Some see him as a typical Tory, but community groups say his ascent to No 10 would be a British milestone
If Rishi Sunak wins an uphill battle against Liz Truss in the weeks to come, he will join the small number of black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) leaders of majority-white countries in the west. They include Barack Obama in the US, Portugal’s prime minister, António Costa, who is partly of Goan descent, and Leo Varadkar, the former Irish prime minister whose father is Indian.
When Sadiq Khan became the first Muslim leader of any western capital city, it made headlines around the world. The ascent of Sunak, the son of Hindu Indian emigrants, would be an equal “milestone moment” reflecting Britain’s diversity, community groups have said.
But Sunak has been urged to use his position to “put a brake” on culture wars sowing division across Britain along race and gender lines. Experts also said Britain’s relationship with India – where the Hindu nationalist BJP party of the prime minister, Narendra Modi, has been accused of persecuting Muslims – would be even more carefully watched under a new British-Indian leader.