Election latest: Sunak defends Tory record as he's asked if it's 'time to get his P45' over 'catalogue of broken promises’ (2024)

Battle For No 10 - Sky News leaders' event
  • Sunak and Starmer face questions from Beth Rigby and audience - watch and follow live
  • PM booed upon arrival
  • Why we picked Grimsby for pivotal election event
  • Why both leaders are at pains to rule out tax rises
  • Live reporting by Charlotte Chelsom-Pill,Emily Mee,Katie WilliamsandFaye Brown
Sunak faces grilling
  • PM admits 'it hasn't been an easy 18 months'
  • Sunak says 'he was right' to oppose Liz Truss' policies
  • Rigby points to Brexit and NHS in 'catalogue of broken promises'
  • Laughter and heckling from audience - and an angry intervention
  • Jon Craig:PM looked like he couldn't wait for that to end
  • Analysis:Sunak has mountain to climb after D-Day gaffe
  • Analysis:PM says immigration 'too high' - and figures don't lie
How did Starmer fare?
  • Labour leader denies ditching most of his previous pledges
  • Starmer challenged over prior positions on Corbyn and Brexit
  • And he reveals 'only fear' about potentially becoming PM
  • Voter hits out at private school plan - but polls are in favour
  • Jon Craig:Starmer faces up to difficult issues
  • Fact check:Campaign promises in spotlight|Is a tax rise on cards?
Election essentials
  • Check parties' manifesto pledges:Conservatives|Greens|Lib Dems
  • Campaign Heritage:Memorable moments from elections gone by
  • Trackers:Who's leading polls?|Is PM keeping promises?
  • Follow Sky's politics podcasts:Electoral Dysfunction|Politics At Jack And Sam's
  • Read more:Who is standing down?|Key seats to watch|How to register to vote|What counts as voter ID?|Check if your constituency is changing|Your essential guide to election lingo|Sky's election night plans

21:06:51

'Vote for Reform is a vote for Keir' - audience warms up as Sunak finally lands a blow

By Faye Brown, political reporter

The heckling has died down now as Sunak comes under scrutiny from the audience.

He's taken to task over his D-day gaffe and association with partygate and there's nods from the audience as he apologises - in fact the question asker even says she appreciates that the PM owned up to his mistake.

She makes the point that it will take a long time for him to rebuild trust and it seems that those around her agree through the sound of clap.

In fact, there's been lots of clapping throughout the night on questions about the Conservative's record.

But Sunak does appear to land a warm round of applause when he says that a vote for Reform UK is a vote for Keir Starmer.

His arguments on tax and the NHS might not have gone down so well but that's one blow that appeared to land at least with some members.

21:06:32

Analysis: PM looked like he couldn't wait for that to end

Rishi Sunak is getting a hard time from the audience during exchanges on the NHS.

But then it gets worse.

A former Tory activist attacks him on D-Day and the Queen left on her own at Philip's funeral during partygate.

The PM looks as though he can't wait for this to end.

He'll be happier in the final election clash with Sir Keir, in a few weeks' time, when it's head to head rather than questions from an interviewer and a pesky audience.

He comes to life, though, when a member of the audience asks about Reform UK.

He launches into his usual claim about a vote for Reform UK letting in Labour, but at last he’s more animated.

As the programme comes to an end, James Cleverly arrives in the spin room. He looks pretty glum. This has been tough for Rishi Sunak.

Labour’s Jonathan Ashworth, on the other hand, has a big smile on his face. Says it all.

21:00:44

Sunak 'incredibly excited' for daughters to do national service

Rishi Sunak says he is "incredibly excited" for his daughters to do national service.

He was responding to a question from William, a student from Grimsby, who asks why a young person today would believe the Conservative Party has their best interests at heart given Mr Sunak's national service announcement.

"I have two young girls. I'm incredibly excited for them to do it because I think it'll be transformative for our country," the prime minister says.

"It willprovide skills and opportunities for young people that will set them up for the rest of their lives,foster a culture of service in our society, bring people closer together and contribute to our long-term resilience and security."

Mr Sunak says that everywhere he has been people have been "really positively talking to me about it", including parents who are "excited about what it will do for their kids".

20:57:03

NHS worker has a sorry story to tell Sunak - and he's not alone

ByJoely Santa Cruz, data journalist

Hamza, an NHS worker, wanted to know how Rishi Sunak plans to deal with underfunding and staff shortages in the NHS.

He says he has personally experienced waiting for eight hours on a stretcher in his local A&E department while in pain.

He's not alone - waits over 12 hours used to be a rare or almost non-existent event in English hospitals.

In April 2024, there were 42,000 instances.

20:56:20

'Lifelong true blue' voter says she is 'ashamed' by government

Amy from Leeds is next to ask a question of Rishi Sunak - she says she was a "lifelong true blue" but is now an "undecided voter".

She goes on to say that some actions taken by the government make her feel "ashamed", including Mr Sunak's early departure from the D-Day commemoration in Normandy.

Amy asks how he will rebuild public trust in him.

The prime minister repeats that he made a "mistake" and did not meant to "cause any offence or hurt". He says he cares "deeply" about veterans.

Mr Sunak then says his manifesto contains a "very clear plan, a bold set of actions that will deliver a more secure future for you and everybody".

Sunak 'deeply regrets' lockdown parties

Amy comes back with a question about the Downing Street parties which took place while the country was under COVID restrictions, saying the public have "long memories".

Mr Sunak received a fixed penalty notice for one of them.

Mr Sunak says he "deeply regrets" what happened and says he knows "people will remember".

He says trust "takes time to rebuild through actions", notes his government took action to protect the NHS and people's jobs during COVID, and has "restored economic stability" over the past 18 months.

"That's how you earn trust, through your actions, making progress on things that matter to people."

20:56:12

How will the Conservatives overhaul policing?

The next question comes from audience member Christina from London, who says people in her community are concerned about policing - and in particular systemic racism and misogyny.

What will the Conservatives do to rebuild trust?

Rishi Sunak says racism and misogyny have "absolutely no place in our society, especially when it comes to the police".

His government instituted a report into the Met Police which the commissioner is now working on, he says.

The PM says he also wants to make sure communities are safe, so his party will put more police officers on the street, toughen up sentencing, and focus on violence against women and girls.

He will put 8,000 more officers on the street if elected, he says.

His party lost 11 police and crime commissioners at elections in May and Labour’s national vote share was higher in this poll, despite law and order typically being an area where Conservatives perform better.

But Sunak’s party fell from a very high starting point.

There are still Conservatives running police forces in 19 out of 37 areas with a police and crime commissioner in England and Wales, with Labour responsible for 17.

The Conservatives are much stronger in the South and Midlands than in the North, however.

20:54:46

Audience member accuses Sunak of undermining NHS 'at every level'

Turning to the NHS, an audience member lists "chronic" staff shortages post-Brexit and a lack of pandemic preparedness among his concerns.

He challenges Rishi Sunak on his claim that due to having a family background in the NHS, he has an instilled value of caring for it.

He asks: "How are we going to do that if you try and undermine it at every level."

"With the greatest respect, that's not what we're doing," Mr Sunak replies.

"We're investing record sums into it. We're training more doctors and nurses than we ever have, and there are more doctors and nurses in the NHS today than it's also had," he says.

20:49:20

Analysis: That was a tough 20 minutes for Sunak

More heckles from the audience as Beth Rigby confronts the PM on tax. Beth's on fire.

She wins big applause when she accuses the Tories of "a catalogue of broken promises" and people will say it's time for them to "collect their P45".

The session ends on a more cheerful note, though, when he admits to an unhealthy diet, contrary to what many people think, or Haribos and Twixes.

But it was a tough 20 minutes for the PM.

And a triumph for our formidable political editor and her tough and forensic interrogation. Beth for PM!

The first question from the audience is from a father who wants his daughter to buy a house.

He talks about a house costing £425,000, earning groans from the audience.

That's clearly out of many people's reach in Grimsby.

Another example of the millionaire PM being out of touch?

20:48:53

'Why has your government spoilt young people's hopes and dreams?'

The first audience question for Rishi Sunak is rather direct, with a retired teacher from Grimsby asking the prime minister why his government has "spoilt" young people's "hopes and dreams".

He says Liz Truss's disastrous "mini-budget" has affected his daughter's chances of buying a property.

Mr Sunak says he "wants everyone to be able to own their own home" as it is a "really magical thing".

"The best way for us to do that is to get interest rates down again... that's why I made a priority to bring inflation down," he says.

The prime minister also points to a manifesto promise to raise the stamp duty threshold for first-time-buyers to £425,000.

The audience member interjects, saying: "To be honest Mr Sunak, I don't think she was planning on buying a house that expensive," to laughs from the audience.

Mr Sunak continues with his point and says the Tories will also reintroduce a version of the scrapped Help to Buy scheme.

Mortgage rates may have come back down after he became PM, but then they went back up again and right now they are still higher than they were before the mini-budget.

Inflation has been coming down too, but Bank of England interest rates remain at their highest level for many years.

20:45:59

PM opens up on 'appalling diet' - but audience gets the last laugh

There's inscrutable shouting coming from the audience as Sunak comes under scrutiny as to whether taxes will really come down.

And there's a groan when he blames COVID and the energy crisis on taxes going up.

The audience really seem to be resonating with the points Beth makes about the Tories’ record in government - on why anyone should trust what Sunak says, on whether he has delivered on flagship promises such as migration and Brexit.

The prime minister gets his own chance to laugh when he is asked to reveal something about himself people might not know: Spoiler - that he's a bit of a sugar fiend and has an "appalling diet".

But it's a member of the audience who gets the last laugh.. literally.

A chuckle is heard as questions from Beth come to an end. We'll let you decide for yourself if that's a good or bad sign for the PM.

Now for the audience Q&A !

Election latest: Sunak defends Tory record as he's asked if it's 'time to get his P45' over 'catalogue of broken promises’ (2024)
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