Christmas comes early for Sunak as he admits playing festive tunes in November | Rishi Sunak

Rishi Sunak said that he started listening to Christmas music two weeks ago but that the move prompted so much fury from his friends and family that he resorted to enjoying the tunes in private.

The prime minister, who is a fan of Michael Bublé’s Christmas hits and listens to the songs when he works late, talked about his enthusiasm for the festive season en route to the Cop28 summit in Dubai.

“I had the Christmas music on about two weeks ago, and everyone shouted at me, and [since] then I’ve done it in private … now I can do that in public.”

Sunak’s admission was prompted by a question about the death of Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan on Thursday.

Although he did not appear to be a Pogues fan, Sunak said he was a fan of Fairytale of New York, the Pogues’ and Kirsty MacColl’s Christmas classic. “It’s on every Christmas playlist, is that song, so great loss, great loss,” he said.

When told by some reporters that it was far too early to start listening to Christmas songs, the prime minister said in response: “Come on, we did the Christmas market in Downing Street today! It’s fine, it’s all very good, it’s all very good.”

Sunak said that he has recently been signing Christmas cards late into the night and using that time to unwind. “I put the Christmas music on and I just sit there and sign away, and I’ve been doing that for about 10 days already”, he said.

After signing “thousands” of cards last year during his first Christmas as prime minister, Sunak said he called his mum and thanked her for giving him such a short name.

“I said: ‘Thank God you named me a name that only has five letters in it.’ If it was a 10-letter thing this would probably have taken twice as long.”

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