Labour Continues Criticism of Sunak Despite Advertisements Controversy

Image credit: Bloomberg Business

Labour is set to continue their attacks on Chancellor Rishi Sunak despite backlashes over the initial ad. The advert, which blamed the Prime Minister for not wanting child sex abusers to go to prison, had many in the Shadow Cabinet showing discontent. However, frontbencher Emily Thornberry defended the ad and asserted that it only criticised Sunak if it was based on clear objectives and if he is able to do something about it.

Shadow Attorney General Emily Thornberry additionally noted that if Sunak thinks it is so essential that the problem would be addressed, he would do something about it. Moreover, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer refused to apologize for the advertisement and defended it, arguing that he could not simply stand by and ignore the issue. Senior Labour members such as former home secretary Lord David Blunt called for the ad to be pulled, citing it as ‘gutter’ politics.

The upcoming adverts planned ahead of May’s local elections are reputed to target Sunak for ‘crashing the economy’ and pushing up housing fees. When Thornberry was grilled over Sir Keir’s involvement in the Sentencing Council in 2012, which suggested that not all child sex offenders should go to jail, she stated that it was the duty of Parliament to set minimum and maximum sentences. However, she maintained that under Labour’s government, there would be no additional funding for prison places. Instead, they plan to deploy more community police officers in order to catch criminals earlier in the system.

The controversy erupted when Labour shared a post on social media, which stated that under the Tories, 4500 adults convicted of sexually assaulting children under 16 have escaped jail time. Alongside a picture of the Prime Minister, the post asked if perpetrators should be sent to prison – leading Sunak to be the target of criticism.

At the heart of this argument is The Press Association, a British news agency providing journalists, editorials and content for both national and international entities. Established in 1868, it is the UK’s oldest press agency and one of the biggest in the world, covering areas of parliament and culture. Here, Sophie Wingate – a political correspondent – provided critiques of Labour’s ad targeting Sunak and suggested the party is set to continue their attack.

Rishi Sunak is a British Conservative politician and the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The former corporate banker studied at Oxford and Oxford Business School before taking up the high-ranking ministerial roles within Government. After being elected as the MP for Richmond, he served as the Secretary of State for Local Government under Prime Minister Theresa May. Further ascending the ladder after the election of Boris Johnson, Sunak was appointed to the Treasury and has driven many policy decisions including the introduction of the coronavirus job protection scheme. Now the target of the Labour party’s advertising campaigns, the Chancellor is set to once again be the focus of criticism.