Published: 11:49, May 14, 2024
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UK facing its 'most dangerous' time, Sunak says
By Earle Gale in London
Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak delivers a speech on national security at the Policy Exchange in London, Britain May 13, 2024. (PHOTO / REUTERS)

The United Kingdom's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak warned voters on Monday about the growing dangers facing the country as he tried to persuade them to support him and his ruling Conservative Party at the next general election.

Sunak, who pollsters predict faces a heavy defeat in the election that must be held before Jan 28, attempted to convince people he would cope better than his rival, Keir Starmer, during the troubled years to come.

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In a speech aimed at taking back momentum after the Conservative Party was trounced in local government elections earlier this month by Starmer's Labour Party, Sunak said the UK "stands at a crossroads", with "some of the most dangerous years "it has ever faced laying ahead.

"I feel a profound sense of urgency because more will change in the next five years than in the last 30," he said. "I'm convinced that the next few years will be some of the most dangerous, yet most transformational, our country has ever known."

Pointing to threats from terrorism, irregular immigration, artificial intelligence, and what he sees as rival states, Sunak said he can best navigate the difficult decisions ahead.

Sunak added that "over the next few years" the UK's democracy, its economy, and its society will face "the hardest questions of war and peace".

"Almost every aspect of our lives is going to change," he said. "How we act in the face of these changes, not only to keep people safe and secure but to realize the opportunities too, will determine whether or not Britain will succeed in the years to come."

With the party as far as 30 points behind the Labour Party in opinion polls and with at least 64 Conservative Party lawmakers choosing to stand down, rather than contest the next election, the party faces an uphill battle to secure reelection.

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Foreign Secretary David Cameron has also been on the offensive, telling Sky News on Sunday the party has delivered on one of its key promises, by taking the economy out of recession during the first quarter, when it expanded by 0.6 percent.

But with two of Sunak's lawmakers having defected to the Labour Party in recent weeks, Starmer seems to be firmly on the front foot and he responded by saying: "Be in no doubt that this is the key choice at the next election."