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Will Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s budget be enough to save Sunak’s premiership?

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is searching for a political win wherever he can. 

With his popularity standing at -40 (YouGov), Sunak, the self-labelled “candidate of change“, has reverted to so-called past Conservative glories by replacing the controversial Suella Braverman with the former PM, David Cameron, as Foreign Secretary. While newsworthy, Cameron’s appointment did little to reverse the narrative of inevitable defeat facing the Tories at next year’s General Election.

However, whatever scant optimism remains in Conservative Party HQ could rest on Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement delivered last Wednesday. With a raft of new spending pledges from wages and pensions to benefits and business rates, Mr Hunt tried his best to provide a jolt of energy to Sunak’s labouring PM reign and provide some impetus ahead of next year’s General Election. The question in the short term is, did it work?

The answer is yes or no, depending on which poll you read. The YouGov poll on behalf of The Times found that the Conservative Party’s popularity grew four percentage points in a week to 25%, the highest observed since September. Inversely, a poll by Techne UK found that the Conservatives had dropped another percentage point to 21%, 25 points behind Labour.

Now you know you are in trouble when a deficit of 19 points is the positive spin, but that is the short straw the Tories must cling to at the moment. Britain might reflect on this statement next year as the pivotal moment that spawned a political fightback.

Now, only time will tell if Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement saves his boss, at the current deficit the feeling is that will be unlikely. Sunak’s unpopularity and inability to shift the perception of Tory sleaze and incompetence left by his two predecessors has left Keir Starmer an open goal that even he can’t miss.

However, Hunt has done all he can to help and arm Sunak with policies that could stem the bleeding and limit a Labour landslide.

by Kieran Foley, Account Executive