Stephen Flynn accused the Labour frontbench of being “born-again Thatcherites” during a raucous Prime Minister’s Questions dominated by the looming general election.

Meanwhile, Sir Keir Starmer told Rishi Sunak that his party was ready for the vote, telling the Conservative leader to “just call it.”

After what has been one of the most trying weeks of his political life, with talks of leadership challenges and potential coups, the Prime Minister was upbeat, partly buoyed by the fall in inflation.

He said it was proof his plan was working.

READ MORE: UK Inflation slows 'to lowest level in three years'

Last night, in a keynote speech, Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves, praised Ms Thatcher for delivering “supply-side reforms” and rejecting Britain’s “managed decline” in a “decade of renewal.”

Former Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard panned the remarks, tweeting: “Thatcher didn’t renew the economy, she broke it.”

The Herald:

In an interview with Politico, Shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy defended his colleague: “You can take issue with Mrs Thatcher’s prescription, but she had a big manifesto for change and set about a course that lasted for over two decades.”

He added: “Margaret Thatcher was a visionary leader for the UK, no doubt about it, that’s absolutely clear." 

In his first question to the Prime Minister, Mr Flynn asked which of the “the now numerous born-again Thatcherites on the Labour frontbench” would be the best “unity candidate” to lead the Tories.

Mr Sunak laughed as he replied: “It was surprising to hear all this talk about the 1970s from the shadow chancellor in particular, but then if you see what’s happening in places like Birmingham where taxes are going up by 21%, services are being cut – whether its social care, children’s services, or indeed in some streets literally the lights are being turned off – it was unsurprising why they were talking about the 70s.”

Mr Flynn then said there was a "serious point to be made" after research from the Institute for Fiscal Studies  "warned of the conspiracy of silence which exists between the Labour Party and the Conservative Party when it comes to £18 billion of looming public sector cuts."

He added: "Indeed, just last night they actually outlined that the fiscal rules of the Labour Party and the Conservative Party are in effect identical.

“So with such continuity on offer, the public are right to be anti-Westminster aren’t they?”

Mr Sunak pointed to tax rises in the Scottish Government's most recent government. “Where the SNP, or indeed Labour, are in charge, it’s working people that pay the price," he said.

READ MORE: Poll: Disappointment with Holyrood a 'wake-up call for MSPs'

In his questions, Sir Keir pushed the Prime Minister on the date of the election.

The Labour leader told the Commons: “Violent prisoners released early because the Tories wrecked the criminal justice system, 3,500 small boats arrivals already this year because the Tories lost control of the borders, the NHS struggling to see people because the Tories broke it, millions paying more on their mortgages, a budget that hit pensioners, a £46 billion hole in his sums.

“Why is the Prime Minister so scared to call an election?”

The Prime Minister replied: “As I said in January, my working assumption is that the election will be in the second half of the year.

“I must say, I thought that out of everybody he would actually be the most grateful, because he has now actually got time to come up with a plan for Britain.”

Sir Keir responded: “We are ready. Just call it.”