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Rishi Sunak accused of ‘trying to rewrite history’ in national security speech 

‘No amount of spin or rewriting history can hide the Conservative’s abysmal record in office’

The Prime Minister has been accused of attempting to rewrite the history of his party’s time in office during a speech he delivered this morning on national security. 

Rishi Sunak warned of a “dangerous” five years ahead and argued Britain is at a “crossroads” before he claimed that his party was the safest pair of hands to lead the country into the future. He also launched a defense of his party’s record, naming the Covid vaccine rollout, NHS funding, universal credit and creation of 4 million jobs among the achievements.  

He made the speech at a Policy Exchange think tank event as he laid out how he would fight the next election on the UK’s security. Stoking fear around culture war issues Sunak said, “people are abusing our liberal democratic values of freedom of speech” and claimed the next election will be a choice between parties with a plan for the future, as opposed to dwelling on the past.

It has sparked accusations that Sunak has launched a ‘Project Fear’ campaign in an attempt to gain support, which has not been well received, with many quick to label the Tory government as the greatest risk to the country’s future. 

The Prime Minister was accused by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) of twisting the truth in an attempt to deflect from the Conservative’s “abysmal record in office”. 

Paul Nowak, leader of the TUC, slammed Rishi Sunak’s record on protecting workers from the threat of discrimination and misuse of AI, and argued that the Tories pose a danger to the people of Britain. 

“The last 14 years have shown what a danger the Tories are to living standards, public services and workers’ rights in this country,” said Nowak. 

“Real wages are still worth less than in 2008, insecure work is at epidemic levels and our schools and hospitals are at breaking point.

“And for all Rishi Sunak’s warnings about future threats – he’s still refusing to bring forward legislation to protect workers from discrimination and exploitation due to misuse of AI. While the likes of the US and EU are putting legal guardrails in place to make sure AI can be used safely in the workplace our government has done nothing.

“No amount of spin or rewriting history can hide the Conservative’s abysmal record in office. Britain desperately needs political change and renewal.”

Editor Adam Bienkov said on X: “Rishi Sunak’s message in this speech is essentially that we should all ignore his party’s actual record over the past 14 years and instead focus on an imagined future where everything will suddenly start working perfectly if we give them another five.”

Guardian columnist John Crace mused: “It sounds as if Rishi Sunak is arguing that he has made things deliberately rubbish as that is when we make the most progress.”

Huffpost political editor Kevin Schoffied wrote: “Rishi Sunak urges voters to ignore the last 14 years and look to the future. Can’t think why..”

In response to the speech Labour said the Tory party had “forfeited the right to talk about security” after their tumultuous years in power. 

Shadow Cabinet Officer Jonathan Ashworth said: “Rishi Sunak’s seventh reset in 18 months is just another desperate attempt to hide from the appalling record of this failed Tory government.

“After 14 years of leaving the country less secure at home and abroad, the Tories have forfeited the right to talk about security.”

While political commentator Sam Freedman identified a flaw in the speech: “One of the many many problems with this Sunak pitch is that he’s trying to combine a classic negative Levido framing (you will not be safe under Labour), with what appears to be his own, um, optimistic framing (it’s about the future not the past). It’s incoherent.”

Hannah Davenport is news reporter at Left Foot Forward

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