Left Wing, Right Wing: Thoughts from the Politics Editor


As Britain's economic situation worsens, Josh Rutland highlights another key battleground that the new Prime Minister may come to rely upon

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Image by HM Treasury

By Josh Rutland

As Rishi Sunak becomes our third Prime Minister in as many months, the Conservative Party is under pressure to deliver. Two key issues loom over his premiership as we edge closer to the 2024 General Election.

Firstly, the economy is at the forefront of voters’ minds; just two weeks ago, the Bank of England hiked interest rates again to three percent, the biggest rise since 1989. Mortgage repayments are spiralling, alongside an unfortunate combination of soaring utility and food bills. Mr Sunak’s image of generosity and handouts as Chancellor, which defined the early days of the pandemic, is fading fast as he battles with a £50bn fiscal hole.

The second undeniable issue for the PM is the perpetual problem of illegal immigration. With his re-appointment of Home Secretary Suella Braverman, who has made every effort to continue her predecessor’s hard-line approach, Mr Sunak is clearly taking a stance.

Yet Britain has already seen a record 40,000 Channel crossings so far in 2022. The Home Office is amassing a daily hotel bill of £7 million and the Manston asylum processing centre is experiencing “catastrophic overcrowding.” Braverman has highlighted the great imprecision in how we identify asylum seekers yet little has changed.

Indeed, this ought to be of grave concern to the Prime Minister. Immigration was the unofficial backdrop of the Brexit campaign, an issue that won the Conservatives their landmark victory three years ago. Likewise David Cameron, in part, relied on immigration to secure success back in 2010.

As Mr Sunak warns of imminent tax hikes and spending cuts, unlikely to ever win votes, he will come to rely on immigration to turn the Conservative Party around.