““Sorry, how do you mean?””
That was the U.K.’s most powerful leader, and the richest ever, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, struggling to answer a simple question posed by Sky News, while attending the weekend Group of Seven leaders summit in Hiroshima, Japan.
“Prime Minister, you’re one of life’s success stories. You were head boy at school, you had a career in finance that made you very wealthy, now you’re prime minister, how do you feel when you lose?” asked Sky’s political editor Beth Rigby in an interview Friday.
Sunak leaned in like he hadn’t heard her correctly, asking her to repeat the question. “You’re a winner in life, how do you feel when you don’t win?” Rigby responded.
The U.K. leader then launched into a monologue about his “focus in this job” is to keep pushing forward with five priorities — halve inflation, grow the economy, cut debt and waiting lists and “stop the boats,” as in halt the entrance of migrants, including some asylum seekers, into the country via the English Channel in small boats.
Sunak then went on to discuss how he’s aware that the No. 1 challenge Britons are facing is a high cost of living, but said he’s “confident things will improve.” With consumer prices hovering above 10%, worse than in the U.S. or Europe, Brits have been buying more instant soup, and one desperate father made headlines after resorting to stealing baby formula.
Sunak told Sky that he was sympathetic with the man, but urged those in need to consult their local council for help. Bank of England economist Huw Pill apologized earlier this week after being heavily criticized for his comments that people should “accept they’re worse off.”
The prime minister is the son of immigrants — a doctor father and mother who ran a pharmacy — studied at Oxford University and Cambridge University and worked for Goldman Sachs and hedge funds before entering politics.
Sunak and his wife Akshata Murray are worth an estimated £529 million ($656 million), according to the Sunday Times Rich List, spot 275 on a list of 350 people. His wife holds about 1% of Indian tech giant Infosys
which her father co-founded.
Guinness World Records shows the wealthiest PM ever was Edward Stanley, the 14th Earl of Derby, who held the post three times during the mid 1800s and was worth £7 million (£444 million in modern terms).