The first Indian-origin candidate to throw her hat in the race to replace Boris Johnson as Conservative Party leader and Britain’s new Prime Minister is Suella Braverman. The UK Cabinet minister, who has Goan ancestry, is the Attorney General and emerged as one of the early Tory MPs to formally declare her leadership bid.
Other British Indians likely to be in running include recently resigned Chancellor Rishi Sunak and , both possible contenders for the top job but are yet to formally declare their intention.
Unlike Braverman, a barrister and the government’s senior-most legal official, who declared: "I am putting myself forward because I believe that the 2019 manifesto is fit for purpose, presents a bold and inspiring vision for our country and I want to deliver on the promises contained in that manifesto. I want to embed the opportunities of Brexit and tidy up the outstanding issues… and cut taxes.”
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Her pitch came just hours before made his resignation speech, in which he said: “I want you to know how sad I am to be giving up the best job in the world. But them's the breaks.”
As the Tory election timetable is finalised by next week, it will become clearer where things stand with all the runners and riders in the race to be UK PM. The party’s 1922 Committee is responsible for setting the timetable for a Tory leadership contest. To take part in the race, a Tory MP has to be nominated by eight colleagues. If more than two MPs put themselves forward and secure enough nominations to run for leader, a series of secret ballots are held to whittle them down.
Sunak was long seen as an heir apparent to Johnson at 10 due to his hugely popular grants and job-saving schemes over the course of the Covid pandemic lockdowns. However, whether his tax plans will meet the cut with a staunchly low-tax Tory party remains to be seen.
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“I’m incredibly proud of where I come from. It will always be an enormous part of who I am. And it brings me joy to live, and belong, in a country where, for all our faults, for all our challenges, someone like me can become Chancellor,” Sunak said last week at the India Global Forum’s UK-India Awards, just days before he .
“Our task now is to make sure that’s not the end of the British Indian story – but the beginning,” he said.
It now remains to be seen if that British Indian story indeed is set for another new milestone with a vacancy at No. 10 Downing Street.