'He'd still want to be their lawyer!' Sunak slams Starmer's record defending dangerous criminals as Labour blasts Rwanda 'gimmick'

'He'd still want to be their lawyer!' Sunak slams Starmer's record defending dangerous criminals as Labour blasts Rwanda 'gimmick'

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Millie Cooke

By Millie Cooke

Published: 20/03/2024

- 12:18

Updated: 20/03/2024

- 13:00

The Prime Minister clashed with the Labour leader at Prime Minister's Questions

Rishi Sunak attacked Sir Keir Starmer's record as the Director of Public Prosecutions, accusing him of wanting to defend dangerous criminals.

The Prime Minister said: "Thanks to our new laws, nine hundred criminals have been arrested, 450 have been convicted, serving over 37 years behind bars.

"If it was up to him, those criminals would still be out on our streets. And the truth is, if he wasn't the labour leader, he'd still want to be their lawyer."

Starmer hit back: "I've prosecuted more people smugglers than he has had helicopter rides, and that's a lot. I've done it.

"The Rwanda gimmick is going to cost the taxpayer £2million for every one of the 300 people they deport.

"I know the Prime Minister like to spend a lot on jetsetting, but that's some plane ticket. It's the cost of Tory chaos and it is working people who are paying the price."

He added: “We know the Prime Minister himself thought it wouldn’t work. If the people selling this gimmick don’t believe in it, why should the country?”

Sunak responded: “When it comes to this question of how to deal with people who are here illegally, (Sir Keir’s) values are simply not those of the British people.

“After all, this is the person who campaigned to stop the deportation of foreign dangerous criminals. A dangerous criminal was jailed for dealing class A drugs after he fought to keep him here, a gang master was convicted of carrying a knife after he fought to keep him here.

“So, whether he’s representing terrorists or campaigning for criminals, it’s clear whose side he’s on, and it’s not the British people’s.”

Today's PMQs also saw the Labour leader demand Sunak call a general election, to which the PM responded that his “working assumption” remains that a general election will take place in the second half of the year.

The Labour leader told the Commons: “Violent prisoners released early because the Tories wrecked the criminal justice system, 3,500 small boats arrivals already this year because the Tories lost control of the borders, the NHS struggling to see people because the Tories broke it, millions paying more on their mortgages, a budget that hit pensioners, a £46 billion hole in his sums.

“Why is the Prime Minister so scared to call an election?”

The Prime Minister replied: “As I said in January, my working assumption is that the election will be in the second half of the year.

“I must say, I thought that out of everybody he would actually be the most grateful, because he has now actually got time to come up with a plan for Britain.”

Starmer responded: “We are ready. Just call it.”

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