Rishi Sunak didn't always want to be Prime Minister, here's what he said in 2020

Rishi Sunak made history as the first person of colour to become UK Prime Minister. But as it turns out, he didn’t always want the top job. In fact, he fiercely denied his ambition to lead the country.

Rishi Sunak didn't always want to be Prime Minister, here's what he said in 2020
© Photographer: Matt Dunham/AP/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Rishi Sunak didn't always want to be Prime Minister, here's what he said in 2020

Boris Johnson’s allies in Westminster reportedly blamed Rishi Sunak for ‘bringing down’ the former PM.

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The bitter feud between the politicians started with Sunak’s resignation as Chancellor of the Exchequer, the role that earned him a lot of political points during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The departure undermined Johnson’s position, with the latter feeling betrayed by his friend and ally.

As a result, the former PM reportedly asked all the MPs to ‘back anyone but Rishi Sunak’ in a race for the Conservative leadership last year, with Liz Truss being his favourite.

According to the insiders, Boris Johnson’s allies believed that the current PM was planning his 'backstabbing' and eventual premiership for months, although he always fiercely denied the top job ambition.

Here is what Rishi Sunak said when asked about the possibility of him ever leading the country.

Meanwhile, find out who the current PM is married to and where his multi-million fortune comes from. Although, he hasn't always been a millionaire, here's how he earned extra cash during his student years.

Rishi Sunak insisted he ‘definitely’ didn’t want to be a PM

Ultra-rich, young and ambitious Rishi Sunak made history by becoming the first Hindu-practising non-white PM to lead the country.

But even if it may look like a private boarding school, a first-class Oxford degree in politics, philosophy and economics, an MBA at Stanford University and a subsequent successful career paved a path and created a perfect track record for Westminster's highest-paying job, Rishi Sunak himself denied his desire to get it.

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The 2020 polls revealed that then-Chancellor beat then-PM Boris Johnson in leadership qualities, but despite Rishi Sunak’s popularity he never expressed the intention to undermine his boss, widely seen as his loyal supporter and a friend.

Quizzed on whether he had his sights set on Number 10 in 2020, the politician dropped a firm ‘definitely not’.

He explained:

I have enough of a struggle just trying to do the job that I have and keep my head above water, quite frankly.

He even responded to the suggestions he could be the first national leader of colour:

It's probably worth bearing in mind, I'm not even the first non-white chancellor. I think that says a lot about our country quite frankly. This is an unbelievably tolerant country where people like my family have been warmly welcomed...

Sajiv Javid was the first non-write Chancellor of the Exchequer, he served under Boris Johnson’s leadership. He was also previously a Home Secretary under Theresa May.

Rishi Sunak complained his Chancellor’s job was ‘hard enough’ for him

Rishi Sunak denied he was eyeing the PM role more than once before.

Asked whether he wanted to move from the Chancellor's residence on 11 Downing Street to a fancier number 10 next door, Rishi Sunak laughed the question off.

He instead complained:

God, no. Definitely not seeing what the Prime Minister has to deal with. This is a job hard enough for me to do.

One can only wonder why Rishi Sunak changed his mind and entered the Conservative leadership race.

Some believe that he always wanted to lead the country, while others think he just saw a ‘leadership vacuum’ after feeling disillusioned with then-PM Boris Johnson.

The latter, in fact, also previouslyfiercely denied his PM ambition. He insisted he had a greater chance of being ‘reincarnated as an olive’, ‘decapitated by a flying frisbee’ or ‘locked in a disused fridge’ than leading the nation.

We all know what came after.

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Sources used:

- Evening Standard: 'Rishi Sunak insists he ‘definitely’ doesn’t want to be Prime Minister after Boris Johnson'

- Manorama: ''Back anyone, but Rishi Sunak': Boris Johnson to allies'

- The Guardian: 'Who is Rishi Sunak? Everything you need to know about Britain’s next prime minister'

Rishi Sunak: How much does he earn as Prime Minister of the UK? Rishi Sunak: How much does he earn as Prime Minister of the UK?