Labour bring back controversial ad campaign to attack Rishi Sunak on RAAC concrete in schools

Labour bring back controversial ad campaign to attack Rishi Sunak on RAAC concrete in schools

Related video: Keir Starmer defends Labour’s ‘attack’ ad on Rishi Sunak

Sky News

Just when you may have thought Labour had quietly ditched its controversial attack ads against Rishi Sunak which hit headlines all the way back in April, Sir Keir Starmer’s party has rolled out yet another advert taking aim at the Conservatives’ handling of the RAAC crisis in England’s schools.

The last time Labour used the graphics, they were accused of “gutter politics”, as they claimed the prime minister doesn’t want child abusers jailed for their crimes.

“Do you think adults convicted of sexually assaulting children should go to prison? Rishi Sunak doesn’t,” the ad read.

Despite receiving widespread condemnation for the ad, the party doubled down on the ad campaign by posting another graphic a day later.

This one said: “Do you think an adult convicted of possessing a gun with intent to harm should go to prison? Rishi Sunak doesn’t.”

Lucy Powell, the shadow culture secretary, told Sky News at the time that she stands by what the tweet and campaign “is trying to highlight”.

She said: “What I stand by is what that graphic is trying to show, which is that the prime minister of our country is responsible for the criminal justice system of our country and currently that criminal justice system is not working.”

Ms Powell did, however, concede that the ad “won’t be to everybody’s taste”.

Sir Keir was equally – if not, more – defensive of the ad campaign in an article for the Mail, in which he wrote that he will “stand by every word Labour has said on this subject” and would continue to criticise the Tories on crime “no matter how squeamish it might make some feel”.

He continued: “When fewer than two in every 100 reported rapists see the inside of a courtroom, it means victims are being told their bravery means nothing by the Tories.

“I make absolutely zero apologies for being blunt about this … When 4,500 child abusers avoid prison, people don’t want more excuses from politicians - they want answers.”

And after a little break from the graphics, over the summer, Labour has now brought them back to take aim at the government’s handling of schools impacted by the use of RAAC or reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete.

On Thursday, just days before the new term starts on Monday, the Department of Education issued guidance to schools where the lightweight, ‘bubbly’ material – mostly used for roof panels, and sometimes floors and walls, between the 50s and mid-90s – has been identified.

More than 100 schools, nurseries and colleges in England will be forced to shut buildings and classrooms due to a risk of collapse.

Drawing attention to the issue in a fresh attack ad posted to Twitter/X on Sunday morning, the Labour Party shared the same old parliamentary portrait of Mr Sunak and wrote: “Do you think your child’s school should be safe? Rishi Sunak doesn’t.”

They added: “During Rishi Sunak’s time as chancellor, he cut spending on school rebuilding by almost half. That’s after the Tories and Lib Dems scrapped Labour’s Building Schools for the Future programme in 2010.

“The Tories have ignored Labour’s warnings time and time again – now our children are paying the price with crumbling schools.”

And thus, the online discourse started all over again:

Anyone else getting a sense of déjà vu?

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