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No Fun in the Sun

24 June 2024
| by Field Team

Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer will undergo their latest election grilling tonight as they face questions from Sun readers via YouTube.

It’s been a disappointing start to the summer for many; May and June can normally be counted on for long spells of sun and warm weather, but instead have given way to long periods of low pressure bringing with it a nationwide chill. Few can be more disappointed than Rishi Sunak who called a surprise election in the hopes of campaigning in the sunshine with an optimistic story about how his plan was working. As we all now know, it’s not quite worked out that way.

Indeed, according to an Ipsos poll for the Financial Times released over the weekend the Conservatives are set to lose up to a third of voters who planned to back the party at the start of the year. Of the 32 percent that have changed their minds, eight percent have been attracted to Reform; six percent have switched to Labour; seven percent are undecided; and the remaining nine percent said they might not vote at all. It’s a grim outlook for a campaign which is increasingly focussed on shoring up support in the safest of seats to mitigate against huge losses on July 4th.

At least the weather has finally brightened up, Prime Minister. Sunak also faces a different sort of sun tonight when he goes back-to-back against Labour’s Keir Starmer for yet another contest, this time on The Sun’s Never Mind the Ballots show on YouTube.

In terms of content, tonight’s show will feature questions submitted by Sun readers as well as an interview from Political Editor Harry Cole. Expect more Tory claims on Labour’s plans to raise taxes and a dive into the culture wars, as Sunak criticises Starmer’s plans to ditch gender education guidance set to be issued to schools. Meanwhile, expect Sunak to be grilled on his party’s record over the past 14 years and the still-unfolding general election betting allegations. Expect also to see a more tabloid approach to the campaign – petrol, cigarette and alcohol taxes might all come up, questions on immigration as it’s seen from a city council estate that is short of GP appointments and school places, and demands to see flag waving patriotism.  There will be hazards from Cole there might not have been from Beth Rigby or Mishal Husain.

This race is now into the final furlong. Tonight’s clash is the penultimate one of the campaign – with BBC One hosting one last prime time, head to head, clash on Wednesday night. It’s likely the BBC debate will be the most viewed debate of the entire campaign as the country puts aside the football and the sunshine to tune into the fact they need to choose a winner a week on Thursday.

Heading into these final showdowns, Sunak needs a game changer. Since the general election was called the Conservatives’ polling position has gone down, not helped by the resurgence of Reform which has crept up the polls to around 16 percent. While Labour’s polling has decreased with some pollsters too, it’s still a solid 20 points ahead.

(Photo provided by Darren Fletcher via The Sun)

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