Hard times ahead for Sunak to restore UKs credibility

From: Chatham House
Published: Wed Oct 26 2022


New prime minister Rishi Sunak needs to reassure the world about the future of UK foreign policy. But his pragmatism must cope with a battering ram of ideology.

After all the theatricality and derision over the UK's political process in the last few months, Rishi Sunak may well be eventually judged on terms set by one of his predecessors. The new prime minister will, declared Theresa May, provide the calm, competent, pragmatic leadership our country needs at this deeply challenging time'.

In his first statement on winning the Conservative MPs ballot following the withdrawal of first Boris Johnson and then Penny Mordaunt, Sunak set out his priorities - to fix' the economy, unite his party, and deliver' for the country.

The first two are to a large degree measurable, the latter is a matter of opinion. But they are all based in the notion of stability - economic, political, social, and international - and none will be easy to achieve. He must move quickly but carefully to calm the markets and reassure allies that Britain has reacquainted itself with serious politics.

The task of his first 100 days is the exact opposite of what is usually expected of world leaders. He would be well advised to dispense with any grand flourishes, surprise announcements, and the disruption is good' narrative of his two immediate predecessors - the short-lived Liz Truss and the grandiloquent Johnson.

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Company: Chatham House

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