Sunak urges voters to ‘stick’ with Tories as he confirms 2024 General Election

The Prime Minister said his party’s plan was ‘starting to deliver’ but said Labour would take the country ‘back to square one’.

Katrine Bussey
Friday 01 March 2024 16:23 GMT
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak surged voters to stick with the Tories, saying their plan was ‘starting to deliver’ (Michal Wachucik/PA)
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak surged voters to stick with the Tories, saying their plan was ‘starting to deliver’ (Michal Wachucik/PA)

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has urged voters to “stick” with the Tories in the next general election – saying that while his party was now “starting to deliver”, putting Labour into power would “take the UK back to square one”.

With Mr Sunak having confirmed on Friday that a Westminster election will take place during 2024, he warned that if Sir Keir Starmer ends up in Downing Street, they would face higher bills as a result of Labour’s energy policy.

Having confirmed during a visit to Montrose in the north east of Scotland on Friday that “there will be an election this year”, the Prime Minister went on to deliver a speech to the Scottish Tory conference in Aberdeen.

Mr Sunak told supporters there: “The choice before the country now is a clear one – stick to our plan that is starting to deliver the change that people want to see, or go back to square one with Labour.”

He added in Scotland the choice was “even more stark”, with Mr Sunak saying: “If Labour would take the UK back to square one, the SNP would take Scotland back 300 years.”

He urged Scots to “send the Nationalists back home to think again” as he attacked the Scottish Government for its record on health, education and the economy.

Claiming that the SNP’s “obsession with independence that is holding Scotland back”, Mr Sunak added: “As with Nicola Sturgeon, as long as Humza Yousaf is in Bute House, separatism will be put above the interests of all Scots.

“To get Scotland moving again we finally need to move the SNP on.

Labour and the SNP would mean fewer jobs right here in the North East

Rishi Sunak, Prime Minister

“And that will be the choice here in Scotland when the election comes. Remain stuck in a constitutional time warp with the SNP, while schools, hospitals, the economy are neglected.”

He told supporters: “I know the SNP haven’t had their troubles to seek in the past year. But nobody should be in any doubt about the continuing threat they pose to Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom.

“If you want to see better schools, more economic growth, safer streets, and a government that works for the whole of Scotland, then every day that the SNP remain in power is a wasted day.”

His comments came as he insisted it was only the Tories who would protect jobs in the North Sea energy sector.

“Labour and the SNP would mean fewer jobs right here in the North East,” the Prime Minister said, highlighting his party’s support for new oil and gas projects.

He said the SNP, with their “Green allies”, would “destroy” the oil and gas sector.

Turning to Labour, he continued: “They don’t want to ban all oil and gas, they just want to ban British oil and gas with their ban on North Sea exploration.

“It shows so clearly that their values are not our country’s values, that they put virtue signalling ahead of our country’s energy security.”

He accused Sir Keir and his party of being “blinded by their own zeal on this issue”, saying that  Labour’s U-turn on a pledge to spend £28 billion on green energy would mean higher costs for households.

Criticising his rivals, Mr Sunak said: “They dropped the policy, but it turned out they kept the policy but just wanted to drop the price tag.

“We all know what that means – it means higher taxes and higher energy bills. That’s what we have to stop.”

But with the Prime Minister’s address to the conference only lasting just over 10 minutes, the SNP branded it a “blink and you’d miss it” speech.

Party Westminster leader Stephen Flynn hit back and said: “The Tories have trashed the UK economy, slashed Scotland’s budget and sent the cost of living soaring.

“Rishi Sunak should have used his flying visit to apologise to families across Scotland who are skint and scunnered as a result of his Government’s appalling record of failure.”

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