Sunak says voting for Reform would hand Labour ‘blank cheque’

Rishi Sunak has responded to a poll showing Nigel Farage’s Reform party ahead of the Conservatives – saying a vote for the party would “give a blank cheque to Labour”.

Speaking to journalists at the G7 summit in Italy, the prime minister said: “We are only halfway through this election, so I’m still fighting very hard for every vote.

“And what that poll shows is – the only poll that matters is the one on 4 July – but if that poll was replicated on 4 July, it would be handing Labour a blank cheque to tax everyone, tax their home their pension their car, their family, and I’ll be fighting very hard to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

Election latest: Reform overtakes Tories for first time

Mr Sunak batted away the suggestion from Mr Farage that his party now represents the opposition to Labour – after a poll by YouGov put Reform on 19% and the Conservatives on just 18%.

The prime minister said: “Actually, when I’ve been out and about talking to people, they do understand that a vote for anyone who is not a Conservative candidate is just a vote to put Keir Starmer in Number 10.

“So if you want action on lower taxes, lower migration, protected pensions or a sensible approach to net zero you’re only going to get that by voting Conservative.

“And when people are thinking about the substance of what they want to see from a future government, if you’re someone who wants to see control over borders, you’re going to get that from us.”

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He went on: “You’re not going to get that from Labour – they’re going to cancel the Rwanda scheme, they’re not going to put in place a legal migration cap… a sensible approach to net zero.

“I’ve already announced that; Labour would reverse those reforms and put everyone’s bills up with net zero costs.

“And if you want your pension protected, we’re the only ones offering the triple lock plus, so actually, you know, when people sit down especially now this week when everyone can see very clearly the difference in approach from the two parties… will crystallise people’s minds on polling day.”

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Asked if the Tory party faced an “existential” threat, Mr Sunak said the publication of the two manifestos showed “there’s a massive difference on tax” between the Conservatives and Labour.

“We want to cut your taxes at every stage of your life in work, setting up a business, buying your first home, when you’re retired, you’re a pensioner or if you have a family – cutting taxes for everybody,” he said.

“The Labour Party consistently can’t tell you which taxes they’re going to put up, but they are going to put them up and as we saw yesterday, they’re going to raise the tax burden to the highest level in this country’s history. And that’s the choice for everyone at the election.”

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