Rishi Sunak yesterday warned voters not to give Labour a ‘blank cheque’ at next month’s election.

Unveiling £17billion of tax cuts, the Prime Minister used his manifesto to create clear blue water with Sir Keir Starmer’s party on what is becoming the central election battleground.

He said the Tories would reward Britain’s strivers with a further 2p cut to National Insurance – and a pledge to abolish the tax altogether for the self-employed.

And he issued a stark warning about the dangers of a Labour government, arguing that Sir Keir could rig the electoral system to stay in power ‘for a very long time’.

The PM said he was ‘not blind to the fact that people are frustrated with our party, and frustrated with me,’ adding: ‘Things have not been easy and we have not got everything right.’

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak pictured during the BBC Panorama Leader Interviews on June 10

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak pictured during the BBC Panorama Leader Interviews on June 10 

Unveiling £17billion of tax cuts, the Prime Minister used his manifesto to create clear blue water with Sir Keir Starmer ‘s party on what is becoming the central election battleground (Stock Image)

He said the Tories would reward Britain's strivers with a further 2p cut to National Insurance – and a pledge to abolish the tax altogether for the self-employed. (Stock Image)

He said the Tories would reward Britain’s strivers with a further 2p cut to National Insurance – and a pledge to abolish the tax altogether for the self-employed. (Stock Image)

But he said the Tories were the only party with the ‘big ideas to make our country a better place to live’.

Describing Sir Keir’s offering as a ‘blank sheet of paper’, he said Labour offered ‘no solutions to our problems’. Mr Sunak warned those considering protest votes for Reform or the Liberal Democrats that doing so would ‘allow Labour to do whatever they want to our country’.

He added: ‘Do not forget that Keir Starmer is asking you to hand him a blank cheque, when he hasn’t said what he’ll buy with it or how much it’s going to cost you.

‘Just think about what Labour would mean. Higher taxes for every working household… French-style labour laws that will lead to higher unemployment and more strikes. A ballooning welfare bill. Higher immigration and more Net Zero costs.

‘[I will] fight very hard until the last day of this election campaign to make sure that doesn’t happen.’

The PM accused Sir Keir of planning to lower the voting age to 16 in a bid to ‘make it harder to remove him from power’. He added: ‘If Labour win this time, they’ll change the rules so that they are in power for a very long time.’

Launching the manifesto at Silverstone racetrack in Northamptonshire, he added: ‘If you don’t know what Labour will do, don’t vote for it.

‘If you’re concerned about what Starmer isn’t telling you, don’t vote for him. And if you’re worried about what Labour’s £2,094 of tax rises would mean for your family’s financial security, don’t vote for them.’

Mr Sunak warned those considering protest votes for Reform or the Liberal Democrats that doing so would 'allow Labour to do whatever they want to our country'

Mr Sunak warned those considering protest votes for Reform or the Liberal Democrats that doing so would ‘allow Labour to do whatever they want to our country’

The PM accused Sir Keir of planning to lower the voting age to 16 in a bid to 'make it harder to remove him from power'

The PM accused Sir Keir of planning to lower the voting age to 16 in a bid to ‘make it harder to remove him from power’

The warning came as: 

  • Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves refused to rule out raising fuel duty and capital gains tax;
  • The Tory manifesto pledged to ‘halve’ immigration and then reduce it further ‘every single year’;
  • The PM vowed that deportation flights to Rwanda would begin within days of a Tory victory, with tens of thousands of Channel migrants potentially sent to Africa;
  • A poll by Lord Ashcroft found that support for Reform has jumped by four points since Nigel Farage returned as leader last week;
  • Politicians condemned a protester in Barnsley who threw objects at Mr Farage as he toured the South Yorkshire town in an open-top bus;
  • Mr Sunak confirmed plans to raise defence spending to 2.5 per cent of GDP by 2030;
  • The PM said the pension triple lock would stay for the whole of the next parliament – and said the Tories would never tax the basic state pension;
  • The Tories pledged to build 1.6 million new homes over five years by speeding up planning and stripping out remaining EU red tape;
  • The 80-page manifesto set out plans to make migrants take health checks before travelling to the UK to prevent them becoming a burden on the NHS;
  • Sir Keir prepared to publish his own manifesto tomorrow as the second half of the campaign gets under way.

Yesterday’s manifesto was one of the last big set-piece opportunities for Mr Sunak to revive ailing Tory fortunes in the campaign.

The blueprint focused heavily on cutting tax for working people. Ministers have already cut the basic rate of National Insurance by 4p since November, taking it to just 8 per cent.

The new pledge would see another 2p cut by 2027, taking the overall reduction in NI to more than £1,300 a year for the average worker.

Sir Keir prepared to publish his own manifesto tomorrow as the second half of the campaign gets under way

Sir Keir prepared to publish his own manifesto tomorrow as the second half of the campaign gets under way

Yesterday's manifesto was one of the last big set-piece opportunities for Mr Sunak to revive ailing Tory fortunes in the campaign

Yesterday’s manifesto was one of the last big set-piece opportunities for Mr Sunak to revive ailing Tory fortunes in the campaign

The PM pledged to go further for the four million people who are self-employed by abolishing the basic rate of NI by the end of the next Parliament.

He said the self-employed ’embody that most Conservative of values – the desire to build something, to create wealth and opportunity. We need to make it worth taking that risk. And that means their taxes must be cut.’

The manifesto includes tax cuts totalling £17.2billion, funded by a £12billion crackdown on welfare and £6billion raised from clamping down on tax avoidance.

Mr Sunak said the measures meant that Britain’s record tax burden would be lower than planned by about 1 per cent a year. But he declined to guarantee that the overall tax burden would be lower, given the continuing need to pay off huge debts run up during Covid and the energy crisis.

Labour described the Tory plans as ‘the most expensive panic attack in history’ and said they would push up borrowing, interest rates and mortgage costs.

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