Rishi Sunak today began his first full week as Prime Minister by struggling to shove a wodge of £20 notes into a Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal tin watched by his doting wife and their pet dog.
Mr Sunak was supported outside No 10 by Akshata Murty, in her first public appearance with her husband since he won the Tory leadership battle last Monday.He was the only candidate to achieve the required 100-plus MP backers — helping him avoid a vote amongst party members.
The couple, estimated to be worth £730million, were also with Nova, their fox red labrador retriever, who also received a poppy on its collar.
After briefly struggling with putting his cash into a Poppy Appeal tin, Mr Sunak then put a poppy on his wife’s jumper before she reciprocated.The PM then put a purple collar with a poppy attached around Nova’s neck before giving him a treat.
He tweeted afterwards: ‘There is no greater sacrifice than that of those who lay down their lives in service of their country.So during this year’s Poppy Appeal, please give generously to honour our veterans — past and present — and those who continue to protect us today’.
Ms Murty, who has a £690million stake in her father’s IT company Infosys, was seen on Saturday overseeing the family’s belongings being moved into No 10, including beds and other furniture.
The Sunaks have moved back into Downing Street after he quit as Chancellor to help bring down Boris Johnson. The family got Nova last year because Rishi and Akshata’s children Krishna and Anoushka begged them to get a dog after they took a liking to Mr Johnson’s Jack Russell Dilyn.
The 17-month-old dog is said to be a fan of roast chicken and napping in his owner’s red boxes.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his wife Akshata Murty after they bought poppies, and a special ‘poppy’ dog collar for their pet Labrador Nova, from representatives of the Royal British Legion at 10 Downing Street
Mr Sunak carries what appears to be one or more £20 notes, watched by Nova, the family dog
Rishi Sunak tends to his dog Nova, putting a collar with a poppy attached to it around his labrador’s neck
The Prime Minister wrestles with a wodge of cash that he put in a poppy appeal tin this morning watched by his wife and their family pet
Akshata Murty, wife of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, puts a poppy pin on him as they meet volunteers from the Royal British Legion outside Number 10
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his wife Akshata Murty pose with volunteers from the Royal British Legion outside Number 10 Downing Street
It is his first full week as Prime Minister — facing questions about his decision to bring Suella Braverman back as Home Secretary, calls for a U-turn over a climate summit snub and concerns about national security at the heart of Government.
Then Chancellor Rishi Sunak welcomed Labrador Nova into his family last July, at eight weeks old
The Prime Minister is considering reversing his decision not to attend the United Nations climate conference in Egypt next week, with environment minister Mark Spencer saying Mr Sunak would go ‘if his diary allows’.
While Mr Sunak is focusing on domestic issues, including preparations for the November 17 autumn statement, he also faces political challenges including the backlash over the reappointment of Ms Braverman.
The Government’s climate tsar Alok Sharma said he was ‘disappointed’ by the decision not to attend the Cop27 summit, while Tory former chancellor George Osborne asked why Mr Sunak would ‘trash’ the party’s record on the environment.
With US President Joe Biden expected to attend, and reports suggesting Mr Sunak’s arch-rival Boris Johnson could go to the summit, the Prime Minister is weighing up whether to go.
Mr Spencer said the possibility of Mr Johnson going was not a ‘consideration’ for the Prime Minister.
‘I think, actually, he’ll be looking at how much he’s got in his inbox,’ he told LBC.
Mr Sunak, his wife Akshata Murty, their daughters Krishna, 11, and Anoushka, nine (pictured at a campaigning event in Grantham in July).His daughters were said to be desperate to have a dog after spending time with Dilyn
‘But I think the fact that Boris is thinking of going is a demonstration of how seriously the Conservative Party and the Conservative Government takes these things.’
Mr Spencer told Sky News he would like to see the Prime Minister go to Cop27 ‘if he’s got time’ but ‘he’ll make that call and I’m sure it’ll be the right one’.
Meanwhile, the way Tory ministers have handled sensitive information remained in the spotlight.
Ms Braverman was forced to quit as Home Secretary under Liz Truss after she emailed a potentially market-sensitive draft written ministerial statement to veteran backbench Tory Sir John Hayes, a fellow Right-winger, from a personal email account.
But less than a week later she was back in the role in Mr Sunak’s first Cabinet.
In another information security issue, it emerged in the Mail on Sunday that Ms Truss’ personal mobile phone was hacked by Russian agents while she was foreign secretary.
Mr Spencer said Ms Truss ‘clearly was hacked’ but suggested all ministers used personal phones even if there was ‘some little man in China’ listening in.
‘We all talk on personal phones, don’t we, you know?I ring my wife, maybe there’s some little man in China listening to the conversations between me and my wife.
‘But, you know, you’ve just got to be careful about what information you use on which phone and you get a lot of help and support from the security services on that.’
Labour will seek to question Ms Braverman about her conduct and issues relating to national security in the Commons, while the Home Secretary is also in the spotlight over conditions at the Manston migrant processing centre in Kent.
Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said full details around the breach of the ministerial code which led to Ms Braverman’s initial resignation needed to be set out to MPs.
She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘There is a blunt immediate question, which is how many other security breaches have there been? How many other security lapses has she been involved in? And that’s the most important question.’
Another issue dating to Ms Truss’ chaotic seven-week period in charge could also come back to cause trouble in Tory ranks, with Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle expected to receive a report on the stormy scenes in Parliament on the evening before her resignation.
Tory MPs were reportedly manhandled in the voting lobbies as Ms Truss’ administration forced them to oppose a Labour motion on fracking, events which contributed to the collapse in support for the prime minister.
On Saturday Ms Murty wore fluffy slippers as she oversaw movers unpacking the family’s furniture into No10.
A casually dressed Ms Murty, wearing grey leggings, a light grey jumper and a black fluffy gilet as well as her £42 White Company faux fur sliders, oversaw workers from Bishop’s Move unloading what seemed to be an upright piano, a double mattress and a barbecue, as well as smaller boxes of possessions.
The Sunak family has chosen to return to the No10 flat — where they lived while Mr Sunak was Chancellor of the Exchequer — instead of moving into the more spacious flat in No11 as has been the custom for prime ministers since 1997, when Sir Tony Blair swept to power.
As two moving vans parked outside the house this morning, the newly appointed Chairman of the Conservative Party Nadhim Zahawi was also photographed walking past in a matching navy tracksuit and a green baseball cap.
Yesterday, Ms Murty, a British-born Indian heiress and fashion designer, was spotted leaving the couple’s London home sporting a black baseball cap, a white long-sleeved sweatshirt, black tracksuit bottoms and black sliders.
Akshata Murty, looking casual in fur sliders, grey leggings, a light grey jumper and a black fluffy gilet, was photographed outside Downing Street this morning as she prepared to move back into No10
Ms Murty, a British-born Indian heiress and fashion designer, was pictured walking into No10 for the first time since her husband became Prime Minister this week
The Prime Minister’s wife talks to workers from removal firm Bishop’s Move as they prepare to take what looks like an upright piano off the lorry and into the house
One photograph shows movers carrying a double mattress through the iconic black Number 10 door