Opinion: U.K. PM Booted Overnight: Movers Clear No. 10 by 5 A.M.

Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Getty
Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Getty

So let’s talk about something the Brits never talk about: the brutal way British prime ministers are evicted from Number 10 Downing Street. One day you’re the leader of the United Kingdom, the grand Wensleydale cheese, and then suddenly you’re out faster than you can say Great British Bake Off.

Here in the United States, of course, we have this grandiose inauguration ceremony. There’s pomp, there’s circumstance, there’s Lady Gaga in a golden bird costume. But in the U.K., the transition between prime ministers is more like an eviction on Judge Judy. One minute, Conservative Rishi Sunak is boasting about his special relationship with Joe Biden, the next he’s frantically packing up his bust of Winston Churchill because the new guy is moving in. And it all happens tonight, on July fourth.

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Why so abrupt? It’s British efficiency at its finest, a testament to a stiff upper lip and “keep calm and carry on.” The moment a new prime minister is chosen, they need to hit the ground running. There’s no time for lengthy farewells or transitional periods. The old PM is officially out with little more than a brisk wave and a “cheerio!” Then the moving vans and a frantic reshuffling of the kitchen cabinets.

So, spare a thought for Sunak, who will lose his home at Number 10 in the early hours of Friday morning. Happily, he and his wife Akshata Murty—whose father co-founded Infosys, current market cap $81 billion–have four more homes to choose from.

Joanna Coles is the Chief Content Officer of the Daily Beast and grew up in the U.K.

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