Tory civil war erupts as MPs accused Rishi Sunak of appearing out of touch

Tory MPs have accused Rishi Sunak of appearing “out of touch” and “weak” in the lead-up to the next general election.

The Prime Minister’s popularity in polls has plummeted to a record low while Labour maintains a 20-point lead.

One senior Tory backbench MP said: “He is looking increasingly out of touch and weak. We need to see him deliver some strong conservative policies and in particular to drive economic growth to help families and businesses.”

Mr Sunak’s satisfaction rating hit minus 44 which is on par with former Prime Minister Boris Johsnon’s minus 45 and Theresa May’s minus 44 shortly before they left office.

The Ipsos survey showed no surge in support for Sir Keir Starmer, with his net satisfaction rating of minus 22, with 38 percent thinking Labour is ready for Government, down from 43 percent in July.

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Meanwhile, 63 percent of those polled did not believe the Tories should be re-elected, a rise from 56 percent in May.

Another Tory MP said Conservative voters and party members “have felt let down on several accounts” by Mr Sunak. The backbencher called out the Prime Minister for “upsetting communities” in Northern Ireland over the protocol.

The MP also accused Mr Sunak of failing to make the most of full “Brexit advantages” with the Retained EU Law Bill. The Bill, introduced to Parliament in September 2022, initially included a sunset clause, meaning the estimated 4,800 EU-era rules would automatically expire after 31 December 2022 – unless ministers had specifically decided to replace or retain them.

However, the Act did not ultimately create the “bonfire” of EU-derived legislation that was originally envisaged.

The MP, who did not want to be named, said Mr Sunak would get support on his five pledges. These include: halving inflation this year, growing the economy, seeing national debt fall, shortening NHS waiting lists and stopping small migrant boats crossing the Channel.

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The backbencher said: “There is scope to lower taxes. He’s got to act immediately and make a statement at the party’s conference. He needs to show he’s a low-tax conservative without undermining the triple lock.”

“He needs to control spending better and spur on tax cuts. He needs to be seen taking action. There needs to be a strong manifesto built on being a low tax conservative.”

A third Tory MP called for Mr Sunak to be more bold to win voters while showcasing his competence which he’s “got in bucketloads”.

The former cabinet member said: “We know he’s competent, bright and able. He needs to metamorphosize into the next phase which is going out and being bold and then delivering the key things he has to deliver.”

The backbencher praised him for considering the scrapping of HS2’s second phase. The high-speed line could be scaled back in a bid to save £4.8 billion, reports have suggested.

The Tory MP said: “Everyone else has let that drift on. We haven’t got the money, it’s not a priority and it doesn’t serve people.”

Instead, the Government needs to direct funds to local roads and boost reliable broadband, the MP said.

They added: “The Prime Minister has done the diligent homework getting on top of the detail and now he needs to move rapidly.

“I do think he needs to say ‘how do people get more money in their pockets?’ and that would be looking at the taxation system. You’ve got to incentivise people to work, incentivise people to show there are opportunities, you can get up the ladder.

“People will have to start going back to work so he needs to show that strength of personality even with his civil servants. You need to be in work. We all need to be on top of our game and taking the country forward.

“He’ll need a little bit of luck. We need to make sure that Rwanda ruling in November goes in his favour and I think that, with the Illegal Migration Bill, will show things going forward because that’s what he needs.”

The government has appealed to the Supreme Court in a bid to get the Rwanda deportation policy off the ground.

The Court of Appeal ruled in June that plans to send asylum seekers to the east African nation were unlawful, overturning an initial High Court ruling giving the plan the green light.

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