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Transport Secretary is 'confident' the Tories will win next general election
30 September 2023, 20:13
Andrew Castle is surprised that Mark Harper is 'confident' the Tories will win the next election
The Transport Secretary Mark Harper
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Appearing on Andrew Castle this morning, Transport Secretary Mark Harper proclaimed that he is "confident" that the Conservatives will win at the next general election.
Andrew responded, surprised: "Are you? Oh come on, you cannot be. I mean do you believe in polling? Do you believe in research?... Do you talk to people when you go shopping? It's an absolute horror story for the Conservative party.
"You can't offer one single improvement in 13 years that people remember, that's the problem.
"Taxes are going up, you've got public services not working, the law courts are slow, the police are demoralised, you've got the train strikes. I mean, it's a combination which is difficult."
Mr Harper defended his party: "First of all , I do talk to my constituents a lot... I hear nobody saying that they think the Labour party has the answers for the future, they know things are tough.
He went on to say: "Let me pick one success that I want to focus on. We had two big economic shocks, we had the pandemic, we had the war in Ukraine.
"We had to make big interventions to protect the public. Those were decisions the PM took when he was Chancellor and as a result, we've had the fastest growing economy of any of the Western European economies.
"So I'm not pretending life's easy at the moment, it is difficult."
Natasha Devon debunks Mark Harper's claim that UK has 'fastest growing economy' in Western Europe
Later in the day, Natasha Devon responded to Mark Harper, saying: "You heard him making two claims which back up his confidence that they will win.
"The first was furlough, which he cited as a triumph, conveniently forgetting, of course, that the Treasury wrote off an estimated £4.3 billion worth of Covid fraud, and the response to the war in Ukraine.
"The second claim that he made was that we have the fastest growing economy in Europe."
Natasha went on to debunk his second claim: "What can only be described as a cursory Google search before I came on air this evening, that told me right away that in 2024, the UK economy is actually projected to have the lowest growth in Europe.
"Behind Ireland, Malta, Romania, Estonia, Latvia, Hungary, Cyprus, Poland, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Luxembourg, Croatia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Greece and Portugal, who are all above the EU average.
"Then Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Finland, Belgium, Netherlands, Sweden, who are below the EU average but still doing better than us."
Natasha concluded: "Have I missed something that would explain the confidence that Mark Harper apparently feels?"