‘Out of touch’ Rishi Sunak accused of ‘dodging scrutiny’ and urged to call an immediate general election
Labour’s Angela Rayner said the public need ‘a say on the future of Britain’ and called for a general election
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Opposition parties are calling for a general election following the coronation of Rishi Sunak as the new leader of the Conservative party, with Sunak likely to officially take over from Liz Truss as prime minister tomorrow.
Sunak was also accused of “dodging scrutiny” for failing to address reporters and giving a speech to Conservative MPs behind closed doors after his victory was announced.
However, some opposition figures have also congratulated Sunak on becoming the first prime minister who is a person of colour.
Sunak accused of ‘putting party before country’
Responding to Rishi Sunak’s coronation in the Conservative leadership race, Angela Rayner MP, Labour’s Deputy Leader, said Sunak was crowned “without him saying a single word about how he would run the country”.
She added: “This is the same Rishi Sunak who as Chancellor failed to grow the economy, failed to get a grip on inflation, and failed to help families with the Tory cost of living crisis.
“And it’s the same Rishi Sunak whose family avoided paying tax in this country before he put up taxes on everyone else. With his record - and after Liz Truss comprehensively beat him over the summer - it’s no wonder he is dodging scrutiny.
“Rishi Sunak has no mandate and no idea what working people need. We need a general election so the public get a say on the future of Britain – and the chance for a fresh start with Labour.”
Rayner also said Sunak was “already putting party before country” by addressing Tory MPs before the public.
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey accused the Tories of installing “another out-of-touch prime minister”, who he said has “no plan to repair the damage”. Davey reiterated previous calls for a general election.
On whether Rishi Sunak has the credentials to be a good prime minister, Liberal Democrats Treasury spokeswoman Sarah Olney told the PA news agency: “Honestly I don’t know, we haven’t seen a huge amount from him.
“I think he’s probably a bit out of touch, to be honest, he comes from a very wealthy background, lived in a very wealthy bubble.
She added: “His background is as a banker, I worry that he probably doesn’t have enough experience of life as it’s experienced by the majority of voters in this country to really be able to respond to their concerns, but obviously we’ll wait and see. I want a general election, I don’t want Conservative Government to continue.”
Tories accused of having ‘no mandate’
Senior figures in the Scottish National Party have also joined in calls for an immediate general election following Sunak’s coronation.
SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said the Conservatives “cannot be allowed to impose a third prime minister without a general election,” as he revealed that he has written to Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer to say the SNP would back a vote of no confidence in the Government if he tabled one.
He said: “The Tory government had no mandate to trash the UK economy with its disastrous budget. And it has no mandate to install yet another leader who will impose devastating austerity cuts, making households pay through their teeth for Tory mistakes.”
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon urged Rishi Sunak to call an early general election.
She tweeted: “Congratulations to Rishi Sunak, I wish him well and, notwithstanding our political differences, will do my best to build a constructive working relationship with him in the interests of those we serve. That he becomes the first British Asian …to become PM is a genuinely significant moment. It certainly makes this a special Diwali.
“As for the politics, I’d suggest one immediate decision he should take and one he certainly should not. He should call an early general election. And he should not, must not, unleash another round of austerity. Our public services will not withstand that.
“For Scotland, of course, he becomes another PM we did not and, without doubt would not vote for even if given the chance. To escape the damage of Westminster governments with no mandate here, and take our future into our own hands, Scotland needs independence.”