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DAILY MAIL COMMENT: Sunak can’t afford to waste another second


There were some in the Tory ranks yesterday who described the latest by-election drubbings as a warning shot to the beleaguered party.

But so many dramas and disasters have befallen the Conservatives over the past two years, heavy machine gunfire may be a more appropriate analogy.

How many more volleys must there be before Rishi Sunak and his team take notice and respond?

Unless they do so swiftly and decisively, the party may be heading for a near wipeout at the next General Election. It would be futile for the Prime Minister to seek crumbs of solace in the shattering loss of both Wellingborough and Kingswood to Labour. These were supposedly safe seats, yet in each a huge majority was overturned.

There were some in the Tory ranks yesterday who described the latest by-election drubbings as a warning shot to the beleaguered party. Pictured: Rishi Sunak

There were some in the Tory ranks yesterday who described the latest by-election drubbings as a warning shot to the beleaguered party. Pictured: Rishi Sunak

But so many dramas and disasters have befallen the Conservatives over the past two years, heavy machine gunfire may be a more appropriate analogy. How many more volleys must there be before Rishi Sunak and his team take notice and respond?

But so many dramas and disasters have befallen the Conservatives over the past two years, heavy machine gunfire may be a more appropriate analogy. How many more volleys must there be before Rishi Sunak and his team take notice and respond?

Unless they do so swiftly and decisively, the party may be heading for a near wipeout at the next General Election. It would be futile for the Prime Minister to seek crumbs of solace in the shattering loss of both Wellingborough and Kingswood to Labour. Pictured: Sir Keir Starmer

Unless they do so swiftly and decisively, the party may be heading for a near wipeout at the next General Election. It would be futile for the Prime Minister to seek crumbs of solace in the shattering loss of both Wellingborough and Kingswood to Labour. Pictured: Sir Keir Starmer

Worse still, these defeats came in the wake of what was perhaps the most testing fortnight of Sir Keir Starmer’s leadership, with his £28 billion-a-year green plan ditched and anti-Semitism rearing its head again.

More ominous for the Tories was the buoyant performance of the Reform Party, which had its best by-elections by far. Many Conservative voters are so disgruntled that, if not switching parties, they have gone on strike. And can they be blamed?

Britain groans under the highest taxes since the 1940s. Immigration is sky high. The NHS is creaking, violent crime is rife and our institutions are still riddled with wokery. This is the exact opposite of what the Tories promised.

Yet despite Labour’s local triumphs, there is no great enthusiasm for it nationwide.The truth is, neither party is speaking to Britain’s needs.

Mr Sunak’s agenda is too often pedestrian and technocratic, while Sir Keir’s manifesto (or what there is of one) is a faded photocopy of Blairism, but without the charisma and energy.

So what must the Tories do to make people vote for them again? Short of plying them with mind-altering drugs, the answer must be to return to true blue principles.

That means robust support for defence, fixing the asylum system and stopping small boats. It means an economy which properly rewards those who contribute to society. And it means an efficient public sector.

Spooked by the by-election defeats, it’s understandable that Tory MPs are looking nervously at their own majorities. But talk of ousting Mr Sunak is preposterous.

The party must show unity and purpose, and start delivering on voters’ priorities. It has months to prove it is fit to run Britain. The radical reboot must start now.

Blood on Putin’s hands

‘The death of one man,’ Joseph Stalin is supposed to have remarked, ‘is a tragedy, the death of millions a statistic.’

With the world sadly growing inured to the bodies piling up on Ukrainian battlefields, the result of Vladimir Putin’s brutal war, that rings unpleasantly true.

But the tragically unsurprising death of Alexei Navalny, the Russian despot’s political nemesis, has resonated around the globe, prompting profound despair.

Nobody had done more than the opposition leader to expose the Kremlin’s sickening corruption. Given the dictator’s record for taking revenge on anyone who crosses him, this took astonishing courage.

But the tragically unsurprising death of Alexei Navalny, the Russian despot's political nemesis, has resonated around the globe, prompting profound despair. Pictured: Flowers left during a vigil for Alexiei Navalny (pictured)

But the tragically unsurprising death of Alexei Navalny, the Russian despot’s political nemesis, has resonated around the globe, prompting profound despair. Pictured: Flowers left during a vigil for Alexiei Navalny (pictured)

Nobody had done more than the opposition leader to expose the Kremlin's sickening corruption. Pictured: Candles lit for Alexiei Navalny in front of the Russian Consulate General

Nobody had done more than the opposition leader to expose the Kremlin’s sickening corruption. Pictured: Candles lit for Alexiei Navalny in front of the Russian Consulate General

It is too early to say whether Mr Navalny, in prison on trumped-up charges, died naturally in a freezing Arctic hellhole or was assassinated. Whichever, Putin’s hands are awash with the dissident’s blood.

Some say he should have never returned to Russia after a near-fatal poisoning ordered by the tyrant. He could have led the anti-Putin movement from abroad.

He will be remembered as someone brave enough to stand up to the evil regime – and be prepared to die for values we share.

It’s a distant prospect, but there could be no more fitting legacy than for his dream of a democratic Russia to one day come true.



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