Keir Starmer, leader of the Labour Party, during a general election campaign event at outside The Shoulder of Mutton pub in Little Horwood, UK, on Monday, July 1, 2024. Image Credit: Bloomberg

LONDON: Two influential business publications, the Financial Times newspaper and The Economist magazine, have declared support for Britain’s centre-left Labour party before Thursday’s UK election, joining the right-leaning Sunday Times.

The news marks the latest blow to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, whose governing right-wing Conservatives have trailed Keir Starmer’s Labour throughout the general election campaign.

Get exclusive content with Gulf News WhatsApp channel

“The Conservatives have run out of road. Labour must be given a chance to govern,” said a Financial Times editorial Monday with the Tories heading for a defeat that would end Sunak’s spell as PM after less than two years.

“Voters appear to have decided that, after an often turbulent 14 years in office spanning five prime ministers, the Conservative party’s time is up. There surely can be no other conclusion,” the FT added.

Also read

The business daily stressed it had no “fixed political allegiance” but added that its beliefs in “liberal democracy, free trade and private enterprise, and an open, outward-looking Britain... often aligned us more with Britain’s Conservatives.

“But this generation of Tories has squandered its reputation as the party of business, and its claim to be the natural party of government,” it added.

The FT conceded that successive Conservative administrations had in recent years been forced to confront the financial crisis, the Covid pandemic, and rocketing inflation following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

However, it added that much of the damage was “self inflicted”, citing Brexit as “an act of grave economic self-harm” and the disastrous 2022 unfunded mini-budget of former premier Liz Truss which tanked the pound.

“The Labour party of... Starmer is better placed today to provide the leadership the country needs,” the FT concluded.

The Economist also threw its weight behind Labour, albeit reluctantly, in its latest edition published over the weekend.

“No party fully subscribes to the ideas that The Economist holds dear. The economic consensus in Britain has shifted away from liberal values-free trade, individual choice and limits to state intervention,” it said in an editorial.

“But elections are about the best available choice and that is clear. If we had a vote on July 4th, we, too, would pick Labour, because it has the greatest chance of tackling the biggest problem that Britain faces: a chronic and debilitating lack of economic growth.”

Over the weekend, The Sunday Times weekly newspaper backed Labour, reversing its traditional support for the Conservatives.

Sunak greets attendess during a visit to BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in London. Image Credit: AFP

Defiant Sunak insists Conservatives can still win

Sunak, meanwhile, insisted the Conservatives can still win Thursday’s UK election despite multiple polls pointing to a commanding victory by the opposition Labour Party.

Speaking to the BBC, Sunak reiterated his defence of the Tories’ 14-year rule, and said the country is doing better now than when his party came into office in 2010.

When asked if he would still be prime minister after the vote, Sunak said, “Yes, I’m fighting very hard and I think people are waking up to the real danger of what a Labour government means.”

Sunak greets attendess during a visit to BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir. Image Credit: AFP

Polls show Labour heading for a landslide victory and Starmer on track to become prime minister, while support for Tories continued to fall to new lows.

Sunak dismissed accusations that the 2016 Brexit vote and its aftermath had diminished the UK’s standing, as well as criticisms of the decline in the country’s public services and economy.

The premier said Britain is “now on the right track” after the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and Russia’s war on Ukraine, which among other things helped push inflation to a generational high.

Sunak and his party have claimed that Labour would raise taxes for all Britons, despite pledges to the contrary. Speaking with the Telegraph over the weekend, Sunak said “Labour would bankrupt people in every generation. Whatever stage of your life, Labour will put up your taxes.”

In an interview with Bloomberg on Saturday, Starmer reiterated that nothing in Labour’s manifesto requires tax rises beyond the ones already set out, adding that his party is focused on growth.