'That Is A Lie': Starmer Condemns Sunak Over Labour Tax Claims In Angry Debate

Keir Starmer branded Rishi Sunak a liar as the Labour leader and the prime minister clashed for the final time in the election campaign.

The attack came after the PM once again repeated contested claims that an incoming Labour government would hike taxes by more than £2,000 per household.

Neither man landed a knockout blow during the 90-minute debate, and a snap poll by YouGov declared it a dead heat.

Summing up at the end of the head-to-head, Sunak said: “Think what a Labour government would mean. Can you afford to pay at least £2,000 more in tax? And why won’t Keir Starmer be straight with you about what he wants to do?

“And if you’re not certain about Labour, don’t surrender to them. Don’t vote for any other party, vote Conservative.”

Before beginning his own final statement, Starmer said: “That is a lie and he’s been told not to repeat that lie and he’s just done it.”

Sunak sparked a furious backlash after his last head-to-head debate with Starmer when he claimed Treasury civil servants had found a £38 billion black hole in Labour’s spending plans which could only be filled by a £2,094 tax rise.

It later emerged that the chief Treasury civil servant had warned ministers not to make the claim before the PM’s attack.

In a further blow for Sunak, Conservative magazine The Spectator said, using the same calculations as the PM, taxes would need to go up by £3,000 under the Tories.

Meanwhile, a snap YouGov poll of debate viewers found that 50% thought Starmer won and 50% believed Sunak was victorious.

The poll also found Starmer to be more trustworthy, likeable, in touch and prime ministerial than Sunak.

And while it also found Sunak more convincing on immigration and tax, Starmer won on the economy, welfare and Britain’s relationship with the EU.

At one point in the debate, the Labour leader dubbed the PM “Liz Truss 2.0” as he accused him of making billions of pounds of unfunded spending commitments, like his predecessor did in her infamous mini-Budget.

However, the loudest applause of the night came following a question from audience member Robert Blackstone, who asked both men: “Are you two really the best we’ve got to be the next prime minister of our great country?”

Lib Dem deputy leader Daisy Cooper said: “Tonight the audience spoke for the nation when they asked: is this really the best we’ve got?

“Our country deserves so much better than what we watched this evening.”