Sir Keir Starmer has been accused of hypocrisy after claiming Rishi Sunak is too “out of touch” to understand the NHS.
The Labor leader has previously suggested that Mr Sunak, regarded as Downing Street’s wealthiest ever resident, was not using health care like most voters.
Asked about the comments on Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday, Sir Keir said: “I think if the Prime Minister or other Tories saw first-hand how our NHS works they would have a better understanding of how damaged it is.
When asked what he meant by that, he replied: “I say that he is out of touch, that he does not know what is happening in the daily lives of many millions of people.”
He added: “I mean he is out of touch. Talk to anyone trying to get an appointment with a GP, that eight o’clock call. They know how hard it is, they know healthcare is open. Everyone on a waiting list, everyone who actually goes to the emergency room.”
However, Tory MPs said he was wrong to criticize the prime minister. Luke Hall, Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party, said: “Sir Keir’s hypocrisy knows no bounds. This is the same leftist lawyer from the ivory tower who has his own personal gold-plated pension, went to private school, and owned acres of land in the Home Counties.
Sir Keir personally received a tax break for his retirement, exempting him from the lifelong savings allowance that he wants to reintroduce when he became Director of Public Prosecutions in 2008. He has insisted that he would remove the tax breaks from his own pension if elected.
Craig Mackinlay, the Tory MP for South Thanet, added: “One of the most enigmatic Bond characters is Scaramanga, the man with the golden gun. Enter Sir Keir, the man with the golden pension. I’m not in the market to advise Sir Keir but I would suggest this is a weak attack line, but we are seeing a new regularity in Labour’s attacks playing the man not the ball.”
Former cabinet minister David Jones accused Sir Keir of “a way of 1960s politics by arousing jealousy” and claimed he was playing “a very cynical game”.
The Prime Minister’s family estate, which has used private healthcare in the past but is now registered with an NHS GP, has been the subject of repeated recent attacks by the opposition. Sir Keir told the House of Commons last month that Mr Sunak “doesn’t use the same public services as the rest of us, or he just can’t see the damage they’ve done to our country”.
The latest criticism came when Labor yesterday pledged more support to start-ups and announced plans to revive private sector targets of building at least 300,000 homes a year.
Mr Sunak is also reportedly planning to boost support for new buyers as part of the Conservatives’ re-election campaign.
Proposals include relaunching the Help to Buy program, which was closed to new applicants last year, according to the Times.
Last month, Labor ran an attack ad saying: “Do you think the super-rich deserve a tax loophole more than cancer patients deserve life-saving treatment? Rishi Sunak does.”
Akshata Murty, the wife of Mr Sunak and the daughter of an Indian billionaire, was previously non-resident for tax purposes before terminating the deal last spring.
Elsewhere in the same interview, Sir Keir insisted that a separate advert depicting Mr Sunak’s face, alongside suggesting he does not want to put child molesters in jail, is not racist. Challenged over allegations that his party was playing racist tropes about gang grooming, he replied: “The vast majority of sex crimes are not by people of Asian descent.”
Sir Keir also confirmed he would replace the government’s power to appoint a BBC chairman with an independent process after Richard Sharp stepped down from his post on Friday. Mr Sharp was found not to have disclosed his involvement in facilitating an £800,000 loan to Boris Johnson during his appointment process.