Sunak completed 100 days in the job as Britain’s first Indian-origin Prime Minister on Thursday (2).
By: Pramod Thomas
Rishi Sunak has spoken of his motivation behind taking on the top job at 10 Downing Street in the wake of intense political turmoil last year as his “dharma”.
In a televised interview with ‘Talk TV’ host Piers Morgan at his Downing Street home to mark 100 days in the job as Britain’s first Indian-origin Prime Minister on Thursday (2), he was asked what made him take on the tough task amid a crippling cost-of-living crisis and his predecessor Liz Truss’ shortest term as Prime Minister at just 45 days.
“For me it’s about duty. There’s a concept in Hinduism called dharma, which roughly translates into duty and that’s how I was raised. It was about doing the things that were expected of you and trying to do the right thing,” he replied.
“Even though it was going to be a nightmare job… I felt that I could make a difference and was the best person to make a difference at that moment, especially given the challenges that people were facing, what they were seeing with their mortgages and that’s ultimately why I put myself forward to do it knowing that it would be difficult and challenging but ultimately doing what was my duty in that situation. I believe deeply in service and thought I could make a difference for the country,” he said.
The 42-year-old, who swore his oath of allegiance on being elected member of Parliament in the House of Commons on the ‘Bhagavad Gita’, has often spoken about his Hindu faith giving him strength.
The UK-born son of National Health Service (NHS) doctor Yashveer and pharmacist Usha has spoken of regular visits the temple with his family and during last year’s leadership campaign, he took time out to make a visit to a Hare Krishna temple on the outskirts of London for Janmashtami to seek blessings.
In the wide-ranging interview this week, he also referred to his wife Akshata – the daughter of Infosys co-founder Narayana Murthy – as his support system and admitted he was “batting above his average” with her as his life partner.
He revealed how he romantically proposed to her, going down on one knee, and praised “the support that she gives me in this job”.
“I wouldn’t be able to do this job without her love and support to keep going,” he said.
Asked about the “mantra” the British public could cling on to, he added: “Have hope because I can make it better and I will make it better. That’s what I am working day and night to do.” Morgan also asked him about his personal wealth and he repeated a previous commitment to publish his tax returns in the interest of “transparency”.
“They [tax returns] will be published shortly. As you know the tax filing deadline was just a few days ago… they will be released shortly,” he said.
On the wave of public sector strikes over pay, Sunak said he would “love to give the nurses a massive pay rise” but pointed out that he could not, as doing so would stoke inflation.
“Even if it’s not popular, it’s the right thing for the country to stay the course to beat inflation,” he said.