Rishi Sunak faces questions after catastrophic local elections

Sunak will undertake his first Prime Minister’s Questions since a electoral mauling last week.

Rishi Sunak will address his Conservative MPs in the wake of catastrophic local elections that saw his party lose nearly 500 council seats.

Sunak insisted the result of this year’s general election was not “a foregone conclusion”, despite Labour’s gaping poll lead.

Last week, the Tories also lost the West Midlands mayoral race and the Blackpool South by-election.

Former government minister Robert Jenrick said there needed to be “some introspection” following the “very bad results” in the local elections.

Jenrick, who quit as immigration minister in protest at Sunak’s leadership on immigration, has produced a paper on measures to curb net migration.

He said: “What I’ve tried to set out are a series of policies that could be implemented before the general election, such as what I’m saying today on legal migration, which would convince some of those Conservative voters – who are essentially on strike – to come back and support the party at the general election.”

At Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting, Michael Gove warned right-wing Tories against “comfort eating” by pursuing hardline policies that “make us feel good about ourselves”.

The Times reported that he told ministers: “As Kate Moss once said ‘nothing tastes as good as skinny feels’.”

Asked about his comments, Cabinet minister Claire Coutinho insisted the Tories were aligned with the priorities of the British public despite the drubbing they received in the local contests.

She acknowledged the local election results were “disappointing” but said “I do think we have a positive message that we need to communicate to people”.

Asked if the party should shift to the right, the energy secretary told Times Radio: “I think what we need to do is to go where the country is.”

She added: “They want us to be tough on immigration. They want us to be cognisant of the fact that they’ve had a difficult time when it comes to public finances, which is why we’re putting forward £900 of tax cuts.

“They want us to make sure that we’re protecting their security, which we are when it comes to defence, when it comes to energy as well.

“I would just have contrast with some of Labour’s positions, when it comes to their mad energy plans which will hike up people’s bills and heap costs on people, with the 75 new business regulations which will deter investment at a time when we need investment coming into this country and on things like immigration where they don’t have a plan at all.”

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