He may not have his hands on Britain’s nuclear codes (yet), but self-confessed Coca-Cola addict Rishi Sunak has raised eyebrows for keeping a Star Wars-themed Coke bomb on his desk at all times.
The UK finance minister was pictured with the red device in photos released by Treasury officials ahead of Mr Sunak’s second budget on Wednesday.
As well as his addiction to Coca-Cola, Mr Sunak is also a huge Star Wars fan, collecting lightsabers, attending midnight premieres of the films and buying a Lego baby Yoda as a Christmas present "for the kids".
Asked about the curious item, a Treasury source told Politico: "It is a Coke in the shape of a Star Wars grenade called a 'thermal detonator'."
The "bomb" is actually a palm-sized drink bottle meant to resemble the grenade-style weapon wielded by Princess Leia in Return of the Jedi, featuring the Coca-Cola branding in the style of the Aurebesh alphabet featured in the films. The bottles vary in price from about £7 to £43 for a set on eBay.
In 2019, the US Transportation Security Administration banned the bottles from carry-on or checked-in luggage on aircraft as they look like explosives.
The discovery of the bottle in Mr Sunak’s office coincided with the release of a glossy six-minute video designed to promote the decisions leading up to the budget.
Rishi Sunak stars in cinematic video ahead of Budget 2021
The video features a relaxed-looking chancellor sitting on a stool in front of a grey backdrop.
An off-screen voice asks him to describe the day he became chancellor – a little over a year ago – after his predecessor, Sajid Javid, suddenly resigned following a dispute with Downing Street.
To a dramatic soundtrack, Mr Sunak recounts his first briefing about coronavirus and his subsequent response, overlaid with a montage of shots of the chancellor.
The video is the latest offering burnishing Mr Sunak’s personal brand, fuelling leadership speculation.
The chancellor, 40, was previously criticised for using his personal signature on government advertising, and he was labelled ‘out of touch’ after being pictured with a travel coffee mug valued at £180 ($251).
A decision to appear at media events in a hoodie also generated talk that Mr Sunak was aiming to soften his image ahead of a potential run for the Tory leadership, which he has denied.