RISHI Sunak has been Prime Minister of the UK for a milestone 100 days – but he’s got a mountain to climb if he wants to win the next election.
With a General Election due by January 2025, Mr Sunak doesn’t have long to get his party in shape for a major showdown with Sir Keir Starmer.
Today is Rishi Sunak’s 100th day as the UK’s Prime Minister
The Tories are currently polling at 26%, a staggering 25 points behind Labour.
Following a tumultuous 2022, which saw the party knife two of its leaders, Mr Sunak has pledged himself as the man to finally steady the ship.
He’s also vowed to clear out sleaze from the Conservative ranks and lead a government of “integrity and accountability”.
Mr Sunak’s big pitch to nation is to achieve five key pledges: stop the boats, halve inflation, grow the economy, reduce debt and slash NHS waiting times.
If he manages to achieve them all the Tories will be in a much stronger position to fight an election.
Mr Sunak will set out his stall tonight in an unmissable exclusive TalkTV interview with Piers Morgan.
But there’s a huge pile of problems still in the PM’s way.
Here are some of the main ones.
Dominic Raab bullying probe
The Deputy PM is currently being probed by an independent investigator into whether he bullied civil servants.
If found guilty he’ll be the second cabinet member found to have broken the ministerial code within weeks.
On Sunday Mr Sunak fired then-Tory Chairman Nadhim Zahawi following questions over his tax affairs.
If two senior Tories are deemed to have fallen below standards, Mr Sunak will face tough questions over his sense of judgement and commitment to integrity.
Labour see Tory sleaze as a primary battlefront in the upcoming elections.
Winter of discontent
Mr Sunak is engaged in a long and tough battle with union chiefs, who show no sign of backing down.
Unions representing a range of public sectors are demanding inflation busting pay rises.
But Mr Sunak is adamant that is unaffordable and will only make inflation worse.
Caught in the middle are members of the public, who are faced with indefinite disruption to their kids’ education, health and transport.
Unions inflicted misery on nine in ten schools yesterday — and threatened another walkout if their pay demands are not met.
Strikes by tens of thousands of teachers at the majority of sixth-form colleges and schools left classrooms sitting empty.
Just over one in ten schools fully opened amid industrial action by an estimated 200,000 members of the National Education Union.
Meanwhile, thousands of ambulance workers, rail workers, civil servants and nurses are committing to ongoing industrial action unless a new pay deal is reached.
To tackle the issue, the PM is pushing through a new Bill that would force minimum service levels in key public sectors.
Cost of living crisis
Millions of Brits are struggling to buy food and heat their homes as the cost of living crisis hits household finances.
With inflation soaring at 10.5%, the use of foodbanks have soared and Brits are struggling to pay the bills.
On top of that, the tax burden is at its highest rate since WWII.
Mr Sunak vowed to halve inflation by the end of the year.
But growth forecasts for the UK are bleak, with the IMF saying it expects (GDP) to contract by 0.6% in 2023.
Global factors such as the war in Ukraine and the pandemic play a big part in today’s economic mess.
Nonetheless, by 2025 if households aren’t seeing more money in the bank, the General Election could be a steal for Labour.
Restless Tory rebels
Tory infighting has somewhat calmed since the chaotic final days of Liz Truss.
But bitter divides in the party remain.
A small group of Boris Johnson allies are desperate to get their man back in No10.
They are still raging about the fact the ex-PM was deposed in the first place.
And they think Boris is the only man who can take the fight to Sir Keir and win the next election.
So far none of BoJo’s backers are causing too great a scene.
They’re picking battles carefully, with one former minister telling HOAR they’ll “hold Rishi to account” as and when they see fit.
They said they “hate” Mr Sunak and don’t believe he’s a “real Tory”.
Another former minister said they’re waiting until after the May local elections to decide whether to make any big moves against the PM.
The Conservatives are expected to get a thrashing in the Red Wall, creating an optimal opportunity for Boris fans to strike.
Away from BoJo nostalgia there’s growing anger at the Britain’s sky-high tax burden.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has effectively ruled out cuts in the March budget, insisting inflation must come down first.
But there’s only so much patience in the Tory ranks for high taxes and growing frustration could soon see growing rebellions from MPs in the Commons and media.
NHS in crisis
The NHS is said to be “on its knees” as it battles a host of crises.
A staggering 7 million Brits are currently sitting on hospital waiting lists.
And ambulance and casualty delays hit record highs in December.
The average response time for Brits needing an emergency responder for a stroke, severe burns or chest pain was 93 minutes, five times the 18 minute target.
Meanwhile, nurses, physios and ambulance workers have committed to ongoing industrial action unless ministers agree to an above-inflation pay rise.
This week the PM vowed to slash NHS waiting lists in record time as he announced a major expansion of hospital beds and ambulance vehicles.
In his second “PM Connect” Q&A with health workers, Mr Sunak pledged the “largest and fastest ever improvement in emergency waiting times in NHS history”.
Outlining his four point plan, the PM promised to increase hospital capacity, expand staffing levels, speed up discharges and improve NHS 111.