SERIOUS TIMES Rishi Sunak told to get serious on tax cuts and small boats to avoid election wipeout

RISHI Sunak was last night told to get “serious” about tax cuts and immigration or face a Tory wipeout at the general election.

The scale of Conservative drubbing across hundreds of council votes was confirmed yesterday as final results put the party’s losses at 474 - while Labour gained 186. 

Rishi Sunak has been told to get serious on tax cuts and small boats
Rishi Sunak has been told to get serious on tax cuts and small boatsCredit: Getty
Suella Braverman said the party needs to win back Tory voters 'on strike'
Suella Braverman said the party needs to win back Tory voters 'on strike'Credit: Getty

It has sparked a battle for the soul of the party with centrists and right-wingers clashing over how to win back support. 

Former Home Secretary Suella Braverman said the PM must personally “own” the “terrible” defeat. 

She said: “I'm urging the prime minister to change course, to - with humility - reflect on what the voters are telling us and change the plan and the way that he is communicating and leading us.”

To woo back Tory supporters “on strike” she called for policies including proper tax cuts rather than “tweaking” with national insurance. 

She also demanded a cap on legal migration and quitting the European Court of Human Rights to “send the message that he’s serious about stopping the boats”. 

Tory MP Sir John Hayes also demanded the PM put more right-wingers in the Cabinet.  

It is in stark contrast to the warning from defeated West Midlands mayor Andy Street who cautioned Mr Sunak against lurching to the right. 

Despite her brutal assessment of his leadership, Ms Braverman said it was not “feasible” to replace Mr Sunak as leader before the next election.She told the BBC: “We don’t have enough time and it’s impossible for anyone new to come and change our fortunes to be honest.

“There’s no superman or superwoman out there who can do it. “Rishi Sunak has been leading us for about 18 months, he’s been making these decisions.

“These are the consequences of those decisions. He needs to own this and therefore he needs to fix it.”Her advice appeared to fall on deaf ears as Transport Secretary Mark Harper - a close ally of the PM - said Mr Sunak would stick with the current plan. 

He told Times Radio: “It's about delivery on the plan. And I said we've made progress on it, but we haven't yet hit all of those objectives.”

He added: The Conservative Party is absolutely up for that fight. The next election is not preordained. 

“And the poll, the results from this week show that it's much closer than the national opinion polls suggest.”

Mr Sunak will today dust himself down following the bruising local election results that saw big swings to Labour. 

He will use a packed week of visits to try to get back on the front foot, starting with a visit to a community centre in London.

Labour majority not a done deal

By JACK ELSOM, Chief Political Correspondent

A LABOUR majority at the next election is not a done deal, a polling guru has warned. 

Professor Michael Thrasher said Sir Keir Starmer needed to double his performance at the local elections. 

His projection of the council votes into a national share puts Labour on 34 per cent and the Tories on 27 per cent. 

He told Sky News yesterday: “The gap between Conservative and Labour is only seven points. It needs to be at least double that if Labour is to win.”

Professor Thrasher said it was possible Rishi Sunak could follow Gordon Brown, who was trailing massively leading into the 2010 election but eventually closed the gap to deprive the Tories of a majority.

Downing Street are clinging to the analysis as proof that election defeat is not a dead certainty. 

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said there is “everything to fight for” at the general election.

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