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Mordaunt Unleashed: A Threat to Sunak Emerges Amid Fiery Election Debate Critiques

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Sunak may view Mordaunt as a rival following her harsh comments in the initial debate, despite her generally conforming to the party line.

The Commons Leader was forthright in her vehement critique of the prime minister during the Friday evening electoral debate, likely causing displeasure at Downing Street.

Senior political reporter @joncraig

Saturday, June 8, 2024, at 12

Last weekend, it was revealed that supporters of Penny Mordaunt alleged that Downing Street was limiting her visibility during the election campaign, with Rishi Sunak's team viewing her as a potential rival.

Following her standout appearance in a televised debate with representatives from six rival parties, the Leader of the Commons has certainly made a significant impact. It's clear she should not be sidelined again.

In her initial remarks during the 90-minute debate, she made a striking statement. She accused the prime minister of being "completely wrong" for departing the D-Day events in Normandy prematurely. Clearly, she did not hold back.

She stated that the Prime Minister made errors on three separate occasions. It's clear why Downing Street views her as a challenge. Should this be seen as a trial run for a potential leadership challenge post-election, her supporters would argue she excelled.

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After completing her biting introductory statements, Mordaunt consistently focused on criticizing Labour's approaches to taxation, immigration, and law enforcement.

During the televised debate with Sir Keir Starmer on Tuesday, Sunak first claimed that the Labour Party intends to impose a £2,000 tax increase on each household should they secure victory in the upcoming election. She vigorously challenged this contentious assertion by the Tories.

The confrontation escalated into the debate's most intense argument when Mordaunt exchanged sharp criticisms with Labour's Angela Rayner over tax issues. The verbal altercation continued even after presenter Mishal Husain tried, unsuccessfully, to intervene and restore order.

Further Discussion on Conservatives

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Discussion Points:

The debate grew intense, particularly as the two were positioned side by side at the end of a line of seven prominent politicians. This group included Reform's Nigel Farage, the Lib Dems' Daisy Cooper, the SNP's Westminster leader Stephen Flynn, Plaid Cymru's Rhun ap Iorwerth, and Carla Denyer from the Greens.

Throughout the remainder of the discussion, Rayner appeared somewhat restrained, similar to how Sir Keir had seemed during his Tuesday confrontation with the Prime Minister. Initially, Rayner refrained from criticizing Sunak regarding D-Day. Like Sir Keir, she too needs to step up her performance.

On the anniversary of D-Day, Farage criticized Sunak for lacking patriotism, while Flynn charged the Prime Minister with prioritizing his political ambitions over the welfare of public service and the veterans of the Normandy invasion. Harsh accusations indeed.

Further reporting from Sky News includes: Cameron targeted by prank call, Sunak faces heckling from GP, and assessing the impact of the Prime Minister's D-Day error.

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Stay informed on current events from the UK and globally by tuning into Sky News.

Mordaunt sharply criticized Rayner for her past votes against the renewal of Trident. Meanwhile, Rayner's vibrant red dress did not reflect a strong start in the debate, though her performance did enhance progressively. Interestingly, Mordaunt chose to wear a shade of blue reminiscent of Margaret Thatcher. Does that evoke any comparisons?

During the discussion, Farage maintained his usual mischievous demeanor. He humorously described Starmer as "extremely boring" and likened him to "Blair minus the charm." He also dubbed the Prime Minister "slippery Sunak." While these remarks weren't new, they still amused the crowd.

Flynn had his highlights, particularly when he criticized Brexit, delivering a critique of both the Conservative and Labour parties that the audience appreciated.

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The focus of this debate centered on Mordaunt; it was essentially her spotlight, even with numerous other participants. If she had previously been restrained by Downing Street, the Prime Minister's supporters would have surely appreciated her critiques of Rayner and the policies of the Labour Party.

However, they likely did not welcome her frank and entirely unsolicited critique of the prime minister regarding the major news of the day, his perceived slight on D-Day.

The narrative centered around a significant error directly attributable to the Prime Minister. This wasn't just a minor slip or mishap. It stemmed from poor planning and disastrous political decision-making, which proved to be both mortifying and severely detrimental to Sunak and the Conservative party's electoral efforts.

It seems that was Mordaunt's opinion, and she made it clear. Downing Street will likely be displeased. A threat? Absolutely.

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