Rishi Sunak’s Battle Lines for UK Election Campaign: „Economy, Immigration”

Rishi Sunak has set July 4 as the UK election date

London:

In a speech on Wednesday, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak identified the issues he wants to contest in the next general election, which he has called for July 4.

’Economic Stability’

Despite the cost-of-living crisis and recent recession, Sunak is poised to make „economic stability” a key campaign plank, calling it „the foundation of future success.”

Recent polls show voters trust Labor more than Sunak’s Conservatives on the economy, but Sunak praised two recent „key milestones” he could highlight.

They set the scene for inflation to return to below three per cent, mortgage rate cuts and IMF data showing the UK economy is growing faster than France, Germany and the US.

Covid is the chancellor

Sunak began his speech by saying, „In the past five years our country has struggled through some of the most challenging times since World War II” — and noted his own role in those crises.

Sunak was finance minister under Prime Minister Boris Johnson during the Covid pandemic, and on Wednesday he praised his furlough plan for preventing „millions of job losses”.

However, the program also led to peacetime borrowing.

Security

Sunak’s most recent reset as leader has been to position the Tories as the party of defense and security — a point he reiterated on Wednesday.

„This election comes at a time when the world is more dangerous than when the Cold War ended,” he said.

„I will always do my best to provide you with strong protection,” he added.

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Of the top 10 key issues, only security has the public trusting the Tories more than Labour, according to a Youkov poll.

Immigration

Sunak also touted his party’s record on immigration, with new year figures to be released on Thursday.

But the strategy is not without risk, with public anger still high at the number of people crossing the Channel.

He vowed that his plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda would „stop the boats,” but the proposal faces significant legal delays, meaning anyone will actually be sent to the African nation by Election Day.

Health

The National Health Service (NHS) is the second most important issue for voters. Sunak mentioned it only briefly, saying the Tories had given it „record funding”.

But registration waiting lists have seen public confidence in the government’s ability to manage the NHS decline and will be an area Labor can use during the campaign.

Net zero

One of the clear dividing lines between the Tories and the opposition is Sunak’s decision to push back on the UK’s plans to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.

Sunak defended the delay, which has been widely condemned by environmental groups, hoping to appeal to his party’s base, which is more concerned about the economic costs of the net-zero goal.

„We prioritized energy security and your family finances over environmental considerations,” he said.

Keir Starmer

Chung also gave signs of his campaign launching attacks against Labor leader Keir Starmer, the favorite to become the next prime minister.

Sunak said Starmer had no plans for leadership and would „do anything to get power”.

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„If he’s happy to renege on all his promises to become Labor leader, how do you know he won’t do exactly the same if he wants to be prime minister?” he said.

While most voters view Starmer unfavorably according to polls, he is still more popular than the Prime Minister, who has a „net favorability” rating of -51 according to a recent YouGov poll.

(Other than the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and was published from a syndicated feed.)

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