Sunak stunned as mum who can't afford to use oven challenges him at ITV general election debate

Rishi Sunak was confronted over the rising cost of living by one struggling mum
-Credit: (Image: ITV)

A struggling mum has candidly opened up about the struggles she has faced under Tory leadership, as she revealed to Rishi Sunak that she is afraid to use her oven amid concerns about the spiralling cost of living. During a high-stakes ITV debate ahead of the upcoming general election, the Prime Minister went toe to toe with Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer to answer some of the most pressing concerns of voters.

During the debate, one of the first questions came from audience member Paula, who lives in Huddersfield as she told the PM: : "In the last few years I've found it hard to make ends meet. All I do is work to live.”

She went on: "My savings are gone and I'm genuinely worried about my future. I don't think you actually understand how this is for people like me." In a particularly heartbreaking moment, Paula then revealed how she had resorted to batch cooking in recent months as she was worried about using her oven too often during peak time, as energy prices remain high, reports The Mirror.

Clearly at the end of her tether, the worried mum asked: " So what can you do about that?”

Audience member Paula confronted the PM over the cost of living
Audience member Paula confronted the PM over the cost of living -Credit:ITV

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In response to the question, a flustered Mr. Sunak gave a stuttering answer that referenced the furlough scheme and falling inflation, but failed to deliver on a clear pledge about what he could do to help lessen the burden she was experiencing.

However, by contrast, Sir Keir Starmer, hit out at his political rival and accused the government of having “lost control” with people like Paula left paying the price.

Mr Starmer told Paula: "There'll be millions of people watching this who feel in a similar position to you that the cost of living is really bearing down on them with constant worry." He also highlighted that the invasion of Ukraine and Covid had had an impact, but went on: "This government has lost control. Liz Truss crashed the economy. They made it worse here than in other countries. It's people like you that are paying the price.”

Unwilling to be defeated, Rishi then weighed in and argued: "I know how much of a strain the last few years have put on family finances. And that's why my priority has always been to do what I can to support you. That started with bold action, like the furlough scheme during the pandemic, and more recently, my clear plan to bring inflation back to normal.”

Sir Keir Starmer expressed his sympathies for Paula's situation as she highlighted her difficulties with spiralling costs
Sir Keir Starmer expressed his sympathies for Paula's situation as she highlighted her difficulties with spiralling costs -Credit:ITV

In a tense exchange of words, Mr.Starmer then hit back: "If he thinks things are going to get better, why has he called an election now?" He went on: "I don't think he believes the plan is working because if he thought the plan is working he wouldn't call an election right now.”

In a bleak look at the future, the Labour Party Leader then added that inflation could soar and energy bills could rise in the Autumn, which he suggested may have been the reason behind Rishi’s decision to call a snap election.

The comments came amid a blistering opening debate between the warring parties with both the Conservatives and Labour vying to secure votes ahead of next month’s general election. Covering everything from cost of living to health and even the issue of public sector pay, both candidates pulled no punches as they tried to win over voters.

In a mega poll of 30,044 people however, current projections suggest that Labour could win by a landslide with a mammoth 487 votes, according to the MRP polling by Survation for Best for Britain. It means any narrowing of the polls in the remaining four weeks of the campaign could be the difference between the Tories losing - and being wiped out almost entirely.

The under-fire PM will need an unprecedented turnaround if he's going to keep his job after the election, as his party faces a historic wipeout. A separate mega-poll by YouGov also shares a similar belief, and even suggests that the party could be left with just 140 seats after July 4 - having won a massive 365 in 2019.