How did Rishi Sunak vote on Brexit - leave or remain?

The ex-Chancellor is currently favourite to become the next PM

Rishi Sunak pictured at his leadership campaign launch
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Ex-Chancellor Rishi Sunak is currently the front runner in the Tory leadership race. We've done some digging to find out more about his life both inside and outside politics, including how he voted on Brexit.

After Boris Johnson's resignation (opens in new tab), a number of MPs have put themselves forward in the hopes of being the next PM. The public are keen to know more about the politics of the potential future leaders, from whether Liz Truss voted leave or remain (opens in new tab) to did Penny Mordaunt support Brexit (opens in new tab).

But it's Rishi Sunak that's drawing the most curiosity, as the ex-Chancellor leads the race to replace Johnson. Questions around his net worth (opens in new tab), his wife and even his height are doing the rounds, so we've done some digging to find out more about the possible new PM, including his vote on Brexit.

How did Rishi Sunak vote on Brexit - leave or remain?

Rishi Sunak voted to leave the EU, and has almost always voted for pro-Brexit policies in Parliament, including voting to leave without a withdrawal agreement in April 2019.

At the Conservative Party conference in 2021, Sunak gave a speech saying he was told back in 2016 that if he voted for Brexit, his political career would be 'over before it had even begun'. He went on to say "I put my principles first," adding that he was proud to back Brexit because "the agility, flexibility and freedom provided by Brexit will be more valuable in a 21st Century global economy than just proximity to a market."

What has Rishi Sunak said about Brexit?

Announcing his intention to vote leave, Rishi Sunak said "This is a once in a generation opportunity for our country to take back control of its destiny," adding "I believe that our nation will be freer, fairer and more prosperous outside the EU." 

However, in March 2022 the then-chancellor admitted that Brexit is likely to be one of the reasons for the UK's slump in trade. Speaking to the House of Commons Treasury Committee, Sunak said "It was always inevitable that there would be a change in our trade intensity with Europe as a result of a change in the trading relationship. That was expected and unsurprising."

However, he added that it is difficult to 'disentangle' the impact of Brexit from that of the pandemic, adding that the government intends to open up trade with the rest of the world.

His views will further be scrutinised when the leadership TV debates take place (opens in new tab), which will be crucial in gaining support for the vote from the Conservative Party membership, after which the new Prime Minister will be announced (opens in new tab).

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Rishi Sunak: Background Q&As

How tall is Rishi Sunak?

Rishi Sunak is 5ft 6. That makes him roughly six inches shorter than the average man in the UK and one foot and 3 inches shorter than the tallest man in Parliament, Daniel Kawczynski. 

Should he succeed in the leadership contest, Sunak would become the shortest male Prime Minister in the UK since Winston Churchill.

Where is Rishi Sunak from?

Rishi Sunak was born in Southampton on 12 May 1980, making him 42 years old. 

He has also lived in Oxford, where he studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) and California, where he studied at Stanford University for his MBA.

He now lives in Kirby Sigston, near Northallerton, where he has been the MP for Richmond (Yorkshire) since 2015.

Who are Rishi Sunak's parents?

Sunak's father was a GP and his mother ran a local chemist shop, which he worked in when he was young.

His parents, Yashvir and Usha Sunak, were both born in East Africa, and in a video Sunak released to kick of his campaign for Tory leader, he talks about his mother first arriving in the UK.

Who is Rishi Sunak's wife?

Rishi Sunak is married to Akshata Murthy. They met while studying at Stanford and got married in 2009.

Murthy is the daughter of Narayana Murthy, one of India’s richest men, and was recently embroiled in scandal after it emerged she had potentially avoided up to £20m in UK tax by being non-domiciled. She has since said she will now pay UK tax on overseas income.

Does Rishi Sunak have children?

Sunak and Murthy have two daughters, Krishna and Anoushka. Though he keeps his daughters out of the public eye, Sunak says on his website that his two girls keep him and his wife "busy and entertained."

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Ellie Hutchings
Ellie Hutchings

Ellie joined Goodto as a Junior Features Writer in 2022 after finishing her Master’s in Magazine Journalism at Nottingham Trent University. Previously, she completed successful work experience placements with BBC Good Food, The Big Issue and the Nottingham Post, and freelanced as an arts and entertainment writer alongside her studies. In 2021, Ellie graduated from Cardiff University with a first-class degree in Journalism.