Na format in which they had to answer questions from audience members, one of whom, Robert, said that Sunak had been “mediocre” as head of government, and questioned whether he and Starmer “are really the best we have to be the next prime- minister”.

“I understand your frustration, everyone’s frustration, because the last few years have not been easy. The country has gone through a lot of difficulties. I’m not saying we’ve done everything well. I would certainly be the first to recognize that,” Sunak responded.

However, he claimed that in the 18 months in office he reduced inflation, helped the economy and wages grow and stabilized the economy.

“Allow me to finish the job I started: cut your taxes, protect your pensions, protect our borders, because if Keir Starmer and the Labor Party are in power, your taxes will rise, our borders will be insecure , they will be burdened with expenses”, he warned.

At a disadvantage in the polls, Sunak positioned himself on the offensive, frequently interrupting his opponent on issues such as immigration, taxes and ‘Brexit’, and warning of the risk of British voters “surrendering” to the Labor Party, which is expected to win with a historic majority.

In the Ipsos barometer published today, the Conservatives dropped four percentage points to 19% of voting intentions, while Labor rose to 42%, extending the advantage to 23 percentage points.

The conservatives are paying the price for a troubled campaign, marked by controversies, most recently a fraudulent betting scandal.

Keir Starmer acknowledged that people have lost purchasing power and hope in recent years, but argued that there is a choice, and that “this is the opportunity to turn the page to rebuild our country, rebuild our public services, rebuild our economy.”

The Labour leader reiterated that his promises to invest in public services are properly budgeted for and do not involve tax increases.

“But I’m not going to be here saying that there is a magic wand that I can wave the day after the elections and find money that doesn’t exist. Enormous damage was caused to our economy. It will take time”, he stressed.

Sunak insisted the plan to deport illegal immigrants to Rwanda was important to “deter” those crossing the Channel by boat, while Starmer promised to focus on combating human traffickers.

Questioned by a businesswoman affected by Brexit, the Labour leader said he was willing to negotiate better conditions with the European Union, but without joining the single market or accepting the free movement of people.

In the end, a quick survey by the company YouGov concluded that the debate resulted in a draw, which favors Keir Starmer, whose challenge was to avoid making mistakes close to the vote.

After an unsurprising first duel at the beginning of June, this debate was a last opportunity for Rishi Sunak to try to turn around a difficult campaign.

Most polls published today indicate that the Conservative Party, in power for 14 years, is on its way to a heavy defeat, with the election of the smallest number of deputies ever.

Read Also: Rishi Sunak, a cautious prime minister who decided to take risks


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