Rishi Sunak vows he is ‘fired up’ for the next election as he bids to stave off doom mongering in the Tory party on his trip to the G20 summit and bids to seal a post-Brexit free trade deal with India
- Prime Minister says he is ‘entirely confident’ he could win the next election
Rishi Sunak has declared that he is ‘fired up’ to fight the next general election – as he tried to quell a growing sense of resignation among Tory MPs that defeat is inevitable.
A string of recent setbacks, including the school concrete crisis and two impending by-elections, combined with Sir Keir Starmer’s persistent double-digit poll lead, have led to dismay on Mr Sunak’s backbenches.
But, speaking to reporters while travelling to the G20 summit in India, Mr Sunak said he was ‘entirely confident’ he could win the election, expected next year.
Denying that he was an ‘unlucky’ PM, Mr Sunak said: ‘We’ve got plenty of time between now and the next election. I’m not complacent, there’s lots of work to do but I’m entirely confident we can deliver for people.
‘And I can tell you – certainly in Downing Street, we are fired up.’
Rishi Sunak told reporters while travelling to the G20 summit in India that he was ‘entirely confident’ of winning an election, expected to take place next year
The Prime Minister arriving in Delhi with his wife Akshata Murty. Mr Sunak told journalist he was ‘hungry to win’
His attempt at rallying words carries echoes of David Cameron’s claim during the 2015 election campaign that he was ‘pumped up’ and ‘bloody lively’. Mr Cameron was accused of faking passion with the speech – but he did go on to win.
While admitting to ‘frustration’ that the concrete row had overshadowed the start of the new Parliamentary term, Mr Sunak pointed to recent falls in inflation and energy bills and an improvement in the UK’s economic prospects as grounds for Tory optimism.
He said the ‘very high quality people’ he has brought into the No 10 operation in recent weeks to take up key strategy and communications positions were ‘hungry to win… I am hungry to win, and they are fired up to deliver it.’
Mr Sunak said: ‘I am working to get a first full term. I will show the British people what I am capable of in the time I have now before the election.’
The Prime Minister is hoping to distract from his domestic difficulties by securing a bumper, post-Brexit trade deal with India in the coming weeks.
As part of the charm offensive on Delhi, Mr Sunak – whose wife Akshata, the daughter of an Indian tech billionaire, is joining him at the summit – described himself on landing as ‘India’s son-in-law’, and said the country was ‘very near and dear to me’.
Mr Sunak is due to hold talks today with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, but hopes the deal could be signed by this weekend have been dashed by wranglings over immigration, with Mr Sunak forced to insist that he has no plans to relax visa rules for India in return for the agreement.
The Prime Minister visited students and staff at the British Council in Delhi on Friday ahead of the G20 Summit
Home Secretary Suella Braverman had expressed concerns in Cabinet about the prospect of inviting more migrants to Britain in addition the 1.2million arrivals last year. There have also been tensions with India over its lukewarm condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Russian president Vladimir Putin is staying away from the summit, and has sent foreign minister Sergei Lavrov instead.
Mr Sunak said: ‘The fact that Putin is not there demonstrates his isolation in the global community. He wasn’t there last year, he is not there this year to answer for what he is doing.’
Mr Sunak, is facing a by-election in Tamworth, following the resignation of Chris Pincher after he lost an appeal against an eight-week suspension over groping allegations at the Carlton Club, in addition to the contest in Mid Bedfordshire triggered by Nadine Dorries’ resignation.
The Prime Minister also tried to reassure parents over the Raac concrete crisis by saying: ‘We’re providing lots of support to schools so that we can mitigate these things as quickly as possible.’
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