A CABINET minister has insisted all is not yet lost for the Tories as he quashed speculation Rishi Sunak could quit before the July 4 election.

Mel Stride, one of the Prime Minister’s closest allies, said there is “no question” Sunak will lead the Conservatives into polling day, following speculation he could quit in the wake of the D-Day debacle.

Work and Pensions Secretary Stride acknowledged the Prime Minister is feeling the backlash over his decision to leave events in Normandy early “very personally”.

In a sign of the febrile atmosphere, rumours about the Prime Minister’s future spread after he decided to campaign without media on Sunday following accusations of “dodging” reporters’ questions on Saturday.

READ MORE: Rishi Sunak's D-Day move 'completely destroyed' his credibility, says John Swinney

Former cabinet minister Nadine Dorries, a fierce critic of Sunak, suggested in a late-night social media post on Saturday there were “rumours around tonight that Sunak’s about to fall on his sword”.

But Stride told Sky News Sunak will “absolutely” lead the party into the election.

“There should be no question of anything other than that,” he said.

He also denied that “all is lost” for the party, despite an average 20-point poll deficit to Labour.

He said “taxes are coming down” and “we can continue that journey because of our stewardship of the economy and the fact we have got a plan”.

The alternative for voters, he said, is to “go to Labour, who have got no plan, who simply are going to this ‘Ming vase strategy’ where they’ve got a poll lead, they don’t want to say anything, tell you anything, no plan, no ideas, anything about the future”.

The Work and Pensions Secretary told Sky News that Labour hopes to “drift across the line almost without anybody noticing”.

He told Sky’s Trevor Phillips: “To your point about whether ‘all is lost’, we have four weeks, that’s a long time in politics.”

He said Sunak “deeply regrets” his decision to leave D-Day 80th anniversary events in Normandy early.

Stride said Sunak is “deeply patriotic” and committed to supporting veterans.

He added: “The Prime Minister has accepted that he made a mistake. He has apologised unequivocally for that.

“I think he will be feeling this personally, very deeply, because he’s a deeply patriotic person. He will be deeply uncomfortable with what has happened.”

Stride was seeking to highlight a Tory pledge to halt the rising costs of welfare by reforming the benefits system on the Sunday morning broadcast round.

The party claims it would help save some £12 billion a year by the end of the next Parliament, although the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said this “looks difficult in the extreme” as the measures have been previously announced and have therefore already been incorporated into the Budget forecasts.

READ MORE: Treasury official distances civil service from Rishi Sunak's tax claim

Meanwhile, Labour sought to reassure voters with a cast-iron pledge in the manifesto not to raise income tax, national insurance or VAT for five years.

Keir Starmer told reporters in Essex: “We will not be raising taxes on working people. That means we won’t be raising income tax, national insurance or VAT.

“We will launch our manifesto very soon and that will have no tax surprises in it because all of our plans are fully funded and fully costed and none of them require tax rises over and above the ones that we’ve already announced.”

Srarmer insisted “we are not returning to austerity” despite ruling out personal tax rises to pay for public services, claiming he would deliver sustained economic growth.

“What we do need to do, just to take up the challenge that’s been put to us, is, we do need to grow the economy,” he said. “We do need to make sure that the economy and living standards across the whole country are growing and that’s why step one in government, if we get to serve our country, will be to stabilise and grow our economy.”

The Labour leader also highlighted measures to combat anti-social behaviour, particularly the use of off-road bikes.

Police will be given new powers to scrap noisy dirt and quad bikes within 48 hours, instead of having to keep them impounded for two weeks, Labour have said. 

The party also promised to deliver 14,000 more prison places as it blamed Conservative inaction for the prison estate bursting at the seams.

Shadow justice secretary Shabana Mahmood declined to say whether Labour would ending the Conservative Government’s early release scheme for prisoners, saying her party would have to look at the details of the situation it inherits.

She told the BBC: “I think actually the Government needs to level with the public. We all know that prisons are running at either 98% capacity or 99%. It is a dereliction of duty that the Government hasn’t actually released all of the figures about their early release scheme – they’ve actually been doing that in secret.

“It would be irresponsible for me from opposition, without seeing the data about the number of offenders that have been released or having all of that information, to make those decisions now.”

She said an incoming Labour administration would have to “lift that bonnet and see what horrors await”.