General Election Now! Labour MPs respond to Sunak’s ‘coronation’ ahead of new austerity wave


“Rishi Sunak has no mandate whatsoever to carry out cuts to public spending.”

Richard Burgon

Labour left MPs responded to the ‘coronation’ of Rishi Sunak as Conservative Party leader on Monday, writes Ben Folley, Labour Assembly Against Austerity.

As the only Conservative MP to reach the bar of 100 MP nominations Rishi Sunak was announced as the new Prime Minister Monday, with many Labour MPs highlighted his lack of a democratic mandate – with Sunak now the third Conservative Prime Minister since the 2019 election, and Sunak also defeated in the ballot of Conservative members in the Summer when they elected Liz Truss. As a result of the lack of a mandate, MPs are demanding a General Election Now so the Conservatives support and the economic chaos and deepening cost-of-living crisis they have unleashed, can be tested at the ballot box.

Public concern is also growing ahead of the interim Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt’s medium term fiscal plan, currently due on 31 October, where he is expected to announce further austerity measures.

Many Labour MPs also highlighted Sunak’s own personal wealth, held with his wife, making him by far the richest MP in Parliament with an estimated value of over £700 million.

Additionally, Sunak was the Chancellor who confirmed this year’s below-inflation public sector pay offer across multiple sectors, including education, fire and health. As a result of this in the NHS, for example, the approximate 700,000 trade union members of the RCN, UNISON, Unite and GMB now being balloted for industrial action over pay in the health service will see Sunak as the architect of their real terms pay cut.

Richard Burgon said, ‘Rishi Sunak has no mandate whatsoever to carry out cuts to public spending. The Tories promised to invest in public services at the last general election – not slash them. If Sunak wants to break that pledge and carry out cuts, he should go to the country in a General Election.’

Welsh MP Beth Winter noted, ‘Rishi Sunak has a personal wealth of £700 million but has imposed a pay cut on millions of key workers. The third Prime Minister since the public was allowed a vote. He has no mandate.’

Sheffield MP Olivia Blake, said, ‘Our new PM, the third in as many months, has been chosen by less than 200 Conservative MPs. Millionaire Rishi Sunak has no mandate to govern, let alone implement a fresh round of austerity.’

Kate Osborne, MP for Jarrow, said, ‘we know as Chancellor, he oversaw the cost-of-living crisis’ and that voters, ‘want a Gov that will give them hope – that will fix the Tory damage.’

London MP Bell Ribeiro-Addy said, ‘We don’t need another unelected multimillionaire imposed on the country to inflict huge public service cuts. We need a general election.’

And Labour Peer Prem Sikka, warned, ‘Tories will inflict severe austerity, cut wages, cut public services. No economy can grow with depleted purchasing power of the people. Wealth will gush upwards. Social unrest will grow.’

Now is the time to demand a General Election and organise against the new wave of austerity.

  • The TUC has called a lobby of parliament and General Election Now rally on 2nd November – details here.
  • The People’s Assembly Against Austerity has called a General Election Now demo on 5th November (see transport info here)
  • Labour Assembly Against Austerity is hosting a bloc on the People’s Assembly demo, find out how you can take part here.
Featured image: Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak March 19th 2020. Photo credit: HM Treasury and Rishi Sunak MP, contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0

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