Rishi Sunak under fire for asking homeless man if he's a businessman - 'Excruciating!'

Prime Minister asks homeless man at shelter if he'd like to get into a career in finance

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RISHI Sunak has come under fire for what critics called an “excruciating” exchange with a homeless man.

In footage from his visit to a homeless shelter in London on Friday, the Prime Minister can be heard asking a man he is serving food to: “Do you work in business?”

The man, called Dean, replies: “No, I’m homeless. I’m actually a homeless person.”

Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner tweeted the ITV clip and wrote: “Excruciating.”

The awkward exchange began when the multimillionaire Prime Minister was serving breakfast to the homeless man, who asked him: “Are you sorting the economy out?”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at the homeless shelter
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at the homeless shelter

Dean then said he was interested in business, prompting Mr Sunak to ask him what kind of business.

When Dean replied finance, the Prime Minister - a former hedge fund manager - said: “I used to work in finance, actually.”

Mr Sunak then asked: “Is that something you’d like to get into?” “

Yeah I wouldn’t mind. But, I don’t know, I’d like to get through Christmas first,” the homeless man said.

Mr Sunak asked: “What’s your plan, what are you doing this weekend?” Dean replied that he was hoping the homeless charity St Mungo’s could help him get into temporary accommodation “so I’m not on the street”.

Another Labour MP, Bill Esterson, said the exchange demonstrated Mr Sunak was “out of touch”.

Rishi Sunak poses at a petrol station in another PR gaffe from earlier this year
Rishi Sunak poses at a petrol station in another PR gaffe from earlier this year

Sunak used the visit to highlight that the Government had pledged £2bn to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping over three years.

A No 10 source said the shelter provides help for all vulnerable members of the community and not just homeless people and that the Prime Minister had spoken to a variety of people, some in employment and some out of employment.

It's not the first time Mr Sunak has committed a PR gaffe. Following the Spring Statement earlier this year - in which the former Chancellor cut fuel duty - he was photographed in his work clothes at a petrol station filling up a £12,000 Kia Rio, which he had to admit was not his.

During the same stunt he tried to pay for the petrol and a can of coke with his contactless card, but held it up to a bar scanner instead of the card machine.