Rishi Sunak has had a torrid first 100 days as Britain's leader. But the Conservatives might not be doomed
London CNN —Earlier this week, Rishi Sunak celebrated his first 100 days as prime minister of the United Kingdom.
In some sense, the fact Sunak was able to reach this milestone at all was reason enough to celebrate.
When he took over from his predecessor Liz Truss last autumn she had only managed 49 days, making her the shortest-serving PM in British history.
So the fact that Sunak, not universally popular among Conservative party members or parliamentarians, has survived 100 days is an achievement in its own right.
But that certainly doesn’t mean his first 100 days have been a success.
Since Sunak took up residence in Downing Street, the UK has seen some of the worst public sector strikes in modern history.
The poll ratings for his ruling Conservative Party, while slightly better than when he first took office, are still consistently 20 points lower than that of the official opposition Labour Party.
Sunak’s main job should be minimizing the anticipated defeat and giving his party the best possible base from which to recover.
The UK’s electoral system could still favor the Conservatives to the extent that the Labour Party is denied a majority – or worse, finishes with fewer seats in parliament than the Conservatives.
At the annual Conservative Party conference in October, CNN spoke to one serving cabinet minister who broke down in tears when discussing the party’s prospects.
If people in Westminster are feeling more confident about their electoral prospects, it helps solidify party unity and discipline.
Ford notes that “politics is volatile right now” and that the Conservative Party has got used to “panicking and pushing the eject button” on leaders.