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'This is just the beginning!' Rishi Sunak to come out fighting against Starmer threat

Rishi Sunak will mark his first anniversary as Prime Minister on Wednesday with the party reeling at the loss of two former Conservative strongholds to Labour.

His MPs are clamouring for him to unveil policies that will convince Tory voters to go to the polling station and avert a Labour landslide.

They want him to win over working class voters who turbo-charged Boris Johnson’s 2019 victory and see off the threat from Reform UK, the rebranded Brexit Party.

The Tories would have won both the Mid Bedfordshire and Tamworth by-elections if the people who voted Reform UK had backed the Conservatives.

Champions of Mr Sunak insist this is “only the beginning for the PM” and say the country can expect him to announce major decisions in the months ahead.

Downing Street plans to present the next election as a straight choice between the Prime Minister and Sir Keir Starmer.

A Government source said: “The choice at the next election will be a simple one: does the public want Rishi Sunak, who shares their priorities and has shown he is willing to take the tough decisions the country needs for a brighter future, or Keir Starmer who has proven again and again that he believes in absolutely nothing whatsoever.”

Exclusive polling by WeThink shows voters are divided on which man they would trust most to deal with the Middle East crisis. Thirty-two percent said Sir Keir with 32 per cent naming Mr Sunak, and 36 percent are unsure.

The Government source insisted that the Prime Minister had demonstrated in his first 12 months in the job that he could be trusted with power, saying:

“In just a year the PM has used our Brexit freedoms to rip up EU red tape and sign a trade deal with the fastest growing region in the world, passed the toughest laws ever to stop the boats and brought crossings down by a fifth, introduced new rules to block Just Stop Oil’s attempts to shut down our roads and highways, published the first ever long-term workforce plan for the NHS so we train more doctors and nurses for our children and grandchildren, and has brought inflation down by almost half so that people’s hard-earned cash goes further.”

They added: “This is only the beginning for the PM – in the months ahead he will show he is on the side of the British people and will take the long term decisions so that we all have a better, brighter future.”

The party is reported to be considering slashing stamp duty or abolishing inheritance tax to appeal to aspirational voters.

But a former cabinet minister said it is “far too late” for such measures and claimed that the “majority of the cabinet are going to lose their constituencies”.

They said: “The parliamentary party is reaping what it has sown. Once you’ve ejected a democratically elected prime minister, if anyone thinks there is a road or pathway to recovery from that they are absolutely mad. Look at what happened when the Conservative party assassinated Margaret Thatcher. We never recovered.”

Nigel Farage, Reform UK’s honorary president, said Mr Sunak cannot turn around Tory fortunes in time for the election expected next year. “No one believes what the Tories say anymore and that won’t change,” he said. “Minds are made up.”

A former champion of Mr Johnson urged both the ex-PM and Mr Farage to devote their energies to a Tory win that would keep Labour out of Downing Street.

They said: “My call to the likes of Boris and Nigel Farage is look – see the danger of ahead of us…We need to get behind Rishi and we need to collectively take on the socialists because this is a real threat to the economic viability of this country.”

Allies of Mr Johnson cast doubt on whether he would campaign hard to keep Mr Sunak in No 10.

One MP said: “If I was Boris, I’d be thinking, ‘Well you wanted the job, mate. Get on with it.’”

But they stressed the importance of uniting behind Mr Sunak, saying: “The reality is we don’t have Boris here. We’re not going to have Boris here in the near future and a Labour Government would be disastrous for the country.”



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