Labour: Labour ad campaign targeting UK PM Rishi Sunak and his wife slammed as ‘gutter politics’


LONDON: The Labour party has come under fire from its own politicians for a series of ads it produced personally attacking UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his wife Akshata Murty, daughter of N R Narayana Murthy, ahead of council elections on May 4.
The series of controversial ads began on April 6 with a poster showing Sunak grinning and overlaid with the text “Do you think adults convicted of sexually assaulting children should go to prison? Rishi Sunak doesn’t.” The poster, tweeted from Labour’s official Twitter account, says: “Under the Tories, 4,500 adults convicted of sexually assaulting children under 16 served no prison time. Labour will lock up dangerous child abusers.” Twitter has added a community note pointing out that judges determine sentences, not the UK PM, and stating that the majority of convicted child rape offenders are locked up.
Shadow justice secretary Steve Reed tweeted it saying: “Labour will lock up child abusers. The Conservatives let them off.”
Another ad, on April 7, states: “Do you think an adult convicted of possessing a gun with intent to harm should go to prison? Rishi Sunak doesn’t”, whilst another states: “Do you think thieves should be punished? Rishi Sunak doesn’t.”
On April 11, the ad targets Sunak’s wife’s non-domiciled status, saying: “Do you think it’s right to raise taxes for working people when your family benefited from a tax loophole? Rishi Sunak does. The Tories have raised taxes 24 times since 2019, leaving the British people facing the highest tax burden in 70 years. And they refuse to close the non-dom tax loophole.”
Pat McFadden, shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, and shadow attorney general Emily Thornberry both backed the campaign. Thornberry said the criminal justice system has collapsed under the Tories and if Sunak wanted to do something about it, he could.
But several high-profile Labour politicians refused to endorse the adverts, with veteran Labour MP John McDonnell saying: “This is not the sort of politics a Labour party, confident of its own values and preparing to govern, should be engaged in.”
David Blunkett, former Labour home secretary, described the campaign as “gutter politics” in the Daily Mail, saying it was “absurd to argue that the prime minister must take personal responsibility for the sentencing policies of judges”. Two days later Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer responded saying: “I make absolutely zero apologies for being blunt about this. I stand by every word.” A new poll shows Labour leading the Tories by 14%, the narrowest lead since Sunak took the helm.
The website LabourList states: “The thinking behind the adverts is presumably that, while his predecessors Liz Truss and Boris Johnson essentially oozed mud from their pores, Sunak needs some thrown at him.”


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