LONDON — Rishi Sunak, who resigned on Tuesday as Britain’s chancellor of the Exchequer, has been arguably the most prominent figure in Prime …
LONDON — Rishi Sunak, who resigned on Tuesday as Britain’s chancellor of the Exchequer, has been arguably the most prominent figure in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s cabinet, seen for a time as Mr. Johnson’s most likely successor.
Mr. Sunak had a swift rise from his first election to Parliament in 2015. In February 2020, when he was 39 years old, Mr. Johnson appointed him chancellor, the government’s chief financial officer and often second in power only to the prime minister.
As the coronavirus crisis gripped the country, Mr. Sunak, a former hedge fund manager, rolled out a series of aid packages for businesses and individuals that were widely applauded. Those moves and his air of competence, quickly made him a popular face of the government response.
Mr. Sunak, the eldest son of Indian immigrants, attended the elite Winchester College boarding school and Oxford. He earned his M.B.A. at Stanford and has been held up as an example of a multiethnic and more modern Britain.
But critics have also taken issue with his handling of the country’s finances, with the National Institute of Economic and Social Research think tank saying last month that his failure to act to insure against interest rate rises could cost British taxpayers.
And in recent months, two scandals have tarnished his reputation, though never to the same level as the prime minister, and there has been speculation that he might be pushed out during a potential cabinet reshuffle. First came the revelation that his wealthy wife had claimed a tax status that allowed her to avoid paying taxes on some of her income. Then it was revealed that Mr. Sunak continued to hold a green card, allowing him to live and work in the United States for months after he became chancellor.
Mr. Sunak, along with other government figures, was also fined for breaching coronavirus lockdown regulations for briefly attending a birthday celebration for the prime minister in Downing Street in 2020, one of a series of gatherings at Downing Street, which became known as the “partygate” scandal.