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The day that could define Rishi Sunak – podcast

He has risen smoothly from private schooling to Oxford, the City, and then parliament – and now he is a youthful and popular chancellor who many believe will be the next prime minister. How has Rishi Sunak managed it – and does the budget that will set the terms of the UK’s exit from the pandemic pose the biggest threat yet to his Teflon reputation? When Rishi Sunak stands up in the House of Commons today, he will do so as one of the most popular chancellors of the exchequer in recent memory. But just about everything seems to have come easy to Sunak: from being head boy at his private school, to getting a first class degree at Oxford, to making a fortune in the City, marrying the daughter of a billionaire and then being parachuted in to William Hague’s safe Conservative seat, he has made every step of his rise to the cabinet look utterly straightforward. Even his widely derided Instagram posts are polished in their execution. Nor could the pandemic, and the vast and intimidating challenges it posed, present any real threat to his image: after all, not much will make a politician more popular than promising to guarantee voters’ incomes when they are stuck at home. But now, even as Sunak’s name is mentioned ever more often as a likely future prime minister, that apparently indestructible popularity may face its first real test. As the government seeks to turn the page on the pandemic, he has been an increasingly vocal advocate for tight fiscal controls – and, many say, his Thatcherite impulses are now coming into direct conflict with Boris Johnson’s. Continue reading...

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