Rishi Sunak’s abandonment of ‘triple lockdown’ protection for the state pension should be the trigger for a snap general election, a senior official in Labour’s shadow cabinet has said.
Since taking office on Tuesday, Mr Sunak has reneged on his predecessor Liz Truss’ pledge to maintain the triple lockdown, which requires pensions to rise at the height of inflation, average incomes or 2.5% .
Campaigners for the elderly have expressed concern after Downing Street made it clear protection – dating back to David Cameron’s tenure – was ‘on the table’ for Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s November 17 autumn statement on plans taxes and government spending.
Severing the inflation link would provide £3-5billion to plug the £40billion black hole in the country’s finances, but is seen as a betrayal by campaigners.
Now Wes Streeting has said abandoning this central promise of the latest Tory manifesto would fundamentally undermine Mr Sunak’s claim to a mandate from the 2019 general election.
“I don’t know where this government is going to land on the triple lockdown,” Mr Streeting said at lunch in Westminster.
“But this is another example of a Conservative Party that seems ready to break its manifesto commitments.
“And if the argument that the Tories are making is ‘The things we promised in our last manifesto can’t be paid for anymore because we’ve destroyed the economy’, then I think they have a responsibility to go back to the voters and ask their permission for the plan they want to pursue in order to undo the damage they have caused.
“We’ll happily compare our plan with this one and let people decide.”
His comments came as the number of signatures on The IndependentThe petition calling for a snap election has exceeded 450,000.
Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer has made calls for the country to be allowed to make its decision on who should lead the government following the second change of prime minister in the space of two months.
And Mr Streeting today said Mr Sunak’s departure from Boris Johnson’s 2019 program left the Prime Minister without a mandate for the changes he wanted to introduce.
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“The 2019 manifesto they stood on cannot be delivered,” the shadow health secretary said. “They are breaking their promises left, right and center.
“Our new Prime Minister therefore has no mandate for the program he intends to carry out.
“And if he wants to fix the mess his party has created, he should at least have the decency to ask permission from the British people. The public deserves a say in a general election.
Mr Streeting said Mr Sunak’s promise to ‘fix’ the mistakes made by Ms Truss at least showed he was aware of ‘the enormity of brand damage that the chaos of the past 12 months has inflicted on the Conservative party”.
But he said any chance he had of persuading voters he could reverse the problems created by his predecessors was undermined by his selection of a cabinet made up of familiar faces from the Johnson and Truss administrations.
“His choices … revealed he was too weak to back down,” Mr Streeting said. “Instead of assembling a new team, drawing on the brightest talents from the Tory ranks, he engaged in filthy deals to appease factions in his own party.
“First the party, then the country. What other explanation can there be for the return of a Minister of the Interior [Suella Braverman] who quit because of a security risk? »
Mr Streeting brushed aside suggestions that Mr Sunak would be able to restore public confidence in the Tories as competent stewards of the country’s finances, after the disarray of recent months.
“Rishi Sunak is one of many conservative chancellors who have plagued our country with over a decade of failed economic policies which – as they themselves say – have resulted in high taxes and low growth,” he said. -he declares.
“Rishi Sunak cannot tackle the cost of living crisis because he has fueled the cost of living crisis.
“I don’t care if Rishi Sunak was privately educated or extremely wealthy.
“I care that he is dangerously disconnected, making decisions about people whose lives he has never lived and whose lives he will never understand – decisions that make them poorer, not richer.
“Ideological dogma may have collapsed the economy with the mini-budget. But more than a decade of failed conservative economic policies have left working people to pay the price.
“And now Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt are talking about fixing the mess their party has created and the tough choices they will face in doing so. But those choices are nowhere near as difficult as those facing Britons facing higher mortgage costs, higher bills and higher taxes.
– It is a simple and fundamental principle that the government derives its democratic legitimacy from the people. The future of the country must not be decided by plots and U-turns at Westminster; it must be decided by the people in general elections. And for this reason, The Independent calls for an election. Express yourself and sign our electoral petition by clicking here.