RISHI Sunak came out swinging today ahead of a potentially bruising week of economic gloom and by-election defeats.
The PM’s fightback in the polls risks being derailed by a double-whammy headache of rising inflation and recession when the latest stats are released.
Inflation is forecast to creep up from 4 per cent to 4.4 per cent on Wednesday after the energy price cap increased.
Britain is also poised to enter a technical recession should there be another consecutive quarter of negative growth on Thursday.
Mr Sunak this morning insisted the UK had “turned a corner” since when he took the reins at the end of 2022.
Speaking in Harrogate he said: “At the start of this year I really believe the economy has turned a corner and we are heading in the right direction.
“You can see inflation has come down from 11 per cent to 4 per cent, mortgage rates are starting to come down, wages have been rising consistently now.”
He remained defiant ahead of two tough by-election tests on Thursday which risks a pair of once-safe Tory seats flipping to Labour.
Conservative insiders are pessimistic about the chances of clinging onto their 11,000 majority in Kingswood, or even their 18,000 majority in Wellingborough.
The party has not pumped in the usual campaign resources typically expected of such a contest.
If the Tories are defeated in both, it would be the most by-election losses for a government in the post-war era.
Mr Sunak’s Rwanda plan is also set to get a pasting in the House of Lords as peers line up to table wrecking amendments to the scheme.
The PM has previously warned unelected peers not to frustrate the will of MPs who have backed the illegal immigration policy.
Mr Sunak is around 20 points behind Sir Keir Starmer in the opinion polls but has said he is “up for the fight” of winning the next election.
The Labour leader is also on the ropes after his by-election candidate in Rochdale was caught blaming Israel for Hamas’ October 7 attack as an excuse to invade Gaza.
And he is under fresh pressure for flip-flopping after junking a flagship promise to spend £28billion a year on green projects.