LONDON — Rishi Sunak has denied being “tetchy” — insisting he just gets “frustrated” when things don’t work out as he hopes.
The British PM has been accused by both critics and allies of being bad-tempered in recent weeks.
“I don’t understand that … There’s nothing tetchy,” the prime minister told the Spectator magazine. “But I am passionate.”
The “tetchy” charge accelerated after Sunak’s diplomatic spat with the Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis. Sunak abruptly canceled a meeting with Mitsotakis in November, claiming his Greek counterpart reneged on a promise not to speak publicly about the disputed Parthenon Sculptures during his U.K. trip.
But speaking this week in his Spectator interview, Sunak pointed to his ill-fated first leadership campaign — where he faced daily scrutiny on the way to a widely-expected defeat at the hands of Liz Truss — as an example of his ability to keep his temper.
“That wasn’t an easy time for me, I was taking a lot of criticism and flak. But I just fought hard for what I believed in — every day, seven days a week for six weeks,” he said. “I’m the same person now, I am fighting for the things I believe in. There’s nothing tetchy.”
“But I am passionate. When things are not working the way I want them to work, of course I’m going to be frustrated,” he admitted.