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UK Election: Sunak, Starmer Hold First Debate
Image credit: Jonathan Hordle-ITV/Handout/Getty Images News via Getty Images

UK Election: Sunak, Starmer Hold First Debate

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer participated in their first televised debate on Tuesday ahead of the July 4 UK general election....

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by Improve the News Foundation

Facts

  • Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer participated in their first televised debate on Tuesday ahead of the July 4 UK general election.1
  • While Sunak stated that voting for the Conservative Party would ensure a 'secure future,' Starmer argued that he wouldn't commit to 'gimmicks or unfunded promises' but rather a 'practical common sense plan.'2
  • After Sunak alleged that Labour would increase taxes by £2K ($2.6K), Starmer described the accusation as a 'false readout' from 'pretend Labour policies' and accused him of being the 'British expert on tax rises.'3
  • Sunak promised to bring down NHS waiting lists and start deportation flights to Rwanda in July, while Starmer claimed that NHS waiting lists had increased under him and that his government had 'completely failed' to stop small boat Channel crossings.4
  • According to a snap poll by YouGov, 51% of respondents believed Sunak won the debate compared to 49% in favor of Starmer. In contrast, 85% of debate viewers who voted Conservatives in 2019 said that Sunak had won the debate compared to 15% in favor of Starmer.5
  • Latest average polling by the BBC places, as of June 3, the Labour Party on 45% support, the Conservative Party on 24% support, Reform UK on 12%, the Liberal Democrats on 9%, and the Green Party on 5%.6

Sources: 1ITV News, 2BBC News (a), 3BBC News (b), 4Sky News, 5x.com and 6BBC News (c).

Narratives

  • Conservative Party narrative, as provided by The Telegraph. Sunak's first debate performance has defied the UK's expectations. The prime minister's simple yet effective strategy of promoting a clear plan is beginning to work. With Nigel Farage's return to the forefront of UK politics, Sunak's performance may have been exactly what the Tories needed to stay in the election fight.
  • Labour Party narrative, as provided by Guardian. Although not the finest advertisement for the future of UK politics, applause aplenty for Starmer and audible laughter at Sunak neatly summarize the prime minister's growing misfortunes. The debate audience's clear support will reassure the Labour Party that, despite the best attempts of the right-wing media machine, things can only get worse for the Tories.
  • Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by Inews.Co.Uk. Having descended into a superficial shouting match, the Sunak-Starmer debate was nothing more than a national embarrassment. Weak performances by both candidates were only exacerbated by an inadequate debate format and a poor moderator. It's unlikely that the British public will have felt anything but disappointment.

Predictions

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by Improve the News Foundation

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