British Finance Minister Rishi Sunak has dismissed speculation that he might be aspiring to become the next UK Prime Minister, reported The Independent.
When a Times Radio reporter remarked that the Chancellor looked tired as he has been working to grapple with the coronavirus crisis, and asked if the situation might have dampened his desire to become Britain’s next prime minister, Sunak responded:
“Oh gosh, I don’t have that desire.”
Sunak, 40, admitted he was “tired” and had not seen his family much due to the crisis.
“I am sorry I am looking tired so I will take that as an instruction to try and revitalise myself over the coming weekend to be a bit more bright and bushy eyed next week,” said the chancellor.
Rishi Sunak added that everyone was “dealing with something we haven’t had to deal with before”, trying in their different way “to do the best they can”.
Amid the measures adopted by the UK government to allay the economic woes triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been widespread speculation that Sunak might be regarded as a potential successor to Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Vowing to do “whatever it takes” to prop up the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic, and announcing the furlough scheme in March, to encourage companies to retain employees, Rishi Sunak found himself dubbed the most popular serving politician in the country.
Polling conducted by YouGov in July showed that the raft of announced measures resulted in six in ten (59 per cent) of those polled thinking the chancellor is dong a good job (up 10 percent since June) with just 11 percent of the opposite opinion (unchanged since June).
The poll results make him the most popular man to hold the office in 15 years, since Gordon Brown, known for his reputation as the “Iron Chancellor”.
However, as phasing out of the government's coronavirus economic package and the furlough scheme in autumn could result in unemployment soaring to ten percent this year, according to the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR), it is anyone’s guess whether the chancellor’s popularity will be able to survive the hit.