Rishi Sunak appeals Tory family to come together

“The Tory family must come together to defeat Labour and ensure a brighter future for our country,” said Sunak.

Rishi Sunak meets patients and staff on a visit to the Gentle Dental practice on February 08, 2024 in Newquay, Cornwall, England. (Photo by Hugh Hastings/Getty Images)

Pramod Thomas

PRIME MINISTER Rishi Sunak on Saturday (17) made a direct appeal to voters to stick with his plan to turn things around as he made a plea for the Tory family to come together to beat Labour party in a general election later this year.

Writing in The Daily Telegraph, a day after bruising double defeats in by-elections that saw the governing Tories lose two of parliamentary strongholds, the 43-year-old British Indian leader reiterated a previous claim that the results were down to voter apathy and low turnout.

Sunak urged the electorate to back him and support his party in the general election because by then he expects his plan for the country will be delivering the goals he had set out.

“The Tory family must come together to defeat Labour and ensure a brighter future for our country,” Sunak wrote.

“I know that the last year has not been easy. I understand why people feel exhausted with politics. I get why people choose to stay at home rather than come out in a by-election that won’t change the government,” he said.

“But later this year, we will have a general election that will decide who governs our country. I am confident that by then we will have made more progress that the plan will be delivering the security and opportunity that people crave.”

This direct plea to the voters comes amid some tough political times for the prime minister, who is under pressure from within his party to change course before it is too late.

Drawing a clear divide between his leadership and that being proposed by Labour leader Keir Starmer, Sunak asserted that his opponent had no plan and would take the country backwards.

He said: “A vote for anyone other than the Tories will just help Starmer. The reason we will stick to the plan and the reason I, unlike Keir Starmer, am willing to make difficult decisions to address the long-term problems our country faces is because a strong economy is the bedrock upon which a successful country is built.

“The choice at the election later this year will be between this Tory vision for Britain and a Labour that would just take us back to square one.”

He sought to spotlight some of his successes, such as halving inflation since he took charge in October 2022 and lowering taxes, even as he admitted that progress on his other pledges such as slashing illegal migration and cutting NHS waiting lists has been slow.

“Delivering the change our country needs means taking difficult long-term decisions and sticking to the plan. Starmer and the Labour can’t say what they would do because they do not have a plan … But it’s not just the fact that Labour doesn’t have a plan for the economy that threatens our progress. They would also make life more expensive and more burdensome for business,” he cautioned.

The strong by-election impact of the far-right Reform UK, formerly Brexit party, has led to the right wing of his party pushing Sunak to get tougher on issues such as immigration.

Meanwhile, the more moderate voices warn against a lurch to the extreme right.