• Wednesday, July 24, 2024


Poll shows Starmer did better than Sunak in TV election debate

According to YouGov, 64 per cent thought Starmer performed better, while 36 per cent thought prime minister Sunak had done better.

According to opinion polls, Labour leader Keir Starmer is all set to be Britain’s next prime minister. (Photo: Getty Images)

By: Vivek Mishra

Labour leader Keir Starmer performed better than his election rival Rishi Sunak in live television debate broadcast by Sky News on Wednesday, a snap poll by YouGov showed.

According to YouGov, 64 per cent thought Starmer performed better, while 36 per cent thought prime minister Sunak had done better.

Sunak and Starmer were questioned by voters at a televised event on Wednesday, with both challenged over past decisions, pledges, and how they would fund policies if they won the July 4 election.

At the event, the two men took turns facing an interviewer and an audience, highlighting the everyday struggles in Britain and the mistrust of politicians.

With just over three weeks until the election, opinion polls suggest Labour will easily win. Sunak was booed and heckled over doctors’ strikes, migration, and his policy to introduce national service for young people.

Starmer was criticised for avoiding questions and for his previous support of his predecessor, Jeremy Corbyn. A poll taken after the event in Grimsby said 64 per cent believed Starmer had won the event on Sky News.

Starmer told the audience he would start implementing his policies from “day one” if he won the election but avoided answering whether he was being honest when in 2019 he said Corbyn should become prime minister.

“I want to get to the place where I can roll up my sleeves and work with you… to say the government is on your side,” Starmer said to applause. “That will be a massive difference to the last 14 years.”

Sunak was challenged over his policies, which audience members said had yet to solve their issues with dentist appointments, NHS waiting lists, or stopping the arrival of migrants in small boats. “I know we’ve been through a tough time, of course we have… it’s been tough for all of you here tonight, all of you watching, but I do believe we have turned a corner and we’ve got a clear plan for the future,” he said. “I am going to keep fighting hard until the last day of this election.”

The event came a day after Sunak unveiled £17 billion of tax cuts in his party’s manifesto, trying to convince voters that he had a plan to make them better off while Labour’s policies are vague and ill-thought through. He said again on Wednesday that a vote for Starmer was akin to writing him a blank cheque, repeating the contested accusation that a Labour government would increase taxes by more than £2,000. Starmer denied that was the case.

On Thursday, Labour will try to set the story straight with its own manifesto, a document outlining the policies the party will pursue in government, an agenda Starmer said would focus on wealth creation and economic growth. Labour has repeatedly said it will stick to strict spending rules, a stance adopted to show it has changed since being led by Corbyn and to challenge Conservative attacks that it will increase taxes.

Corbyn’s legacy came up again when Starmer was asked whether he stood by his 2019 statement that Corbyn would make a good prime minister and the 10 left-wing pledges he made to become Labour leader, several of which he has since dropped. “Have I changed my position on those pledges? Yes, I have,” said Starmer. “I think this party should always put the country first.”


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