Labour advert attack on Prime Minister prove how much they fear Rishi

Emily Thornberry defends Labour attack ad

Labour’s personal attack adverts against Rishi Sunak and his wife show how much Labour fears the Prime Minister, Tories insisted. Sir Keir Starmer’s party on Tuesday went for Akshata Murty over her non-dom tax status to claim the Prime Minister benefits from a tax loophole. It is the latest in a deeply personal series of targeted ads that have led even Labour figures to accuse their party of “gutter” politics.

Conservative MP Jonathan Gullis said Labour’s decision to score cheap political points showed how worried it is about the next election.

He said: “It just goes to show the desperation in the Labour party at this moment in time as they see the polls, albeit slowly, narrowing and they are constantly caught out flip-flopping on one issue to the next, jumping on any political bandwagon that goes by.

“Keir Starmer told Labour members he had ten pledges and as soon as he became leader he ditched them.

“He told Labour members that Jeremy Corbyn was a friend and as soon as he had the opportunity he tried to ditch him.

“He told voters in the Red Wall he is pro-Brexit, trying to whitewash his past as pro-Remain and pro-second referendum.

“On the doorsteps in Stoke-on-Trent voters are not taking seriously what Labour has got to say because they are so used to the flip-flopping and virtue signalling on a daily basis.”

The latest advert says: “A Labour government would freeze council tax this year, paid for by a proper windfall tax on oil and gas giants.

“And we’d scrap the Tories’ non-dom tax loophole.”

Below it is a photograph of Mr Sunak captioned: “Do you think it is right to raise taxes on working people when your family benefitted from a tax loophole?

“Rishi Sunak does.”

It emerged last year that Indian Ms Murty had non-dom status, which typically applies to someone who was born overseas and spends much of their time in the UK but still considers another country to be their permanent residence or “domicile”.

It has been estimated Ms Murty’s non-dom status could have saved her £20million in taxes on dividends from her shares in Infosys, an Indian IT company founded by her father.

She later agreed to pay UK taxes on her worldwide income.

A Tory source said: “This is the height of hypocrisy from a party which has already made £90billion of unfunded spending commitments and whose leader stands to benefit from a bespoke, tax-unregistered pension scheme unavailable to others.

“Rishi Sunak has a plan to halve inflation, grow the economy and reduce debt. Sir Keir only has a plan to play politics on Twitter.”

Labour provoked outrage last week with posters that claimed the Prime Minister does not think child sex abusers or thieves should go to prison.

Conservatives pointed out how Sir Keir helped write the guidelines for sentencing child sex offenders when he was director of public prosecutions.

Sir Keir insists he stands by the adverts despite the backlash from across the political spectrum.

The Labour leader told his shadow cabinet that he makes “no apologies at all” for the controversial campaign, and that the focus will move this week from the Prime Minister’s record on crime to the cost of living.

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves defended the ads, saying: “I’m not going to make any apology for highlighting the dire record of this Conservative Government and this Conservative Prime Minister.”

“Whether it’s the criminal justice system, our health service, the cost-of-living pressures that people are under – this is a result of 13 years of Conservative failure.

“And as an opposition party, we’ve got to highlight that and put forward our alternative.”

Shadow chief secretary to the Treasury Pat McFadden said: “These are legitimate areas for public debate”, and declined to say whether any subject is off limits when challenged over the inclusion of the Prime Minister’s wife.

The party is not expected to release another attack ad today, instead focusing on plans to “get our high streets thriving again”.

Sir Keir and Ms Reeves will visit Great Yarmouth on Wednesday as the party launches its five-point plan, warning “thousands of pubs, shops and bank branches” have closed.

A Police Efficiency and Collaboration Programme would, the party said, combat anti-social behaviour and “deliver over £350million in procurement and shared services savings” to be used to pay for 13,000 more neighbourhood police and PCSOs.

The party said it would cut business rates for small businesses on the high street “paid for by properly taxing online giants”, adding it “would be worth over £2.6k” to the average pub, cafe or restaurant.

Sir Keir said: “Britain’s businesses already give so much to our economy, and hold a huge amount of potential and promise just waiting to be unlocked.

“But they’re being held back by 13 years of Tory economic failure. The Tories crashed the economy, and business and working people are still paying the price on higher interest rates.

“With our five-point plan, Labour will work in partnership with businesses and local communities to get our high streets thriving again.”

The scale of Sir Keir Starmer’s unconstrained self-delusion is matched by his unwarranted self-righteousness.

He presents himself as a man of granite integrity, but his record shows that he is a cynical opportunist. His pose as a warrior for justice cannot conceal the reality that he is just another slippery North London lawyer.

This is a holier-than-thou politician with the consistency of a chameleon and the principles of the Vicar of Bray.

These ugly traits have been on full display during the explosive row over Labour’s highly personalised attack adverts against Rishi Sunak.

Despite the ensuing storm, Starmer has boasted that Labour is “fighting fire with fire” and that he “makes zero apology” for the increasingly aggressive tone of his party’s propaganda.

As the latest advert demonstrates, with its denunciation of tax loopholes, even the Prime Minister’s wife is seen as a legitimate target. But Starmer is making a calamitous error, for, when playing dirty politics, the mud can often stick to the assailant.

Sir Keir talks grandly about the need for “civility in politics”, but such high minded-rhetoric is contradicted by his party’s shameless attempt at character assassination. Far from boosting his party’s chance at victory, his vindictive approach inflicted damage on it.

The adverts have caused huge divisions in Labour’s ranks, with many activists and MPs appalled – and they inadvertently drew attention to the emptiness of Labour’s own policies.

The party lambasts Sunak for being soft on offenders but cannot even say if it will create more prison places.

While Labour bleats about Tory tax rises, it cannot explain how it would pay for its expensive promises. But perhaps the most serious consequence is a counter-attack by the Government.

Everything in Sir Keir’s own record will be now hauled into the spotlight, particularly his performance as Director of Public Prosecutions between 2008 and 2013. One Labour strategist admitted that “dredging up his past records won’t end well”.

In a car crash BBC interview, Emily Thornberry was left floundering when it was noted Sir Keir had been a member of the official Sentencing Council. She could not say whether he had raised objections to the draft official advice.

This paper has revealed how the CPS refused to take action against doctors who had terminated pregnancies on the grounds of gender, as their parents only wanted a son.

The CPS in Wales also dropped the prosecution of a primary school teacher for sending explicit sexual messages to a teenager, who later committed suicide.

Starmer’s CPS failed to build a case to take Jimmy Savile to court despite the allegations against him and, following the conviction of rapist John Worboys, nothing was done to pursue 75 other rape claims against him.

On Starmer’s watch, a judge also threatened to clear a rape defendant without a trial, after the “lamentable” failure of the CPS to prepare a case.

A survey of staff at the CPS under his leadership found that just 12 percent thought the organisation was “well-managed”. Yet this is the man who now aspires to lead our country.

Thankfully, his own epic act of self-sabotage may help to prevent him fulfilling that ambition.

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