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The Survival Instinct: What does it feel to be Prime Minister of 100 days in UK?

Mr Sunak’s premiership began on October 25, 2022 after former Prime Minister Liz Truss resigned after just six weeks.

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As finance minister in 2020, Sunak lit Diwali candles outside the residence of the exchequer [ Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire]

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak marked 100 days in 10 Downing Street on Thursday, February 2, 2023 pleading to restore trust, confidence, and integrity in politics. But how does it feel to be first among equals as Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, today?

Mr Sunak’s premiership began on October 25, 2022 after former Prime Minister Liz Truss resigned after just six weeks. He was the runner-up in the summer Tory leadership race and was the only candidate to receive 100 supporting MPs in the second contest. Despite support among the Tory party, he has no public mandate, many state. “The Southampton-born former investment banker had served as an MP for his Yorkshire constituency of Richmond since 2015 and been a cabinet member for two years before becoming the youngest British Prime Minister in over 200 years and the first of Asian descent”.

The most pressing issue upon entering office was to stabilise the economy after Ms Truss left it in a volatile state, wiping £30 billion from it in less than three months. Alongside his Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, Mr Sunak has lowered inflation, despite its remaining high, and worked to increase growth and get public finances back on a sustainable path. Mr Sunak promised to clear up Tory sleaze but has still been faced with several issues. Last week Mr Sunak sacked his Party Chairman Nadhim Zahawi over his tax affairs after an independent investigation. Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab is also the subject of a formal investigation into bullying”. This is called the “balancing act”.

He also is finding it hard to unite the Conservative Party, as there are rumblings within and outside.

Politics and Position in Britain

Being Prime Minister for 100 days today in Britain, is like being “top dog” for 100 years. Or so it seems?

 Many feel the position of Prime Minister of Great Britain is a poisoned chalice? Economically, the UK is viewed by some abroad “less a poisoned chalice and more a poisoned barrel”. By some assessments, the UK is already in recession with a massive hole gaping in its public finances. Soaring inflation is hitting the public and the Bank of England has raised interest rates to keep pace from 3.5% to 4% on 2 February, to bring inflation down to BOE official target of 2%. But it is a far cry, as inflation is in double figures today and not expected to come down until December 2023.

Higher energy costs are starting to hit households hard this winter. Gas meters have been compulsorily installed in homes of “the vulnerable” unable to pay their bills and there is a big hue and cry by Labour.  Meanwhile, there is nationwide industrial unrest, including in postal services and transport, nurses, ambulance drivers, doctors, even Civil Servants.

Like many fellow Conservatives, Sunak is suspicious of China. He considers it “the biggest threat, more than Russia” to the UK and has called for the shutdown of Confucius Institutes in Britain. Whether he will prosecute policies against the world’s No 2 economy as Prime Minister, remains to be seen.

No one will believe it if I say, a lucrative future awaits him in the United States, at any time of his choosing? That does not mean, he will jump ship anytime now, as he has many friends in the “business world,” who would egg him on to stay on at least until the next General Election in 2024.

Being Prime Minister is a stepping stone to returning to United States at some foreseeable future as he is quite young, capable, enthusiastic and willing to work to the bone.

Meanwhile, Boris Johnson, is watching and waiting in the wings to take it on, “as the “empire strikes again,” and if and when it becomes vacant?

Victor Cherubim

Victor Cherubim is a London-based writer and a frequent columnist of the Sri Lanka Guardian

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