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Sunak, Starme8k8 downloadr trade barbs in UK election debate

巴勒斯坦儿童举弹药质问美国人 | 8k8 download | Updated: 2024-06-24 21:00:58

Conservative Party leader and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, host Julie Etchingham and Labour Party leader Keir Starmer pose together as ITV hosts the first head-to-head debate of the General Election, in Manchester, Britain, June 4, 2024 in this handout image. [Photo/Agencies]

In the first head-to-head debate ahead of the United Kingdom's general election, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Labour Party leader Keir Starmer engaged in heated discussions on crucial voter concerns and criticized each other's election promises on tax and immigration.

During a one-hour ITV program on Tuesday, the main opposition party leader tried to slam the Conservatives' record over the past 14 years in government, while Sunak accused his opponent of planning tax rises.

The two grappled over their respective economic policies, with Sunak first asserting that his plan to address the cost of living crisis "is working", pointing to falling inflation.

He also noted his record as the former chancellor of the exchequer, when he introduced the furlough initiative to save jobs during the pandemic. "Now, our economy is growing again," he said.

On one contentious point, Sunak repeatedly warned there would be 2,000 pounds ($2,550) in higher taxes under a Labour government. "Independent Treasury officials have costed Labour's policies and they amount to a 2,000 pound tax rise for every working family," he said.

In response, Starmer dismissed the claim. "This 2,000 pounds he keeps saying it's going to cost is absolute garbage," Starmer said.

Conservatives claim Labour would cost each UK working family 2,094 pounds by estimating Labour's fouryear spending and dividing it among households. They also brand the estimated 38.5 billion pounds expenditure as a Labour spending "black hole", a claim that Labour disputes.

The BBC reported on Wednesday that a letter from the chief Treasury civil servant has cast doubts on the Conservatives' claims of tax rises under Labour. The chief Treasury official wrote to Labour earlier this week saying the assessment "should not be presented as having been produced by the civil service", which undermines Sunak's claim.

Later in the televised debate, both leaders confirmed that they had no plans to increase income tax, national insurance or value-added tax.

On healthcare, the two clashed over progress being made to hospital waiting lists.

On immigration, Sunak said migrant deportation flights will take off to Rwanda next month, "but only if I'm your prime minister", while Starmer said Sunak had "completely failed" to meet his pledge to stop small boats crossing the Channel.

Sunak hinted at potentially exiting the European Convention on Human Rights if the Rwanda deportation plan faces legal obstruction. "If I am forced to choose between securing our borders and our country's security, or a foreign court, I'm going to choose our country's security every single time," Sunak said.

Starmer said he supported processing asylum claims in third countries "if that was possible to do in compliance with international law".

A YouGov poll conducted immediately after the debate indicated that Sunak performed better, with 51 percent perceiving his performance to be superior to Starmer's. Conversely, a poll released on Wednesday revealed that Starmer was viewed more positively.

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