Until this week, Rishi Sunak just needed to get lucky. Now he needs a miracle

The inflation gloom on Wednesday, which prompted the interest rate rise on Thursday, marks a turning point on the road to the election, writes John Rentoul

Friday 23 June 2023 17:26 BST
The economic and electoral cycles have aligned in Labour’s favour
The economic and electoral cycles have aligned in Labour’s favour (via REUTERS)

The simplest promises can be deceptive. Of the original five promises on Labour’s pledge card in 1997, no one paid much attention to the second. This was an undertaking to “halve the time from arrest to sentencing” for young offenders, which seemed straightforward enough.

Yet it was the one that proved hardest to fulfil. By the time of the subsequent election in 2001, the target still hadn’t been reached, although it was met the following year, and Labour claimed that the promise assumed that parliament would run for a full five years.

Luckily for Tony Blair – although political nous may have been as important as luck – nobody cared. I think I was the only journalist who tracked the Home Office figures. The point of the promise was to send a message about New Labour being tough on crime, a reputation that was securely nailed down during Blair’s first term.

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