Rishi Sunak: General election not a 'foregone conclusion'

The results of the next general election are not a "foregone conclusion" according to Rishi Sunak, after his party's slate of defeats in the local elections.

The prime minister was speaking off the back of analysis of the results conducted by Sky News which indicated the country was heading towards a hung parliament.

This projection, however, does not account for Labour now being the most popular party in Scotland, nor does it recognise that people are less likely to vote for an independent or small party in a Westminster election when compared to council seats.

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Speaking from a charity in north London, Mr Sunak said: "Well, the independent analysis shows whilst of course, this was a disappointing weekend for us, that the result of the next general election isn't a foregone conclusion and indeed actually is closer than the situation is closer than many people are saying."

Mr Sunak also paid tribute to the almost 500 Tory councillors who were unseated over the weekend, as well as West Midlands mayor Andy Street.

"Well, obviously disappointing to lose Conservative councillors and a fantastic mayor for the West Midlands in Andy Street," the prime minister said.

"And I'm grateful to them for their public service and all their hard work.

"For my part, reflecting on it, I'm determined more than ever to demonstrate to the country that we are making progress on the areas that matter to them, and we are going to deliver for them."

Asked about the disquiet from within his party about the direction the Conservatives are taking, Mr Sunak said: "What unites all members of our party, MPs and beyond, are our values as Conservatives and the type of country that we want to build."

In the wake of the local election defeats, Mr Sunak was facing calls to tack both further right and further to the centre.

Mr Street called on the prime minister not to drift to the right, telling Sky News that he "would definitely not advise that drift".

"The message is clear: winning from that centre ground is what happens," he added.

Meanwhile, former home secretary Suella Braverman wrote in the Daily Telegraph that "the hole to dig us out of is the PM's, and it's time for him to start shovelling".

She called for the Conservatives to take a tougher stance on tax, migration, small boats and law and order.

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Mr Sunak said: "I'm absolutely determined to fight incredibly hard for what I believe and for the future country that I want to build, and that's what I'm going to do.

"Fight for this country, fight for the things I believe and deliver for everyone on the things that matter to them."