Keir Starmer accuses Rishi Sunak of being in 'total denial' during fiery PMQs exchange

23 November 2022, 12:33 | Updated: 23 November 2022, 12:35

Keir Starmer blasts Rishi Sunak for being in 'total denial'.

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Sir Keir Starmer has slammed Rishi Sunak comparing him to a "football manager bottom of the league at Christmas celebrating an away draw three months ago" as he blasts the PM for being in "total denial."

Rishi Sunak has said Sir Keir Starmer is not interested in "substance", but is an "opportunist".

His comments came after the Labour leader said: "He's in total denial. We are bottom of the 38 OECD countries, but we are all in the same boat when it comes to Covid and Ukraine, and he wants a pat on the back."

The Labour leader then slammed the PM comparing him to a "football manager bottom of the league at Christmas celebrating an away draw three months ago"

"And it won't wash, they don't like their record, that's the problem.'

He added: "Why is Britain set to be the first country into recession and the last country out?"

Read more: I'm not Mick Grinch: Union boss insists strikes won't ruin Christmas and calls for more talks to avert walkouts

Read more: Boris Johnson claims France was in 'denial' over Russian invasion and Germany wanted Ukraine to 'fold quickly'

It was a testy PMQs for the Prime Minister
It was a testy PMQs for the Prime Minister. Picture: LBC

The Prime Minister said he was pleased Sir Keir brought up the OECD report "because it contained actually three very important points", before adding: "Firstly, it made the point that actually in the years following the pandemic, we are projected to have almost the highest growth amongst our peer countries and it also made the point, it was crystal clear, that the challenges we face are completely international in nature.

"Thirdly, it supported our fiscal plan because it's credible and ensures sustainability. Now, he would have known all of that if he actually read the whole report but he's not interested in substance, he is an opportunist.

"In four weeks, I have strengthened the economy, we have put more money into the NHS and schools, we have delivered a deal to tackle illegal migration."

The exchange comes as prices and energy bills have soared as inflation hit a 41-year-high of 11.1%, with global fuel prices being forced up by Vladimir Putin's war in Ukraine.

The British economy will then contract more than any of the world's seven most advanced nations in the G7, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Giving an account of the Cabinet meeting, the Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "Looking ahead to winter, the Prime Minister said this would be a challenging period for the country caused by the aftershocks of the global pandemic and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine."

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Oliver Dowden discussed some of the work "to mitigate some of the challenges expected this winter, including further strike action".

Asked whether the PM was concerned about inflation, strikes and medical appointments, the official spokesman said: "You've highlighted some of the issues the public will face and those are some of the areas the Government are trying to mitigate."

Downing Street said the potential for power blackouts was not discussed but insisted ministers are "preparing for all eventualities".

"We do have quite a diverse energy provision. Offshore wind continues to provide a huge amount of our energy, particularly during the winter months," the spokesman said.

"While we are preparing for all eventualities, we are confident that we will continue to have good provision throughout the winter months."

The OECD's latest forecasts suggest the UK economy will shrink by 0.4% in 2023 and grow by just 0.2% in 2024.

Germany is the only other G7 country set to see a contraction in gross domestic product - the measure of national income known as GDP - next year, with a 0.3% drop.

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