ben Wallace is not a natural Mr Sunak supporter and had said he was ‘leaning towards’ backing Mr Johnson last week

Kemi Badenoch endorsed Mr Sunak at the weekend and is another possible candidate to become Education Secretary

Kemi Badenoch endorsed Mr Sunak at the weekend and is another possible candidate to become Education Secretary

Liz Truss (pictured announcing her resignation last week) is gathering her Cabinet one last time, and will make a valedictory speech in Downing Street just after 10am as she draws a line under a disastrous 49 days at the helm of the country

Liz Truss (pictured announcing her resignation last week) is gathering her Cabinet one last time, and will make a valedictory speech in Downing Street just after 10am as she draws a line under a disastrous 49 days at the helm of the country

Hunt is likely to survive in Cabinet of ‘all the talents’ 

Chancellor

Jeremy Hunt – who is the fourth chancellor in as many months – is widely expected to be kept in post to avoid further unsettling the markets. He has been hard at work coming up with a plan to get the public finances under control – currently due to be announced on October 31 but it could yet be pushed back.

The pair are also allies. After dropping out of the Tory leadership contest in the summer, Mr Hunt backed Mr Sunak – an endorsement he repeated on Sunday night.

But Mr Sunak’s first choice to be his chancellor last time round was Mel Stride – the Tory chairman of the Commons Treasury committee. Mr Stride is a well-respected figure in the parliamentary party, and he helped to run Mr Sunak’s leadership bid. He could now be in line for another prominent job.

Foreign Secretary 

Incumbent James Cleverly endorsed Boris Johnson, before making a remarkable volte face when the ex-PM dropped out. While he has a good track record in the Foreign Office, Mr Sunak is expected to offer this top job to leadership rival Penny Mordaunt in a bid to unite the party.

Tom Tugendhat, a former chairman of the Commons foreign affairs committee, is another possible contender – though he may be seen to lack sufficient Cabinet experience.

Home Secretary

Grant Shapps became Home Secretary just last week after Suella Braverman was ousted. He pitched himself as ‘Mr Spreadsheet’ during the last leadership race in the summer before withdrawing and throwing his weight behind his good friend Mr Sunak.

Mr Sunak may want to reward his loyalty and avoid more turbulence at the Home Office, but he could give the job to one of his supporters from the Right. 

Suella Braverman is thought unlikely to return to the job, but Dominic Raab could be promoted.

Defence Secretary

Incumbent Ben Wallace is not a natural Sunak supporter and had said he was ‘leaning towards’ backing Mr Johnson.

There is also a potential showdown looming over defence spending. Sources suggested he could resign if Liz Truss’s pledge to increase it to 3 per cent of GDP by the end of the decade is broken. 

However, last night allies said Mr Wallace had no plans to quit and was keen to keep talking to Mr Sunak. 

Losing him could also undermine attempts to unite the party. He scores highly in polls of Tory supporters.

James Heappey, a junior defence minister and rising star, backed Mr Sunak for the leadership and could be promoted. 

Ms Mordaunt could also be a logical choice because she previously held the post and is a Naval reservist.

Health Secretary

The NHS has record waiting lists of more than seven million and the new PM will want a safe pair of hands. 

He will also want a reformer determined to tackle some of the longer-term systemic problems in the health service.

Michael Gove has been touted as a candidate. He backed Mr Sunak for the leadership and has a reputation for pushing through radical changes. Another option could be Steve Barclay, who also backed Mr Sunak and briefly held the role this summer under Boris Johnson.

Therese Coffey is the incumbent and a close friend and ally of Miss Truss. It appears unlikely she will be kept on.

Justice Secretary

Current justice secretary Brandon Lewis backed Mr Sunak and could be kept on. But it could also be offered to Suella Braverman if Mr Sunak feels it too risky returning her to the role of Home Secretary.

Mrs Braverman is a lawyer and the justice portfolio would see her partly responsible for legislation limiting the role of the European Convention on Human Rights, a subject she takes a hard stance on. Appointing her would also appease the Tory Right.

Mr Raab is another option. He was a prominent supporter of Mr Sunak and held the post under Boris Johnson.

Education Secretary

A new appointment would be the fifth education secretary in three months, meaning the new PM may decide to stick with incumbent Kit Malthouse. He did not endorse any candidate and is generally seen as a safe pair of hands.

But Oliver Dowden, one of Mr Sunak’s closest allies, could also be in line for the job. Kemi Badenoch endorsed Mr Sunak at the weekend and is another possible candidate for a job she has long coveted.

Chief Whip

Incumbent Wendy Morton’s efforts in maintaining party discipline have been heavily criticised and she was a Truss loyalist. Mr Stride is one possible replacement. 

Another is Gavin Williamson, who played crucial roles in Mr Sunak’s leadership bids.

Although Sir Gavin’s time as Education Secretary was controversial, he was widely regarded as an effective chief whip.  

Mr Shapps became Home Secretary just last week after Suella Braverman was ousted. 

He pitched himself as ‘Mr Spreadsheet’ during the last leadership race in the summer before withdrawing and throwing his weight behind his good friend Mr Sunak.

Mr Sunak may want to reward his loyalty and avoid more turbulence at the Home Office, but he could give the job to one of his supporters from the Right. 

Suella Braverman is thought unlikely to return to the job, but Dominic Raab could be promoted.

Elsewhere, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace is not a natural Sunak supporter and had said he was ‘leaning towards’ backing Mr Johnson.

There is also a potential showdown looming over defence spending. 

Sources suggested he could resign if Liz Truss’s pledge to increase it to 3 per cent of GDP by the end of the decade is broken. 

However, last night allies said Mr Wallace had no plans to quit and was keen to keep talking to Mr Sunak. 

Losing him could also undermine attempts to unite the party. He scores highly in polls of Tory supporters.

James Heappey, a junior defence minister and rising star, backed Mr Sunak for the leadership and could be promoted. 

Ms Mordaunt could also be a logical choice because she previously held the post and is a Naval reservist.

In the Health department, the NHS has record waiting lists of more than seven million and the new PM will want a safe pair of hands. 

Mr Sunak will also want a reformer determined to tackle some of the longer-term systemic problems in the health service.

Michael Gove has been touted as a candidate. 

He backed Mr Sunak for the leadership and has a reputation for pushing through radical changes. 

Another option could be Steve Barclay, who also backed Mr Sunak and briefly held the role this summer under Boris Johnson.

Therese Coffey is the incumbent and a close friend and ally of Miss Truss. It appears unlikely she will be kept on.

Current justice secretary Brandon Lewis backed Mr Sunak and could be kept on. 

But it could also be offered to Suella Braverman if Mr Sunak feels it too risky returning her to the role of Home Secretary.

Mrs Braverman is a lawyer and the justice portfolio would see her partly responsible for legislation limiting the role of the European Convention on Human Rights, a subject she takes a hard stance on. Appointing her would also appease the Tory Right.

Mr Raab is another option. He was a prominent supporter of Mr Sunak and held the post under Boris Johnson.

In education, a new appointment would be the fifth education secretary in three months, meaning the new PM may decide to stick with incumbent Kit Malthouse. He did not endorse any candidate and is generally seen as a safe pair of hands.

But Oliver Dowden, one of Mr Sunak’s closest allies, could also be in line for the job. Kemi Badenoch endorsed Mr Sunak at the weekend and is another possible candidate for a job she has long coveted.

Mr Sunak must also decide on a Chief Whip. Incumbent Wendy Morton’s efforts in maintaining party discipline have been heavily criticised and she was a Truss loyalist. Mr Stride is one possible replacement. 

Another is Gavin Williamson, although he was often referred to as a ‘master of the dark arts’ when he held the post under Theresa May and may be too divisive.

Meanwhile, the outgoing Ms Truss is now expected to take a break from politics after her turbulent premiership, friends believe.

‘After more than 10 consecutive years as a minister I think you can safely expect her to take a break,’ one told The Daily Telegraph last night. 

The ally also said he believed it was ‘unlikely’ that she would attend Mr Sunak’s first PMQs on Wednesday.

The new PM may want to tweak elements of Mr Hunt’s plan to tackle the £40billion black hole in the public finances, and it is thought he could push the Budget back by a couple of days if necessary.

Several key Tory manifesto pledges are expected to be on the chopping block when the new PM looks at the books.

Mr Sunak has not confirmed whether he will stand by Ms Truss’s promise to keep the pensions triple lock – which would give retirees a bumper increase to their state pension next year.

And he will be under pressure to continue with a pledge he made in May, when he was chancellor, to uprate benefits by inflation.

Sources close to Mr Sunak refused to confirm the Medium Term Fiscal Plan would be announced on Monday, as planned.

However, it is unlikely to be held after November 3 when the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee will decide whether to increase interest rates further.

Mr Sunak is already heading for his first budgetary row with MPs after refusing to commit to spending 3 per cent of GDP on defence.

His predecessor Liz Truss was forced into a retreat over budget cuts after warnings that Defence Secretary Ben Wallace could withdraw support for her if she ditched the pledge. 

Jacob Rees-Mogg

Grant Shapps

Grant Shapps (right) could stay on at the Home Office, but Jacob Rees-Mogg (left) is being tipped to leave government  

Rishi Sunak has been named as the new Prime Minister today (pictured with 1922 Committee officers) after Boris Johnson sensationally dropped out of the Tory leadership race last night

Rishi Sunak has been named as the new Prime Minister today (pictured with 1922 Committee officers) after Boris Johnson sensationally dropped out of the Tory leadership race last night

Defence budget at risk amid £40bn black hole 

Rishi Sunak will be briefed on the £40billion black hole in the public finances today amid speculation he could delay the Halloween Budget.

On his first day in No 10, the new Tory leader will be told about the current Chancellor’s plans to get the public finances under control.

Jeremy Hunt outlined the size of the problem to Mr Sunak over the weekend, but did not give details of his package to solve it.

The new PM may want to tweak elements of the plan, and it is thought he could push it back by a couple of days if necessary.

Several key Tory manifesto pledges are expected to be on the table when the new PM looks at the books.

Mr Sunak has not confirmed whether he will press ahead with Miss Truss’s promise to keep the pensions triple lock – which would give retirees a bumper increase to their state pension next year.

And he will be under pressure to continue with a pledge he made in May, when he was chancellor, to uprate benefits by inflation.

Sources close to Mr Sunak refused to confirm the Medium Term Fiscal Plan would be announced on Monday, as planned.

However, it is unlikely to be held after November 3 when the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee will decide whether to increase interest rates further.

Mr Sunak is already heading for his first budgetary row with MPs after refusing to commit to spending 3 per cent of GDP on defence.

His predecessor Liz Truss was forced into a retreat over budget cuts after warnings that Defence Secretary Ben Wallace could withdraw support for her if she ditched the pledge.

And there was speculation last night Mr Wallace could be one of those to go when Mr Sunak appoints his Cabinet today.

However, allies pointed out that Mr Wallace had no plans to resign, and is keen to keep talking to Mr Sunak about the budget.

Mr Wallace congratulated Mr Sunak yesterday, saying: ‘As PM he has my full support in bringing us together to govern in the interests of the whole of the UK.’

Mr Sunak will face fierce opposition from some Tory MPs if he attempts to row back on the promise, which experts say could cost £157billion.

The influential European Research Group of Tories said they were unable to back the former chancellor when he sought their backing because he ‘did not commit’ to the spending pledge.

And there was speculation last night Mr Wallace could be one of those to go when Mr Sunak appoints his Cabinet today.

However, allies pointed out that Mr Wallace had no plans to resign, and is keen to keep talking to Mr Sunak about the budget.

Mr Wallace congratulated Mr Sunak yesterday, saying: ‘As PM he has my full support in bringing us together to govern in the interests of the whole of the UK.’

Mr Sunak will face fierce opposition from some Tory MPs if he attempts to row back on the promise, which experts say could cost £157billion.

The influential European Research Group of Tories said they were unable to back the former chancellor when he sought their backing because he ‘did not commit’ to the spending pledge.

Mr Sunak’s Tory leadership victory marks a spectacular political revival, just seven weeks after he was soundly defeated by Ms Truss in the struggle to succeed Mr Johnson. 

But after her extraordinary 44-day implosion, he now faces one of the toughest in-trays for any PM with the public finances in chaos and the worst of the cost-of-living to come.

One of his first tasks will be to form a new Cabinet that can unite the warring party, with Jeremy Hunt set to continue as Chancellor – a week before he delivers a crucial Halloween Budget – and speculation that Ms Mordaunt could become Foreign Secretary.

Ms Truss congratulated Mr Sunak on his ‘appointment’ this afternoon, saying he had her ‘full support’.

Mr Sunak received public backing from over 190 Tory MPs – well over half the total – racking up more numbers as prominent supporters of Mr Johnson jumped on the bandwagon. 

They included senior figures such as James Cleverly, Brandon Lewis, Simon Clarke, Iain Duncan Smith, Priti Patel, and Nadhim Zahawi.

Mr Sunak will be the country’s first non-white premier, and at 42 the youngest since the Napoleonic Wars.

Ms Mordaunt sounded defiance up until moments before the announcement, with allies claiming she had more than 90 supporters even though only 25 were publicly declared.

However, in a statement at 1.58pm Ms Mordaunt tweeted to admit she could not take the contest to the next phase. ‘Rishi has my full support,’ she posted.

Former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said the new leader had made it clear that getting the economy moving was ‘critical’

Asked if Mr Sunak had an ‘impossible task’ leading a divided party, Sir Iain added: ‘I think today will have brought that to an end. It is not ungovernable, if it chooses to be.

‘But looking at the response inside there today I think people are relieved, they want to get behind the PM and we have to do it. There is no other choice.

‘So I don’t think there is a need for an election, I don’t want one now, I want us to deliver on what we said we would do and then go to the polls at the normal time.’

The breakneck developments appear to have cooled the markets, in what is being branded a ‘dullness dividend’. 

Government borrowing costs have eased, the Pound has rallied, and expectations for interest rates are more than a percentage point lower than after the mini-Budget.

However, other Johnsonites warned that he will need to call a snap election because he does not have a mandate – while the ex-PM himself suggested in his bombshell concession last night that he is only standing aside until the ‘right time’.

Mr Johnson claimed he reached the ‘very high hurdle of 102 nominations’ and believed there was a ‘very good chance’ that he would have been successful in the leadership contest.

Despite doubts being raised about the numbers, the 1922 seems to have verified they were true.

But the former PM concluded that continuing his drive for a return was ‘simply not the right thing to do’, citing the need to ‘unite’ the party.

Mr Johnson had been dealt a series of blows by big Tory players such as former Home Secretary Suella Braverman and Brexiteer Steve Baker pledging their support to Mr Sunak.

Meanwhile, Mr Sunak’s leadership victory caps a political journey that began seven years ago when he replaced William Hague in his Yorkshire seat at the 2015 election.

Mr Sunak only got his first ministerial job four years ago but became Chancellor of the Exchequer aged 39 in 2020.

He will become the youngest PM in the modern era to enter No 10, at the age of 42 – younger even than David Cameron in 2010 and Tony Blair in 1997.

From NHS to migration, what can we expect from new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak as he attempts to wrestle back control of country and the Tory party amid a rising tide of issues including soaring inflation, energy prices and mortgage rates

He kept his cards close to his chest in the rapid leadership race, but Rishi Sunak outlined his vision for Britain when he sparred with Liz Truss in hustings held over the summer where he outlined ideas on everything from tax cuts to immigration. Here is a look at the key policies he could now re-ignite…

Economy and tax

The ex-chancellor pitched himself as a safe pair of hands and criticised Liz Truss’s plans to raise borrowing to pay for tax cuts as ‘comforting fairy tales’. He promised to deliver ‘tax cuts that drive growth’ in a way that is ‘responsible’ and only ‘after we’ve got a grip of inflation’.

However, he said he would aim to slash the basic rate of income tax to 16p by the end of the next parliament if he became PM. And he came under fire in the summer for pledging to scrap the 5 per cent VAT rate on domestic energy bills for a year – despite previously repeatedly refusing to match Miss Truss on cutting taxes. And he stood by his policy to hike National Insurance contributions – a move which has now been reversed by the ill-fated Truss administration.

Immigration

A supporter of the Government’s plan to deport some asylum seekers to Rwanda, Mr Sunak said it would stop ‘an illegal set of criminal gangs who were causing people to die in pursuit of coming here’. He said Britain has ‘a proud history of welcoming people but it’s also vital that we’re in control of who’s coming here’. He pledged to cap the number of refugees and make the Rwanda plan work.

Health

Introducing £10 fines for patients who fail to show up for NHS appointments was one policy Mr Sunak pledged to introduce until NHS backlogs are reduced to manageable levels. But doctors warned that it could cost the health service more to administer than it would recoup through the fines. Other proposals included child dental check-ups at primary schools as part of a five point plan to ‘restore NHS dentistry’.

Defence

The ex-chancellor said he saw the Nato target of 2 per cent of GDP as a ‘floor and not a ceiling’ but his commitment to balancing the books could put paid to the 2019 manifesto pledge – which Miss Truss stood by – to increase defence spending to 3 per cent.

Yesterday, the influential European Research Group of MPs said it could not give him its full backing because he would not commit to the figure. However, Mr Sunak promised to ‘redouble’ Britain’s efforts to help Ukraine.

Education

Among a raft of proposals, Mr Sunak said he wanted to ensure all youngsters get a ‘world-class’ education by creating a new ‘British Baccalaureate’ to help pupils continue to study maths and English until they are 18. The prestige of vocational education could be boosted with a new Russell Group of technical institutions, he said.

Brexit

Mr Sunak voted Leave despite a warning from David Cameron that it would end his career. Sticking to his guns, he has promised to scrap or reform all EU law or bureaucracy still on the statute book by the next general election.

Crime

The ex-chancellor said he wanted automatic custodial sentences for ‘career criminals’ – and warned that fears over racism must not deter the fight against grooming gangs.

The Union

The Brexit-backer has expressed support for the Northern Ireland Protocol which would unilaterally rip up the agreement on Ireland. He pledged to ‘fix’ the arrangement, which creates what Unionists regard as a border in the Irish Sea. And he said he would level up investment in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and stand up to Nicola Sturgeon.

Environment

He committed to reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 and also pledged to keep the ban on new onshore wind farms, but proposed a legal target to make Britain energy self-sufficient by 2045 by overseeing a massive expansion in offshore turbines. Mr Sunak said he would cut taxes to ‘promote innovation and investment, and promote green finance, to build the next generation of green jobs’.

Housing

Mr Sunak has vowed to improve housing stock and energy efficiency, as well as pledging to help young people get on to the property ladder with a review of ‘long-term mortgages’ to create more ‘affordable routes to home ownership for young people’. More homes could be built by liberalising rules to increase density in urban areas, he said.

Women

He criticised ‘trends to erase women via the use of clumsy, gender-neutral language’ and pledged a ‘manifesto for women’s rights’, including opposing biological men being allowed to compete against women in sport and guidance for schools on how they teach issues of sex and gender. Mr Sunak also vowed to make tackling sexual violence against women and girls ‘a national priority’.

Election

Yesterday, in his first speech to MPs, he ruled out an early general election. But Mr Sunak’s ‘contract to party members’ – which includes plans to give members a stronger voice – aims to help ensure the Tories ‘keep on winning… and keep Labour out of Government’. 

Inspirational rise to the most powerful office in the land: Rishi Sunak’s grandparents came here with next to nothing. But hard work and education changed everything, writes GUY ADAMS

By Guy Adams for the Daily Mail 

The remarkable journey that has taken Rishi Sunak to Downing Street began not at Southampton General Hospital, where he was born just over 42 years ago, but at a busy roundabout on the A35 roughly half a mile away.

Here, opposite a Sainsbury’s Local, you will find a row of red-brick shops that today consists of a baker, a hairdresser, a nail salon, a dentist, and a modest corner premises with a blue NHS logo and a large square clock over its front door.

This little store was for several decades called Sunak Pharmacy. Run by Rishi’s mother, Usha, until her retirement a few years back, it was very much a family affair, like many successful small businesses.

The remarkable journey that has taken Rishi Sunak to Downing Street began not at Southampton General Hospital, where he was born just over 42 years ago, but at a busy roundabout on the A35 roughly half a mile away

The remarkable journey that has taken Rishi Sunak to Downing Street began not at Southampton General Hospital, where he was born just over 42 years ago, but at a busy roundabout on the A35 roughly half a mile away

During his teenage years, our future Prime Minister would spend weekends on his bicycle, delivering prescriptions to customers. And after choosing to study economics at A-level, he also began helping out by doing the books.

Fast forward 25 years, and, well, we all know how things worked out. The precocious child of second-generation Indian immigrants wakes up this morning as the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Having already achieved fame, and acquired a considerable fortune, he now finds himself in possession of tremendous power: running the most venerable of European democracies that his grandparents came to, with next to nothing, less than 60 years ago.

This little store was for several decades called Sunak Pharmacy. Run by Rishi's mother, Usha, until her retirement a few years back, it was very much a family affair, like many successful small businesses

This little store was for several decades called Sunak Pharmacy. Run by Rishi’s mother, Usha, until her retirement a few years back, it was very much a family affair, like many successful small businesses

Like anyone who negotiates the greasy pole of politics, Rishi Sunak got here via a combination of talent, graft and good fortune — not to mention an excellent education that the success of Sunak Pharmacy helped to pay for.

Many would also argue, however, that his arrival in No 10 with wife Akshata, daughters Krishna and Anoushka, and their pet labrador Nova, represents a significant moment in our national story.

First, it speaks volumes for the legacy of another shopkeeper’s child (and Conservative PM) named Margaret Thatcher, who Sunak has occasionally cited as his political hero.

Secondly, his political rise, achieved in just seven years since he arrived in Westminster as a backbench MP, gives the lie to the toxic claim, especially popular among the chattering classes in the years since Brexit, that the UK is some sort of racist backwater.

In fact, we are the first major European country to be led by a non-white politician. And one of the few Western democracies where a Hindu, who takes his parliamentary oath on the sacred Sanskrit text, the Bhagavad Gita, could harbour the slightest hope of being able to run a Government.

The family story actually begins with Sraksha, Usha’s mother — and Rishi’s grandmother — an extraordinary woman who grew up speaking Swahili in a remote hut in Tanzania, where there was a small Punjabi community. 

In 1966 she took the courageous decision to sell her wedding jewellery to buy a one-way ticket to the UK.

She travelled alone, leaving behind her husband and young children, made her way to Leicester and found work as a book-keeper. A year later, she had saved up enough cash for the rest of the family to follow.

Usha, Rishi’s mother, worked hard at school and won a place at Aston University, where she studied pharmacy. She then met Yashvir, a medical student, via family friends. They married in 1977, moved to Southampton, and had three children — Rishi, the eldest, along with a son named Sanjay, who is now a clinical psychologist and neuropsychologist and daughter Raakhi, who works at the UN.

Sunak's wife Akshata Murthy hails from Indian business aristocracy: her father is Narayana Murthy, a billionaire sometimes dubbed the 'Bill Gates of India' who founded a software firm Infosys in the early 1980s and is now the country's sixth richest man

Sunak’s wife Akshata Murthy hails from Indian business aristocracy: her father is Narayana Murthy, a billionaire sometimes dubbed the ‘Bill Gates of India’ who founded a software firm Infosys in the early 1980s and is now the country’s sixth richest man

Like many immigrant families, the Sunaks were evangelical believers in the transformative powers of education. With the success of the pharmacy, plus Yashvir’s income as a GP, they were able to send their children to decent local private schools.

Rishi attended Oakmount, a prep school which closed in 1989, then Stroud, another private school where he excelled in cricket and hockey. Judy Gregory, one of his teachers, once recalled: ‘He always stood out in the crowd as a genuine and caring boy. Very articulate and a great sense of humour.’

Aged 13, Rishi was, however, turned down for a scholarship to Winchester, the famous public school where fees are now £43,000 a year. He has since described it as one of his greatest failures.

‘That was a big deal,’ he told an interviewer. ‘I just missed out and it was a big problem for my parents. I didn’t realise until much later on how much of a struggle it actually was and all the things they had to do to make it work [for him to attend Winchester]… they saved a lot, they sacrificed a lot, everything for them was about providing this great education for their kids.’ 

He soon emerged as a high achiever with a ferocious work ethic, scoring top results in GCSE and A-level exams and playing cricket, hockey and football for Winchester.

A lifelong fan of Southampton FC, who idolised their star player Matt Le Tissier (who is himself now a high-profile Brexiteer), Rishi appears to have first flirted with Euroscepticism as a teenager, writing in the school magazine, The Wykehamist, about ‘New Labour rhetoric’ that sounded ‘worryingly pro-European’.

After leaving school, he spent a summer holiday waiting on tables at Kuti’s Brasserie, an Indian restaurant on the Southampton waterfront. He then took up a place at Lincoln College, Oxford, gaining a first-class degree in philosophy, politics and economics and was regarded by peers as a somewhat nerdy teetotaller whose party trick was performing karaoke to Ice Ice Baby, the 1990 club anthem by Vanilla Ice.

In interviews, Sunak, claims to have never taken drugs or even a drag of a cigarette. While he insists he was never a ‘raver’, he admits wearing a ‘shell suit’ as a child and later going to ‘a lot of nightclubs’.

At Stanford, aged 24, his eye was taken by a fellow student named Akshata Murthy, even switching his class schedule around 'to be in a particular class' with her.

At Stanford, aged 24, his eye was taken by a fellow student named Akshata Murthy, even switching his class schedule around ‘to be in a particular class’ with her.

The geeky persona is something he has, at times, seemed happy to cultivate. An obsessive fan of Star Wars and the early Bond movies, he’s a sucker for electronic gadgets (including that famous £180 self-heating coffee mug he was once photographed with) and has spoken about his obsessive ‘OCD approach’ to stacking dishwashers in a geometrically precise fashion.

After Oxford, Rishi took a prestigious graduate job at Goldman Sachs and moved to London, purchasing a £210,000 flat in South Kensington with help from his parents. After three years there, he won a Fulbright scholarship in 2005 to study for an MBA at Stanford, California.

There, aged 24, his eye was taken by a fellow student named Akshata Murthy, even switching his class schedule around ‘to be in a particular class’ with her. Since Rishi is just 5 ft 6 in tall (making him the smallest PM since Churchill) their relationship required some sacrifices on her part.

‘I am incredibly grateful that 18 years ago you chose to give up your high heels and take a chance on the short kid with a backpack,’ was how he put it recently.

Akshata hails from Indian business aristocracy: her father is Narayana Murthy, a billionaire sometimes dubbed the ‘Bill Gates of India’ who founded a software firm Infosys in the early 1980s and is now the country’s sixth richest man. At her wedding to Rishi in 2009, 1,000 guests attended a two-day party in Bangalore, rubbing shoulders with celebrities, including the country’s former cricket captain Anil Kumble. Shortly afterwards, the couple moved to Santa Monica, a beachside suburb of Los Angeles where Rishi (who had by then spent a few lucrative years working in hedge funds) helped set up an investment firm called Theleme Partners.

They still own a home there: a £5.5 million penthouse boasting panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean where the family occasionally holidays. 

Sunak's £1.5 million Yorkshire property has recently gained a state-of-the-art new gym, swimming pool and tennis court. Planning permission for this home improvement was granted last year

Sunak’s £1.5 million Yorkshire property has recently gained a state-of-the-art new gym, swimming pool and tennis court. Planning permission for this home improvement was granted last year

It’s part of a property portfolio that now includes a £7 million mews house in Kensington, a £1 million flat nearby in Brompton Road and a £1.5 million manor house in Sunak’s Yorkshire constituency, which the couple purchased after he had won William Hague’s old seat at the 2015 election. 

The Yorkshire property has recently gained a state-of-the-art new gym, swimming pool and tennis court. Planning permission for this home improvement was granted last year.

Therein lies perhaps Sunak’s greatest political vulnerability, however. For despite the rags-to-riches nature of his family story, not to mention his intellectual heft and considerable work ethic, his vast wealth can sometimes provide PR headaches.

For example, from the moment he chose to enter full-time politics, after doing some voluntary work for the party while setting up Theleme, his expensive dress sense began to make headlines. 

After he had landed ministerial roles (first as local government minister in 2018) it became something of a stick to beat him with, with The Guardian’s fashion pages once devoting a page to his so-called ‘hedge fund haute couture’.

This year, eyebrows were raised when he opted for Prada loafers on a visit to a Teesside construction site. They cost £490, more than an average week’s wage in the area.

More awkward have been revelations about his tax affairs. While Sunak’s reign as Chancellor during the early days of the Covid pandemic — plus his generous Eat Out To Help Out giveaway — was an undoubted hit with the electorate, his attempts to force taxpayers to start footing the bill for them were predictably less popular.

In March this year, he unveiled a Spring Budget that inked in tax rises and did little to help consumers struggling with the cost of heating their homes. 

This sparked a rift with Boris Johnson’s Downing Street, which had grown accustomed to throwing money at political problems. 

Shortly afterwards, it emerged that Akshata was a non-dom, meaning she had legally avoided having to pay tax on non-UK income, including dividends from her shares in Infosys worth millions a year.

While Sunak's reign as Chancellor during the early days of the Covid pandemic — plus his generous Eat Out To Help Out giveaway — was an undoubted hit with the electorate, his attempts to force taxpayers to start footing the bill for them were predictably less popular

While Sunak’s reign as Chancellor during the early days of the Covid pandemic — plus his generous Eat Out To Help Out giveaway — was an undoubted hit with the electorate, his attempts to force taxpayers to start footing the bill for them were predictably less popular

Sunak was also damaged by the revelation that he’d for some reason kept his U.S. ‘green card’ —which gives the right to live and work in America — while he had been Chancellor. Once you get a card you are expected to make the U.S. ‘your permanent home’.

The ensuing row saw Akshata agree to start paying British taxes on all her worldwide earnings. Sunak was reportedly devastated at his family being the subject of negative attention (he had also just been handed a Partygate fine) and according to friends came close to quitting politics.

Sunak’s family moved out of their Downing Street flat. However, he insisted in a later interview: ‘The decision was nothing to do with what had happened. It was everything to do with the fact that our eldest daughter [Krishna] was in her last term of primary school and was meant to be able to walk to school by herself every day.’

Krishna is now believed to be at boarding school, which will doubtless provide yet more grist to the mill of opponents who want to portray Prime Minister Sunak as an out-of-touch elitist. ‘The money thing and tax stuff is now a massive problem,’ is how one insider puts it. ‘Labour have a policy of abolishing non-dom status, so will talk about it all the time. They’ve already nicknamed him Rishi Rich. All this stuff plays well on Twitter. It’ll get pretty nasty.’

Sunak will strike back in his own inimitable style. A few months back, he tweeted two photos. One showed him as a small schoolboy, in knee-length shorts, on the doorstep of his family home; the other, more recent snap saw him modelling a suit and tie, on the doorstep of No 11 Downing Street.

‘Growing up, I never thought I would be in this job (mainly because I wanted to be a Jedi),’ he wrote. However the Rishi Sunak story ends, the force has certainly been with him.

As haunted Liz Truss departs Downing St, JASON GROVES analyses how Rishi Sunak is planning to avoid the same pitfalls

By Jason Grove, Political Editor for the Daily Mail

Rishi Sunak did not mince his words when he met with Tory MPs half an hour after being confirmed as their new leader and Britain’s next Prime Minister.

The Conservative Party faces an ‘existential threat’, he said, as he warned they face a stark choice: unite or die.

Those present for the behind-closed-doors pep talk in Parliament’s committee room 14 already know he is right.

After months of bitter infighting which has seen them ditch not one leader but two, the Conservatives are trailing Labour by 30 points and are in danger of sacrificing their reputation as the ‘natural party of government’ for a generation.

Mr Sunak’s choice of priorities was instructive. In the days since Liz Truss was forced from office he has not said a single word in public, despite being clear favourite to succeed her in No 10.

Rishi Sunak did not mince his words when he met with Tory MPs half an hour after being confirmed as their new leader and Britain’s next Prime Minister

Rishi Sunak did not mince his words when he met with Tory MPs half an hour after being confirmed as their new leader and Britain’s next Prime Minister

But his first move yesterday was to speak not to the public, but to his own MPs. In the circumstances he was probably wise.

Before she was even elected in the summer, one pro-Truss Cabinet minister confided that her biggest challenge would be party discipline.

With a divided party and a weak mandate, the new PM would have to reach out to her opponents.

But she did not heed the warning, appointing a Cabinet of loyalists and going out of her way to remove anyone who supported Mr Sunak from senior positions.

A month later, her senior aides were complaining that the party had become an ‘ungovernable rabble’ as they forced her to drop key policies. Two weeks after that she was gone.

Mr Sunak is determined to avoid the same error.

Tomorrow he will appoint a ‘broad and inclusive’ government drawn from all wings of the party rather than just his own supporters. Prominent backers have already been warned they are not guaranteed a job, while some of Miss Truss’s allies may find they get an unexpected stay of execution.

He is right to be concerned.

In the days since Liz Truss was forced from office he has not said a single word in public, despite being clear favourite to succeed her in No 10

In the days since Liz Truss was forced from office he has not said a single word in public, despite being clear favourite to succeed her in No 10

Some of Boris Johnson’s most ardent backers have made it clear they will not go quietly.

Nadine Dorries said it would be ‘impossible to avoid a general election’ because Mr Sunak has no mandate either from the country or the Conservative Party.

‘If Rishi becomes PM automatically I think all hell will break loose,’ she said. ‘He has no mandate whatsoever to be Prime Minister of this country.’ Fellow Boris backer Sir Christopher Chope labelled some of Mr Sunak’s supporters as ‘hyenas’ for their role in ousting first Mr Johnson and then Miss Truss.

Sir Christopher called for an immediate general election, saying Mr Sunak would face ‘continuing rebellions’ from MPs unless he won his own mandate.

‘We have got a parliamentary party that is completely riven and ungovernable,’ he said. David Campbell-Bannerman, another Boris supporter, simply posted an unpleasant picture of Mr Sunak mocked up as a snake outside 10 Downing Street.

Mr Johnson, meanwhile, is letting it be known that he will hold the new government’s feet to the fire over levelling up and Ukraine – and has not ruled out a return.

‘He thinks the job’s not done,’ said one ally.

Then there is the daunting in-tray. Next week the Government will press ahead with a Budget that is set to be ‘eye-wateringly’ painful.

Sir Christopher called for an immediate general election, saying Mr Sunak would face ‘continuing rebellions’ from MPs unless he won his own mandate

Sir Christopher called for an immediate general election, saying Mr Sunak would face ‘continuing rebellions’ from MPs unless he won his own mandate

One source who has seen the figures on the public finances describes the situation as ‘dire’. Jeremy Hunt has drawn up options for filling a black hole estimated at £40billion – and almost all of them will be politically difficult.

Meeting MPs yesterday, Mr Sunak refused to commit to raising defence spending to three per cent of GDP, despite warnings that the Defence Secretary Ben Wallace considers it a resigning issue.

Painful options such as scrapping the pensions triple lock or squeezing benefit payments are also being considered.

Even the NHS is not exempt from scrutiny in the search for savings, despite a record waiting list of more than seven million. ‘Every single decision in that Budget is going to be unpopular,’ a Tory source said. ‘He will probably find it easier to take the decisions necessary than Boris would have.

‘But has to find a way to carry people with him or he is going to be in deep trouble straight away.’

Mr Sunak has some advantages. Unlike Miss Truss, he has the backing of a majority of Tory MPs from the outset. His predecessor’s short, disastrous reign may also make it easier to explain the need to take difficult decisions.

And his MPs must surely know that they could not hope to avoid a general election if they oust a third leader. Mr Sunak told them yesterday that there would be no early election. But if he cannot persuade them to follow him, he may have no choice.

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk