Fancy Teacups, Rs 3.8 Crore Swimming Pool: 5 Times UK PM Rishi Sunak Came Under Fire


UK Prime Minster Rishi Sunak has been under scrutiny for various decisions and actions since he assumed the top post on October 25, 2022. Despite his historic appointment as the first British-Asian PM and first Hindu to hold the office, Mr Sunak’s tenure has not been without controversy. 

Here are five times Rishi Sunak found himself in hot water after taking office:

Immigrant visa, Graduate route visa policy

The British Prime Minister faced backlash in May 2024 for considering restrictions to the UK’s post-study visa, which allows graduates to stay and work for up to two years after completing their degree. However, following strong opposition from key cabinet members and concerns raised about its impact on universities and the economy, Mr Sunak decided to abandon the radical plans.

The Graduate Route scheme, particularly popular among Indian students, will be kept under review while the UK government introduces measures to tighten student visa regulations. This decision comes after Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, Foreign Secretary David Cameron, Home Secretary James Cleverly, and Education Secretary Gillian Keegan voiced their opposition, keeping note of the significant contribution of Indian students to the UK’s graduate visa numbers. Now Mr Sunak has planned to include setting a new cap on the number of visas annually.

Post office scandal

In January 2024, the UK Prime Minister proposed a law to help victims of the Post Office scandal. This scandal involved hundreds of employees, who were wrongly accused because of problems with the software used by the Post Office. During a session of Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Sunak announced that the proposed law would offer an upfront payment of £75,000 (₹79,30,172) to former post office workers who were part of a legal case in 2019. 

This announcement came after the Metropolitan Police started investigating possible fraud related to the scandal. The scandal gained renewed attention because of a TV series called “Mr. Bates vs the Post Office.” The scandal, which involved a software called Horizon, led to more than 700 sub-postmasters being wrongly accused. Some of these accusations were overturned, and the victims received compensation. 

However, Noel Thomas, a former sub-postmaster ensnared in the scandal, was sceptical towards Rishi Sunak’s latest plan. Mr Thomas had been jailed in 2006 for false accounting after his accounts showed a £48,000 (₹51,24,653) shortfall.

Upon learning about the new legislation proposed to overturn convictions, Mr Thomas stated that he was unconvinced until he saw the specifics of the plan, stating he had been promised a lot in the past, only for nothing to materialise.

Foreign students – English test scandal

In March 2023, a group of international students, including many from India, wrote a petition to Mr Sunak over the revocation of their visas following an English test scandal dating back to 2014. The scandal involved cheating at UK testing centres, which led to a widespread crackdown and the expulsion of thousands of students. The petition called for fair treatment, transparent processes, and support for affected students navigating the aftermath. The students had wanted Rishi Sunak to help them clear their names. 

Spent ₹3.8 crore swimming pool amid drought in UK

Just a month before the 2022 UK prime ministerial elections, Rishi Sunak found himself in the spotlight due to his lifestyle choices. Reports indicated that Mr Sunak had splurged approximately ₹3.8 crore on a lavish swimming pool within his mansion in North Yorkshire, amid concerns over drought and a severe heatwave gripping various parts of England at the time.

Akshata Murty using fancy teacups

In 2022, Rishi Sunak’s wife, Akshata Murty, faced online criticism for using fancy teacups. Mrs Murty treated photographers outside their home with a tray of tea and biscuits. While her warm gesture was appreciated by many, it was the expensive cups that drew attention. The maker of the cups, designer Emma Lacey, confirmed on Twitter that they were from her ‘The Everyday Mug Range’, available in 20 colour variants, with a retail price of £38 each (₹ 3,625 each). 

 Despite his historic appointment as the first British-Asian Prime Minister and the first Hindu to hold the office, Mr Sunak’s tenure has not been without controversy.    

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *