Rwanda scheme is ‘right thing to do’ insists Rishi Sunak in live TV grilling – live

Keir Starmer calls on Israel to abide by international law

Rishi Sunak has insisted his Rwanda scheme is “the right thing to do” in a live TV grilling by the UK public.

The Prime Minister faced questions from undecided and swing voters in County Durham on GB News on Monday evening, including over his flagship deportation policy.

It comes during one of the most challenging weeks of Mr Sunak’s premiership as he faces two tricky by-elections, opposition to his Rwanda plan, and the release of official figures revealing whether the country has slipped into a recession.

Meanwhile, amid mounting criticism, Labour withdrew its support for its Rochdale by-election candidate on Monday night after Azhar Ali claimed Israel deliberately relaxed security to allow Hamas to carry out their 7 October attack, to provide grounds to invade Gaza.

Mr Ali apologised for his “deeply offensive” remarks – yet it has prompted questions about Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer’s claim the party has changed since the antisemitism crisis that engulfed Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

In a recording obtained by the Mail on Sunday, Mr Ali was heard telling a meeting: “They deliberately took the security off, they allowed … that massacre that gives them the green light to do whatever they bloody want.”

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PM tells ‘undecided voters’ choosing Labour will be going ‘back to square one’

Rishi Sunak has told undecided voters that choosing Labour would be going “back to square one”.

As members of the UK Public posed questions to the Prime Minister on GB News, he cited his five priorities of halving inflation, growing the economy, reducing debts, cutting waiting lists and stopping the boats.

Acknowledging the difficulties of recent years, Mr Sunak said: “Do we stick with this plan, our plan that is starting to deliver the change that you all want and the country deserves? Or do we go back to square one with Keir Starmer and the Labour Party?”

Tara Cobham12 February 2024 21:06

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Sunak accuses Starmer of being ‘un-British’ over attacks on his school

Rishi Sunak has accused Sir Keir Starmer of being “un-British” over the Labour leader’s attacks on the school the prime minister attended.

Speaking at a Q&A with the UK public on GB News, Mr Sunak, who attended independent boarding school Winchester College, said: “I get attacked by Keir Starmer because of where I went to school.”

But, citing his belief in aspiration, he said he once told the Labour leader: “You’re not attacking me, you’re attacking my parents.”

He added: “I don’t think it’s British and that’s not the type of country I’m going to build.”

Rishi Sunak has accused Sir Keir Starmer of being ‘un-British’ over the Labour leader’s attacks on the school the prime minister attended

(GB News)

Tara Cobham12 February 2024 20:57

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Doubt cast over Starmer’s promise to tackle antisemitism, says campaign group

Doubt has been cast over Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer’s pledge to tackle antisemitism in his party after his handling of the controversy surrounding Rochdale by-election candidate Azhar Ali , a campaign group has said.

A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “Sir Keir Starmer has blotted an otherwise fairly admirable copy book and given the public reason to doubt the earnestness of his promise to tear antisemitism out ‘by its roots’ in Labour.

“People will have to judge for themselves whether the additional reported comments by Azhar Ali are really any worse than the comments that had already been reported.

“Rather than appearing as a principled decision, Labour’s withdrawal of support for its candidate at this late stage just looks as expedient as the failed attempt to defend him.

“It is the worst of all worlds for Labour.”

Tara Cobham12 February 2024 20:49

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Sunak accuses Starmer of having ‘no principles at all’ over Rochdale by-election candidate

Rishi Sunak made a direct reference to Labour Rochdale by-election candidate Azhar Ali, and accused Sir Keir Starmer of standing by the politician and having “no principles at all”.

Mr Sunak said: “We’ve just seen over the last few days – you’ve seen what’s happened, right?

“Keir Starmer has been running around for the last year trying to tell everybody ‘OK, Labour Party’s changed’. Well, look what just happened in Rochdale, a candidate saying the most vile conspiracy theories, antisemitic, and what happened? He’s stood by and sent cabinet ministers to support him, until literally five minutes before I walked on tonight, under enormous media pressure, has decided to change his mind on principle. No principles at all.

“So no the Labour Party hasn’t changed. It’s a con.”

Rishi Sunak made a direct reference to Labour Rochdale by-election candidate Azhar Ali, and accused Sir Keir Starmer of standing by the politician and having ‘no principles at all’

(GB News)

Tara Cobham12 February 2024 20:47

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Sunak insists his views over issues facing trans people are ‘not controversial’

Rishi Sunak has insisted that his views over issues facing transgender people are “not controversial” as he was asked why LGBT+ people should vote Conservative.

As a member of the British public posed his question on GB News, Mr Sunak began by arguing his party’s record over recent years is “one that you hope everyone is proud of”.

The audience member pressed the PM on his views on why transgender people in particular should vote for his party.

Mr Sunak said: “For people that are going through that, particularly children, we have to be sensitive, tolerant and understanding…

“But I also think in that issue that, particularly when it comes to questions over women’s safety, that biological sex is important.”

He added: “I really don’t think that anything I just said is controversial.”

It comes as the PM this week faced a backlash after he accused the Labour leader in the Commons of being incapable of “defining a woman” while Esther Ghey, the mother of murdered transgender teenager Brianna Ghey, was visiting Parliament.

Tara Cobham12 February 2024 20:41

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PM argues illegal migration is ‘profoundly unfair’ as he faces question from public over Rwanda Bill

Rishi Sunak has argued illegal migration is “profoundly unfair” as he faced a question over his Rwanda Bill from a member of the British public.

An audience member at the GB News event, the People’s Forum, asked the Prime Minister: “Why are you so adamant about Rwanda?”

He replied: “I think illegal migration is profoundly unfair. I actually think our country is based on fairness… Illegal migration breaks that sense of fairness, erodes that sense of trust.”

He said his flagship deportation policy also comes from a place of “compassion” for migrants and would remove “pressure on public services”.

Tara Cobham12 February 2024 20:30

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‘I will keep going’: Sunak pressed on Rwanda Bill

Rishi Sunak has insisted he will “keep going” as he faced a question over his Rwanda Bill from a member of the British public.

Presenter Stephen Dixon pressed Mr Sunak on the issue, asking: “How do you get this through parliament?”

The PM deflected responsibility onto the Labour Party, citing the Tory Party’s lack of a majority in the House of Lords, where the Bill faced opposition on Monday evening.

Describing the legislation as “the toughest anyone has seen”, he said: “I will keep going.”

Tara Cobham12 February 2024 20:19

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Statement from Labour Party over Rochdale by-election candidate

A Labour Party spokesperson said on Monday night: “Following new information about further comments made by Azhar Ali coming to light today, the Labour party has withdrawn its support for Azhar Ali as our candidate in the Rochdale by-election.

“Keir Starmer has changed Labour so that it is unrecognisible from the party of 2019.

“We understand that these are highly unusual circumstances but it is vital that any candidate put forward by Labour fully represents its aims and values.

“Given that nominations have now closed Azhar Ali cannot be replaced as the candidate.”

Tara Cobham12 February 2024 20:08

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Senior Tories to lose seats as rural Conservative vote collapses

Labour will beat the Tories in the most 100 rural constituencies in England, according to a shock new poll.

The poll found Conservative support had fallen by 25 points since the 2019 election, with just 34 per cent of voters in the 100 most rural constituencies in England saying they would vote for the party.

The Conservatives currently hold 96 of the 100 most rural seats, but now face losing more than half to Labour and the Lib Dems, including those of senior Tories Jacob Rees-Mogg, Jeremy Hunt, Thérèse Coffey, Andrea Leadsom, Mel Stride, Mark Harper and Liam Fox.

Zoe Grunewald and Christopher McKeon report:

Tara Cobham12 February 2024 20:04

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Rishi Sunak set to be grilled by UK public as pressure mounts

Rishi Sunak is set to be grilled by the UK public as pressure continues to mount on the prime minister in one of the most challenging weeks of his premiership.

Mr Sunak is facing questions from undecided and swing voters in County Durham during the People’s Forum event, which kicks off at 8pm on GB News.

It comes amid a week when the PM is enduring two tricky by-elections, opposition to his Rwanda plan, and the release of official figures revealing whether the country has slipped into a recession.

Tara Cobham12 February 2024 20:02

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