Parliament Politics Magazine- The Prime Minister Rishi Sunak delivered a keynote speech today, unveiling five promises which he believes will get Britain back on track.
In what is widely seen an attempt to reset his embattled premiership he vowed to work “night and day” to restore “optimism, hope and pride in Britain”, committing the Government to halving inflation, easing the Channel migrant crisis and cutting NHS waiting lists, which he dubbed the “the people’s priorities”.
And in a widely trailed section of the speech, he confirmed his plan for every child to study maths until at least the age of 18, saying that improving education was as close as it gets to a ‘silver bullet’ in policy terms.
Mr Sunak said: ‘I want to make five promises to you today. Five pledges to deliver peace of mind. Five foundations, on which to build a better future for our children and grandchildren.
“First, we will halve inflation this year to ease the cost of living and give people financial security.
“Second, we will grow the economy, creating better-paid jobs and opportunity right across the country.
“Third, we will make sure our national debt is falling so that we can secure the future of public services.
“Fourth, NHS waiting lists will fall and people will get the care they need more quickly.
“Fifth, we will pass new laws to stop small boats, making sure that if you come to this country illegally, you are detained and swiftly removed.
“So, five promises – we will: Halve inflation, grow the economy, reduce debt, cut waiting lists, and stop the boats.
“Those are the people’s priorities. They are your Government’s priorities. And we will either have achieved them or not.
“No trick… no ambiguity… we’re either delivering for you or we’re not. We will rebuild trust in politics through action, or not at all. So, I ask you to judge us on the effort we put in and the results we achieve.”
As part of the plans he announced that the Government will also be bringing forward an “urgent care recovery plan” later this month, coupled with a recovery plan for primary care to improve access to GPs as unclogging beds in the hospital is seen as a key component of tackling the waiting list crisis.
The speech came in the wake of new polling that suggests Mr Sunak is seen by the public as a better leader than Sir Keir Starmer.
According to the Daily Mail, despite Labour enjoying a plus 20-point lead in the polls, the PM is personally seen as a better leader that than the Labour Leader. They report that research from Redfield & Wilton found that Mr Sunak has overtaken Sir Keir when it comes to who would make the best PM by 38 per cent, compared to 36 per cent.
Mr Sunak, also took aim at the Trade Unions, slamming their“misinformation” over strikes and saying that the Government could not afford double digit pay rises and would shortly be bringing forward measures to tackle the disruption caused by them. This was seen as confirmation that the PM plans to press ahead with minimum service requirements across the public sector.
Supporters of the PM also hope that the relaunch will help to draw a line under months of infighting that has come to define his brief tenure and those of his predecessors and forced him into a succession of policy U-turns.
They will therefore be disappointed by the former Culture Secretary and Boris Johnson backer, Nadine Dorries, who took to twitter to vent her palpable disappointment at the speech, writing on twitter she said: “Three years of a progressive Tory government being washed down the drain. Levelling up, dumped. Social care reform, dumped. Keeping young and vulnerable people safe online, watered down. A bonfire of EU leg[islation], not happening. Sale of C4 giving back £2b reversed. Replaced with what?
“A policy at some time in the future to teach maths for longer with teachers we don’t yet even have to do so. Where is the mandate- who voted for this? Will now be almost impossible to face the electorate at a GE [General Election] and expect voters to believe or trust our manifesto commitments.”
Labour also were quick to dismiss the PM’s speech, branding Mr Sunak the “do-nothing PM” and saying that he will “struggle not to keep” the five promises.
A Labour spokesperson said: “Rishi Sunak’s five promises are all things that were happening anyway; are so easy it would be difficult not to achieve them; or are aimed at fixing problems of the Tories’ own making.
“The do-nothing Prime Minister is too weak to stand up to his party or vested interests. That means that from housing and planning laws to closing tax avoidance loopholes, he can’t take the big decisions to put the country first.
“For weeks this speech was hyped up as his big vision – now he’s delivered it, the country is entitled to ask: is that it?”
Tomorrow will see Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer set out his vision for Britain.