Rishi Sunak: Here's the one thing he often wears and will desperately need amid Rwanda row

Rishi Sunak’s red bracelet is a sign of his faith and is meant to afford him ‘protection’.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak red bracelet kautuka Rwanda plan
© Bloomberg / GETTYIMAGES
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak red bracelet kautuka Rwanda plan

Rishi Sunak has not been having a very good time of late. The Prime Minister has been grilled about his actions during the pandemic as the Covid inquiry ploughs on. Sunak has come under fire for his Eat Out to Help Out scheme and for failing to provide WhatsApp messages that date from that period. He is simultaneously in hot water over his controversial Rwanda plan, the massive cost of which only adds salt to the wound as the scheme faces a whole array of legal challenges and delays.

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In all this recent reportage on the PM, who has been in office for just over a year, you might have missed an important feature of his wardrobe. Sunak often wears a thin red bracelet around his wrist, made of thread. Here’s what the bracelet represents, and why he might need it in the days to come.

Rishi Sunak’s religion

Sunak is the UK’s first PM or colour and the first Hindu in the role; this bracelet is an important part of his faith. The PM has been very open about his faith, and has spoken before about praying with his family and attending temple regularly. Sunak has been spotted wearing the accessory on several occasions, including when he met King Charles at Buckingham Palace when he first became PM.

According to Dr Edward Anderson, assistant professor in history at Northumbria University:

The red ‘bracelet’ is probably a kautuka, which is a part of Hindu culture.

During a Hindu rite-of-passage or yajna ritual, the bracelet is usually tied on by the oldest family member or a priest. It is worn on the right wrist for men and the left for women. TheGuardian journalist Aina Khan has explained that the jewellery is ‘traditionally worn by Hindus for protection’.

Sunak’s need for protection

Rishi Sunak will definitely need some protection in the days to come. Last week, Robert Jenrick resigned as immigration minister over the bill, leaving behind a six-figure salary. This was yet another major blow for the PM, who has doubled down on his Rwanda plan which is supposed to see asylum seekers sent to the east-central African country.

The scheme was deemed unlawful by the Supreme Court in November over fears it could lead to human rights breaches and many Tory MPs are against the plan because they feel it doesn’t go far enough to prevent yet more legal challenges.

Sunak held a meeting this morning, on Tuesday 12 December, to try and convince his MPs to back the bill. As the BBC notes:

At around 19.00 GMT, MPs will be asked to decide whether the bill should be allowed to progress to its next stage in Parliament.

Labour has opposed the bill, and the party’s leader Keir Starmer has said that he would scrap it if they win at the next election. So, it’s fair to say that Sunak is under a lot of pressure and could do with as much protection as he can get.

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Sources used:

The Mirror: Why does Rishi Sunak wear a red bracelet on his wrist?

Independent: What is the significance of Rishi Sunak’s red bracelet?

BBC: Rishi Sunak seeks to defuse Tory revolt over Rwanda bill

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