I’m a ‘massive fan’ of Christmas music, says Rishi Sunak

Rishi Sunak and his family wish his constituents a happy Christmas
Rishi Sunak and his family wish his constituents a happy Christmas - Rishi Sunak / Facebook

Rishi Sunak has said he is a “massive fan” of Christmas music and revealed he started listening to festive songs in November.

The Prime Minister paid tribute to Shane MacGowan – the frontman of the Pogues, who are best known for their seasonal classic Fairytale of New York – after his death aged 65 on Thursday.

Asked for his thoughts on MacGowan’s death as he travelled to the Cop28 climate change summit, Mr Sunak said: “Well, I am a fan of Christmas music in general, which is the main song obviously of his [which] I know.

“I am a massive fan of Christmas music, as I think I was outed by… [the journalist] Tim Shipman? Someone outed me on that when I was chancellor, because they accidentally walked in on me singing Michael Bublé in advance of some interview, I remember.

“So I had the Christmas music on about two weeks ago and everyone shouted at me, and then I’ve done it in private. Now it’s public, now I can do that in public. Come on, we did the Christmas market in Downing Street today! It’s fine, it’s all very good, it’s all very good.”

Mr Sunak was joined by representatives from businesses and charities on Thursday as he switched on the Christmas lights outside No 10, with Downing Street transformed into a Christmas market for the afternoon.

A good name for Christmas cards

He also joked that he was grateful to his mother for giving him a short first name in order to save him time while writing “thousands” of Christmas cards to members of the public.

“Because I do a lot of Christmas card signing in this job… I sign all these cards and I do it in the night, and basically that is my time. I put the Christmas music on and I just sit there and sign away, and I’ve been doing that for about 10 days already.

“[I sign] thousands, yes, but I called my mum last year when I did it and I said: ‘Thank God you named me a name that only has five letters in it.’

“If it was a 10-letter thing, this would probably have taken twice as long. So lots of Christmas music, including [Shane’s], over the past… It’s on every Christmas playlist, is that song. So great loss, great loss.”

Fairytale of New York is a duet with the Irish singer Kirsty MacColl who died in a speed-boating accident aged 41 in 2000.

It was first released in 1987, when it reached number two in the UK Christmas charts, and is widely anticipated to top the hit parade this winter in the wake of MacGowan’s death.