The next general election may not be until 2024, but Rishi Sunak’s team is not hanging around. As Lynton Crosby said, you can’t fatten a pig on market day. Sunak’s team is heeding that advice, with the Prime Minister emailing all 160,000 Tory party members to tell them of his key attack lines against Labour. 

Sunak’s strategy is to present Keir Starmer as another Jeremy Corbyn, in substance if not style. Claiming “Keir Starmer wants to create a nationalised energy company – just like Jeremy Corbyn” and “Keir Starmer wants to abolish all the anti-strike laws – just like Jeremy Corbyn”, the Prime Minister will hope his words rally the troops around. 

To say the Conservative Party is divided is a cliche. However, one area of unity is their opposition to any Labour government. Though Starmer largely abandoned the Corbynite manifesto on which he stood for the Labour leadership and famously removed the whip from Corbyn, the government is eager to imply – by coining a popular phrase – nothing has changed

Will it work? There’s no doubt Corbyn was a turn-off to the voters: one only needs to look at the 2019 election. Yet Keir Starmer has done everything he can to present a clear contrast. Besides, negative campaigns, stating what you are against, hardly ever work. Yet Starmer may have cause for concern: the latest BMG Research polling found Starmer and Sunak were almost level-pegging on who was the preferred Prime Minister, with Sunak enjoying a one point lead. Indeed, Sunak also led on voter preferences for handling the economy, setting tax rates and supporting businesses. While it is only one poll, the next election could be closer than everyone thinks. 

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