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Forget ‘Captain Flip Flop’ Keir Starmer: Angela Rayner is the one who’s REALLY in charge of the Labour Party, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak insists

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Angela Rayner should be described as the real leader of the Labour Party because of the way she forced Sir Keir Starmer to buckle over the Diane Abbott affair, Rishi Sunak said on Saturday.

The Prime Minister, trying to brush off dire new polling figures pointing to a Tory election wipeout, used the launch of his party’s election battle bus to repeat his claim that Sir Keir is ‘Captain Flip Flop’.

The Labour leader was pressurised into allowing the veteran Hackney politician to stand for his party – despite high-level briefings from his team that she would be blocked following her suspension for controversial remarks she made on anti-Semitism – after his Left-leaning deputy Ms Rayner declared: ‘I don’t see any reason why Diane Abbott can’t stand as a Labour MP going forward.

‘I am saying that as the deputy leader of the Labour Party.’

Speaking to The Mail on Sunday at the launch in Redcar, Teesside, Mr Sunak said: ‘Look at the flip-flop. 

The Prime Minister used the launch of his party's election battle bus to repeat his claim that Sir Keir is 'Captain Flip Flop'

The Prime Minister used the launch of his party’s election battle bus to repeat his claim that Sir Keir is ‘Captain Flip Flop’

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves, Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer and deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner, at the launch event for Labour's campaign bus at Uxbridge College

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves, Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer and deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner, at the launch event for Labour’s campaign bus at Uxbridge College

You’ve seen what happened this week with Diane Abbott and that confirms what we already know about Keir Starmer. He can’t stick to a position and constantly changes his mind under pressure.

‘It makes it clear that Angela Rayner is in charge of the Labour Party. If he is willing to give in to her on this, then the impression of the country is that he will be willing to give in to these factions when it comes to raising people’s taxes or the demands of the unions that cost jobs and damage our economic recovery or indeed weaken our defence and security.’

Ms Rayner, who cut a subdued figure while the police investigated her mysteriously complicated living arrangements, has been emboldened by their decision that her actions did not give rise to criminal liability – and has become more of a headache for Sir Keir in the process.

Ignoring questions about the poll reported in yesterday’s Daily Mail which forecast Labour could win a majority of more than 300, Mr Sunak unveiled the Mercedes battle bus covered by Tory slogans in red, white and blue.

Amid pressure from the Right-wing PopCons to cut taxes and concentrate on ‘core Conservative principles’, Mr Sunak said: ‘We are already delivering a tax cut worth £900 for working people this year. 

‘That didn’t happen by accident, that happened because of our management of the economy and that we are able to do that is a reflection of our values because I believe hard work should be rewarded.

‘That is the type of country I want to build, so you can always expect that we are going to prioritise cutting taxes for people who are working hard and that’s what Jeremy (Hunt)’s been very clear about and that’s what I’ve been very clear about.’

Speaking to The Mail on Sunday at the launch in Redcar, Teesside, Mr Sunak said: 'Look at the flip-flop'

Speaking to The Mail on Sunday at the launch in Redcar, Teesside, Mr Sunak said: ‘Look at the flip-flop’ 

Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Angela Rayner speaks alongside Labour Party Leader Keir Starmer at the launch the Labour Party's election "Battle Bus" on June 1

Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Angela Rayner speaks alongside Labour Party Leader Keir Starmer at the launch the Labour Party’s election ‘Battle Bus’ on June 1

Sipping from a mug of Yorkshire tea, Mr Sunak, who pledged to give 30 towns across the UK £20 million each in an expansion of the Tories’ levelling-up policy if the party is re-elected, added: ‘I think that increasingly people can see there is a clear choice because we are the ones putting some bold ideas on the table, whether that’s National Service, triple lock plus the apprenticeships.

‘We have a plan that is working on the economy and taking bold action to deliver a better future.

‘And in contrast I keep asking people wherever I go ‘can you name a single idea from Keir Starmer and the Labour Party?’ And people can’t.’ 

Labour also launched its battle bus, bearing the party’s ‘change’ slogan in west London, as Ms Rayner set off on a 5,000-mile tour of battleground seats. 

She said: ‘We are a changed Labour Party in the service of working people. And we will never ride roughshod over the economy because we know we need a strong economy.’

And a buoyant Sir Keir said: ‘I’ve come to see this fantastic bus. It’s rather like Tory defectors, you wait for ages and then three come along in a row.’

Asked about reports that D:Rream, the band behind Things Can Only Get Better, Labour’s 1997 anthem, would snub a request from him for a new song, he said: ‘Look, we’re not in 1997, we’re in 2024.’



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