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- A video of the British Prime Minister speaking to a homeless man at a soup kitchen has gone viral.
- Sunak asked the man if he works in business, or if it’s something “he’d like to get into.”
- The deputy leader of the opposition party said the video was “excruciating.”
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has been criticized over a viral video of him speaking to a homeless man while volunteering at a soup kitchen on Friday.
The clip shows Sunak serving breakfast to the man and engaging in a conversation with him. After asking if he agreed that the shelter was a “great place,” the man asked whether Sunak was “sorting the economy out.”
Sunak responded that he is trying to, and went on to say, “Do you have a… Do you work in a business?”
“No, I’m homeless. I’m actually a homeless person,” the man responded, adding that he is interested in business and the financial industry.
—Adam Bienkov (@AdamBienkov) December 24, 2022
“I used to work in finance, actually,” Sunak responded. The pair then speak briefly about the finance industry, and Sunak asks him if banking or finance is something he’d “like to get into.”
“I wouldn’t mind, but I don’t know, I’d like to get through Christmas first,” the man responded.
The clip, which has been viewed over 10 million times on Twitter, was originally posted by ITV News on December 23, but it appears to have blown up the next day, when it was reposted by Adam Bienkov, the political editor of Byline Times, who labeled it “utterly bizarre.”
Angela Rayner, the deputy leader of the opposition Labour Party, also shared the video and called the interaction “excruciating,” as did journalist Ian Fraser. Comedian Nish Kumar simply tweeted, “What.”
Jess Philips, a Labour MP, also tweeted about the video, writing: “Rishi Sunak cosplaying as a charity worker as homelessness and poverty soured under his stewardship of the economy and while his government drags its feet on the regulation against those profiteering from homelessness and vulnerability is as cringe worthy as expected.”
A number of people tweeted that they thought the video showed the prime minister, whose family has an estimated net worth of $825 million, was out of touch with the lives of average Britons. Other viewers defended Sunak against the criticism and praised him for not “patronizing” the man because he was homeless.
Sunak is a former investment banker who became the UK’s prime minister in October after being elected as leader of the Conservative Party. He formerly served as Chancellor of the Exchequer, the government’s chief finance minister.
The interaction took place amid a growing cost of living crisis across the UK, as energy bills rise and inflation has reached a 40-year high.