The senior-most British Indian ever to hold the high office of has ended his ministerial career, at least for now, after declaring that he can no longer continue as finance minister under the leadership of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Rishi Sunak, 42, Conservative Party member of Parliament from Richmond since 2015, was candid in his resignation letter, which he posted on Twitter minutes after his boss went on air to admit his mistake in knowingly hiring now-suspended MP, Chris Pincher, with a dubious reputation to an important government post. The resignation marks a devastating blow to Boris Johnson's leadership.
Sunak notes: “It is with deep sadness that I am writing to you to resign from the government.
“To leave ministerial office is a serious matter at any time. For me to step down as Chancellor while the world is suffering the economic consequences of the pandemic, the war in and other serious challenges is a decision that I have not taken lightly. However, the public rightly expect government to be conducted properly, competently and seriously. I recognise this may be my last ministerial job, but I believe these standards are worth fighting for and that is why I am resigning.”
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Sunak goes on to point out how he’s been loyal to Johnson, hinting at his unflinching support throughout the partygate scandal and other disagreements over economic policy in recent months. However, the wording of his letter makes clear that as one of the most senior ministers in the Johnson government, he has not had an easy ride with his boss as he reveals having to “compromise” on a number of occasions.
“On those occasions where I disagreed with you privately, I have supported you publicly. That is the nature of the collective government upon which our system relies and it is particularly important that the Prime Minister and Chancellor remain united in hard times such as those we are experiencing today,” said Sunak, the son-in-law of .
“I firmly believe the public are ready to hear that truth. Our people know that if something is too good to be true then it's not true. They need to know that whilst there is a path to a better future, it is not an easy one. In preparation for our proposed joint speech on the economy next week, it has become clear to me that our approaches are fundamentally too different,” he added.
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As the first Chancellor of the Exchequer of Indian heritage, Sunak made history in February 2020 when he was appointed to the most important UK Cabinet post. Ever since he took charge as Chancellor, there was speculation within the UK media about Sunak eyeing the top job to move next door from his No. 11 office.
A Prime Minister and Chancellor at odds with each other has been a historic dynamic within British politics and much of the speculation was attributed to that political power play. But it would seem that history of tension has returned to Downing Street with the Chancellor’s exit.