UK: Sunak seeks to ‘fix’ predecessor’s mistakes

By Hamed Chapman

London, (The Muslim News): Britain’s new Prime Minister Tuesday sought to adopt a more serious political tone compared with his predecessors in warning that the country is “facing a profound economic crisis” after more than 12 years of Conservative rule.

In his first speech since taking office, Rishi Sunak admitted that “some mistakes were made” by the previous government and said that he had been “elected as leader of my party, and your Prime Minister, in part, to fix them.”

Sunak became the UK’s first Hindu and British Asian Prime Minister unopposed after other contestants withdrew. Liz Truss was forced out of office by her fellow Tory MPs having been in power for just 55 days.

Truss had replaced Boris Johnson after Tory colleagues also forced him out of Downing Street despite winning a landslide victory for a five-year term in December 2019.

In her farewell speech, Truss, like Johnson, expressed no sign of contrition for the chaos that engulfed her brief premiership and instead laid down the gauntlet that “it is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.”

Welcoming Sunak’s appointment, Labour Leader, Keir Starmer, repeated his call on the need for an immediate general election, saying in a tweet that “the Tories have crashed the economy, with low wages, high prices and a cost of living crisis” and the public needs a “fresh start and a say on Britain’s future.”

Scotland’s First Minister and SNP Leader, Nicola Sturgeon, warned that the new Prime Minister must not unleash a new wave of austerity, saying public services would not be able to stand it, while also calling for an early general election.

In his speech on the steps of Downing Street, Sunak tried to lay the blame for the profound economic on Russia’s war in Ukraine, saying it had “destabilised energy markets and supply chains the world over.”

He insisted that he will place stability and confidence at the heart of this government’s agenda but warned “this will mean difficult decisions to come.” He also mentioned bringing “compassion” to the challenges he faced with the Tories constantly under fire for being heartless.

“The government I lead will not leave the next generation your children and grandchildren
with a debt to settle that we were too weak to pay ourselves,” the new Prime Minister said in reference to the criticism for all the years of austerity imposed upon the country following the bankers’ crash of 2008.

[Photo: The new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak statement on the steps of No 10 Downing Street after his audience with King Charles III. Picture by Lauren Hurley / No 10 Downing Street]

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