RISHI Sunak made much of his Southampton childhood when he debated with Liz Truss for the chance to become Conservative leader and prime minister.

In Monday’s leadership debate on BBC One, the former chancellor described his upbringing in the city.

“My family emigrated here 60 years ago,” he said.

“I talked about my mum. She ran the local chemist in Southampton. That’s why I grew up working in the shop, delivering medicines. I worked as a waiter at the Indian restaurant, down the road.

“And I’m standing here because of the hard work, the sacrifice and love of my parents and the opportunities they provided to me, and that’s why I want to be prime minister because I want to ensure that everyone, your children and grandchildren, have the very same opportunities that I had.”

Although Mr Sunak represents the Yorkshire constituency of Richmond today, Southampton figured in the Ready for Rishi leadership campaign from the beginning.

His campaign launch video began with him saying: “Let me tell you a story about a young woman almost a lifetime ago who boarded a plane armed with hope for a better life and the love of her family.

“This young woman came to Britain where she managed to find a job but it took her nearly a year to save enough money for her husband and children to follow. One of those children was my mother, aged 15.

“My mum studied hard and got the qualifications to become a pharmacist. She met my dad, an NHS GP, and they settled in Southampton.

“Their story didn’t end there but that is where my story began. Family is everything to me and my family gave me opportunities they could only dream of but it was Britain, our country, that gave them and millions like them the chance of a better future.”

READ MORE: Southampton-raised chancellor Rishi Sunak was a "boy with a ready smile and lovely manners", biography says

Rishi Sunak's birth and childhood

Rishi Sunak was born in Southampton General on May 12, 1980.

His mother Usha was then manager of Weston Pharmacy, while his father Yashvir was a GP in Raymond Road, Shirley.

Daily Echo:

The Sunak family in Southampton, in a photo from Rishi Sunak's leadership launch video

Yashvir Sunak was born in Kenya, while Usha was born in Tanganyika. Rishi Sunak’s grandparents were born in the Punjab region of India and migrated from East Africa to Britain in the 1960s.

Rishi Sunak's family lived at Richmond Gardens in Portswood but moved to a six-bedroomed home at Spindlewood Close, Bassett, after the birth of Rishi’s brother Sanjay and sister Raakhi.

Usha ran her own business as Sunak’s Pharmacy, with Rishi doing deliveries and helping her with the books.

In a biography of Rishi Sunak published in 2020, former Conservative chairman Lord Michael Ashcroft wrote: “People on Spindlewood Close still remember the small boy with jet-black hair, a ready smile and lovely manners who used to wheel around on a bike with the other kids or kick a ball about with his little brother Sanjay.”

Neighbour Janet Parnell recalls in the book, titled Going For Broke: “The whole Sunak family, including the children, were very friendly, very personable."

Rishi Sunak's education

The Sunaks were able to pay for education. Rishi went to the Southampton prep school Oakmount until it closed in 1989, then to Stroud School in Romsey.

Fellow Stroud pupil Ollie Case, who went on to be a teacher there, says in Lord Ashcroft’s book: “He was someone that was talked about. The teachers would say, ‘He’s going to be a Prime Minister’.”

Daily Echo:

Sunak Pharmacy in a photo included in Rishi Sunak's leadership campaign launch video

Young Rishi captained the Stroud cricket team and took part in football, hockey and athletics. He was head boy in his final year.

Mr Sunak’s memories of helping out at an Indian restaurant probably refer to Kuti’s Brasserie, where the family celebrated special occasions and would dine on Christmas Eve.

Dr Sunak had a season ticket to watch Southampton FC and the future chancellor’s childhood hero was Matt Le Tissier.

For his 18th birthday, he received a card signed by the Southampton football squad, which became “one of his most prized possessions”.

“Southampton would always be home, and this would always be his team,” Lord Ashcroft writes.

Rishi became a boarder at Winchester College, where the fees for 2022-23 are £45,936 a year.

From there, he went to Oxford University to study philosophy, politics and economics, before going on to receive a masters in business administration at Stanford University in the US.

Rishi Sunak's wealth and political career

Rishi Sunak became wealthy as a hedge fund manager. In 2009, he married Akshata Murthy, the daughter of the Indian billionaire NR Narayana Murthy, who founded the IT company Infosys.

Mr Sunak became MP for Richmond, succeeding former foreign secretary William Hague, in 2015.

He became a junior minister in 2018 and chief secretary to the treasury in July 2019.

When Boris Johnson’s first chancellor, Sajid Javid, resigned in February 2020, the relatively unknown Mr Sunak was promoted to chancellor.

Within weeks, he was steering the economy through Covid-19, unveiling schemes such as furlough and bounce back loans in an effort to prevent the pandemic wrecking the economy.

READ MORE: Southampton-born Rishi Sunak launches bid to become next PM

Later, he launched Eat Out to Help Out – a scheme to encourage people to return to hospitality venues with a government subsidy of up to £10 per head.

However, political troubles lay ahead when his family’s tax affairs came under scrutiny in the spring of this year.

It emerged that his wife Akshata Murty was a “non-dom”, meaning her permanent home was outside the UK as far as the tax authorities were concerned. In the wake of the subsequent controversy, she agreed to pay UK tax on all her income.

It also emerged that the chancellor had continued to hold a US “green card” until 2021. The card designates the holder as a permanent resident of the USA with an intention to become a citizen.

READ MORE: Southampton-born chancellor Rishi Sunak is first frontline politician on Sunday Times Rich List

The chancellor and his wife Akshata Murty entered the Sunday Times Rich List in May at number 222 with an estimated fortune of £730million.

Some commentators said the episode would end Mr Sunak’s hope of becoming prime minister.

Rishi Sunak's resignation and leadership campaign

In April, Mr Sunak – along with Boris Johnson – received a fine from the Metropolitan Police for attending a party in the Cabinet Room of 10 Downing Street on the prime minister’s birthday, June 19, 2020.

The partygate episode was one of several controversies which dogged Mr Johnson’s premiership.

On July 5 this year, Mr Sunak resigned as chancellor, minutes after Sajid Javid quit as health secretary – prompting a flood of government resignations which was to bring down the prime minister.

In his resignation letter, Mr Sunak said “the public rightly expect government to be conducted properly, competently and seriously”.

“I recognise this may be my last ministerial job, but I believe these standards are worth fighting for and that is why I am resigning,” he wrote.

Within days, Boris Johnson had resigned and Rishi Sunak was the front-runner to replace him as far as Conservative MPs were concerned.

But Mr Sunak’s combative performance in TV debates reflects the fact that he is now the underdog. Polls suggest foreign secretary Liz Truss is more popular among the Conservative Party members who will make the final decision on who becomes the next prime minister.

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