Rishi Sunak vows to create ‘more secure future’ in pre-election pitch

Rishi Sunak will portray himself as the best leader to take the UK through “some of the most dangerous yet most transformational” years ever, in a pre-election pitch to voters.

The Prime Minister will say he has “bold ideas” that can “create a more secure future” for Britons and restore their “confidence and pride in our country”.

In a speech in central London on Monday, he will say voters face a stark choice in whom they choose to govern the nation at a time of unprecedented global volatility and technological advancements.

It comes as his Conservative Party languishes behind Labour in the polls and suffered a mauling in local and regional elections earlier this month.

Mr Sunak’s woes deepened with the defection of MP Natalie Elphicke in protest against his record on housing and stopping small boat Channel crossings – the second defection to Labour in as many weeks.

But he was buoyed by official figures showing the economy grew by 0.6% over the first quarter, ending a technical recession recorded in the final half of last year.

Mr Sunak has sought to convince voters that Britain’s economic prospects are improving in a bid to reverse the Tories’ electoral fortunes.

He will on Monday tout his leadership in areas such as security, as he seeks to draw a dividing line with Labour over defence spending following his commitment to hike it to 2.5% of gross domestic product by 2030.

He will say: “I have bold ideas that can change our society for the better, and restore people’s confidence and pride in our country.

“I feel a profound sense of urgency because more will change in the next five years than in the last 30.

“I’m convinced that the next few years will be some of the most dangerous yet most transformational our country has ever known.”

The Prime Minister will vow to safeguard the UK against threats of war, a global rise in immigration and “those seeking to undermine our shared values and identities”, according to Downing Street.

And he will pledge to capitalise on opportunities presented by technologies such as artificial intelligence.

He will say: “Our country stands at a crossroads.

“Over the next few years, from our democracy to our economy to our society – to the hardest questions of war and peace – almost every aspect of our lives is going to change.

“How we act in the face of these changes – not only to keep people safe and secure but to realise the opportunities too – will determine whether or not Britain will succeed in the years to come.

“And this is the choice facing the country.

“At heart, we’re a nation of optimists.

“We’re not blind to the challenges or threats we face. We just have an innate belief that whatever they are, we can overcome them as we have done so many times in our history.

“And create a more secure future for you and your family.”

Foreign Secretary Lord David Cameron on Sunday argued it would be “absolutely right” for the general election to be held in the second half of the year to give voters time to see “the economic plan is working”.

Talking up the Conservatives’ chances, he told Sky News: “I think you’ve got a very clear choice opening up, and that’s what happens as you get to the end of a parliament. It stops being a referendum on the Government every day and it starts being a choice between two teams.”

Labour’s national campaign co-ordinator Pat McFadden said: “Nothing the Prime Minister says will change the fact that over the past 14 years, the Conservatives have brought costly chaos to the country, with this being the only Parliament in living memory where people’s standard of living will be lower at the end of it than the beginning.

“The Tories crashed the economy by using the country for a giant and reckless economic experiment, for which the British people are still paying the price.

“Even as the Prime Minister speaks, others in his party are positioning themselves to replace him.

“The only way to stop the chaos, turn the page and start to renew is with a change of Government.

“The Conservatives can’t fix the country’s problems because they are the problem. Another five years of them would not change anything for the better.”