Reaction to New PM Rishi Sunak

Rishi Sunak became Prime Minister of the UK on 25 October 2022, having been selected by Tory MPs.

Image credit Simon Walker / HM Treasury,

Educated at Winchester College and Oxford University, Rishi Sunak was elected Conservative MP for Richmond (Yorks) in May 2015.

The previous posts he has held in the UK Government are as follows:

  • Chancellor of the Exchequer from 13 February 2020 to 5 July 2022.
  • Chief Secretary to the Treasury from 24 July 2019 to 13 February 2020
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government from 9 January 2018 to 24 July 2019.

In his first speech as Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak paid tribute to his predecessor Liz Truss but admitted that ‘some mistakes had been made.’ He also praised her predecessor, Boris Johnson and his ‘incredible achievements’.

PM Sunak then pledged to fulfill the Tory manifesto of 2019:

  • A stronger NHS.
  • Better schools.
  • Safer streets.
  • Control of our borders.
  • Protecting our environment.
  • Supporting our armed forces.
  • Levelling up and building an economy that embraces the opportunities of Brexit, where businesses invest, innovate, and create jobs.

And he concluded:

“Together we can achieve incredible things. We will create a future worthy of the sacrifices so many have made and fill tomorrow, and everyday thereafter with hope.”

What has been the reaction from Scottish politicians to his appointment?

Highlands and Islands SNP MSP Emma Roddick said:

“Folk across the Highlands & Islands have already paid the highest price for reckless Tory leadership.

“The Conservative Party and its shambolic leadership are an utter embarrassment to this country and Scotland is now faced with a 10th Tory Prime Minister that it has not voted for.

“The Tory government are yet to show a glimmer of hope for the people of Scotland. Households across the Highlands & Islands have borne the brunt of its cruel policies for far too long and enough is simply enough.

“A General Election is the most likely solution for the problem’s Scotland faces in the short-term and the public must be given the option to go to the polls, but it is clear that the Union is not working for Scotland.

“The Union is not fit for purpose and hasn’t been for a long time. The system is rigged against Scotland, and against progressive politics. Only with the full powers of Independence will Scotland be able to reach its full potential. We can and must do better.”

Douglas Ross MSP, MP, is head of the Tories in Scotland. He said:

“With Rishi Sunak as our new Prime Minister, it’s time to get to work to deliver for Scotland and the whole United Kingdom.”

Alister Jack is the Secretary of State for Scotland. He hasn’t said anything yet

Anas Sarwar is leader of the Labour Party in Scotland. He said:

“They may have changed the person at the top, but the rot runs deeper than that. The Tories have no mandate.”

Alex Cole Hamilton, MSP, is the leader of the Liberal Democrats in Scotland. He said:

“Rishi Sunak is the third chaotic Conservative Prime Minister in three months. Conservative MPs have installed another out-of-touch Prime Minister with no plan to repair the damage and without giving the British people a say. “We need a General Election now.”

So what happens next?

Now Prime Minister Sunak is selecting his Cabinet, rewarding some and getting rid of others. Although there are calls for a General Election, that is extremely unlikely given the polling data and the disaster that the Tories would face.

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3 replies »

  1. One of the first things he did was bringing back Cruella. What is it with the children of immigrants, being so hard on incomers?

    Does this mean that the Rwanda scheme will go ahead? Or should I say will it mean that she’ll TRY to make it go ahead? http://www.spanglefish.com/berniesblog/blog.asp?blogid=15980

    Rishi Sunak could have taken this opportunity to do something positive but my opinion is that he’s blowing it.

    And, indeed – not likely to have a General Election in which his party would fail miserably.

    Democracy?

    This morning I had an email from someone I know in America asking where do I stand on Scottish Independence…….where do I begin?

    • Democracy, they don’t know the meaning of the word down south.
      Here in Scotland we have two ministers sitting in government from a party that received just 1.3% of the nation’s vote and who are now dictating policy.
      Now that’s what you call true democracy!

  2. Sunak may have brought back Cruella for one reason only: to appease a certain type of conservative voters. It was mindboggling to listen to today’s proceedings in parliament (the half hour after PMQs). If every “error of judgement” is ok when the person who broke laws or regulations or ministerial codes apologises afterwards, how can the UK’s prisons be full of people who could (if they were members of a Tory government, that is) simply claim they made an error of judgement? Would it be acceptable if they claimed they made an error of judgement when breaking into a shop? Would it be acceptable to give them a slap on the wrist with a wet sponge and release them if they apologised? Certainly not.
    She knew well that she had done something which required her to step down. Although, and this is my personal opinion, she may have thought that it was the lesser evil to admit to some wrongdoing (about which the information otherwise may not have escaped immediately into the public domain) to have a valid reason to step down. When it was clear that it could be damaging to her political career to be associated with Truss and her incompetent temporary “work placement” in number 10 for another minute, this was an “elegant” way to leave this sinking ship quickly.
    This could have been a gamble. Whether she knew that it would pay off, is everyone’s guess. Was there a deal done in the background which made this a “safe” gamble? Or was she taking a “real” risk?
    Will we ever know?

    When Sunak became PM, for a short moment I felt some relief. Simply because the other two would have been even worse. One as career-hungry as Truss was and not necessarily much better qualified, and the other one… well don’t get me started on him. His failed policies are in plain sight for everybody. Even if one accepts the Brexit vote (whilst grinding teeth), it is obvious that his oven-ready deal was at best an ultra processed microwave meal, no substance, and not providing proper nutrition. Then he sleepwalked into the pandemic. Had he not done so, we could have had sensible mitigation measures in place at the right time and could have avoided much of the with lockdowns associated economic damage. And we could have avoided deaths and the extreme impact on the NHS. Once he depleted the public purse (and yes I agree with some statements we heard from the World Bank, that the support in many countries was not properly targeted), it was clear that dealing with any other crisis would be very difficult. In short, he might only be an asset to a certain type of party… and I do not mean a political party who is in government but rather the wine and cheese party.
    Anyway, Sunak – I thought – might at least not be an embarassment on the international stage, he is clever and knows the internal plumbing of markets and so forth… so I was hoping that his sense of realism would (perhaps) help to sort out some lingering issues, although it was to be expected that the price for everything would be unlikely to be placed on the rich but rather the rest of society.
    But watching PMQs today was somewhat sobering. What else, apart from perhaps the worst of austerity we have ever seen, has he got to offer?

    As disruptive as a general election with all its usual preparations will be, it is necessary now. Why not use the time wisely and prepare it now whilst people still are – at least to some minimal extent – “sorted” by the few mesures which they could not completely cancel (I am talking about the energy assistance which will now only run until April)? Xmas will have to be cancelled for many this year anyway, people will not go on the usual shopping spree and rather sit tight (some without food and heat) so why not cancel it for the politicians too and force them to get ready for an election?

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