BBC debate a turn off as Rishi Sunak fails to deliver knock out blow

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak
-Credit: (Image: PA)

The head-to-head was Rishi Sunak ’s last chance to change the minds of millions of voters sickened by his party.

A BBC showdown with Keir Starmer was a prime time opportunity to dent Labour’s massive poll lead.

Sunak needed a big win, but a sceptical audience and a confident Starmer ensured he fell well short.

The Prime Minister had to waste valuable time saying how furious he was at senior colleagues for allegedly betting on insider information on the election date.

He was repeatedly asked to account for the dismal 45 day reign of Liz Truss, who voters blame for high mortgage rates and soaring inflation.

Sunak’s strategy was to hit Starmer hard with claims the Labour leader would “surrender” the UK’s borders and snatch their money.

All successful election campaigns pulverise voters with the same messaging and slogans until they sink in.

But Sunak’s self-inflicted wounds and the recklessness of his colleagues have sabotaged the effectiveness of any message.

It also felt like Sunak’s main opponent on stage was not Starmer, but his invisible enemy Nigel Farage.

The inroads made by Reform into the Tory vote threaten to turn July 4th from a terrible night into a catastrophe.

Sunak should have used the BBC debate to move to the political centre, but Farage’s success dragged him to Right on immigration, tax and pretty much everything.

Starmer performed better than he did during the ITV head-to-head, where he was slow to rebut Sunak’s claims on tax.

He was empathetic and came across as a decent man who wanted the opportunity to serve his country.

Sunak repeatedly interrupted him with his “surrender” slogan, but the Labour leader won repeated rounds of applause.

His best moments were on promising a return to decency in public life - the glaring weakness for Sunak’s Tories.

Starmer would have settled for a draw, but managed to eke out a narrow win.

We have reached the stage where voters do not want to hear anything that comes out of Sunak’s mouth.

Fourteen years is a long stretch in Government and people across Britain have decided they want Sunak and the Tories out.

Sunak is not the worst Tory Prime Minister in recent years, but it is his face on the dartboard.

Voters are determined to hit the bullseye.

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