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Sunak and Starmer issue Easter messages with eye on election to come

Rishi Sunak said Easter is a time to “pause and reflect” while Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said it was a time of “optimism and new beginnings”.

The Easter messages issued by the party leaders come just weeks before a set of local polls on May 2 which could give an early indication of Tory and Labour prospects at the general election.

Sir Keir, who hopes to be in No 10 by the end of the year, used his message to say that people would use Easter to think about “our future and how things can change for the better”.

He said: “The Easter story is one of hope and renewal, of overcoming adversity and light prevailing over darkness.

“As families and friends gather to celebrate the holiday we turn our thoughts towards new beginnings, our future and how things can change for the better.

“Faith is really important. It’s a place where people can invest a lot of themselves and find comfort, hope and a sense of security.

“This Easter I’d like to express my gratitude to the Christian community in the UK and beyond, for their generosity and compassion.

“At this time of optimism and new beginnings, I thank them for everything they do, and wish you all those celebrating a very happy Easter.”

Prime Minister’s Questions
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak praised the work of Christian churches and charities (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister praised the work of Christians in communities across the UK and said people would also be “thinking of those in pain and suffering around the world”.

He said: “This weekend, as people come together to celebrate and reflect on the message at the heart of the Easter festival, I want to pay tribute to the incredible work of Christians in this country.

“To the churches, charities, volunteers and fundraisers who live the Christian values of compassion, charity and self-sacrifice, supporting those in need and demonstrating what it means to ‘love thy neighbour’.

“Many, I know, will also be thinking of those in pain and suffering around the world, and Christians persecuted because of their faith who are unable to celebrate Easter freely.

“For many of us in the UK, Easter is a chance to pause and reflect and an opportunity to spend some precious time with our families and a moment to enjoy the start of spring.

“So this weekend, let me wish you all a very happy and peaceful Easter.”