“We totally smashed it!” This was how Rishi Sunak celebrated his convincing run to make it to the final leg of the race to succeed Boris Johnson and become Britain’s first British Indian Prime Minister.
The former Chancellor will go head-to-head with Foreign Secretary Liz Truss as one of two finalists to vie for the post of Conservative Party leader after bagging 137 votes, while second-placed Truss won the support of 113 MPs. Trade Minister Penny Mordaunt was knocked out of the race after coming in third with 105 votes.
Sunak, who has topped every voting round so far, added 19 votes to his previous tally of 118 and comfortably crossed the 120 MPs mark seen as the threshold to confirm a place in the final showdown.
The focus will now shift towards hustings up and down the UK as both candidates campaign to woo Tory voters to cast those ballots in their favour, the results of which will be known by September 5.
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While there is much work to be done at those hustings, Sunak’s support among British Indians is solid – with many taking to social media to celebrate the new diaspora milestone.
A devout Hindu, Sunak is a regular at the temple where he was born in Southampton. In November 2020, he became the first Chancellor to light Diwali diyaas outside his office-residence of 11 Downing Street.
During his address at the UK-India Awards earlier this month, the MP for Richmond Yorks spoke of his hope that his achievements in the high office of Chancellor are just the beginning of the British Indian story.
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He said: “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.
“Our task now is to make sure that’s not the end of the British Indian story – but the beginning.”
It would seem that the next chapter in that story is being drafted sooner than perhaps even he had expected.