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Britain is safer in Tory hands as it faces ‘most dangerous’ five years, Sunak to warn

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Published Time: 13.05.2024 - 00:40:26 Modified Time: 13.05.2024 - 00:40:26

PM launches general election campaign setting out his vision, and says ‘every aspect of our lives is going to change’ Britain will be safer under the Conservatives as the nation enters one of its most dangerous eras, Rishi Sunak will say on Monday as he kickstarts his general election campaign

PM launches general election campaign setting out his vision, and says ‘every aspect of our lives is going to change’


Britain will be safer under the Conservatives as the nation enters one of its most dangerous eras, Rishi Sunak will say on Monday as he kickstarts his general election campaign.

In a major speech setting out his vision for the next five years, the Prime Minister will say that Britain is at a crossroads between the Tories and Labour as it faces its “most dangerous yet most transformational” period in history.

He will say that every aspect of people’s lives will change, with more change in the next five years than in the past 30, through growing security threats from states like China and Russia, unprecedented mass migration and advances in technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Mr Sunak will portray himself as a better leader than Labour’s Sir Keir Starmer, pointing to his record steering the nation through economic crises and the pandemic as proof that he can give Britain a more secure future ahead of the general election expected this autumn.

The Prime Minister was buoyed last week by figures showing the economy had grown by 0.6 per cent over the first quarter, ending a technical recession recorded in the final half of 2023. The news was welcome for Mr Sunak, who is attempting to bounce back from a mauling at the local elections with one of the worst performances on record and a second defection after Dover MP Natalie Elphicke crossed the floor to Labour.

He will use his speech on Monday to highlight dividing lines between the two parties, seeking to exploit Labour’s failure to match his commitment to increase defence spending to 2.5 per cent of GDP by the end of the decade as evidence that the Conservatives can be more trusted on protecting the nation.

The Prime Minister will vow to safeguard the UK against threats of war, a global rise in immigration and “those seeking to undermine our shared values and identities”, according to Downing Street, saying in a speech: “I have bold ideas that can change our society for the better, and restore people’s confidence and pride in our country.

“I feel a profound sense of urgency. Because more will change in the next five years than in the last thirty.

“I’m convinced that the next few years will be some of the most dangerous yet most transformational our country has ever known.”

He will add: “Our country stands at a crossroads. Over the next few years, from our democracy to our economy to our society – to the hardest questions of war and peace – almost every aspect of our lives is going to change.

“How we act in the face of these changes – not only to keep people safe and secure but to realise the opportunities too – will determine whether or not Britain will succeed in the years to come. And this is the choice facing the country.

“At heart, we’re a nation of optimists. We’re not blind to the challenges or threats we face. We just have an innate belief that whatever they are, we can overcome them as we have done so many times in our history. And create a more secure future for you and your family.”

Russian and Chinese agression

The Prime Minister will echo warnings by Lord Cameron of the need for the UK to adopt a “harder edge for a tougher world” in the face of Russian and Chinese aggression.

On Sunday Vladimir Putin fired Sergei Shoigu, his defence minister, as Russia launched a renewed ground offensive in Ukraine for the first time in months, with troops seizing villages in a surprise border raid that raised fears of an attack on the second city of Kharkiv.

Last week Russia’s defence attache was expelled from the UK after being identified by British ministers as a spy, while the hack of a Ministry of Defence (MoD) system used to store the names and bank details of soldiers was blamed on China by Whitehall insiders.

Mr Sunak will present the Conservatives as the party with more innovative approaches to tackling immigration through his Rwanda plan which Sir Keir has pledged to scrap from day one of a Labour government.

Autumn election expected

The Telegraph revealed last week that Downing Street has shelved plans for a general election this summer with an election now widely expected in October or November.

Mr Sunak is said by allies to hope that an improving economic picture and the Rwanda deportation flights expected this summer can improve his re-election chances in the autumn.

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