RISHI Sunak was met with laughter after his microphone cut out as he sparred with Keir Starmer at Prime Minister’s Questions – just as he declared: “Britain isn’t listening”.

He was jeered from the opposition benches after he was silenced by Parliament’s tech, before delivering the line aimed at the Labour leader.

Sunak said: “At the beginning of the year, we said we’d halve inflation and this government has delivered – easing the burden on the cost of living for families everywhere.

“But we know his plans […] all the way through that – what did he do? Back inflationary pay rises. He talked about welfare, no controls for welfare and borrowing £28 billion a year that would just make the situation worse.

“He mentioned tax […]. Just this past week, we’ve delivered the biggest tax cuts since the 1980s for millions of people and businesses, increased pensions and benefits and this week secured £30bn of new investment for this country. So he can keep trying to talk [inaudible] but Britain isn’t listening.”

It came after he earlier escalated a diplomatic row over the Parthenon Marbles between the UK and Greece when he accused the country’s prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis (below) of “grandstanding”.

The National: Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis (Petros Giannakouris/AP)

The Prime Minister earlier this week cancelled a meeting with Mitsotakis after his Greek counterpart publicly criticised the UK Government for its steadfast refusal to return the sculptures to Athens. 

READ MORE: 'Elgin' marbles claim shows the arrogance of the British empire mentality

Starmer said: “The Greek prime minister came to London to meet him, a fellow Nato member, an economic ally, one of our most important partners in tackling illegal immigration.

“But instead of using that meeting to discuss those serious issues, he tried to humiliate him and cancelled at the last minute. Why such small politics, Prime Minister?”

And the Labour leader accused Sunak of having the "reverse Midas touch", in reference to the mythical Greek king who turned everything he touched into gold. 

The National: Elgin Marbles

Turning his aim on James Cleverly, fresh from a row after he allegedly called a town in England a "shithole", Starmer added: "Everything [Sunak] touches turns to … maybe the Home Secretary can help me out here.”

Sunak replied: “Of course, we’re always happy to discuss important topics of substance with our allies, like tackling illegal migration or indeed strengthening our security.

“But when it was clear that the purpose of a meeting was not to discuss substantive issues for the future, but rather to grandstand and relitigate issues of the past, it was inappropriate.

“Furthermore […] when specific commitments and specific assurances on that topic were made to this country and then were broken, it may seem alien to him, but my view is when people make commitments they should keep them.”

READ MORE: Greek government accuses Sunak of having one eye on election in Parthenon Marbles row

Elsewhere, the pair clashed on bringing down immigration levels as Sunak faces pressure from his own MPs after figures last week showed net migration reached a record high in the year to June 2022. 

Starmer said: “In 2019, they all promised the country that they would control immigration, numbers will come down, the British people will be in control. How’s it going?”

Sunak replied: “Let me be crystal clear, the levels of migration are far too high and I am determined to bring them back down to sustainable levels.

“That’s why we have asked the migration advisory council to review certain elements of the system. We’re reviewing those findings and will bring forward next steps.

“But earlier this year we announced the toughest action ever taken to reduce legal migration. The effects of that action are yet to be felt, but will impact 150,000 student dependants and forecast show that migration is likely to drop as a result.”

He suggested Labour would do a “secret backroom deal with the EU that would see an additional 100,000 migrants here every year”.

The National: Stephen Flynn

Sunak was also criticised when grilled by Stephen Flynn (above) on support for households this winter, with the SNP Westminster leader accusing the multimillionaire of failing to sympathise with struggling families.

Flynn said there was “no financial mechanism whatsoever” to give households cash this winter – something Sunak said was “simply not right”.

After Sunak highlighted support for pensioners, Flynn retorted: “I appreciate it’s difficult for the Prime Minister to empathise when he quite clearly can’t understand.”