Rishi Sunak concluded his election campaign run in the race to succeed Boris Johnson as Conservative Party leader and UK Prime Minister on a personal note.
“This final hustings is special for me because the two people who inspired me to enter public service are actually here tonight – my mum and dad,” said Sunak, just as the cameras panned to the front row where his general practitioner father Yashvir and pharmacist mother Usha were seated with his wife Akshata Murty.
Amid the loud cheers and applause, he noted: “It was their example of service and what they did for people that inspired me to enter politics. Mum, dad thank you for always sacrificing and striving to provide a better life for your kids than you had.
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“And, thank you for teaching me that with hard work and belief and the love of your family there is no limit to what someone can achieve in our great country.”
He then turned to his “incredible, loving, kind wife" and when the couple met as students at Stanford University in the US.
“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,” he recalled.
The final hustings at Wembley Arena in London saw both finalists – Former Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss – set out their vision on tackling the cost-of-living crisis, fighting crime, taxation and immigration reforms and foreign policy priorities one last time in an attempt to convince any remaining undecided Tory members yet to vote before the poll closes on September 2. It was followed by a question-and-answer round during which they fielded questions from among the nearly 6,000-strong audience of voters and political enthusiasts.
“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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The 42-year-old former Cabinet minister and MP for Richmond in Yorkshire said: “That is something that is really hard for me because I love my kids to bits, I love my wife to bits and unfortunately, I have not been able to be as present in their lives at all in the past few years as I would have liked to have been.
"But that’s because I believe it’s an enormous privilege to have these jobs. I care passionately about our country and think I can offer something that will benefit millions of people, that’s why I do it and I am really blessed to have their support as I do.”
The London hustings marked the final leg of the campaign which began towards the end of July, with the winner to be announced on September 5.