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‘Defeatist’ Sunak and ‘robot’ Starmer: Grimsby audience members give their verdicts on leaders at Sky News event | Politics News

The prime minister seemed “defeated” to audience members in Grimsby after Sky’s Battle For Number Ten.

Some also questioned whether Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer had fully answered the questions they asked.

The 90-minute TV grilling left the audience asking how the prime minister could fight back and win the election.

Latest updates on the general election

Amy Green had travelled from Leeds to ask a question and said he seemed beaten.

“Sunak needs to drop the act, speak to us like an electorate as humans,” she said.

“I think he was quite defeatist – if I was fighting for my job, I would be out there socking it to people… he has given up and lost the will.”

Rishi Sunak addresses the audience in Grimsby. Pic: PA
Rishi Sunak addresses the audience in Grimsby. Pic: PA

She used to play a prominent role in her local Conservative Party but quit a few years ago.

She had started the night unsure of who to vote for and afterwards was still no closer to a decision.

“I am still undecided to be honest,” she added.

Grimsby resident Sharon Westerman asked the first question of the night to Sir Keir about inequality in her hometown.

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Starmer: ‘I was a toolmaker’s son’

She told Sky News she wasn’t 100% convinced by him, but thought he would become the next prime minister.

“I think Labour will get it, but there will be fierce competition from other candidates – it’s not just about Labour and Conservatives,” she said.

“There were some questions answered, but others such as the NHS and housing and child poverty we still need to know how it is going to be achieved.

“Not enough detail from both men.”

Christina Ashibogu had travelled to Grimsby from London. The lawyer had asked about rebuilding trust between the police and communities.

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In full: The Battle for Number 10

“I feel a bit bad for Rishi, he does look defeated… with Starmer, I wasn’t entirely impressed,” she told Sky News immediately after the event.

“Someone asked Starmer why he seems like a robot and he was startled by it.”

She thought it was the audience that actually came out on top: “We did well, when we weren’t satisfied with the answer people went back to try and get clarity.”

Retired teacher Ian Miles from Grimsby said the longer format really helped understand the two men better.

Read more:
What we learnt from Sunak and Starmer
Starmer performed best in Sky News event, poll suggests

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He too saw a prime minister who didn’t seem confident enough.

“After the D-Day disaster [when the prime minister departed early from commemorations] it’s like he doesn’t believe in himself anymore,” he said.

“For Keir Starmer, I think it’s a question of him not giving people enough to get people to be enthusiastic about him.”

Some left the Town Hall in Grimsby still undecided but agreed the Battle for Number Ten had challenged both leaders.

Tory leadership race: Rishi Sunak wins over audience in Sky News’ Battle for Number 10 programme | Politics News

Rishi Sunak was deemed to have won Sky News’ Battle for Number 10 after the majority of audience members voted for him over rival Liz Truss.

Ms Truss and Mr Sunak faced tough challenges from Conservative members who are mostly undecided, followed by questions from Sky News’ Kay Burley.

After the pair put forward their arguments for why they should replace Boris Johnson as leader of the Tory party, and therefore prime minister, the audience members were asked who they thought had won the argument.

The audience, made up of Conservative Party members, convincingly backed Mr Sunak in a show of hands, rather than Ms Truss – who has been winning polls since the battle was whittled down to two.

Live updates: Truss says recession ‘not inevitable’; Sunak told he ‘knifed’ Johnson

Read more: Truss refuses request to apologise over public sector pay policy U-turn

Ms Truss put herself forward as the candidate of integrity, repeatedly saying she will always listen to people and will do something different if a policy is not working.

She said a recession is “not inevitable”, hours after interest rates were hiked, and promised “bold” action compared with Mr Sunak’s caution.

However, former chancellor Mr Sunak said Ms Truss’ vision “will make the situation worse” as he reminded audience members of his financial actions to help people during the COVID pandemic.

He stressed a need to get a grip on runaway inflation before cutting taxes, adding: “But it all starts with not making the situation worse.

“Because if we just put fuel on the fire of this inflation spiral, all of us, all of you, are just going to end up with higher mortgage rates, savings and pensions that are eaten away, and misery for millions.”