RISHI Sunak has defended the police action against republican protesters at the Coronation after being challenged by the SNP’s Westminster leader at PMQs.

Stephen Flynn asked the Prime Minister if he would be arrested if he pulled placards saying ‘Save our Non-Doms’ from the boot of his Land Rover.

Wealthy non-domiciled residents in the UK have a highly favourable tax status.

On Monday, the Metropolitan Police expressed “regret” that six demonstrators from the anti-monarchy campaign group Republic were arrested ahead of the Coronation of King Charles III.

The group’s leader, Graham Smith, has said it is now considering legal action against the force, which justified the arrests by saying it had found “lock-on devices” alongside placards.

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The six were arrested under a new public order law rushed onto the statute book two days before Saturday’s service.

Replying to Mr Flynn’s jibe, the PM said: “Can I first put on record my thanks to the police for all their hard work ensuring that the Coronation was a success.

“We believe the police should have powers to make sure that they can protect the public from unnecessary and serious disruption. 

“I respectfully recognise that the honourable gentleman disagrees with our position.”

He then wondered if Sir Keir Starmer had flip-flopped on the issue - earning him a reminder from Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle that he was meant to answer questions, not ask them.

Mr Flynn went on: “Nurses strike, doctors strike, firefighters protest, and of course republicans protest as well. 

“And they do so because it's a fundamental right within our democracy to be able to protest. 

“So is the Prime Minister seriously saying that, moving forward, you can have your rights but only on his terms?”

Mr Sunak replied: “It is also the right of the British public to be able to go about their ordinary day-to-day lives without undue serious disruption. 

“That's why it's right that the police have extra powers. 

“I suspect that the honourable gentleman disagrees with that, but we think it is right.

“People will see every day, every day on TV, their lives being disrupted. 

“They're not able to get to school, to get to hospital appointments, and indeed to get to work. They should be able to do that. 

“And the police should have powers to stop those who are preventing that from happening.”

Earlier, Mr Sunak and Sir Keir clashed over the results of last week’s local elections in England, in which the Tories lost more than 1000 seats and Labour gained more than 500.

The Labour leader opened their exchange by saying that last week the Prime Minister had to correct the record on misleading claims he made about employment numbers.

"Can he provide a further update now he’s cost a thousand Tory councillors their jobs?”

Mr Sunak said: “Maybe I can just offer the honourable gentleman a tiny bit of advice from one of his predecessors… Tony Blair… he said the right honourable gentleman can be as cocky as he likes about the local elections, come a general election, policy counts.

“And we know… the problem for him is, he doesn’t have any.”

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Sir Keir said the PM had “got no answers” to cost-of-living issues.

He said: “I can understand why the Prime Minister’s trying to wish away his terrible results, but peddling nonsense just doesn’t work. Up and down the country people want the Government to focus on the cost of living but he’s got no answers.

“Is he planning to carry on as if nothing happened and ignore the message he was sent last week, or is he going to do what a Labour government would do and announce an immediate freeze in council tax bills?”

Mr Sunak replied: “I know he’s asked his Labour councillors rightly to focus on the cost of living. Perhaps they could start with reducing council tax to the level in Conservative run areas.

“We’re getting on with halving people’s energy bills, freezing fuel duty to help them with the cost of living. What is stopping him having a plan is that unfortunately his shadow chancellor recently said she’s discovered she’s got a problem.

“She realised that she actually, this is what she said, she actually has to, shock, horror, say where’s the money’s going to come from, with a £90 billion black hole in her plans, she’s got a lot of work to do.”

Sir Keir said: “The Prime Minister said he was going to lose a thousand seats and then he managed it. After 13 years, a Tory promise they actually haven’t broken. And this is the Prime Minister who has only had to fight for two things in his life.

“Last year he lost a Tory beauty contest to [Liz Truss] who then lost to a lettuce. Last week, when he finally came into contact with voters, he lost everywhere.

“No matter who the electorate is, the Prime Minister keeps entering a two-horse race and somehow finishing third.

"Given his track record, who does he think he’s actually got a mandate from?”

The Prime Minister said: “It’s a bit rich to hear about mandates from the person who has broken every single promise he was elected on.

“I can go through the list: nationalisations, NHS outsourcing, universal credit, and now tuition fees. He was for them before he was against them.

"He’s not just Sir Softie, he’s Sir Flakey too.”