Jeremy Hunt: Labour government would need effective opposition

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If Labour wins the general election it will need an “effective opposition” in Parliament, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has told the BBC.

Mr Hunt is the latest senior Conservative to publicly acknowledge his party could be on course for defeat.

He urged people not to vote for Reform UK, claiming this would result in fewer centre-right MPs.

Earlier, Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride said opinion polls suggested Labour was heading towards “the largest majority virtually in the history of this country”.

And last week Grant Shapps urged voters not to give Labour a “supermajority”, with the party’s power “unchecked”.

With the Tories losing support to Reform, senior figures have repeatedly warned that backing Nigel Farage’s party would split the centre-right vote, benefiting Labour.

Rishi Sunak insists he is still fighting to win.

Privately, many Conservative candidates are fairly open about their belief that victory is implausible and that their party should instead hope to limit the scale of a Labour victory.

However, it is only in this last week senior Tories have publicly raised this prospect in an apparent change of strategy.

In an interview with BBC economics editor Faisal Islam, Mr Hunt was asked if talk of a Labour “supermajority” on 4 July was an implicit acknowledgement that the Tory campaign had gone badly wrong.

“I think it’s very important if Labour win, that they have an effective opposition in Parliament,” he said.

In his own constituency, Mr Hunt has admitted he faces a “knife-edge” battle with the Liberal Democrats to win the new seat of Godalming and Ash in Surrey.

In the 2019 election for his old seat of South West Surrey, Mr Hunt had a majority of 8,817.

“I do face a fight here, for sure,” he told the BBC.

“And what I say to people on the doorstep is if you vote for Reform…. Reform aren’t going to win but the Lib Dems will win.

“You will have fewer centre-right MPs and fewer MPs who want to control migration, fewer MPs who want to reduce tax, and that isn’t what those voters want.”



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