'Ground-breaking milestone', says Biden as UK gets its first PM of colour in Rishi Sunak
Rishi Sunak on Monday won the race to lead the Conservative Party and will become Britain's youngest leader in modern times and the first person of color to hold the job.
New Delhi: US President Joe Biden on Monday (October 24, 2022) reacted to Rishi Sunak becoming Britain's next prime minister and first person of color to hold the job and called it a "groundbreaking milestone".
"We've got the news that Rishi Sunak is now the prime minister. He's expected to become the prime minister I think tomorrow when he goes to see the King. Pretty astounding. A groundbreaking milestone and it matters," Biden, while speaking at a White House event to mark Diwali, said.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden would call Sunak in the coming days, noting that it was protocol for the US president to wait to offer his congratulations until after an incoming UK PM had met with the monarch and been formally invited to form a new government.
Sunak, 42, on Monday won the race to lead the Conservative Party and will become the country's youngest leader in modern times - and its third in less than two months. He replaced Liz Truss, who lasted only 44 days in the office before she said she would resign, needing to restore stability to a country reeling from years of political and economic turmoil.
After being chosen, Rishi Sunak, a Hindu, told the country it faced a "profound economic challenge".
"We now need stability and unity, and I will make it my utmost priority to bring our party and our country together," he said.
"I pledge that I will serve you with integrity and humility; and I will work day in, day out to deliver for the British people," Sunak added.
Rishi Sunak's Indian connection
Rishi Sunak is the UK-born son of Indian-origin general practitioner father Yashvir and pharmacist mother Usha. His family migrated to Britain from East Africa in the 1960s.
Born in southern England, Rishi Sunak rose through some of the world's top educational institutions - Oxford University and Stanford University, where he met his wife Akshata Murthy, the daughter of Indian billionaire NR Narayana Murthy, founder of outsourcing giant Infosys Ltd.
During the last campaign, Sunak had also spoken extensively of his migrant roots and referenced making history by lighting Diwali diyas at 11 Downing Street as the first Indian-origin Chancellor of the Exchequer.
He is a regular at the temple where he was born in Southampton and his daughters, Anoushka and Krishna, are also rooted in the Indian culture.
I’ve placed our rangoli outside No.11, the mithai are set to be delivered and the family Zoom is booked in.
I know things will feel a bit different, and it’s hard not to be able to see family, but we will get through this together.
Happy Diwali everyone! pic.twitter.com/4lDI8bH1HJ — Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) November 14, 2020
Today I visited the Bhaktivedanta Manor temple with my wife Akshata to celebrate Janmashtami, in advance of the popular Hindu festival celebrating Lord Krishna’s birthday. pic.twitter.com/WL3FQVk0oU — Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) August 18, 2022
Sunak's political career began with winning a safe Tory seat of Richmond in Yorkshire in 2015 and from junior roles in the Treasury he was suddenly catapulted to the post of Chancellor of Exchequer when his former boss, Sajid Javid, resigned in February 2020.
Meanwhile, news that a Hindu son of Indian immigrants will be the UK's new PM has raised cheers across Indian streets, packed with Diwali-celebrating crowds.
(With agency inputs)