Sunak rages at Starmer’s ‘typical posturing’ in explosive PMQs attack

Rishi Sunak today accused Sir Keir Starmer of “typical political posturing” in a fiery PMQs session. The Labour leader grilled the Prime Minister on housebuilding, calling on him to “bring back targets and planning reforms” or “duck that fight and let a generation down”.

But Mr Sunak hit back at Sir Keir over Labour’s “absurd” energy policy.

Sir Keir said: “He introduced a tax on Shell and they haven’t paid a penny, fantastic work. If he was serious about investing in the future of the country, he’d start with housing.

“A few months ago his backbenchers forced him to scrap housebuilding targets. At the time, he stood there and said it would mean they would build more homes.

“Well would you believe it, a few months later the Home Builders Federation say house building is going to fall to its lowest level in 75 years.

“He can change course on this, he can bring back targets and planning reforms or he can duck that fight and let a generation down, which is it?”

The PM spoke of the “high numbers” of housebuilding, adding: “The highest number of first-time buyers in around 20 years under this Government.”

Mr Sunak continued: “He talks about investing for the long term of our country and that’s important when it comes to energy security, but Labour’s policy is to oppose any new oil and gas licences in the North Sea.

“It is an absurd policy that would see us paying billions to countries abroad for our energy, while shipping it here with the twice the carbon emissions.

“It’s typical political posturing, it’s bad for the economy, it’s bad for our security, just like the Labour Party.”

However, Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle ticked Mr Sunak off for dodging the question – prompting laughter from MPs.

Sir Lindsay said: “Because of the noise I don’t think the Prime Minister was hearing the question because I do think it was on housebuilding.”

Elsewhere during the PMQs clash, Mr Sunak said Sir Keir should stop making “inflationary, unfunded spending commitments”.

The Labour leader asked: “After 13 years of Tory failure, the average family in Britain will be poorer than the average family in Poland by 2030. That’s a shocking state of affairs.

“If the Tories limp on in Government we are going to see a generation of young people learning to say Auf Wiedersehen, Pet in Polish, aren’t we?”

The Prime Minister replied: “It’s clear to everyone that the biggest impact on households living standards is the energy prices that we’re suffering at the moment as a result of an illegal war in Ukraine.

“And I just remind the honourable gentleman what we are doing to ease people through that.

“Because of our energy price guarantee, right now, the Government is paying over half of a typical household energy bill, saving households right now £1,000. It is one of the most generous support schemes globally.”

The Prime Minister added: “But if he’s concerned about the cost of living, what he should do is stop making inflationary, unfunded spending commitments and back our plan to halve inflation.”

Mr Sunak also accused Sir Keir Starmer’s party of being the “same old” Labour that is “always running out of other people’s money” when probed about scrapping the non-dom tax status to fund better childcare provision.

And Mr Sunak mocked Sir Keir for making a “rare trip” out of north London to rub shoulders with elite at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos when the Labour leader said he was in “total denial” about the “damage and decline that he is presiding over”.

Sir Keir told the Commons: “The dictionary definition for unfunded commitments is last year’s kamikaze budget.

“The only country in the G7 still poorer than it was before the pandemic, and he stands there pretending it’s all fine. Total denial about the damage and decline that he is presiding over.

“Delivering growth and tackling the cost-of-living crisis will mean standing up to vested interests. Energy bills are going to go up by £900 in April.

“He knows he’s going to have to act but who’s going to pay? Hard-working families through higher taxes and more borrowing or the oil and gas giants celebrating record profits?”

Mr Sunak replied: “I know the honourable gentleman, he made a rare trip out of north London to visit Davos recently.

“Perhaps while he was there, perhaps he missed the survey of 4,000 global CEOs from 100 different countries that ranked the United Kingdom as their number one European investment destination?

“If he’s serious about getting the economy growing then he should stand up to the vested interests in the unions and back our minimum service levels.”

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