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Akshata Murty: The Indian businesswoman at 10 Downing Street

Akshata Murty: The Indian businesswoman at 10 Downing Street
Courtesy: Anadolu Agency / Contributor | Anadolu Agency Via Getty Images

“Women’s skills span a larger portfolio, or maybe society allows women to express their skill sets in a wider sense – whether that be through culinary pursuit or filmmaking or investment banking or the arts. Women are now learning to utilise their skills, their passions and their interests and to fit into what may be defined traditionally as success.”

These are the words of Akshata Murty, the Indian fashion designer and venture capitalist who will be joining her British Indian husband – Prime Minister Rishi Sunak – at 10 Downing Street, a few months after they moved out of 11 Downing Street so their daughter could walk to her school in Kensington, west London.

As an investor, Murty’s company Catamaran Ventures UK, is focussed on the consumer tech sector with a view to investing in fast-growing British brands that require strategic capital.

Mutry – the daughter of Indian software major Infosys co-founder Narayan Murthy and author Sudha Murty – met her husband at Standford University in the US, from where she referenced a class on work-life balance during an online Nehru Centre event for International Women’s Day: “What was interesting was this whole discussion about how women have to juggle work-life balance, especially in the corporate world.

“I was sort of puzzled because I grew up in a family of very strong women… so I never thought it was just a woman’s job to have this work-life balance. It was the family’s job to have this balance.”

Britain’s first couple, reflective of the country’s diversity, were married in Bangalore in 2006 and have two school-going daughters, Krishna and Anoushka. The family were seen out in full force during Sunak’s leadership campaign over the summer, including his parents Usha and Yashvir (pictured above).

“The greatest sacrifice I have made is that I have been an appalling husband and father for the past couple of years, it’s as simple as that,” replied Sunak to a question about his greatest sacrifice to be in the running to become the UK’s first non-white Prime Minister.

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Turning to his “incredible, loving, kind wife", he referenced their love story as students at Stanford: “You know what you mean to me, and 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.”

Murty has also spoken passionately about how she loves India and the UK too when her legal non-domicile tax status hit the headlines, before she relinquished it to prevent it becoming a “distraction” for her husband.

She said: “My decision to pay UK tax on all my worldwide income will not change the fact that India remains the country of my birth, citizenship, parents’ home and place of domicile. But I love the UK too.

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“In my time here I have invested in British businesses and supported British causes. My daughters are British. They are growing up in the UK. I am so proud to be here.”

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