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The Today

SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

Tumult in UK politics continues as new prime minister elected

Tumult+in+UK+politics+continues+as+new+prime+minister+elected

By Zoe Schimke

Last month, the British political system received a shocking resignation from their prime minister, Liz Truss, after she spent only six weeks in office. Replacing Truss is Rishi Sunak, Britain’s third prime minister in six months, who was elected to the office on Tuesday, October 25. Sunak won a heavily contested race between Conservative Party members – emerging victorious when his contender, Penny Mordaunt, failed to receive a sufficient amount of nominating votes from within the ranks of conservative lawmakers and withdrew her candidacy.

 

Though he pledged to “bring his party and country together”, Sunak faces unprecedented challenges as he takes office – Britain’s tenuous relationship with the European Union, a Conservative Party at war with itself, and immediate calls for his resignation. One of his tasks will be to reintroduce confidence in the direction the economy is heading amid record inflation and the rising price of energy. 

 

The economy is in an especially precarious position after Sunak’s predecessor, Liz Truss, experimented with trickle-down economics with disastrous results, destroying trust in British financial markets. Guiding the government through economic disaster will prove to be difficult, but perhaps not as difficult as pulling together a heavily fractured Conservative Party. Truss’ hasty experiment with the markets aggravated inflation and devalued the pound. Between her economic failures and the scandal surrounding former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, opinion polls of conservatives in Britain have plummeted and Labour leaders are calling for a new general election. 

 

Although Sunak will not have the honeymoon period many newly elected prime ministers typically receive, his election does mark a historic step in British politics – he is the country’s first non-white premier, and its first Asian and Hindu leader as well. His previous position in Britain’s government was Chancellor of the Exchequer, a position he was given by Boris Johnson in 2020. 

 

As for the new prime minister’s politics, he is expected to be a less volatile character than Johnson, although Sunak remained loyal to him through the ‘partygate’ scandal that took place in previous months. Sunak seems to be perceived by the British public as a much safer pair of hands than Liz Truss, although there may be some economic disappointment in the public arena. As Chancellor, he was responsible for increases in income and corporate tax, and analysts are expecting him to employ the same tactics as Prime Minister in an attempt to bring some balance back to the country’s budget. 

 

Although it remains to be seen what kind of order Sunak can restore to the United Kingdom, and his own party, he is seen as a much more serious figure than his two predecessors. However, time will tell how well he’ll be able to make good on his promises to return a little bit of sanity to British politics.

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