This time it’s personal: UK’s Sunak and Starmer ramp up the attacks as election looms

The Conservative aide said the ad “broke the seal” to give the party “license to be more punchy.”

“We were shocked that Labour would go that low and I can guarantee something that spicy would have been seen by Starmer first,” the aide said.

As a result, they predicted: “There will be a lot of rough and tumble this year.”

PMQs palaver

At the very least, it means more to write about for the dedicated reporters paid to keep an eye on Starmer and Sunak’s weekly sparring at PMQs.

“It all got very personal with Rishi Sunak calling [Starmer] a lefty lawyer who defended terrorists,” said Crace, who nevertheless thinks the spectacle of the pair getting personal “looks kind of charmless and it looks childish.”

Madeline Grant, parliamentary sketch writer at the Telegraph agreed that something has definitely shifted.

“Going after people’s families, Starmer going after Sunak’s wealth — his wife’s wealth — that seems to be quite new ground,” Grant said. “There was always something of an omertà about leaving people’s families out of it.”

A recent pre-written “gotcha” line from Sunak prompted the biggest PMQs flare-up for some time. The prime minister triggered a furious backlash when he launched into an attack on Starmer for his stance on the gender wars flashpoint of how to define a woman.