OPINION - The Standard View: Rishi Sunak's plan for London risks being drowned out

 (Benjamin Cremel/PA Wire)
(Benjamin Cremel/PA Wire)

Despite a challenging few weeks of campaigning, Rishi Sunak remains an optimist. In a wide-ranging interview with The Standard, the Prime Minister forecast that interest rate cuts are “on their way” and even that he had “faith” in the England men’s football team’s ability turn things around.

On the capital, the PM pledged a major review of licensing laws, planning rules and other “red tape” that he says are unnecessarily holding back the night-time economy. Amid concerns over businesses listing in New York rather than London, he stressed the City had to be an “open, technologically advanced financial services sector that is globally competitive”.

The danger for Sunak is that his policies and plans for Britain, many of which are sensible, are being drowned out by scandal. Revelations and allegations around Conservative candidates betting on the date of polling day threaten to damage not only the Tory campaign, but politics more widely.

Short of a historic polling error, it appears as if Londoners have made up their minds. With 10 days to go until election day, a new Savanta survey hands Labour a 33-point lead in the city, with Labour on 55 per cent and the Tories 22 per cent. Still, if Sunak is going through the motions, he is hiding it well and remains laser-focused on July 4.

Battle for Wimbledon

The All-England Club will tell you that the battle for Wimbledon begins on July 1, but residents in one of London’s most marginal constituencies know it has been going on for months.

The Tories are defending a majority of 628 votes from the Liberal Democrats last time around. Labour came third in 2019, but believes it is in the mix. Tactical voting will no doubt come into play.

Never averse to an attention-grabbing stunt for the cameras, Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey — on his second visit to the seat — cleaned an ambulance to call attention to the party’s finding over the vast rise in the number of patients waiting 12 hours or more in accident and emergency departments. Voters don’t have much longer now to wait for the result.

Power of the introvert

Is life simply set up for extroverts? Are introverts doomed to conform to their norms? Not so, says Richard Etienne, brand consultant and host of next month’s Evening Standard Masterclass on how to speak up and get noticed.

Guests will discover how introversion can be an asset and why you don’t need to be the loudest person in the room to make a profound impact. Join us on July 16 to discover the power of your quiet strength.