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UK politics

Sunak’s charmed life

Sunak: “an amazing lack of scrutiny”

Back in 2020, everyone thought “dishy Rishi” Sunak was “simply divine”, says Aditya Chakrabortty in The Guardian. Pundits were “gurgling in delight” over his Instagram feed; GQ feted him as an “unlikely style hero”. But bad news now clings to the Chancellor “like burrs to a dog after a walk in the woods”. Recent revelations about his wife’s tax status, and his lockdown-breaking fine, mean it’s “almost impossible to see Sunak as a serious contender for No 10” any more.

The mystery, for me, is why it took so long for the spell to break. Sunak’s tenure at No 11 has been far from distinguished. Eat Out to Help Out may have provided him with a great photo op “waiting tables at Wagamama”, but it cost taxpayers £840m and accelerated the spread of Covid before we had any vaccines. His £46bn “bounce back loan scheme” was riddled with fraud, haemorrhaging up to £20bn from the public purse. “No Labour chancellor could have got away with wasting such vast sums.” And Sunak’s personal life has enjoyed “an amazing lack of scrutiny”. His father-in-law, business tycoon Narayana Murthy, opposes proper labour rights in India, yet this has aroused “barely any curiosity” in the British press. Sunak may well be “the Icarus of this parliament”, but he should never have been allowed to fly so high in the first place.

📽 🤑 Everyone is down on Rishi for being so rich, but I can’t understand the fuss, says Douglas Murray in The Spectator. Plenty of Labour MPs make extra cash to bolster their £84,000 salary. Wes Streeting has a side hustle as a radio presenter, David Lammy – “generally a scourge of higher earners” – rakes in about £50,000 a year for media work, and Jess Phillips trousered a whopping £15,000 for appearing in just one episode of Have I Got News for You.