Rishi Sunak Replaces Liz Truss as UK Prime Minister
After serving only six weeks in office, UK Prime Minister Liz Truss (she/her) resigned her position on October 20. Truss and Britain’s finance minister Kwasi Kwarteng (he/him) had introduced a “mini-budget” as part of Truss’ effort to, as she outlined in a September speech, “cut taxes and grow [the nation’s] economy.” The budget included debt-funded tax cuts that consequently put markets in turmoil. Additionally, the British pound suffered inflation at a rate of 0.6%. Because of the economic stress the budget had placed on the nation, Kwarteng was fired by Truss. Subsequent finance minister Jeremy Hunt (he/him), who was appointed by Truss on October 14, reversed most of the budget’s policies only three weeks later. Truss herself resigned due to public and party backlash against her handling of the financial crisis. According to CNN, Truss can claim £115,00 ($129,000) a year in allowance through the Public Duty Costs Allowance (PDCA), a government-run program that was established in 1990. The PDCA’s purpose is to reimburse “former prime ministers for office and secretarial costs arising from their public duties.” However, due to criticism about the shortness and chaos of her time served, many believe that Truss should turn down the allowance.
On October 25, Britain officially replaced Truss with Rishi Sunak (he/him). Sunak, who is of Indian descent, is the nation’s first Prime Minister of color. He previously served as Britain’s finance minister from February 2020 through July 2022. He acknowledged Truss during his first address as Prime Minister, saying, “I want to pay tribute to my predecessor Liz Truss, she was not wrong to want to improve growth in this country, it is a noble aim. And I admired her restlessness to create change. But some mistakes were made. Not borne of ill will or bad intentions. Quite the opposite, in fact. But mistakes, nonetheless.” He promised to “place economic stability and confidence at the heart of this government’s agenda” and “not leave the next generation, your children and grandchildren, with a debt to settle that we were too weak to pay ourselves.” The world shall see if Prime Minister Sunak fulfills these promises.