Rishi Sunak hints election is still a full YEAR away as he marks first anniversary as PM boasting of ‘progress’ on inflation and Channel crisis despite growing MP angst over dire polls and rising taxes
Rishi Sunak hinted that a general election is still a full year away today as he marked his first anniversary in Downing Street amid dire polls and rising taxes.
The PM celebrated a year in No10 by releasing a video boasting of his progress on key policies, backed by upbeat dance music.
It posed the question of what a country can achieve in 52 weeks, adding ‘watch this space’ – in an apparent clue to the timeline for calling a national ballot.
However, the slick PR effort was slightly undermined when the social media post had to be deleted and replaced due to a misspelling of ‘achieved’.
Meanwhile, polling has underlined the plunge in Mr Sunak’s personal ratings since he took over following Liz Truss’s abortive reign. Savanta research showed he initially had a three point lead over Keir Starmer on who would make the best PM – but now trails by nine points.
The mood among Conservatives has darkened dramatically in the wake of the double by-election disaster last week, which experts said indicated Labour is on track to win the general election next year.
Rishi Sunak is marking his first anniversary in Downing Street today amid growing Tory angst over dire polls and rising taxes
No10’s slick PR effort was slightly undermined when its social media post had to be deleted and replaced due to a misspelling of ‘achieved’
Savanta research showed Mr Sunak initially had a three point lead over Keir Starmer on who would make the best PM – but now trails by nine points
Calls have been growing for immediate tax cuts to woo back voters, but Mr Sunak and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt have batted away the idea with the public finances creaking and inflation rampant.
In an anniversary message ahead of PMQs today, Mr Sunak said: ‘When I spoke about my priorities in January, I knew they were going to be tough targets to meet, but I made them because they’re what’s right for this country, its economy and its people.
‘And it’s why over the last 12 months we’ve been committed to meeting them – building a better, brighter future for all of us.
‘I know this year has been tough, and there is still work to be done to help hardworking families across the country, but I’m proud of the steps we’ve made.
After last week’s by-election defeats, backbenchers have warned the PM he must be ‘bold’ and significantly reshuffle his Cabinet to avoid electoral disaster.
Thirty-six MPs and peers have now vowed not to back Mr Hunt’s Autumn Statement if it contains tax rises. And privately, senior parliamentarians are calling for the Chancellor to be sacked and replaced with someone more radical.
They fear that the Government cannot afford ‘not to be bold’ after the dire results in Mid Beds and Tamworth.
There still seems to be little appetite for any coup attempt against Mr Sunak, with the absence of any obvious successor a major stumbling block.
The mood among Conservatives has darkened dramatically in the wake of the double by-election disaster last week, which experts said indicated Labour is on track to win the general election next year
The latest Westminster voting intention poll today by Savanta suggests Labour’s lead is growing – up one point to give Sir Keir Starmer’s party a 17-point lead.
Mr Sunak will face Keir Starmer at PMQs as Westminster remains largely occupied by the unfolding horrors in the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.
The Commons’ green benches are expected to feature two new Labour faces however, after the party overturned two huge Conservative majorities, in Tamworth and in Mid Bedfordshire.
The losses of two seats last won on majorities of more than 19,000 means many Conservative MPs are worried about their own prospects in the general election expected next year.
Mr Sunak’s own five priorities – halving inflation, growing the economy, reducing the national debt, cutting hospital waiting lists, and stopping the boats bringing migrants across the English Channel – are all proving difficult to meet.
Inflation is close to being on track to reach 5.3 per cent by the end of the year, with September’s figure holding steady at 6.7 per cent.
But the economy is stuttering and the national debt has hit £2.6trillion.
More than 26,500 people have been detected crossing the Channel in small boats this year, meaning Mr Sunak is a long way from being able to say he has stopped them.
The failure to end the strikes by NHS doctors has hampered Mr Sunak’s plan to cut waiting lists.
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