I went without Sky TV as a child


By Becky MortonPolitical reporter

ITV News Rishi SunakITV News

Rishi Sunak has said he went without “lots of things” as a child, including Sky TV.

In an interview with ITV News, the prime minister, who attended the fee-paying Winchester College, said his parents “wanted to put everything into our education and that was a priority”.

Mr Sunak and his wife Akshata Murty are estimated to have a personal fortune of £651m.

Labour has sought to use Mr Sunak’s wealth to portray him as out of touch and disconnected from ordinary people during a cost-of-living crisis.

Asked if he had ever gone without something, the PM told ITV: “Yes, I mean, my family emigrated here with very little. And that’s how I was raised. I was raised with the values of hard work.”

Mr Sunak’s father was a GP, while his mother ran her own pharmacy.

Asked what sort of things had to be sacrificed, he said: “Lots of things.”

Pressed for an example, he said: “All sorts of things like lots of people. There’ll be all sorts of things that I would’ve wanted as a kid that I couldn’t have. Famously, Sky TV, so that was something that we never had growing up actually.”

He added: “What is more important is my values and how I was raised. And I was raised in a household where hard work was really important.”

Sky Television was launched in 1989, when Mr Sunak was eight years old. Within a year of its launch Sky claimed to reach one million households in the UK, reaching six million subscribers by the end of the 1990s.

Sky’s channels were initially free to anyone who paid for a dish and set-top box, with subscription packages introduced a few years later.

Mr Sunak worked as a hedge fund manager before he became an MP and was the first front-line politician to feature in the Sunday Times’ annual rich list in its 35-year history.

However, most of the family’s wealth comes from his wife’s shareholding in IT giant Infosys, which was co-founded by her father.

Ms Murty’s finances were thrust into the spotlight in 2022, when Mr Sunak was chancellor, when it emerged she had non-dom status, which allows people living in the UK to avoid paying UK tax on money made abroad.

She later said she would start paying UK tax on her overseas earnings.

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The ITV interview, which is being broadcast in full later, was recorded on 6 June, after the PM attended D-Day commemorations in France.

Mr Sunak faced criticism for leaving the event to mark the 80th anniversary of the Normandy landings early.

He attended a British event at Ver sur Mer but left before an international commemoration attended by world leaders including US President Joe Biden, with Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron deputising for him.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer stayed at the event until the end.

Following a backlash, Mr Sunak apologised on Friday, saying that “on reflection” it was a mistake not to attend the whole event.

It later emerged that on his return to the UK, the PM filmed the interview with ITV.

Mr Sunak said his itinerary for D-Day had been set “weeks ago”.

In a clip released by ITV News, which appears to show the PM chatting to journalist Paul Brand before the formal interview starts, Mr Sunak apologises for being late, saying the event in Normandy “ran over”.

“It was incredible. But it just ran over,” he said, adding that he had met “lots of veterans” and “spoke to almost everyone that was there”.

It comes after Mr Sunak launched the Conservative Party manifesto on Tuesday, with a promise to cut taxes further.

He warned against handing Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer “a blank cheque, when he hasn’t said what he’ll buy with it or how much it’s going to cost you”.

Meanwhile, Defence Secretary Grant Shapps has suggested the Tories are “fighting for every single seat in this country” to avoid Labour securing a “supermajority” even bigger than the 1997 landslide under Tony Blair.

He told Times Radio that if “power was in someway unchecked, it would be very bad news for people in this country”.

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