Narayana Murthy’s son-in-law Rishi Sunak joins UK PM May's team

Rishi Sunak, the UK-born son of an Indian doctor and a pharmacist mother, is married to NR Narayana Murthy’s daughter Akshata Murthy.

world Updated: Jan 10, 2018 07:05 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times, London
Rishi Sunak,UK Prime Minister Theresa May,NR Narayana Murthy
File photo of Rishi Sunak, the son-in-law of Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy, who has been appointed parliamentary undersecretary of state in the ministry of housing, communities and local government by UK Prime Minister Theresa May.(Courtesy: Rishi Sunak’s Facebook page)

Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday appointedRishi Sunak, the son-in-law of Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy, and Suella Fernandes to junior ministerial roles, taking the number of Indian-origin ministers in her team to three.

Former businessman Sunak, 37, was first elected from the safe Tory seat of Richmond Yorkshire in 2015 and re-elected in 2017 with a higher margin. He was appointed parliamentary undersecretary of state in the ministry of housing, communities and local government.

Fernandes, a 37-year-old former barrister, was named the parliamentary undersecretary of state in the department for exiting the European Union.

The lawmaker of Goan origin has lately emerged as a major figure in the Conservative Party, steering a group of MPs as chair of the pro-Brexit European Research Group.

May also changed the portfolio of minister of state Alok Sharma from housing to employment. In his previous role,Sharma, 50, was closely associated with dealing with the impact of the Grenfell tower blaze in London in June last year, which caused 71 deaths.

Sunak, the UK-born son of an Indian doctor and a pharmacist mother, is married to Narayana Murthy’s daughter Akshata Murthy. He studied at Winchester College and Oxford and did his MBA at Stanford University.

Seen as a rising star in the Conservative Party, pro-Brexit Sunak made notable contributions in the House of Commons on issues such as digital economy, illegal wildlife trade, foreign direct investment and social mobility.

No reason was given by Downing Street for the change in Sharma’s portfolio but May's continuing appointments at the junior ministerial level on Tuesday were intended to reinvigorate her team beyond the near future.

May’s critics said Monday’s reshuffle with few changes reflected her lower authority after losing majority in the June 2017 election. At least one cabinet minister, Jeremy Hunt, reportedly refused to be moved out of his health portfolio, and instead got more responsibility.

Justine Greening, who defeated Labour’s Neeraj Patil in Putney in the election, refused to be moved to another department and instead opted to resign, seen as another sign of senior party MPs standing up to May.

Greening said in her resignation statement: "Social mobility matters to me and our country more than a ministerial career."

First Published: Jan 09, 2018 21:07 IST