'It's an incredibly Conservative story, actually it's a story that I'm really proud of and as Prime Minister I want to ensure that we can create more stories like theirs here at home,” said British prime ministerial hopeful Rishi Sunak, with reference to the Indian software giant Infosys.
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“There is commentary about my wife's family's wealth. So, let me just address that head on because I think it’s worth doing, because I'm actually incredibly proud of what my parents-in-law built. My father-in-law came from absolutely nothing, just had a dream and a couple of hundred pounds that my mother-in-law's savings provided him, and with that he went on to build one of the world's largest, most respected, most successful companies that by the way employs thousands of people here in the United Kingdom,” he said, during a debate which the frontrunner in the race to elect a new Conservative Party leader topped.
Sunak is the son-in-law of N.R. Narayana Murthy, the Indian entrepreneur dubbed the father of the Indian software industry as the co-founder of Infosys, and educator-author Sudha Murty.
In the heated televised debate, the 42-year-old UK-born former Chancellor tackled the commentary around his wife Akshata’s tax affairs and his own US Green Card status until last year.
“So, I've always been a completely normal UK taxpayer; my wife is from another country so she's treated differently, but she explained that in the spring and she resolved that issue,” he said.
The exchange was the latest head-on clash between the remaining candidates in the race to succeed Boris Johnson as Conservative Party leader and new British Prime Minister. A snap opinion poll by Opinium found that Rishi Sunak was the clear winner of the weekend debate, ahead of the third round of voting by Tory MPs to narrow down the field further to get to the final two candidates. At least one of the contenders with the least votes will be eliminated by later on Monday, followed by other rounds during the course of this week.
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Around 24 per cent of the 1,001 people who took part in the Opinium poll thought the former Chancellor performed best, followed by Commons Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Tom Tugendhat at 19 per cent. Trade minister Penny Mordaunt was at third with 17 per cent, followed by Foreign Secretary Liz truss with 15 per cent. Former equalities minister Kemi Badenoch was in last place, according to the poll of viewers, with 12 per cent of votes.
In the final leg of the race, the Tory membership will have their say in postal ballots between a shortlist of two. The winner of that ballot will be known by September 5 and go on to address the House of Commons as the new Prime Minister.