Sunak & Starmer set for first debate face-off as disruptor Farage roils UK election waters

LONDON: The two main contenders to be Britain’s next prime minister were set to face off in a televised debate on Tuesday, with Conservative leader Rishi Sunak hoping to boost his party’s dismal outlook and Labour’s Keir Starmer aiming to cement his status as favourite.
The debate comes a day after populist Brexit-backer Nigel Farage dealt a blow to Sunak’s hopes of winning the July 4 by announcing he will run for parliament at the helm of the right-wing party Reform UK.The return of the populist politician, a key player in Britain’s 2016 decision to leave the EU, is a major headache for Sunak’s party, which already trails Labour in opinion polls. Farage and Reform look likely to siphon off votes of socially conservative older voters that the Tories have been targeting.
Farage has injected volatility into an election that will almost certainly result in either Starmer or Sunak becoming PM. The two will go head-to-head in a debate on ITV, with Sunak likely to stress his stewardship of the economy, which has seen inflation fall to just over 2% from a peak of over 11% in 2022. Starmer aims to persuade voters tired of Tories that Labour can be trusted with the UK’s economy, borders and security.


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