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Will Rishi Sunak's luck hold? Photo: © TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images

Will Rishi Sunak’s luck hold?

Our big-spending chancellor has been universally admired during the pandemic. But as the debt piles up that might not last

By Vernon Bogdanor   March 2021

Quietly and almost without anyone noticing, Rishi Sunak has become the second most powerful politician in the land. Less than two years ago, he was Parliamentary Under Secretary for Local Government. When he was made Chancellor of the Exchequer last February he was 39 years old—the third youngest chancellor in British history after Randolph Churchill in 1886 and George Osborne in 2010. The nearest comparison perhaps is with the rise of John Major. But while Major was 10 years in the Commons before he became chancellor, Sunak entered No 11 just four and a half years after becoming an MP. In addition, Major had been an assiduous Young Conservative, local councillor and chair of a housing committee. Sunak had no such grassroots background, nor had he been a special adviser or parliamentary researcher, two standard routes into the Commons.

In 1852, when Disraeli was offered the Exchequer, he…

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