Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer clashed over taxes and immigration in a fierce TV debate

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Chancellor Rishi Sunak was said to have narrowly won a fierce live TV debate with Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer on Tuesday, mainly on tax and immigration issues.

SunakThe underdog Conservative in the British election campaign, went out to bat and, according to a YouGov snap poll, won 51-49, a success for a struggling prime minister. hard.

The confrontation came during the first settled debate of the general election campaign between Sunak and starthe hour-long meeting in Manchester was broadcast on prime time television by ITV.

Sunak promised he would “cut taxes, protect your pensions and reduce immigration”, repeatedly making the highly controversial claim that Labor would raise taxes by £2,000 for every working household .

Sunak asserted: “With Keir Starmer, other than higher taxes, you don’t know what you’re going to get and neither does he. His strong performance lifted Tory spirits but it remains to be seen whether it can transform the campaign.

Starmer said he would end “the chaos and division we have seen over the last 14 years”, trying to paint his Tory rival as out of touch with the country he governs: “ He lives in a different world,” the Labor leader said.

Sunak’s main line of attack on Starmer was his assertion that a Labor government would raise taxes by £2,000 per household because of unfunded spending commitments.

Sunak’s repeated claims, which the Tory leader said were based on an assessment of Labour’s plans by “independent Treasury civil servants”, were derided by Starmer as “complete rubbish”.

The Labor leader said this was based on Conservative ministers giving “fake Labor policies to the Treasury and then they were given false information”. Starmer said all his promises come at full price.

“All you can do is talk about the past,” Sunak said in their uneasy final exchanges.

Starmer replied: “I really appreciate why he doesn’t want to talk about the last 14 years. “He’s embarrassed.”

Although Sunak’s team said before the event that they did not expect this to be a “game changer”, the prime minister desperately needs to land some blows on his opponents to turn the campaign around .

Sunak’s Conservative Party monitor the Labor opposition more than 20 points in opinion polls and the prime minister’s personal ratings are even worse than his party’s.

A new, highly detailed product Survation “MRP” Poll on Tuesday gave Labor a record majority of 487 seats to just 71 for the Conservatives.

Against this backdrop, Sunak outperformed many expectations in the debate. “He is very happy,” said one Conservative Party official. But more detailed YouGov polling gave a less favorable picture for the prime minister.

Starmer was considered by viewers to be more trustworthy than Sunak (49/39%), more likable (50/34) and more in touch (66/17). However, Sunak is seen as prime minister 43/40.

Some of the most heated exchanges in the TV studio were on migration, with Sunak saying he could pull Britain out of the European Court of Human Rights if it blocked plans to deport some his asylum seekers to Rwanda.

“I have been very clear – every time I will choose the security of our country over becoming a member of a foreign court,” Sunak said. Starmer rejected that approach, saying he wanted Britain to be “a country respected on the world stage, not a pariah”.

Sunak claimed Britain would be less safe under a Labor government, prompting Starmer to say: “This is shocking.” The Labor leader could be heard sighing exasperatedly off-camera throughout the debate.

The Prime Minister claimed that Starmer had defended “extremists” during his time as a human rights lawyer, a familiar charge that the Labor leader called “desperate”.

On climate change, Sunak said he had made “bold” decisions that would mean Britain would meet its obligations while protecting the budgets of struggling families. Starmer vowed that Britain would “win the race” to develop renewable energy under a Labor government.

Both leaders were accompanied by “camera crews,” attempting to shape media coverage. Shadow cabinet members Wes Streeting and Jonathan Ashworth are in Labour’s team, while Sunak has field ministers including Michael Gove and Claire Coutinho.

“Keir Starmer lies flat on the canvas at the bottom of the painting,” Gove said after the event. Labor spinsters focused on denying Sunak’s £2,000 tax hike claim under Starmer.

Apart from the event in Manchester, Starmer has so far only agreed to take part in one other live debate with Sunak before the vote on July 4 – a BBC event in Nottingham on June 26 – when he try to minimize political risks.

Sunak, looking to get behind in the election, has sought at least half a dozen debates with Starmer in the hope that he can expose the Party leader’s “lack of planning” and “failures”. Labor in policy issues.

Labor rejects the assumptions in the Tory tax claim

© Peter Dazeley

Rishi Sunak sought to catch Sir Keir Starmer off guard during the ITV debate by repeating the claim – more than 10 times – that a Labor government would increase taxes by £2,000 per household.

That figure comes from a calculation that the Labor Party firmly rejected three weeks ago.

Conservative Party officials said they were surprised how long it took Starmer to dismiss the claim as “complete rubbish” during the debate, seeing it as evidence of sincere debating skills of the Labor Party leader.

The claim is first given by chancellor Jeremy Hunt on May 17 when he said Starmer’s spending plans had a £38 billion financial hole.

Hunt said the “official, independent costing” of 50 Labor policies identified unfunded spending commitments which he said could mean taxes rise by £2,100 for every working household under the Starmer government.

But the Labor Party at the time described these calculations as “desperate”. Although these figures were calculated by Treasury officials, they relied on “assumptions from special advisers” rather than objective assessments of civil servants.

On Tuesday night, the Labor Party pointed to more than a dozen missing elements in the application.

For example, Conservative Party statements have drawn on the costs of “golden greetings” to recruit more dentists. “We have called for this, leading to a welcome change as the government adopts our policy,” Labor said. “The government doesn’t seem to be aware that this is their policy.”

The calculation also suggests that Labor’s idea of ​​“neighborhood health centres” would mean the incoming government would create 42 new centers on top of existing facilities. “This is not our policy,” Labor said.

The Conservatives claim that Labor’s plans to unleash a wave of public service delivery will cost taxpayers more money: Treasury officials say they have “no confidence” in the fake that decision.

Meanwhile, the Conservatives say halving the number of consultants working in Whitehall would be costly, something Labor describes as dubious.

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