A view of London skyline A view of London skyline  (AFP or licensors)

Britain's new PM faces opposition

Britain's new Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, has faced opposition in Parliament for the first time since he was elected as the nation's first British Asian government leader. Sunak was confronted with questions after less than two days on the job.

By Stefan J. Bos

The leader of Britain's oppositional Labour party Keir Starmer used the  Prime Minister's Questions time to make a historical observation.

He made clear that Rishi Sunak's election as prime minister showed that the nation can overcome still simmering racial and ethnic tensions at a time of concerns about migration. "The appointment of the first British Asian prime minister is a significant development in our national story. And it is a reminder that for all challenges we face as a country, Britain is a place where people of all races and of all beliefs can fulfill their dreams," he said.

However, he noted, "that is not true in every country. And many didn't think they would live to see the day when that would be true here. It's part of what makes us all proud to be British."

However, Starmer quickly criticized Suella Braverman's appointment as home secretary just six days after she resigned over data breaches.

Yet speaking during his first outing in what is known as the House of Commons since becoming prime minister, Sunak said Braverman had "made an error of judgment" but said "she recognized that" and had "accepted her mistake."

Sunak stressed he had been delighted to welcome her back into "a united Cabinet that brings experience and stability to the heart of government," prompting shouts of agreement from his Conservative Party supporters.

The Conservative prime minister added that Braverman would "focus on cracking down on criminals, on defending our borders, while the party opposite remains soft on crime and in favor of unlimited immigration."  

It comes after the government delayed announcing its plan to repair Britain's finances until November 17.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt suggested the delay was "prudent" to avoid more market turbulence. "The number one priority is economic stability and restoring confidence that the United Kingdom is a country that pays its way," he said.  

An earlier rushed-through tax plan was among the reasons why Liz Truss resigned after just six weeks in office, making her the shortest-serving prime minister in British history.

Yet with key figures from both the Truss and Boris Johnson's governments returning, it's now up to the 42-year-old Sunak to restore trust in government.

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26 October 2022, 16:08