Independent readers split after second general election TV clash between Keir Starmer and Rishi Sunak

Independent readers are split after a second general election TV clash between Keir Starmer and Rishi Sunak (Sky News)
Independent readers are split after a second general election TV clash between Keir Starmer and Rishi Sunak (Sky News)

Independent readers are divided following another televised head-to-head between Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer.

We asked for your opinions following the party leader interviews on Sky News with political editor Beth Rigby and the subsequent audience Q&A.

Trust emerged as a key issue with readers. While some were satisfied with Sir Keir’s solid if unspectacular delivery, many expressed hesitancy toward the Labour leader, questioning his consistency and commitment to current and past policies, particularly on tax.

On the prime minister, opinions were also polarised. Some found him untrustworthy and out of touch, with one noting: “Sunak is a liar and has shown himself to lack empathy.” Others believed the Conservative Party leader performed better in his interview, citing his straightforwardness.

Overall, our community feel both major parties lack transparency and that their leaders failed to provide concrete plans for the future when probed.

A poll on our Twitter/X was more decisive and had the Labour leader earmarked as the victor, with 64.3% per cent of those who took part backing him.

Just 7.4% pegged Mr Sunak as their winner. And 28.3% said they weren’t impressed by either politician.

This pattern was also reflected in an exclusive poll sent to members of The Independent’s free General Election WhatsApp Community, which you can join here.

Here’s what our readers had to say:

‘Trust is an issue’

We are left with Hobson’s Choice again.

The only insight we have into Starmer’s beliefs is the last time he came out and firmly committed to something: the Corbyn era manifestos and his leadership campaign.

He now wants us to believe he wasn’t committed to them and wasn’t a friend of Corbyn. He was either being less than honest then or, under his new Blairite clothing, less than honest now, which reflects his moral character.

He saw nothing wrong with being clear about the detail of the Corbyn manifesto or leadership pitch, now he won’t commit to anything except ‘not raising income tax, VAT or national insurance’ for working people.

He will have to put tax somewhere, the above three taxes only account for 40% of the £1 trillion tax take.

For example, to address social care, is the money coming from increasing council tax? That will certainly hit working people.

In summary, trust is an issue. I have lost it in the Tories because of their actions, I don’t have it in Labour because of their omission of detail.

None of the above is the box I am ticking at the moment.


‘The audience won’

The audience was the winner, roasting Sunak.

He really is a liability to the Tories and the country.

I shall be voting tactically to rid us of the most rotten, corrupt, sleazy bunch EVER.


‘Sunak won’

Sunak won the debate. The refusal to answer direct questions by Starmer who churned out his soundbites about reviving the economy was annoying.

The issue regarding VAT on private school fees demonstrates Labour’s general policy of adopting the lowest common denominator rather than the pursuit of excellence.


‘I have always voted Labour’

Definitely Starmer.

At 71 I have always voted Labour and have always been disappointed when the Cons keep winning. Hopefully this time I will be successful.


‘Just noise’

Starmer was far, far better than Sunak. I was listening to what Starmer said and I wanted to listen to what Starmer said, he behaved like he cared.

In regards to Sunak, I couldn’t stand listening to him and I stopped taking in what he said, it was just noise – he didn’t say anything at all, he spoke absolute nonsense and reiterated lies. The things Sunak said about mortgages and talking about first-time buyers and how he used a “£400,000 mortgage” as an example, was so telling, he has no idea. It is actually shocking just how out of touch he actually is.

Within minutes of taking his turn in the debate, when he attacked and blamed the junior doctor in the audience, shocked the audience and me. Sunak was booed and for good reason.

Sunak showed just how nasty he is. Plus he just never stopped lying. So Sunak showed total disrespect towards the audience he was standing in front of. I don’t believe that Sunak cares about this country at all – when Starmer talks about this country and that he cares about it I believe him. I don’t believe a single word Sunak says on anything. Sunak is a liar and has shown himself to lack empathy, and be completely self-absorbed.

Starmer talked of areas in the North of England in Grimsby and Hull and the skilled jobs that are there, good green jobs for the future, I liked that he talked of Hull. I don’t live in Hull, but I do live in Yorkshire and I know this area is proud of the skills it has in renewables and green technology.


‘Mired in dishonesty’

Starmer lacks charisma, but comes across as more reliable, believable and trustworthy. Sunak is a slippery snake-oil salesman! Tories have had 14 years to implement effective policies and have not only failed, but have been mired in dishonesty, cronyism and sleaze.

Good riddance to them on 4th July! I shall enjoy watching them lose their seats! So justly deserved!


‘Nothing can save him now’

Starmer didn’t exactly impress but had a very strong and valid point about financing state schools with the tax taken from private ones.

Sunak can’t convince anyone anymore. There is absolutely nothing that can save him now, or the Tories for that matter. It’s game over.


‘Punish them!’

Sunak lost – and he lost for Johnson and Truss as well. The Tories have no claim to further Government – they have failed totally! Punish them!


‘Won on avoidance’

Starmer seemed to avoid every question, where Sunak answered his questions but with nothing new.

Starmer definitely won on avoidance and fencing his answers.

Sunak won by telling us nothing we didn’t already know.



I think Rishi spoke facts and came out very clear and well.

Sir Keir generally waffled. Rishi won, in my view.


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