Rishi Sunak Becomes U.K.’s First British Asian Prime Minister After Liz Truss Resignation

Rishi Sunak was named the new prime minister of the U.K., days after Liz Truss announced that she was resigning from the position.

By Tamantha Gunn Oct 25, 2022 11:41 AMTags
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10 Downing Street officially has a new tenant. 

On Oct. 25, Rishi Sunak was named the next prime minister to lead Britain—less than a week after Liz Truss' abrupt resignation—becoming the first person of color to lead the government in the country's history.

"I will place economic stability and confidence at the heart of the government's agenda," Sunak said in a speech after meeting with King Charles III. "This will mean difficult decisions to come. But you saw me during Covid doing everything I could to protect people and businesses with schemes like furlough. There are always limits, more so than ever, but I promise you this. I will bring that same compassion to the challenges we face today."

Sunak, 42, won the role of the Conservative Party leader after his sole competitor, Penny Mordaunt, dropped out of the race moments before votes from members of Parliament were due to be announced Oct. 24. A day earlier, former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was reportedly weighing another run, also withdrew from the leadership race.

Sunak's new role comes just five days after Truss, 47, announced that she would be resigning as prime minister, after serving only 44 days in office. The former chancellor of the Exchequer becomes the U.K.'s third prime minister in two months, after Johnson stepped down in early September and Truss' resignation in late October. 

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"I recognize that given the situation I cannot deliver the mandate on which I was elected by the Conservative Party," Truss said in a speech on Oct. 20. "I have therefore spoken to His Majesty the King to notify him that I am resigning as leader of the Conservative Party."

Truss added that she would remain as prime minister "until a successor has been chosen." 

Truss was appointed as prime minister by Queen Elizabeth II on Sept. 6, just two days before the monarch's death. Truss also appeared in one of the last public photos that were taken of Her Majesty from her last official engagement before her death at Balmoral Castle in Scotland.

Tom Bowles/Story Picture Agency/Shutterstock

Following the queen's Sept. 8 death, Truss was among those who paid tribute to the late royal. 

"We're all devastated by the news that we have just heard from Balmoral," Truss said in a statement. "The death of Her Majesty the Queen is a huge shock to the nation and to the world. Queen Elizabeth II was the rock on which modern Britain was built. Our country has grown and flourished under her reign. Britain is the great country it is today because of her."

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