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Election news – live: Tories face wipeout in poll as minister condemns D-Day blunder

Nigel Farage claims Rishi Sunak ‘not a patriotic leader’ after D-Day blunder

The Conservative Party is facing electoral wipeout, the latest poll has revealed, as a close ally of Rishi Sunak’s was forced to deny speculation that the prime minister could quit before the election on 4 July.

Labour is set for a majority of 416 at the upcoming general election, leaving the Tories at just 37 seats, according to the new Deltapoll survey, which puts Sir Keir Starmer’s party on 46 per cent compared to the Conservatives on 21 per cent – with even Rishi Sunak set to lose his Yorkshire seat.

The prime minister is claimed to be despondent over the furious backlash to his decision to skip a D-Day memorial attended by other world leaders, and he appeared to dodge questioning on Saturday after a scheduled press event was cancelled during a campaign visit to a walled garden at Auckland Castle.

With fierce critic Nadine Dorries claiming to have heard rumours on Saturday “that Sunak’s about to fall on his sword”, cabinet minister Mel Stride was forced to insist there was “no question” Mr Sunak would lead the Tories into polling day.


Gove’s replacement caught out on claim he moved to Surrey Heath as home found on AirBnb

The Tory candidate to replace Michael Gove has boasted about moving into a home in the constituency, only for it emerge the property was seemingly an AirBnb.

Councillor Ed McGuinness, who is running to be the Conservative MP for Surrey Heath, said he is “now a resident of St Paul’s ward”. Alongside pictures of himself entering a house, Mr McGuinness said Surrey Heath residents “rightly expect their MP to be a part of their community”.

Blaming Mr Gove’s last minute decision to step down when the snap summer general election was called, Mr McGuinness said it has been “hard to get a place so quickly”.

Our political correspondent Archie Mitchell has more in this report:

Andy Gregory9 June 2024 11:24


Sunak ally forced to deny that PM could quit before polling day

One of the prime minister’s closest allies has been forced to reject speculation that Rishi Sunak could quit before the general election on 4 July.

Work and pensions secretary Mel Stride said the PM was feeling the backlash over his decision to leave events in Normandy early “very personally” – but insisted there was “no question” Mr Sunak would lead the Tories into polling day, following speculation he could quit in the wake of the D-Day debacle.

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.

Former cabinet minister Nadine Dorries, a fierce critic of Mr 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”.

Andy Gregory9 June 2024 11:19


Farage claims ‘dogwhistle’ attack on Sunak was reference to class and privilege

In the wake of Rishi Sunak’s departure before the international event, Nigel Farage claimed the PM “doesn’t really care about our history, he doesn’t really care, frankly, about our culture”.

Asked what he meant by that on the BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg, Mr Farage said: “I know what your question is leading at – 40 per cent of our contribution in World War One and World War Two came from the Commonwealth.

“He is utterly disconnected by class, by privilege, from how the ordinary folk in this country feel. He revealed that, I think spectacularly, when he left Normandy early.

“Out there now there are millions and millions of people who were Conservative voters, traditional Conservative voters, not the red-wallers, who are now thinking ‘Do we go on supporting the Conservatives or do we support Reform?’ This is going to be, I think, the acid test of this election.”

But Labour’s shadow justice secretary Shabana Mahmood was among those warning Mr Farage’s comments were a “dog whistle” attack – meaning comments which would be heard by intended recipients in one manner, while appearing otherwise uncontroversial.

She said: “I think this is a classic Nigel Farage trick, lean just enough to signal a bit of a dog whistle and then lean straight back and sound perfectly reasonable and say something good about the contribution that Commonwealth soldiers, ethnic minorities made towards the war effort.

“We can all see exactly what Nigel Farage is doing, he’s got form, it is completely unacceptable. This is a man that has a track record of seeking to divide communities who just wants to do it with a veneer of respectability whilst he’s at it.”

Andy Gregory9 June 2024 10:50


Prison overcrowding ‘not a money problem’, says shadow justice secretary

Solving overcrowding in prisons is “not a money problem”, Labour shadow justice secretary Shabana Mahmood has said.

Defending Labour’s plans to create additional prisons spaces without tax rises, she told the BBC: “Part of the reason we’ve got overcrowding in our prisons is because the government has run out of space because they haven’t delivered the full 20,000 prison spaces that they said they will do by next year.

“It’s actually not a money problem in that respect. The money has already been allocated in the Ministry of Justice budget, it’s actually a failure of the government because they’ve allowed the planning system to get in the way and they’ve allowed complaints from their members of parliament, backbenchers in particular, to stop any building in our country.

“So this is actually about the government having the will to get prisons built on day one. We would designate prisons as being of national importance, so that those decisions are ultimately made by ministers rather than the usual planning process.”

Andy Gregory9 June 2024 10:21


Labour declines to rule out ending prisoners early release scheme

Labour shadow justice secretary Shabana Mahmood has declined to rule out ending the government’s scheme to release prisoners up to 70 days early to free up spaces in full-to-bursting prisons, saying she would first need to “lift that bonnet and see what horrors await”.

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 per cent capacity or 99 per cent. 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.”

When asked if she would rule out continuing early release, Ms Mahmood said: “It would be irresponsible to make those decisions from Opposition without all of the information to hand. An incoming Labour government, if we’re privileged enough to win, would have to lift that bonnet and see what horrors await.”

Andy Gregory9 June 2024 10:19


Farage attack on Sunak ‘deeply regrettable’, minister says

Cabinet minister Mel Stride said Nigel Farage’s attack on Rishi Sunak for not understanding “our culture” was “deeply regrettable”.

He told the BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg programme: “I think they are suggesting things – I’m not going to go any further than that because I didn’t want to stoke this whole thing up – but it just seems to me that that’s an ill-advised thing to have said.”

He added: “I feel very uncomfortable with that. We’ve had in our country, and it’s a source of great personal pride – as somebody who supported the prime minister, wanted him to be the leader of our party and our prime minister – that I’ve sat around a cabinet table that’s the most diverse in history.

“And I’m very proud of the fact that we have a British Asian who is right at the top of our government.” Mr Sunak’s “involvement in government has been characterised by outstanding public service, and I’m very proud of that”, he said.

Andy Gregory9 June 2024 09:56


Labour and Tories ‘don’t want to talk about scale of challenge facing them’

Labour and the Conservatives “don’t really want to talk about the scale of the challenge facing them”, should they win the election, said Paul Johnson, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

“Both parties have tied themselves to the, in my view, rather bizarre fiscal rule which is they want debt down,” he told Sky News.

“They don’t want to talk about tax increases because that frightens the voters. Maybe they’re just hoping they get lucky”.

Andy Gregory9 June 2024 09:49


Labour assured Unite it would cover job losses in oil and gas sector, frontbencher says

Labour has assured the union Unite that it will create enough jobs to cover potential losses in the oil and gas sector, shadow justice secretary Shabana Mahmood has said – after the union refused endorse the party’s manifesto.

Ms Mahmood told Sky News: “Unite have some areas of policy where they would probably want us to go further but they did not push any of those issues to a vote.”

She added: “[Unite] recognise that actually change is coming, the issue is speed and transition on which we were able to provide assurances on plans that have been backed by independent experts.

“We will create over 100,000 jobs as part of our plans. These are good quality jobs in the same sector.”

Asked if the Unite leadership had confidence in those assurances, Ms Mahmood said: “That’s a matter for Unite and their own internal management of their union.”

Andy Gregory9 June 2024 09:35


Reform candidate says airport arrivals lounge made him realise UK had too much immigration

Alexander Butler9 June 2024 08:26


Next government will have to cut state or raise taxes, report warns

A report has warned the next government it will have to cut the scope of what the state provides or raise taxes to maintain levels of departmental funding – despite Labour and the Conservatives vowing not to raise taxes.

The Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) report looks at how spending as a proportion of national income has changed since the 1950s and how it will change in the next government.

It said the current Government’s spending has increased by “significantly more” than under any previous post-war Conservative government.

IFS research economist Bee Boileau said whoever wins the General Election on July 4 “will have a choice”.

“They can cut the scope of what the state provides, or accept further worsening of public services which already look under strain,” she said. “Or they can raise taxes, or borrow more, in order to top up spending and maintain real-terms levels of departmental funding.

“Neither the Conservative Party nor the Labour Party has been clear about which of these options they would take. Neither has shown any ambition to cut the scope of the state.”

She continued: “Both have ruled out increases in major taxes. Both have committed to a debt target that would prevent them from borrowing more.

“But, absent of really significant improvements in growth forecasts, one of these options must be chosen. The trade-offs here cannot be solved by denying their existence.”

Alexander Butler9 June 2024 08:25

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