Andrew Marr: Has Rishi Sunak achieved his ‘five government pledges’ or do ‘things seem to be going backwards’?

4 July 2023, 18:32

'Priorities or pledges?': Andrew Marr measures Rishi Sunak's success on delivering his 5 pledges

By Jenny Medlicott

Halving inflation, growing the economy, stopping small boats, reducing debt and NHS waiting lists were the top five pledges made by Rishi Sunak six months ago today, but Andrew Marr asks: has he delivered?

On January 4th Rishi Sunak announced the government's five pledges to the public for 2023.

Now six months on exactly to the day, LBC's Andrew Marr opens tonight to assess the Prime Minister's progress delivering these pledges and whether he will fulfil them by the end of the year.

He said: "Six months ago to the day, on the 4th of January, only a couple of months into his premiership, a bouncy and confident Rishi Sunak announced his five priorities, or pledges, for the nation on inflation, growth, debt, the cross-channel boats and NHS waiting lists.

"But hold on right there - before we go any further, which were they, priorities? Or pledges? Because they're very different - a priority is something you’d like to achieve ahead of other things, almost like policy scheduling, whereas a pledge is - well, it’s a pledge. It’s a promise.

"If you go onto the Downing Street website, you’ll find that priorities is the word mostly used these days but, for clarity, this is what he said six months ago: 'These are five pledges to deliver peace of mind'.

"He also used the word promises, adding 'no tricks, no ambiguity - we’re either delivering for you or we’re not.'

"He expected us, he said: 'to hold my government and I to account on delivering these goals.'

"Well, all around the country people are getting out their measuring sticks and doing just that. And on halving inflation, or growing the economy, or reducing the national debt, most analysts, backed up by the high court of public opinion, find little progress. The same goes for the other two pledges on cutting NHS waiting lists and stopping the boats."

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The Prime Minister was questioned by the Liaison Committee today.
The Prime Minister was questioned by the Liaison Committee today. Picture: Alamy

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He continued: "Indeed, in some areas, such as reducing the national debt, things seem to be going backwards.

"But let us now bend over backwards to be fair. Mr Sunak did say these pledges would be redeemed in the course of a year and we're only just over half way through that - so the real question is not has he met his pledges - you wouldn’t expect him to by now - but the trickier one of - will he? 

"This afternoon the Prime Minister was being questioned by the chairs of Commons committees.

“'Keep throwing everything at it!' Had Mr Sunak planned to turn up for Prime Minister’s Questions tomorrow, that phrase might have reverberated in the chamber, but he will be elsewhere at a church service for the NHS.

"Anyway, tonight we will be asking whether he's on track, whether he is going in the right direction to meet those pledges which, back in January, looked so easy.

"Members of the Conservative Party, according to a poll of its members out this afternoon, are not hugely convinced.

"Among Cabinet ministers Mr Sunak’s personal rating has now fallen dramatically and is now, for the first time, in negative figures."