News Brief

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak Takes Break From Campaigning As Senior Tory MPs Make Mass Exit

Swarajya Staff

May 26, 2024, 12:23 PM | Updated 12:22 PM IST

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

After announcing a general election for 4 July, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is reportedly spending his first Saturday (25 May) with his closest advisers.

The 44-year-old Indian-origin leader is taking private time with his aides and family amidst a mass exodus of senior members of Parliament from his embattled Conservative Party, as per a report by NDTV.

Cabinet ministers Michael Gove and Andrea Leadsom are the latest Tory frontliners to announce they will not seek re-election in this summer's polls, bringing the number of party members quitting the race to 78.

Gove’s announcement, in a letter released on social media on Friday evening, had been anticipated amid strong challenges to incumbent Tories across the country.

Leadsom released her letter shortly after, informing Sunak of her decision not to stand as a candidate.

In his letter, Housing Minister Gove acknowledged the toll office can take and emphasised the need for a new generation of leaders.

Former prime minister Theresa May and former defence minister Ben Wallace have also announced their decisions to leave frontline politics.

As per the same report, Sunak is taking a day away from public events over the first weekend of the election campaign to discuss election strategy with his closest advisers.

While one source dismissed the idea that Sunak was hoping to reset his campaign as “ridiculous", another campaign operative noted that prime ministers don’t typically spend the first weekend of a campaign at home talking to advisers.

Opposition Labour MP Stella Creasy criticised Sunak’s decision on social media, suggesting that he already needs a break and that Britain needs a different government.

However, claims that Sunak was not actively campaigning were soon rebutted, with reports stating he was spending the day campaigning in his constituency of Yorkshire.

Conservative Minister Bim Afolami dismissed the criticisms from the opposition as “fluff", emphasising the importance of framing the election correctly.

Meanwhile, opposition Labour leader Keir Starmer is fully engaged in campaign activities, focusing on arguments that the Conservatives have damaged the economy and raised living costs.

A recent YouGov opinion poll, conducted on Thursday and Friday, shows Labour’s lead falling by three points since Sunak called the snap summer general election on Wednesday. The survey indicates the Conservatives are up by one point to 22 per cent, while Labour is down two points to 44 per cent.

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