Sunak has chickened out of spring election - Ian Murray

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer Rachel Reeves. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer Rachel Reeves. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer Rachel Reeves. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
There is a squatter in Number 10 Downing Street. Rishi Sunak has chickened out of holding an election this spring, clearly too scared of the public’s verdict.

I’m surprised as he keeps telling the public that they have never had it so good. But by retreating to his bunker, the Prime Minister shows how little he cares about our country – causing economic instability, paralysis in government, and distraction from the day job as the Tories once again look inwards.

Conservative MPs are now so interested in either finding new jobs outside parliament, or plotting to overthrow Sunak, that they are neglecting their constituents. They risk further eroding public trust in parliament and public service. Whether it is the voters who eject the squatter from Number 10 first, or his own party, remains to be seen. But Labour stands ready to govern.

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If Sunak holds a snap election in May, as he should, we are ready. And if he clings on to the last minute, we will be ready. Keir Starmer has tasked all of us in the Shadow Cabinet with being prepared to hit the ground running, bringing back stability, competence, and hope to our politics.

We take nothing for granted – not a single vote has been cast yet. But should the British public put their trust in us, we will not let them down. Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves is overseeing our plans to reform our public finances. If we have the opportunity to form a government, we will, unfortunately, inherit the worst economic situation in peace time from the Tories, so it’s important that we are responsible with taxpayers’ money and honest with the public. That’s why Rachel has prioritised expanding the economy, which is the only way to increase cash for vital public services.

And Labour’s green prosperity plan is designed to attract private investment so that we can unlock growth, boost green investment to tackle the climate emergency, and create jobs in Britain’s industrial heartlands. That includes headquartering GB Energy in Scotland, which I know has been very warmly welcomed by businesses.

It’s something that can only be delivered by electing a UK Labour government. And it’s only by voting Labour that the Tories can be ejected from office. The SNP knows that, which is why the nationalists simply can’t come with up an election strategy, no matter how many different messages they try.

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The latest wheeze is to claim that voting SNP would lead to a “Tory free Scotland”, which has been widely ridiculed and even Humza Yousaf’s MPs are running away from the strategy. The only way to defeat the Tories is to vote Labour – it’s that simple.

The SNP has a woeful record in government and no ideas for the future. And Yousaf cannot claim the SNP will speak for Scotland while his party is still defending the obscene profits of oil and gas giants over the interests of Scots struggling with high energy bills. Not even the Tories are doing that anymore.

So while the SNP shouts from the sidelines, Labour will put Scotland’s voice at the heart of government and deliver better pay, lower bills, a growing economy and stronger public services. That’s the opportunity when the election comes – whenever Sunak finally does the decent thing and calls it.

Ian Murray MP is Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland