IN terms of meteoric rises, there is none more stellar than that of the Richmond MP Rishi Sunak. Just seven months ago, he was a junior housing minister; now he is the second most powerful politician the country in charge of the nation’s finances who will present his first Budget within three weeks.

It is an extraordinary rise. He was born and grew up in Southampton, the grandson of Indian immigrants, and the son of a GP and a pharmacist. He went to Winchester College, Oxford University and then Stanford University where he met his future wife, Akshata, who is the daughter of Indian billionaire, NR Narayana Murthy, co-founder of the Infosys technology company.

They married in 2009 in a two-day Hindu ceremony in Bangalore, attended by Indian cricketer Anil Kumble.

Mr Sunak, 39, made his own fortune in finance, working for Goldman Sachs and as a hedge fund manager – a Radio 4 profile of him this week referred to him as “by far the richest member of the British Cabinet” – before arriving out of the blue in North Yorkshire in late 2014 in the hope of winning the safest seat in the country which William Hague was vacating.

There was a natural local successor in Wendy Morton, chair of the local Conservative association and councillor who’d done the legwork standing in Tynemouth. But Mr Sunak “blew all the other candidates out of the water” and won more than 50 per cent of the vote.

Outside the party, there was local scepticism of this non-Yorkshire intruder – one agricultural voter is said to have confused the hedge funder manager with someone who could trim his privet – but “the maharaja of the Yorkshire Dales” appeared at farmers’ markets, immersed himself in the intricacies of milk pricing and was photographed beside drystone walls while wearing artfully muddied wellies. My take is that his enthusiasm for his constituency has won over many doubters – in the 2017 election, he won 63.9 per cent of the vote, more than any Tory in Richmond, including Mr Hague and Leon Brittan, since a two-horse race in 1959.

When the Brexit referendum was called, Mr Sunak was straight out. I chaired a couple of town hall meetings for him, in Northallerton and Leyburn, in which he took questions from 200 constituents at a time. Lean, energetic, super-confident and a huge fan of Star Trek, he marshalled his arguments persuasively although was honest enough to admit that there might be downsides.

It still puzzled me why this young, ambitious backbencher should set his stall so avowedly against his party leader, David Cameron, and his predecessor Mr Hague, but when Michael Gove and Boris Johnson piled in behind him, it became clear he could back a winner.

Similarly, Mr Sunak, who owns a £1.5m Georgian mansion with its own lake near Northallerton as part of his £10m property portfolio, was one of the first to support Mr Johnson’s leadership bid. When Mr Johnson shied away from the TV debates, Mr Sunak was sent along as his deputy: articulate but a bit autoscript wooden although safe enough to avoid any bad headlines.

Indeed, when Mr Johnson visited The Northern Echo in December, one of his entourage mentioned they were taking their money off Sajid Javid as the first ethnic minority Prime Minister and buying shares in Mr Sunak.

And so when Mr Javid fell, Mr Sunak rose like a meteor. But other analogies this week have depicted him as a puppet or a poodle, manipulated by Mr Johnson.

However, if he does assert himself, he could become a powerful figure. Mr Johnson cannot afford to sack a second Chancellor so he could be in No 11 for years before moving next door, like Gordon Brown. But aside from an unerring ability to spot a winner, what is Sunakism? We should begin to learn on Budget Day on March 11.