Sunak accused of ‘desperate’ tactics with ‘don’t surrender to Labour’ poster of child with hands up

Rishi Sunak has been branded “desperate” after the Conservatives released their latest shock election poster.

The prime minister highlighted the attack advert, which depicts three people, including a child, with their hands in the air as if at gunpoint and urges voters not to "surrender" to Labour.

The message is one the Prime Minister repeated more than a dozen times during his final head-to-head TV debate with Sir Keir Starmer on Wednesday.

The Labour leader said during a campaign visit to Staffordshire that he was “surprised” by the use of the image.

"This is really desperate stuff and I’m surprised by it,” he said. "I think it underlines the difference between the two campaigns now.”

Others also attacked the poster.

Brendan Cox, who was married to murdered MP Jo Cox, tweeted: "Labour are going to gun down your family. Don’t pretend you weren’t warned... Er..."

The Tory leader defended the imagery during his on trip to Derbyshire, saying: "This is an incredibly important election, and there’s an important choice for people. And I don’t want people to sleepwalk into something.”

He said a Labour government “would be very damaging for our country.”

And he again conceded that the public is “frustrated with me and our party, but this is not a by-election. This is a choice about our future, and that choice will have severe consequences for people’s financial security."

During the BBC debate Mr Sunak urged voters not to "surrender" to Labour’s tax, welfare and migration plans.

Sunak has been branded ‘desperate’ (Getty Images)
Sunak has been branded ‘desperate’ (Getty Images)

Earlier this month Crossbench peer Lord Carlile said the Conservatives ‘should be ashamed of themselves’ for publishing a photoshopped image of Sir Keir being cheered on by the North Korean despot Kim Jong Un.

The advert was branded branded “shameful and demeaning” by the former Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation.

Former Tory minister Alistair Burt also said the post was “disgraceful”.

But Mr Sunak doubled down on the post, saying Sir Keir would send "exactly the wrong message" to the UK’s adversaries, such as Russia and North Korea.

And he repeated his concerns of an "axis of authoritarian states, including Russia, Iran, North Korea and China, who are increasingly acting together in a way that threatens our values, our interests and our security".

It was posted just a day after Sir Keir praised Mr Sunak’s cross-party approach on national security and defence issues.

Mr Sunak has been under pressure from some of his cabinet to launch more personal attacks on Sir Keir in a bid to cut Labour’s massive poll lead.