Britain’s cost of living cuts and the future of the Prime Minister took center stage as party leaders delivered their final messages to voters on the eve of local elections.
Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer said Thursday’s municipal electionsin which thousands of seats across England, Scotland and Wales will be up for grabs, was “a chance to send a message to the government about their dismal failure”.
But Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it was his Conservative Party that would be the best bet ‘if you want help with your family budgets and want to make sure you have more at the end of the month’.
You can find the results where you live with our dedicated election service. And we will have an election special on Sky News from 11pm on Thursday evening
The final day of campaigning came against the backdrop of the Prime Minister’s recent apology after he was fined for breaking lockdown rules at Downing Street in 2020 – as well as embarrassing questions for Sir Keir about a rally in Durham last year.
Sir Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrat leader, said voters on Thursday ‘with this pencil… can send a message: get rid of Boris Johnson’ – and reported that the lifelong Tories said they would never vote for again the party while Mr Johnson was in charge.
Meanwhile, new figures have again highlighted the spiraling cost of living – with industry data showing that store prices last month climbed at the fastest pace in more than a decade.
Separate data from the Bank of England showed credit card borrowing in March rose at its fastest pace since 2006 – seen as further evidence of a squeeze.
Environment Secretary George Eustice told Sky News shoppers should try to save money by ‘opting in to some of the value brands’, prompting Labor to accuse the Tories of being ‘out of touch’ and the Liberal Democrats to suggest that they “lived in parallel”. universe”.
Mr Eustice also acknowledged on ITV’s Good Morning Britain – in response to speculation that a poor result on Thursday could lead to more letters of no confidence from Tory MPs – that “all Prime Ministers will always be very aware of the mood of their parliamentary party”.
Mr Johnson, speaking on the campaign trail in Southampton, said: ‘The best future for the country is to get through the difficult times we are going through now, to support people in any way we can, but remember that we now see a lot of jobs and people in high-skilled, high-paying jobs.”
The Prime Minister has resisted Opposition calls for a windfall tax on companies like BP and Shell – which reap windfall profits from high energy prices – to pay more support to families.
Mr Johnson argued that persuading these companies to invest in ‘more green energy and cutting costs’ was ‘a much better solution than crushing them and deterring them, preventing them from making that investment’.
The Prime Minister, who has seen backbench concern flare since his COVID fine, insisted he was confident in his future, responding to a question whether he would still be in place at the next elections with “of course, of course, of course”.
In Wakefield, Labor leader Sir Keir – responding to Mr Eustice’s comments on price hikes – said: “Talk about disconnectedness, ideas and excuses.
“So tomorrow is really a chance to send a message to the government about their dismal failure and to vote for a Labor party that is on their side.”
Of a rally in April 2021 when he was pictured drinking a beer with colleagues while campaigning in Durham – and the subject of which has resurfaced in recent days – Sir Keir claimed having had no contact with the police and accusing the Conservatives of “bashing”.
“We were working, we were stopping, we were eating. No rule breaking. No partying.
“What this gossip tells me is that the Tories have no answer to the central question, which is the cost of living crisis.”
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