Sunak ‘campaigning hard for every vote’ but polls point to Labour landslide

Rishi Sunak has insisted he is still in the election fight after one of his closest allies appeared to concede the Conservatives were heading to a heavy defeat.

The Prime Minister said he was “doing what I believe is right for the country” and could “look myself in the mirror” knowing he had worked as hard as he could.

But his Cabinet ally Mel Stride acknowledged Labour was likely to win “the largest majority any party has ever achieved”.

On the final day of General Election campaigning, Sir Keir Starmer suggested a Labour victory could lead the way in combating the rise of the populist right across the world.

Both Mr Sunak and Sir Keir spoke to the PA news agency on the last day of campaigning as:

– The Sun newspaper endorsed Labour at an election for the first time since 2005, although it said there were “still plenty of concerns” about the party.

– A More in Common poll suggested Labour was on course for a majority of 210, while a YouGov study indicated Labour would get 431 seats and the Tories just 102.

– Reform UK leader Nigel Farage said “young men feel emasculated” as he compared himself to controversial influencer Andrew Tate.

– Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey said “it looks really good for us” in the fight to oust Tories in the “blue wall”, with Labour and Green supporters prepared to vote tactically.

The bleak opinion poll picture for the Tories has changed little during the campaign.

Mr Stride, who helped run Mr Sunak’s campaign for the Conservative leadership and has made regular appearances on the TV and radio during the election campaign as the Tories’ spokesman, appeared resigned to a heavy defeat.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I have accepted that where the polls are at the moment – and it seems highly unlikely that they are very, very wrong, because they’ve been consistently in the same place for some time – that we are therefore tomorrow highly likely to be in a situation where we have the largest majority that any party has ever achieved.”

But Mr Sunak told PA: “This election is ongoing. I am campaigning hard for every vote.”

rime Minister Rishi Sunak knocking doors on the election campaign trail
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak knocking doors on the election campaign trail (Jonathan Brady/PA)

He added: “In terms of how I do this job, I work as hard as I can, I do what I believe is right for the country.

“That ‘clear conscience is the softest pillow’, as my father-in-law says.

“As long as I can look myself in the mirror and know that I am working as hard as I can, doing what I believe is right for the country, that is how I get through, and that is what I believe I am doing.”

Mr Sunak added: “I am someone who has the courage of my convictions, I’m not someone who changes their opinion with the weather, which is what Keir Starmer does.”

And he warned would-be Reform voters they would put Labour in power if they backed Mr Farage’s party, saying: “You have had a very clear message from me to those people about what I think they should be thinking about, because they will get the precise opposite of what they want if they vote Reform.

“I know that might strike them as unfair, but that is the system that we have.”

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer
Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer said he was surprised by the negativity of the Tory campaign (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Sir Keir told PA he was “surprised by the negativity of the Tory campaign” with its focus on warning about a Labour “supermajority”.

He said Labour had made the “strong case for change” and suggested it could be an example in confronting populist movements in the US and Europe.

On a campaign visit to East Kilbride, Sir Keir said: “There are many challenges, probably more challenges now than there were over recent years, both here in the UK, here in Scotland and across the world, and we have to rise to those challenges and it has to be a progressive answer to those challenges.

“Now obviously that starts tomorrow, I hope, in the UK, and here in Scotland as well, but it is then a shared challenge across Europe and across the world to meet the challenges of today with the answers of progressives.”

Reform UK leader Nigel Farage wearing boxing gloves at a gym in Clacton
Reform UK leader Nigel Farage wearing boxing gloves at a gym in Clacton (Ian West/PA)

Meanwhile Mr Farage was concentrating on his fight to win in Clacton, teaming up with boxer Derek Chisora for a campaign stunt.

He lamented young men being unable to “tell jokes that might offend the Germans” during the Euros as he compared his appeal to that of Tate, the divisive social media influencer awaiting trial in Romania on charges of human trafficking and rape.

“I think Andrew Tate’s built a huge following amongst these people, despite a lot of imperfections – serious imperfections,” Mr Farage said.

“I think a lot of young men feel emasculated.

“I mean, look at the football. You know, they’re told go to Germany, please don’t drink more than two pints of beer – you what? Don’t chant at the football matches – you what? Oh, don’t tell jokes that might offend the Germans, I mean, come on.

“We are trying to stop young men being young men – that’s why Tate’s got the following he’s got, so what I’m doing is maybe a part of a similar phenomenon.”