Freeze energy prices and call an election, Scottish Labour leader tells new PM

·2-min read

The new prime minister should freeze energy prices and then call a general election, Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar has said.

Speaking just hours before the announcement of the victor in the Tory leadership contest between Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak, Mr Sarwar urged the new occupant of No 10 to take immediate action on rising fuel bills.

He added that, regardless of who wins the contest – in which Ms Truss is the frontrunner – the new premier will be “Boris Johnson with neater hair, but without the jokes”.

“Today just 160,000 Tory members will inflict a new prime minister on our country,” he said.

“Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak? It doesn’t matter. It’s just more of the same. The same lies, deceit and failures. Whoever wins, it’s just Boris Johnson with neater hair, but without the jokes.

“Meanwhile, families worry about how they will afford spiralling bills and sky-high energy costs.

“The cost-of-living crisis is the number one issue facing families today and the Tories have no answers.

“We won’t see the scale of change we need as long as this failing, out-of-touch Tory government is in office.

“The first thing the prime minister needs to do is freeze energy prices. The second thing they need to do is call a general election.”

The calls come as Mr Sarwar’s party enjoys a healthy lead over the Tories in the polls, with the next general election not due until late 2024.

Meanwhile, SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said “Scotland loses” regardless of who become the next prime minister, accusing both candidates of engaging in a “race to the right”.

“While people are in fear at the prospect of opening their bills as prices rocket, wondering how they will make ends meet, the Tories have been more focused on their own narrow self-interest,” Mr Blackford said.

“At a time when we need to see meaningful and targeted support to protect households – including cancelling the energy price cap rise – the reality is that the plans being put forward by both Truss and Sunak fail to barely scratch the surface of this crisis.

“Scotland wants a different future to the one being imposed under harmful Westminster control. The only way to escape the damage of Brexit, protect people’s livelihoods and deliver meaningful change is to become an independent country.”