RISHI Sunak will become the UK’s new prime minister after managing to avoid a leadership contest.

Penny Mordaunt had put herself forward as a candidate but dropped out of the race in the final minutes before nominations closed as she struggled for backers. 

As Sunak prepares to move into Number 10, we have taken a look at some of his worst moments during his previous leadership campaign and his time as chancellor under Boris Johnson.

The non-domicile scandal

It emerged in April this year that Sunak’s multi-millionaire wife Akshata Murty was claiming non-domicile status – a scheme that allows people to avoid tax on foreign earnings.

This allowed her to save millions of pounds in tax on dividends collected from her family’s Indian-based IT business empire.

She received about £11.5 million in annual dividends from her stake in Infosys but, under UK tax laws, her non-dom status meant she didn’t have to pay tax on the dividend payment, while UK resident taxpayers would pay a 38.1% tax on such a payout.

His American green card

Around the same time as the non-dom scancal, Sunak admitted to having held a US green card during his time as chancellor.

Green card holders must pay US tax on their worldwide income and pledge the US is their forever home.

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Sunak held the green card for nearly two years after becoming chancellor, when those serving in foreign government are not compatible with lawful permanent resident status.

Sunak’s spokesman at the time said he had filed US tax returns while he held the card – which he no longer holds – adding that “no rules were broken”.

He thought Darlington was in Scotland

Scots will find it hard to forget the time Sunak mistakenly described the County Durham town of Darlington as being in Scotland.

The National: Rishi Sunak lost out to Liz Truss in the last Tory leadership contest Rishi Sunak lost out to Liz Truss in the last Tory leadership contest (Image: PA)

The former chancellor was speaking to The Spectator when he was asked for his stance on the Union and whether as Prime Minister he would spend more time north of the border.

Sunak said that he took the Union “seriously” before going on to reference setting up a government office for the Treasury in Darlington.

Unfortunately for Sunak, Darlington sits 87 miles from Gretna Green and 102 miles from Berwick-upon-Tweed, the most northerly town in England and closest to the Scottish Border.

Taking money from deprived areas

During his previous leadership campaign – when he lost to Liz Truss – Sunak gave a speech to members in the wealthy town of Tunbridge Wells in Kent.

The National: Rishi Sunak enjoyed himself as he spoke to members in Tunbridge Wells Rishi Sunak enjoyed himself as he spoke to members in Tunbridge Wells (Image: PA)

In footage obtained by the New Statesman, he admitted taking money from deprived urban areas in order to give it to other more well-off parts of the UK.

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He said: “I managed to start changing the funding formulas to make sure areas like this [Tunbridge Wells] are getting the funding they deserved.

“We inherited a bunch of formulas from Labour that shoved all the funding into deprived urban areas and that needed to be undone. I started the work of undoing that.”

Spending taxpayers' cash to ‘repair his image’

In May, it emerged Sunak was splashing an extra £500,000 of taxpayers' money on focus groups and polling, according to Treasury contracts.

This sparked claims he was trying to “repair his image”.

Researchers were hired to carry out two focus groups and one nationwide online poll until February next year.

A contract had already been awarded to Tory-run PR firm Hanbury Strategy – worth £81,600 – which the government said was to “inform immediate policy-making decisions and communications” after Covid struck in 2020.

Two further contracts worth £205,680 and £552,862 were given the Hanbury, again to test public opinion on the Treasury’s response to the crisis.

But this contract with Deltapoll made no mention of the pandemic.

Labour’s Angela Rayner said: “This is little more than a taxpayer-funded vanity exercise for a chancellor desperate to repair his image.”