Footage emerges of young Rishi Sunak saying his friends are 'not working class'

Watch: Resurfaced documentary clip captures Rishi Sunak suggesting he doesn't have 'working class' friends

Footage has emerged of a young Rishi Sunak saying his friends are “not working class”.

The clip has gone viral on social media following Sunak’s announcement he will be standing to be prime minister via the Conservative Party leadership contest.

In a clip, said to be taken from a BBC documentary Middle Classes: Their Rise & Sprawl from 2001 - when he would have been a 21-year-old Oxford University student - Sunak corrects himself when he says he has working class friends.

“I have friends who are aristocrats, I have friends who are upper class, I have friends who are working class… well, not working class.”

Footage has emerged of a young Rishi Sunak saying his friends are “not working class”. (Getty Images/BBC)
Footage has emerged of a young Rishi Sunak saying his friends are “not working class”. (Getty Images/BBC)

He goes on: “But I mix and match and I go to see kids from an inner city state school and tell them to apply to Oxford, and talk to them about people like me.

“And then I shock them at the end of challenging them for half an hour and tell them I was at Winchester, and my best friend is from Eton or whatever, and then they're like: ‘Oh.'”

Sunak’s reference to Winchester is Winchester College, the public school he attended before Oxford.

Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak (R) listens as Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks at the start of a cabinet meeting in Downing Street in London on July 5, 2022. - Britain's finance minister Rishi Sunak and health minister Sajid Javid both on Tuesday announced their resignations, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson came under fire for his handling of a sleaze scandal involving a senior colleague. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / POOL / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Rishi Sunak listens to Boris Johnson at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, hours before he resigned as chancellor. (AFP via Getty Images)

Clips only showing Sunak’s first sentence ending with “well, not working class” have been viewed millions of times on Twitter since Saturday.

It was seized by Labour frontbencher David Lammy, who wrote: “Rishi Sunak, on camera, saying his friends are aristocrats and members of the upper class, ‘not working class’. He would be a prime minister for the few not the many.”

While the clip is unlikely to damage Sunak’s prospects in the Tory leadership contest, it will certainly add to wider questions about how he can relate to normal people struggling in the cost of living crisis.

File photo dated 09/02/22 of Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak alongside his wife Akshata Murthy, as the Chancellor has defended his wife after it emerged she holds the tax-reducing non-domiciled status, as it was reported his allies have accused No 10 of being responsible for the briefings.
Rishi Sunak alongside his wife Akshata Murty in February. (PA)

Sunak is extremely wealthy: making millions from a career in finance before becoming an MP in 2015. His wife Akshata Murty holds shares in Infosys, the IT company founded by her billionaire father. Together, they have a fortune of £730 million, according to The Sunday Times Rich List.

As chancellor earlier this year, Sunak’s popularity plummeted amid criticism of his package of measures to deal with the cost of living crisis, which many, including Tory MPs, said didn’t go far enough.

It then emerged his wife Murty held non-domiciled status, allowing her to reduce her UK tax bill. This was legal but following the ensuing scandal, Murty pledged to pay UK tax on her worldwide income.

Watch: Rishi Sunak's video outlining leadership bid

Sunak had initially shot to popularity through his furlough scheme at the onset of the COVID pandemic, which is credited with saving millions of jobs.

According to the Oddschecker website, Sunak is currently favourite to win the leadership contest following his announcement he would stand on Friday, three days after dramatically resigning as chancellor and fatally weakening Boris Johnson’s position as PM.

Read more: Sajid Javid: I wasn't naive to believe Boris Johnson over Partygate

In a slickly-produced campaign video, Sunak begins by reflecting on his upbringing: “Let me tell you a story," he says, "about a young woman, almost a lifetime ago, who boarded a plane armed with hope for a better life and the love of her family. This young woman came to Britain, where she managed to find a job, but it took her nearly a year to save enough money for her husband and children to follow her.

“One of those children was my mother, aged 15. My mum studied hard and got the qualifications to become a pharmacist. She met my dad, an NHS GP, and they settled in Southampton.

“Their story didn’t end there, but that is where my story began.”