Sir Keir Starmer will struggle to win a Commons majority of more than 60, says Ed Balls

Sir Keir Starmer will struggle to win a Commons majority of more than 60, says Ed Balls.

However, the Good Morning Britain presenter and former Children’s Secretary believes the Labour leader will win a majority in the general election on July 4.

As the general election campaigns kicked off, Gordon Brown’s former righthand man stressed that people were under-estimating the scale of the task for a landslide victory.

“A year ago, I thought Keir Starmer would be Prime Minister, but I wasn’t sure whether he could get to a majority,” he said on the Political Currency podcast.

“I think they will get a majority … But a big majority of something over 60? That is still very, very hard.

“Lots of people just assume it’s going to be a landslide and it’s going to be a large majority for Keir Starmer, but what they have to do, seat-by-seat to get there, is more difficult than people appreciate.”

Labour’s hopes of a Commons majority have been dramatically boosted by the implosion of the Scottish National Party.

The SNP’s woes could open the door to Sir Keir’s party winning 20 or so seats north of the border, compared to its one at the moment.

But Labour still faces a series of tough battles to win a swathe of seats in the former “Red Wall” in the North and Midlands, as well as in more traditional Tory areas including in the South East, to gain a hefty majority.

In the capital, Labour is expected to win a clutch more seats, with the Tories under threat of losing their last three constituencies in inner London.

Mr Balls’ fellow Political Currency podcaster George Osborne said Rishi Sunak and No10 called the July election because they believed “things are basically not going to get any better for the Prime Minister”.

The former Chancellor thinks that Mr Sunak decided to go for an early poll after the May elections, where the Tories lost nearly 500 councillors, the West Midlands mayoralty, the Blackpool South by-election, and saw Sadiq Khan beating Susan Hall by a comfortable margin to clinch a third term in City Hall.

He said: “This is what Downing Street is thinking: Things are basically not going to get any better for the Prime Minister.

“Nothing is shifting the polls.

“He’s often accused of dithering, of overanalysing things and not taking bold decisions. He’s taken a bold decision to shift the dial, to get the campaign underway to force the choice to make people focus on the argument.”

Mr Osborne said he personally would have waited until October or November, a view shared by many Tory MPs, some of who were stunned that a summer election was being called.

Former Strictly Come Dancing star Mr Balls added: “I’ve not yet found anybody who can explain to me why the Prime Minister who is 21 points behind in the polls, with the economy finally just starting to recover – but with no sign of that really impacting on people’s lives – why he’s decided to go now, rather than giving him and his party. three more months to hope that things improve.”

Mr Sunak announced the election after official figures showed that inflation had fallen from 3.2 per cent in March to 2.3 per cent in April and the economy emerged from recession with gross domestic product growth of 0.6 per cent in the first three months of the year, though this figure may have been inflated by an early Easter.

Economists believe inflation may rise slightly later this year and hopes of several interest rate cuts in the next four or five months rescinded after inflation in April did not fall as sharply as expected by the City.

Mr Sunak has also admitted that Rwanda deportation flights will not happen before July 4 election day despite “stopping the boats” being one of his five key pledges.

He has met two of them, on halving inflation and boosting the economy, but has so far failed to cut NHS waiting lists, currently at around 7.5 million, from the level when he made his promises, and he will face accusations that he has not met the fifth pledge to reduce the nation’s debt.