Labour vows to ‘keep up’ controversial attack advert campaign with new tweets planned

A shadow cabinet member has vowed Labour will double down on its controversial campaign against Rishi Sunak with a string of adverts planned focussing on cost of living, mortgages and bills. 

The strategy sparked uproar last week with the first advert of this nature saying Rishi Sunak does not want to jail child sex offenders. The campaign has been branded “gutter politics” and led to complaints from several Labour MPs.

The figures Labour highlighted cover the period since 2010, five years before Mr Sunak entered Parliament. He did not become Prime Minister until October last year.

The latest poster targeting the prime minister, published on Tuesday morning, accuses Mr Sunak of “raising taxes for working people” while his family “benefitted from a tax loophole”.

“The Tories have raised taxes 24 times since 2019, leaving the British people facing the highest tax burden in 70 years”, the poster reads.

Defending the strategy this morning, shadow chief secretary to the treasury Pat McFadden said: “The ads that we’ve produced punch pretty hard, but they do so for an important reason”.

He told Sky News: “[Labour is] not going to accept that British politics is just about a new leader of the Conservative Party every year or two who pretends that everything before didn’t exist and that it’s year zero. That’s not the case — politics can do better than that”.

Mr McFadden confirmed that the next target — after last week’s focus on crime — would be the cost of living, mortgages and bills.

“I believe we will keep up this campaign”, he added. “I don’t know what’s exactly coming, but we’re going to continue to point out the government’s record.”

It is the latest signal Labour is refusing to back down from the strategy, with Sir Keir writing in the Daily Mail that he stands by “every word” of the adverts so far.

Sir Keir said: “Rishi Sunak is the chief architect of choices prioritising the wealthiest and of the government’s failure to get a grip of the economy and get growth going.

“The voters must know that Rishi Sunak’s fingerprints are all over their struggling household budgets”.

He added that, with 24 days until the local elections, the controversial campaign has shown “excellent progress on exposing the government’s failures on crime”.

The Labour leader stressed that he makes “no apologies at all” for the adverts.

Senior frontbencher Yvette Cooper is thought to have distanced herself from the controversial attack advert. The shadow home secretary was reportedly not told or consulted about the wording of the ad devised by the Labour’s strategy team, despite it being related to her brief.

Amid frontbench unease, senior figures including former home secretary Lord Blunkett called for the initial ad to be withdrawn, arguing that Labour is better than “gutter” politics.

It comes after shadow attorney general Emily Thornberry told BBC Radio 4’s “Today” programme on Monday: “The way I judge these things is this. There’s two things — is the criticism based on clear and objective facts? And secondly, is the individual concerned in a position to be able to do something about it? Or is it something which is a result of something they’ve done?”.