London: UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has spoken about his “enormous pride and admiration” for everything his father-in-law, Infosys co-founder Narayana Murthy, has achieved.
The Indian-origin finance minister, who is married to Murthy’s daughter Akshata, was speaking in reference to recent attacks on his wife and her family over the continued presence of Infosys in Moscow amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict.
“I think it’s totally fine for people to take shots at me. It’s fair game. I’m the one sitting here and that’s what I signed up for,” Sunak told the BBC’s ‘Newscast’ podcast Thursday.
“It’s very upsetting and, I think, wrong for people to try and come at my wife, and you know, beyond that actually, with regard to my father-in-law, for whom I have nothing but enormous pride and admiration for everything that he’s achieved. And no amount of attempted smearing is going to make me change that because he’s wonderful and has achieved a huge amount, as I said, I’m enormously proud of him,” he said.
He also referenced the recent Oscars 2022 on-stage clash between Hollywood stars Will Smith and Chris Rock after the latter made a joke targeting Smith’s wife.
“On reflection, both Will Smith and me having our wives attacked – at least I didn’t get up and slap anybody, which is good,” he said, alluding to Smith’s slap captured live during the Academy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles, US, over the weekend.
It follows questions about the Russian presence of Infosys against the backdrop of stringent sanctions being imposed on President Vladimir Putin’s regime by the UK.
Sunak, who as Chancellor has issued a call for all UK companies to “think very carefully” about any investments in Russia over the ongoing Ukrainian conflict, has previously said on the issue that the operations of individual companies was a matter for them.
During his BBC radio interview this week, he was also questioned about the cost of living crisis in the UK with rising energy costs and Opposition criticism of last month’s mini-Budget not going far enough to help poor households.
“I’m confident in what we’ve done. I know it’s tough for people,” Sunak told the BBC.
“We’re facing a very difficult situation with the price of things going up and I want to do what we can to ameliorate some of that, but I’m also honest with people that we can’t ameliorate all of it, sadly,” he said.
The minister added that he did not think increasing government borrowing to give households more help “would be sensible”, arguing: “Actually, it has the risk of making the problem worse when you’ve got inflation and interest rates going up.
“Some of these things are difficult. They’re certainly unpopular. But they’re responsible and will help us in the long-term and I’m not going to deviate from that just for some short-term popularity gain,” he said.