How does Rishi Sunak compare to other Prime Ministers? Age, net worth, education and experience - in charts

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From the time he’s spent as an MP to the number of government jobs he’s held, we compare the UK’s youngest Prime Minister of modern times against Boris Johnson, Tony Blair and other former PMs.

Rishi Sunak has become the third UK Prime Minister in as many months, storming ahead of his only rival to secure the backing of around 200 Conservative MPs in the Tory leadership race.

The former Chancellor was crowned the winner of the contest yesterday (24 October) and has today accepted an invitation by King Charles to form a government, leaving his predecessor Liz Truss to the confines of pub quiz trivia as the UK’s shortest serving Prime Minister in history.

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Rishi Sunak is the youngest and most inexperienced Prime Minister of the last 50 years (Image: NationalWorld/Mark Hall)Rishi Sunak is the youngest and most inexperienced Prime Minister of the last 50 years (Image: NationalWorld/Mark Hall)
Rishi Sunak is the youngest and most inexperienced Prime Minister of the last 50 years (Image: NationalWorld/Mark Hall) | NationalWorld/Mark Hall

But what of Sunak’s vital statistics? Much has been made of his so-called meteoric rise to the top, having only become a member of parliament in 2015, climbing the ranks in a veritable blink of an eye, in political terms. From his lack of experience in top government jobs to his inordinate personal wealth and the size of the public-school-boy-to-leader-of-the-country club he has joined, we’ve crunched the numbers to bring you Rishi Sunak in charts and facts.

You can also keep up to date on every move the new PM makes in our live blog of firing and hirings as Sunak puts together his first cabinet.

Age: the youngest PM since 1800s

Sunak became the youngest Prime Minister since the 1800s when he assumed office, at just under 42-and-a-half years old. This is even younger than the famously youthful David Cameron, who was 43 and around seven months, and Tony Blair, who was just shy of his 44th birthday.

The youngest Prime Minister in history was William Pitt the Younger, who was 24.

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Public service: seven-and-a-half years in office before becoming PM

Sunak has been in Parliament for an unusually short period of time before assuming the top job by the standards of former Prime Ministers.

He was first elected as the representative for Richmond on 7 May 2015, just seven-and-a-half years ago. That is the shortest spell for at least the last 50 years. David Cameron had been an MP for just under nine years when he won the 2010 general election.

Going back to Edward Heath, who became Prime Minister in 1970, the average time spent as an MP before becoming PM was just over 18 years (excluding Sunak) . James Callagham, who assumed office in April 1976, waited the longest period, spending over 30 years as an MP.

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Experience: senior jobs held before becoming PM

Sunak is extremely inexperienced in government compared to the standard of other former Prime Ministers - perhaps not surprising, given his age and short spell as an MP. He has held only one of the most senior government positions since being elected PM, having served as Chancellor of the Exchequer from 2020 to 2022. Before that he had two other ministerial jobs, first as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Local Government, then Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

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On average, Prime Ministers over the last 50 years have held 6.6 government or shadow government jobs before ascending to the top office (excluding Sunak), and three senior jobs (Secretaries of State or the equivalent).

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The most experienced was James Callaghan, who held seven senior jobs, three of them in the shadow cabinet when Labour was in opposition. He is also the only person in history to have held all four great offices of state, having been Chancellor, Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary before becoming Prime Minister.

David Cameron also only held one top job before becoming PM, serving as shadow Education Secretary. He had three other junior shadow government jobs. Boris Johnson held one senior job as Foreign Secretary, and two junior shadow jobs, although he had also been Mayor of London for eight years.

Personal wealth: the richest PM in British history

It is no secret that Sunak and his wife are incredibly wealthy, entering the Sunday Times Rich List for the first time this year. Their net worth of £730 million placed them as the joint 222nd richest people in the UK. Some reports claim he is richer than King Charles. While this cannot be verified, the Rich List shows their personal wealth supersedes the likes of Mahmud Kamani (owner of online retail empire Boohoo), Princess Haya Bint Al-Hussein (the daughter of King Hussein of Jordan and his third wife Queen Alia) and Jet2 boss Philip Meeson to name only a few.

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His personal wealth has come under scrutiny during his rise to power, with some arguing that he is ‘out of touch’ with the average voter, especially during a cost of living crisis. With the median salary for a full-time UK worker standing at £31,285 per year (according to Office for National Statistics data for 2020/21), it would take 23,334 years to earn Sunak’s wealth, or 36,842 years for a minimum wage worker earning £9.50 an hour on a 40-hour week.

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The couple also have an extensive property portfolio with homes in London, Yorkshire and the US, with Number 10 Downing Street and Chequers about to become his new official abodes.

Background: a private school boy - and a minority

While conventional wisdom might hold that Prime Ministers hail exclusively from the upper echelons of society, Sunak is actually only the fourth since 1970 to have attended a private school, following Johnson and Cameron, who both went to Eton, and Blair, who went to Fettes College. Sunak was educated at the prestigious Winchester College, an independent boarding school in Hampshire.

The majority of PMs since Heath have attended state grammar schools, which are selective state schools. Liz Truss had been the second to attend an ordinary state comprehensive school, alongside Gordon Brown.

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Education: Oxford - the producer of Prime Ministers

Sunak is the ninth Prime Minister to have studied at Oxford University out of 12 to have held office over the last 50 years, although he is the first to have attended Lincoln College.

He is also the fourth to have studied philosophy, politics and economics (PPE) along with Edward Heath, David Cameron and Liz Truss.

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Ethnicity: first Prime Minister of colour

Rishi Sunak’s ascent to Prime Minister marks a number of firsts. He is the first British Asian, person of colour, and Hindu to hold the job. He was born in England to parents of Indian descent, whose parents migrated from East Africa to Britain in the 1960s.

The first MP of Asian descent, David Ochterlony Dyce Sombre, was actually elected in 1841, although he was removed from office less than a year later over alleged corruption, according to the House of Commons Library. He was followed by Dadabhai Naoroji, who became an MP in 1892.

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In modern times, there were only nine MPs of Asian origin elected throughout the 1900s, but Parliament has become a lot more diverse since the turn of the century. Sunak was one of 41 MPs from a minority ethnic background elected in 2015, a more than threefold increase on 2001 when there were just 12. In 2019, there were 65.

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