Challenges Rishi Sunak faces as he becomes Britain’s new PM

Rishi Sunak, at 42, is Britain’s youngest prime minister in 200 years (AP). He becomes Britain’s third prime in under two months. At his time, the UK faces what he has called a “profound economic challenge”. His Conservative Party struggles to heal divisive wounds from months of infighting (NPR). The challenges Rishi Sunak faces as he becomes Britain’s new PM are difficult to tackle. In his first speech as prime minister, Sunak said that there were some problems he needed to address. 


Challenges Rishi Sunak faces as he becomes Britain’s new PM are related to various fields. As Foreign Policy says, Sunak faces numerous challenges in the office. The challenges include a divided party, soaring inflation, calls for a general election, and much more. In the same line, Mint refers to surging inflation, ongoing strikes, health crises and war in Europe, and bitter rifts in the Conservative party. 


India Today refers to five daunting challenges Rishi Sunak faces as he becomes Britain’s new PM. Rishi Sunak has many challenges, and the road ahead is tough for him. Rishi Sunak is set to become Britain’s third prime minister in three months. That sums up the economic and political chaos that the country is gripped in this. India Today refers to five daunting challenges: Economic mess, party unity, immigration, strikes, and defence spending.

Economic challenge 

One of the Challenges Rishi Sunak faces as he becomes Britain’s new PM is the economic crisis. As AP says, the challenges facing the UK’s third prime minister this year are enormous. He must try to shore up an economy sliding toward recession. In his first public statement, Sunak said, “the UK is a great country. But there is no doubt we face a profound economic challenge.” Britain also faces broader economic problems stemming from the pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the country’s exit from the European Union in 2020. Sunak was a firm supporter of Brexit. According to GPB, Sunak says: “Right now, our country is facing a profound economic crisis,”. “The aftermath of COVID still lingers.”  

Divided party 

Among the Challenges Rishi Sunak faces as he becomes Britain’s new PM, we can also refer to the divided party. According to AP, Sunak must try to unite a demoralized and divided party. The Conservative party trails far behind the opposition in opinion polls. 

“We now need stability and unity,” Sunak says, “I will make it my utmost priority to bring our party and our country together.” As ALJAZEERA says, Sunak inherits a political party that has fractured along ideological lines. This challenge has damaged the fortunes of several former Conservative leaders.


Another challenge is the strikes in various jobs. Mint: As British people see inflation erode their spending power, train drivers and other sectors have already gone on strike this year. For the first time in its 106-year history, the Royal College of Nursing recommends industrial action by its members. 

Northern Ireland Protocol 

Challenges Rishi Sunak faces as he becomes Britain’s new PM include Northern Ireland protocol. As it says in Mint, Sunak backed splitting from the European Union in 2016. Now he will have to deal with the thorny issue of post-Brexit trade rules in Northern Ireland. A draft bill currently going through parliament proposes scrapping parts of the deal. The EU warns that this could spark retaliatory trade sanctions. Sunak has backed the bill.


As Evening Standard says, Sunak has faced cross-party calls at Westminster to rethink a controversial move to rip up parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol. Scrapping details of the deal breaks international law and risk a trade war with the EU.


As Irish Examiner says, New Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has told Taoiseach Micheal Martin that he would prefer a “negotiated outcome” for the Northern Ireland Protocol issue. Mr Martin said they discussed the need to find “agreed solutions” to the protocol. Unionists in Northern Ireland fiercely oppose the Northern Ireland Protocol. This issue has led to the collapse of the Stormont Assembly and Executive.

Scottish independence  

Scottish independence is another big issue that Rishi Sunak has to tackle. The Spectator says that Rishi Sunak spells trouble for the SNP. Nicola Sturgeon will find it harder to attack Sunak than previous Tory leaders.

According to the Courie, Mr Sunak held a call with Nicola Sturgeon on Tuesday night and said it was “important” to ensure Holyrood and Westminster can work together “constructively”. His more cooperative tone shifted away from his short-lived predecessor Liz Truss. Ms Truss lived up to her promise to ignore the SNP leader entirely. Sunak insists that the matter was already settled, in 2014, when the country rejected independence. His government remains locked in a legal fight with the SNP at the Supreme Court. The legal battle is over whether Ms Sturgeon can hold a fresh vote next year without UK Government permission.

As SNP says, Sunak is now the 10th Tory Prime Minister since 1955. He is only elected by around 0.0005% of the UK’s population – Tory MPs at Westminster. Only with independence can Scotland escape the broken Westminster system.


Another challenge is the issue of immigration. As it says in Mint, since Brexit, Tory governments have issued unfulfilled promises to cut immigration sharply. This year, a record number of 37,570 people have crossed the Channel to England in small boats. Sunak has backed a government plan to send asylum seekers who arrive in the UK illegally to Rwanda for processing. 


India Today also refers to the challenge of immigration. It says Sunak had earlier vowed to toughen controls on migration into the UK. Sunak had said he would introduce an annual cap on refugee numbers. He would also tighten the definition of who qualifies for asylum. He also supported a government plan to send asylum seekers who arrive in the UK illegally to Rwanda for processing. However, this plan has met with legal hurdles.

Foreign policy 

The biggest issue among Rishi Sunak’s challenges as he becomes Britain’s new PM is Foreign policy. Uk’s foreign policy has had a significant effect on its economic crisis. For instance, the Ukraine-Russia war that NATO created resulted in the energy crisis in Europe, including the UK. As Mint says, the UK this year is providing military aid worth £2.3 billion ($2.6 billion) to Ukraine. Britain’s support is more than any other country’s except the United States. 


As Financial Times says, Post-Brexit tensions between Ukraine and China are among the challenges facing UK prime minister. Moreover, Sunak has little foreign policy experience. “[Sunak] is relatively inexperienced in foreign affairs and diplomacy,” says Lord Peter Ricketts. Mr Ricketts is a former UK ambassador to France. 

Final remark 

Sunak has been tasked with steering a deeply divided country through an economic recession (ALJAZEERA). The new PM, Rishi Sunak, has pledged to lead Britain out of the financial crisis. He has promised to rebuild trust in politics (Reuters).  


During his summer leadership campaign, Sunak called for measures to tackle inflation. However, “he was very short on details on how he’s going to get inflation down”, Catterall said (Mint). Economists have questioned whether Sunak can tackle the country’s finances while holding the party’s multiple warring factions together (ALJAZEERA).   


To sum up, Sunak now has to make a plan to save the country. He should make a plan that gives the government some reassurance and stability. The big question is whether he can keep the UK or he will add to the tensions and crises. 

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