abour leader Keir Starmer has accused the Government of “economic vandalism” in a fiery PMQs showdown before Thursday’s local elections.
Sir Keir said by the end of this year there would be nearly two million home owners paying the price because of the Tories had “crashed the economy last Autumn”.
The Prime Minister, in response, said while Labour had failed home owners, the Conservatives “were delivering for them”.
It comes as the shadow chancellor has accused the prime minister of playing a “political gimmick” with the investigation into Sue Gray’s switch to a senior Labour role.
Rachel Reeves told Times Radio that Mr Sunak had a “political vandetta” against Ms Gray, and he was “supposed to be moving on from the era of Boris Johnson”.
It was revealed on Tuesday that Ms Gray, the partygate investigator, chose not to take part in the Governmnent probe into her departure from a high-ranking Whitehall position to become Sir Keir Starmer’s chief of staff.
The investigation has been paused as a result, angering some Tories, but Mr Starmer has insisted that he is “confident” Ms Gray had not broken any rules.
Rishi Sunak: It is ‘obviously disappointing’ Sue Gray chose not to cooperate with probe
The refusal of partygate investigator Sue Gray to co-operate with a Government probe into her move to a senior Labour role is “obviously disappointing”, Downing Street has said.
Rishi Sunak’s press secretary told reporters in Westminster: “The Prime Minister is not obviously involved in this process, but it is obviously disappointing that Sue Gray was offered to co-operate and has chosen not to do so.
“I think what is more disappointing is that Keir Starmer is in a position where he could clear up very quickly when contact was made by his office, or by him, to Sue Gray, to uphold the integrity of the Civil Service and ensure that it is transparent and open.”
Asked about Labour’s claim that the Government is pursuing a vendetta against the former senior official, the press secretary said: “No, I don’t think that is the case at all.”
She also said she did not “recognise at all” reports that Ms Gray declined to engage with the process as it was on shaky legal ground.
Sunak says local elections will mark an ‘important day’ ahead of Coronation
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told PMQs: “We’re all looking very much forward to the coronation, it will be a very special moment in the history of our country, and I know that we will join with the country in celebrating it.
“But before we get to the coronation weekend, we have an important day tomorrow, and the choice before the country is clear. When they go to that ballot box they can see a party that stands for higher council tax, higher crime, and a litany of broken promises.
“Meanwhile, we’re getting on with delivering what we say, with lower council tax, lower crime and fewer potholes.”
Tory councillors don’t want to build houses – Starmer
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said Conservative councillors “simply don’t want to build the houses local people need”.
He told the Commons: “The only power he’s given to local communities – not to build houses, and we know why he won’t change course, he admitted it last month.
“His councillors simply don’t want to build the houses local people need, so he’s given them a way out.”
Sir Keir added: “Why doesn’t he stop the excuses, stop blaming everyone else, and just build some houses instead?”
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “Our memories aren’t that short. We all know what happened last time when they were in power, there was no money left for the country.”
He criticised Labour’s record on housebuilding, saying: “In London, the former Conservative mayor built 60,000 affordable homes in his first five years in office, how many do the current Labour mayor manage – half of that.
“In Wales, we need 12,000 new homes a year, how many have Labour built in the last year? Half of that. Labour talk and the Conservatives deliver.”
Starmer: £9,000 house deposit increase is cost of Sunak’s ‘pool heating bill’
Prime Minister’s Questions has now wrapped up.
Earlier, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said that the average house deposit for a first-time buyer is increasing by £9,000.
“Does he even know how long it would take an average saver to put that sort of money aside?” he asked Rishi Sunak.
“£9,000 would take four years… roughly the annual bill to heat his swimming pool, but for most people, four more years of scrimping is a hammer blow to their ambitions.”
The Prime Minister replied: “That’s why we’ve introduced a 95 per cent mortgage guarantee scheme, it’s why we’re helping people in social housing own their own home through our first homes and our shared home ownership schemes.”
Prime Minister urged to compesate ‘1950s women’
MP Rebecca Long Bailey said the women’s pension age was increased without their knowledge in the 1950s and people gave up work without realising.
She asked the prime minister to commit to a !fair and fast payment” of compensation to 1950s women for the “injustice” they suffered.
Rishi Sunak said there is an “ongoing process” that he “can’t comment on” but the Government would respond appropiately.
Schools have become ‘fourth emergency service’, MP says
MP Holly Lynch said schools are having to become the fourth emergency service for families amid the cost of living crisis.
Rishi Sunak said familieswill see half of their energy bills paid by the Government, and additional funding for those on welfare.
People in particular need should talk to their local councils, he urged.
Prime Minister told of ‘decay of denistry’
MP Mary Kelly said a constituent of hers discovered a tumor in their face that required 16 hours of surgery through private care.
She said a “decay of dentistry” has happened under the Government’s watch and urged the Prime Minister meets with Dental association.
Rishi Sunak said there has been a “reform” of the industry and vowed changes were coming soon.
Christmas market in Lincoln to go after 40 years
Rishi Sunak said he shares disappointement with MP Karl McCartney that there will no longer be a Christmas market in Lincoln, for the first time in 40 years, thanks to a decision made by the Labour-run council, behind closed doors.
The Prime Minister said constituents “deserved better” and urged them to vote Conservative in the local elections on Thursday.
PM asked to create Sudanese family visa scheme
The Prime Minister was asked to instate a Sudanese family visa sceheme by Brighton MP Caroline Lucas.
But Rishi Sunak said the Government’s ability to do that is “absolutely hampered” by Channel small boat crossings.
PM asked about Labour’s tuition fee pledge U-turn
SNP MP Stephen Flynn asked the Prime Minister about Labour scrapping its pledge to scrap tuition fees.
He said Westminster political parties “don’t offer young people any hope at all, do they?”
Rishi Sunak said: “If you’re from a disadvantaged background, you’re far more likely to go to university in England than Scotland.”