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Sunak hits back at Labour-backing billionaires and is dubbed ‘poundshop Farage’

19 Jun 2024 4 minute read
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Photo Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Rishi Sunak has hit back at billionaires abandoning the Tories by saying they “can afford Labour’s tax rises” and refused to rule out working with Nigel Farage after the election.

In a bruising LBC radio phone-in, the Prime Minister was accused by callers of being a “poundshop Nigel Farage” over his behaviour towards the trans community and being too rich to relate to food bank users.

He was asked about John Caudwell, Phones4U founder and former major Tory donor, and Manchester United co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe throwing their weight behind Sir Keir Starmer’s party.

Mr Sunak replied: “They’re two of Britain’s richest men. They can probably afford Labour’s tax rises.”


The Conservatives are seeking to use tax as a key dividing issue and stepping up attacks on Labour’s plans in a desperate bid to shift their stubborn double-digit poll deficit.

Cabinet minister Mel Stride earlier said it was “completely wrong” of Mr Caudwell to have called Mr Sunak an “absolute dud”, with the Work and Pensions Secretary pointing to official figures on Wednesday showing inflation falling back to the 2% target for the first time in nearly three years.

Mr Sunak dodged questions about whether he would welcome Mr Farage into the Conservative Party after the election or work with his Reform UK party.

“I’m not focused on after the election. I’m focused on winning this election,” the Prime Minister told the radio show.

He gave the same answer when quizzed on reports that Tory leadership hopefuls are already vying to replace him as party leader after the election.

Amid persistently low poll ratings for the Conservatives, Mr Sunak declined to give his campaign a mark out of 10, saying: “I’m not interested in those kinds of things.”

But Cabinet ministers have been stepping up warnings about a Labour landslide.

Mr Stride said the Opposition could win the “largest majority virtually in the history of this country”, while Chancellor Jeremy Hunt sounded the alarm over Labour being in power for “a very long time” if they get “such a big majority”.

Facing a series of questions about what happens if the Tories are defeated, Mr Sunak insisted he would “of course” still serve for a full parliament as Richmond and Northallerton’s MP.

‘Poundshop Nigel Farage’

The Prime Minister was challenged on LBC by one man, who said he was gay and living with HIV, over his behaviour towards the trans community.

The caller said “I think you’ve become a poundshop Nigel Farage” and accused Mr Sunak of being “obsessed with divisive culture wars”.

“I’m very sorry to hear you feel that way,” the Prime Minister said.

“I don’t believe that at all. I care very much about making sure people, whatever their background, are respected.”

He also said “sorry” that the Conservatives have been unable to abolish Section 21 so-called no-fault evictions despite promising to do so in their 2019 manifesto.

Mr Sunak was also confronted over the explosion in the use of food banks, with a member of the public asking him: “How can a Prime Minister who is richer than the King relate to any of our needs and struggles?”

When the Tory leader responded that he wanted “to get the number down” and pointed to his work providing an “enormous amount of support to everyone” while chancellor during the pandemic, the caller said: “I think it’s an absolute lie that you’ve supported people during Covid.”

Mr Sunak said he would not “apologise” for being “very fortunate in life”.

The Prime Minister continues his campaign tour with a visit to Suffolk on Wednesday.

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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
26 days ago

Proud Sunak keeps on burning…@Slash, Burn and Leggit…

26 days ago

I thought that Starmer supported furlough during the pandemic, the Welsh Govt wanted more, the 2 billionaires quoted have both denigrated furlough as an unnecessary give away by Sunak, are these really the ‘socialist’ business leaders that Labour want or is it another true colour moment for Starmer.

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
26 days ago

Tories bang on about Labours’ ‘union paymasters’ whilst not mentioning their own billionaire paymasters and now they moan about Labours’ billionaire paymasters. Hypocrites to their bone marrow.

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