A general election should be called “straight away” to allow the public to have their say on 13 years of Tory “failure”, Sir Keir Starmer has said.
The Labour leader claimed he is ready for an election and he criticised Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s “weak and low ambition” proposals for the year ahead, as he made a speech setting out his own party’s agenda for 2023.
Asked whether he is prepared for a snap poll, Sir Keir said: “We are now ready for an election and I put the party on that basis some time ago.
“As to when that election will be, your guess is as good as mine. I think it should be straight away.
“After 13 years of failure, of failure on our economy – growing the economy has been far too slow over the past 13 years – our public services are on their knees, they did huge damage last autumn to our economy.
“I think people are entitled to say, ‘We don’t want any more of this, we should have a general election as soon as possible’.”
His call for an election comes as the Conservatives continue to lag behind Labour in the polls, with the cost of living and the crisis in the NHS impacting the public.
Sir Keir also criticised Mr Sunak’s five-point plan for governance, set out in his own new year speech on Wednesday.
Among his commitments, the Prime Minister pledged to reduce inflation by half, address NHS waiting lists, and tackle the small boats crisis.
The Labour leader said of Mr Sunak: “I thought his promises were weak and low ambition. Inflation is the biggest example of that. So you get inflation down to a rate lower than is already predicted, it is not a big promise to the British public.
“The idea that after 13 years of failure you can come along in the 13th year and say ‘I have got five new promises please give us one more chance’, I just feel is so far removed from reality.”
In response to a question from Sky News, Sir Keir said addressing the NHS workforce is “central” to resolving issues in the health service, adding the current situation is another example of “sticking plaster” politics.