Here’s Where Prime Minister Rishi Sunak Stands On The UK’s Key Issues

From his views on LGBTQ+ matters to his plans to combat the cost of living crisis.

by Sophie McEvoy
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 25: British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak makes a statement after taking offi...
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images News/Getty Images

After weeks of even more discontent within the Tory party, Liz Truss resigned on Oct. 20, making her the shortest-serving prime minister in British history. Following the second Conservative leadership election this year, Richmond (Yorks) MP Rishi Sunak became the UK’s new Prime Minister. Having already served as Chancellor of the Exchequer in Boris Johnson’s government, Sunak told The Sunday Telegraph that he wanted to be a “transformative” leader and one that would “restore trust, rebuild the economy, and reunite the country.” Sunak has plenty of pressing matters to contend with, particularly how his government will handle the cost of living crisis, in addition to NHS reform, immigration policies, and LGBTQ+ matters.

But what does Sunak think of these issues? We take a look at his key stances, below.

Cost Of Living

In his first official speech as the UK prime minister, Sunak acknowledged the country was “facing a profound economic crisis” and that there were “difficult decisions” to contend with. But he pledged “to place economic stability and confidence at the heart of this government’s agenda.” During the leadership campaign in the summer, he told the Financial Times that the most “pressing economic priority” for his government is “to grip inflation.” According to reports, Sunak may take a “tough stance” on public sector pay to “avoid a wage spiral” and may “cut funding for public services” as part of austerity measures.

In Sunak’s cabinet reshuffle, the recently-appointed Jeremy Hunt stays on as Chancellor. He was brought in by Truss shortly before her departure. Hunt swiftly overhauled Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng’s disastrous mini-budget.

Please note: Here’s how to access financial resources and support amid the cost of living crisis.


Sunak strongly supports imposing stricter rules within the UK’s asylum system, in addition to backing the controversial Rwandan deportation policy. This was clear in his appointment of Suella Braverman as the new Home Secretary.

Writing in The Sunday Telegraph, Sunak pledged that in his first 100 days as prime minister, he will implement a “ten-point plan” to tackle immigration, promising to “fundamentally reform” asylum laws. Sunak said the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) “cannot inhibit our ability to properly control our borders and we shouldn’t let it,” and wants Britain to be “given control of the number of refugees we accept each year.” Sunak said he will do “whatever it takes to implement” the Rwanda policy “and pursue additional similar partnerships.”

LGBTQ+ Matters

In the run-up to becoming prime minister, Sunak expressed concerning views about transgender issues. Speaking to grassroots Conservative supporters on July 29, 2022, Sunak described the 2010 Equality Act as a “trojan horse that has allowed every kind of woke nonsense to permeate public life” that has rewritten “the English language so we can’t even use words like ‘man’, ‘woman,’ or ‘mother’ without being told we’re offending someone.”

Under the Equality Act, self-identification is protected under law. However, it seems that as prime minister, Sunak wants to change this with The Telegraph suggesting he wants “self-identification” to “not carry any weight in law.”

In April 2022, Sunak expressed his feelings that “biology is critically important as we think about some of those very practical questions” in a Q&A with Mumsnet, adding that respect should be given to the “views of women who are anxious that some things they have fought really hard for and rights that are important to them and will be eroded.”

All this is despite Sunak telling the LGBT Conservatives group on July 15, 2022, that “prejudice against trans people is wrong” and that he “would strive to foster a space in which people feel safe, able to explore complex issues and find a path forward through common ground” when asked what he would do about transphobia in the Conservative party. He pledged to “continue to be an ally” for the LGBTQ+ community, and to “make sure that none of you ever feel the need to hide, but can instead live life with hope, joy, and above all, pride.”


Like Truss, Sunak hasn’t been very vocal about his stance on abortion. He’s abstained from nearly all major votes on abortion rights since becoming an MP in 2015, as the Independent notes. However, he did cast one pro-abortion vote in April 2021 when he voted in favour of giving the Northern Ireland secretary powers to commission abortion services in the country. But, like Truss, Sunak abstained on a parliamentary vote on installing buffer zones around abortion clinics.

Climate Change

Sunak is committed to maintaining the government’s goal of reaching net zero by 2050, and was the only candidate in the first leadership race to do so. And while he wants to keep the ban on building new onshore wind farms, Sunak intends to begin a “massive expansion in offshore wind,” per Sky News, so that Britain can be self-sufficient in its energy production by 2045.

Unlike Truss, Sunak will stay true to the 2019 manifesto, “which was pretty good” in terms of tackling climate change, according to Shaun Spiers, the executive director of the environmental think tank Green Alliance. However, Sunak is “committed to driving up North Sea gas production” and supports fracking so long as “local communities support it.”

Despite his promises on renewable energy, Sunak has been criticised for not putting “clean economy and climate action right at the heart of his mission” when he was chancellor. “You can’t solve climate change… with a half-hearted approach to climate action — you need to be all in,” said Ed Matthew, the campaigns director at independent think tank E3G.

It’s worth noting that Sunak has generally voted against measures to prevent climate change in Parliament.

Industrial Action

Sunak pledged to ban strikes on essential public services during his leadership campaign, like railway workers, NHS staff, and teachers. This was part of the Conservative party’s 2019 manifesto, something that Sunak has made very clear that he will put into practice as prime minister.

NHS Reform

In a campaign video during the first Conservative leadership race, Sunak described the current NHS backlog as “the biggest public service emergency.” He pledged to make this his “number one public service priority” and will create a “backlogs task force” to help “triage and treat patients” in a faster, more efficient way. Sunak is against privatisation, saying that those being forced to use “money they can’t really afford to go private” due to wait times and backlogs were dealing with “privatisation by the back door.”

Writing in The Sunday Telegraph, Sunak pledged to introduce a temporary £10 fine to NHS patients who miss GP appointments. “If we have people not showing up and taking those slots away from people who need it, that’s not right,” Sunak wrote. “I’m all for a healthcare system that’s free at the point of use, but not one that’s free at the point of misuse.”

The newly-appointed prime minister said he wanted to “eliminate one-year waits” by September 2024, six months earlier than the government’s current target. Sunak also wants to ensure “that everyone who has been waiting more than 18 weeks for a procedure is contacted by their trust within 100 days.”