Watch live: Outside Downing Street as Sunak becomes PM
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Rishi Sunak is “from the slums”, a state-controlled Russian newspaper has said in a disgusting dig at Britain’s new Prime Minister. Mr Sunak was installed in Number 10 yesterday, making him the first person of Asian heritage to be appointed the UK’s leader.
However, Moscow-based financial newspaper Kommersant took aim at the 42-year-old in an article featuring 16 photographs charting his rise to the top.
In an article headlined “Premier from the slums”, the paper describes what it calls the “history of the first black head of the British government”.
It added: “Both of Rishi Sunak’s grandfathers are Punjabis from the most disadvantaged regions of British India.
“At the beginning of the 20th century, they immigrated to the British Colonies in East Africa.”
Referring to Mr Sunak’s parents, Kommersant said: “Rishi Yashvir’s father was born in Kenya, Usha’s mother was born in Tanganyika (East Africa).”
Kommersant also made reference to Mr Sunak’s wealth, with he and his wife Akshata having a combined fortune of £730million, largely as a result of her one percent stake in technology giant Infosys via her father, the Indian billionaire NR Narayana Murthy.
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The Kremlin yesterday offered a frosty response to the news of Mr Sunak’s appointment, five days after the resignation of Liz Truss, the woman who beat him in summer’s Tory leadership contest.
Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters: “At the moment we see no grounds for hope that there will be any positive changes in the foreseeable future.
“Russia remains open and ready to discuss the most difficult issues at the negotiating table.
“But not to the detriment of our own interests.”
Hampshire-Mr Sunak also became Britain’s youngest prime minister in two centuries upon taking over from 47-year-old Ms Truss.
The MP for Richmond in Yorkshire, he has been an MP since 2010, and was given his big break when he was appointed Chancellor by former PM Boris Johnson in 2010.
His career appeared to founder when both were handed finds for breaching lockdown rules as part of a Met Police inquiry into social events linked Downing Street.
His eventual resignation in the wake of the Government’s handling of the investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against deputy chief whip Chris Pincher is widely seen as having contributed to Mr Johnson’s decision to resign.
Britain has been one of the West’s most vocal backers of Kyiv and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky since Putin ordered his invasion on February 24. Sunak is Britain’s third prime minister since the start of the war.
Russian officials have previously reacted gleefully to the departures of both Ms Truss and Boris Johnson and have repeatedly downplayed the prospects of any improvement in relations between London and Moscow, regardless of who occupies No. 10.
Responding to Ms Truss’s decision to stand down, Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said: “Britain has never known such a disgrace of a prime minister,” claiming the former Foreign Secretary “would be remembered for her catastrophic illiteracy”.
Speaking after Mr Johnson’s resignation in July, Mr Peskov remarked: “He doesn’t like us, we don’t like him either.”
He added: “I don’t even want to comment on this, because Boris Johnson, with all his activities as prime minister, and as foreign minister, proved that he is a man who primarily chases after superficial effects, holds on to power in order to raise his political career in every possible way.”
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