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General election news – live: Tory party must embrace Farage to ‘unite the right’, says Braverman

In Europe
June 10, 2024

The Conservative Party must embrace Nigel Farage to “unite the right”, Suella Braverman has urged, following a disastrous few days for Rishi Sunak.

The former home secretary told The Times there was “not much difference” between the new Reform UK leader’s policies and those of the Tories, as senior Conservatives start debating the future of the party.

The prime minister will return to the campaign trail on Monday after his decision to skip a D-Day memorial event attended by other world leaders last week sparked a furious backlash from some Tories and political rivals alike.

With fierce critic Nadine Dorries claiming to have heard rumours over the weekend “that Sunak’s about to fall on his sword”, cabinet minister Mel Stride was forced to insist there was “no question” of the prime minister quitting before the general election on 4 July.

It comes as Labour is set for a majority of 416, leaving the Tories at just 37 seats, according to a new Deltapoll survey. It puts Sir Keir Starmer’s party on 46 per cent compared to the Conservatives on 21 per cent – with even the prime minister set to lose his Yorkshire seat.

Key Points

  • Tory party must embrace Farage to ‘unite the right’, says Braverman

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

  • Labour set for staggering 416 majority, according to new poll

  • Rishi Sunak ‘cancels’ media slot amid backlash over D-Day event

  • PM ‘despondent’ over D-Day backlash …

  • … As second cabinet minister openly criticises PM

Bridget Phillipson: Private schools exodus under Labour is scaremongering

07:36 , Salma Ouaguira

The shadow secretary has dismissed the idea that there will be a wave of exists from schools because of Labour’s policy.

Ms Phillipson says to claim that by imposing VAT on private school fees can lead to a pupil exodus is “scaremongering”.

Asked about the exodus claim, she told Times Radio: “It is scaremongering from the private schools lobby I’m afraid. All of the independent work on this from the Institute for Fiscal Studies is clear that they anticipate little effect.

“And the reality is that private schools have whacked up their fees year on year, way beyond inflation and it hasn’t had an impact on pupil numbers.

“Private schools are not required to pass this onto parents. State schools have had some pretty tough choices in recent years about how they manage their budgets given all the pressures they are under. I think private schools can cut their cloth accordingly.”

Labour shadow cabinet at odds over private school fees tax

07:26 , Salma Ouaguira

Shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson has stepped in to correct her colleague Emily Thornberry who had suggested that taxing private schools will lead to bigger class sizes in state schools, David Maddox reports.

Ms Thornberry was responding over the weekend to concerns that thousands of children will be forced to leave independent schools if 20 percent VAT is imposed on fees with the removal of charity status.

She suggested Labour was comfortable with larger class sizes in the short term with the policy.But Ms Phillipson insisted this was not the case.

She told Times Radio she is happy to have a word with Ms Thornberry as it is just not true there will be bigger classroom sizes as a result of Labour’s VAT raid on private schools.

 (Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Conservatives vow to recruit 8,000 more cops

07:21 , Salma Ouaguira

Chris Philip is doing the morning media round for the Tories.

Speaking on Sky News, he has pledged to recruit 8,000 additional police officers.

The Tories say the plan would be funded by increasing vis fees by 25per cent and making overseas students pay higher immigration health surcharge.

The Prime Minister plans to press ahead with extra powers for officers to crack down on so-called zombie knives and use GPS tracking technology to search for stolen phones without a warrant.

General election campaign trail: Manifesto week

07:12 , Salma Ouaguira

Another week of campaigning begins and parties are ready to reveal their manifesto.

The Liberal Democrats are first out of the traps, with the Tories, Labour and Greens all expected to produce their policy promises this week.

Here’s what we can expect today:

Watch: Stride responds to Farage’s claim Sunak does not understand ‘our culture’

07:00 , Tara Cobham

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

06:00 , Tara Cobham

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”.

Political correspondent Archie Mitchell reports:

Gove’s replacement caught out on constituency house claim as home found on AirBnb

Watch: Sunak ‘utterly disconnected’ from ordinary people, Farage says

05:00 , Tara Cobham

Like him or not, there’s a reason voters keep coming back to Nigel Farage

04:00 , Tara Cobham

To what may we attribute the current success of Nigel Farage and his latest vehicle, Reform UK? Without exaggerating their strength – Reform UK is not about to win the general election and Farage is not going to be asked by the King to form an administration in his name – their rise is undeniable and, for the Tories, terrifying.

Quite a lot of that is down to one man and, whether you think him evil or not, the political gifts he undoubtedly possesses. He is, to many of us, a fascistic demagogue; but not every wannabe authoritarian leader gets very far, and it still takes skill, as well as luck and some judgement, to get as far as he has for as long as he has. After all, he first emerged as leader of Ukip in 2006 and has been part of the national scene, from Brussels to I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, ever since. Whether we like it nor not, he is a force in British politics.

Sean O’Grady writes:

Like him or not, there’s a reason voters keep coming back to Nigel Farage

Sunak sets out plan for 8,000 more ‘bobbies on the beat’

03:00 , Tara Cobham

Rishi Sunak has promised to recruit 8,000 more neighbourhood police officers, paid for by hiking the cost of visas if the Conservatives win the General Election.

The prime minister said “more bobbies on the beat” with greater powers would help drive down crime.

The Tories said the plan would be funded in part by increasing visa fees by 25 per cent and making overseas students pay a higher level of immigration health surcharge.

The prime minister highlighted the Tory record of recruiting 20,000 officers since 2019, although this matched the number of officers lost during the years of austerity after 2010.

Mr Sunak said: “Our new 20,000 new police officers since 2019 have made a huge difference, with neighbourhood crime down 48% as a result.

“We will now go further by hiring 8,000 more police officers, each one dedicated to their local community.

“People deserve to feel safe in their neighbourhood.

“More bobbies on the beat and increased powers will give police forces the tools they need to drive down neighbourhood crime even further.”

The Tories plan to press ahead with extra powers for officers to crack down on so-called zombie knives and use GPS tracking technology to search for stolen phones without a warrant which were included in the Criminal Justice Bill which was halted when Mr Sunak called the General Election.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on the campaign trail (PA Wire)

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on the campaign trail (PA Wire)

Mapped: Tactical voting poses threat to half of projected Tory election wins

02:00 , Tara Cobham

More than a hundred seats across the UK could be ripe for tactical voting at the general election, according to a new analysis by The Independent.

Based on a major poll from YouGov, published on Monday, almost half of the Conservatives’ projected wins come with a margin under 5 points.

The Tories themselves may have an eye on 50 seats Labour and the Liberal Democrats are projected to win, if they can persuade Reform UK voters to back them.

Data Correspondent Alicja Hagopian reports:

Mapped: Tactical voting poses threat to half of projected Tory election wins

Labour promises school breakfast clubs will save parents £400 a year

01:00 , Tara Cobham

Labour has said its commitment to delivering free breakfast clubs in primary schools will save parents more than £400 a year and cut almost half a million days of school absence.

In the first phase of the party’s childcare plan, it promises to slash absence and save primary school parents hundreds of pounds a year.

By Labour’s estimates, for parents who already pay for alternative before-school childcare such as childminders, funded breakfast clubs could cut the cost by up to £50 a week, delivering savings of almost £2,000 across a school year.

Bridget Phillipson, the shadow education secretary, said the breakfast clubs plan is the first step towards delivering a transformation in childcare which supports families from the end of parental leave to the end of primary school.

Ms Phillipson said: “Families’ childcare needs don’t end when their kids leave nursery, that’s why we’ll put free breakfast clubs in every English primary school.

“We’ll fund our clubs by clamping down on tax dodgers and save hardworking parents over £400 every year.

“Breakfast clubs are proven to improve kids’ behaviour and grades, and get those regularly missing class back into school – giving them a great start to their day and getting them ready to learn.”

Labour has said it will roll out the fully funded breakfast clubs across all primary schools in England, expanding significantly from the Conservatives’ plans which it claims reach just one in every seven primary schools.

In addition to providing vital childcare for parents, Labour analysis claims breakfast clubs could also cut 450,000 days of school absence among primary school pupils.

School attendance has been described as a national crisis as the number of children not attending school has risen in recent years.

Tory party must embrace Farage to ‘unite the right’, says Braverman

Monday 10 June 2024 00:11 , Tara Cobham

The Conservative Party must embrace Nigel Farage to “unite the right”, Suella Braverman has urged, following a disastrous few days for Rishi Sunak.

The former home secretary told The Times there was “not much difference” between the new Reform UK leader’s policies and those of the Tories, as senior Conservatives start debating the future of the party.

Tories embroiled in hypocrisy row over anti-Ulez pledge

Monday 10 June 2024 00:00 , Tara Cobham

The Conservatives are embroiled in a hypocrisy row over Rishi Sunak’s “backing drivers bill” to scale back Ulez, ban pay-per-mile road taxes and crack down on Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs).

The prime minister said the bill would be part of his first King’s Speech if he is re-elected on 4 July, promising to end Labour’s “war on drivers” in London and Wales.

But Mr Sunak was accused of hypocrisy after it emerged his own ministers had supported many of the measures he is now railing against.

Archie Mitchell and David Maddox report:

Tories embroiled in hypocrisy row over anti-Ulez pledge

Watch: Labour candidate parachutes into Normandy to raise money for British Legion

Sunday 9 June 2024 23:00 , Tara Cobham

Lord Heseltine warns spiralling Tory party is ‘fighting for its life’

Sunday 9 June 2024 22:00 , Tara Cobham

Lord Heseltine has issued a rallying cry to the Conservative Party warning it is in the “fight for its life” and needs to focus on attacking the enemy.

The dramatic intervention by a former deputy prime minister who was at the heart of grasping the Tories’ most unlikely victory in 1992 comes as the polls are predicting a Canadian style wipeout of the party.

Tory MPs fear that the fate of the Canadian Conservatives in 1993 when they went into the election as the government and were left with just two seats, could be their fate in 2024.

Political editor David Maddox reports:

Tories in meltdown as Lord Heseltine warns party is in a ‘fight for its life’

Labour pledges to create 100,000 extra childcare places in schools

Sunday 9 June 2024 21:20 , Tara Cobham

Labour has set out plans to turn primary school classrooms into 3,300 new nurseries to create an extra 100,000 childcare places.

Sir Keir Starmer said a shortage of childcare meant parents were being held back in their careers and children were “starting school already behind”.

Under Labour’s plan, empty or under-used classrooms in England’s primary schools could be converted to nurseries.

The spare capacity in schools has been caused by declining birth rates and under the plan some 3,334 classrooms would be converted at an average cost of £40,000.

The nurseries could be run by the schools themselves or local private or voluntary-sector providers.

Funding for the scheme would come from imposing VAT on private schools.

Labour said it would target its new school nursery places at areas of highest need, where parents are struggling to find childcare.

Sir Keir said: “Childcare is critical infrastructure. It’s vital for children’s opportunities, and essential for a stable economy.

“After 14 years of Conservative government, too many children are starting school already behind, and too many parents are being held back from fulfilling their career ambitions.

“This election is about change. Labour will roll up our sleeves and take the tough decisions needed to support parents’ progression, improve kids’ life chances and ultimately, drive growth. We will create the childcare places needed to turn the page, and rebuild Britain.”

Tory candidate defends renting Airbnb property in prospective constituency

Sunday 9 June 2024 21:00 , Tara Cobham

A Conservative Party candidate has defended renting an Airbnb property in his prospective constituency after a social media post about becoming a “resident” of the area prompted criticism online.

Candidate for Surrey Heath Ed McGuinness posted on X, formerly Twitter, on Saturday that he was “now a resident of St Paul’s ward” as constituents “rightly expect their MP to be a part of their community”.

He shared photos of himself holding keys in front of a front door and standing in a kitchen.

However, social media users claimed the home was listed on property rental site Airbnb and a Community Note was subsequently added to the bottom of the post.

Mr McGuinness told the PA news agency the property was a former Airbnb he was renting and that it had not yet been removed from the site.

He said: “It’s a former Airbnb that I’m now renting while I look to buy.

“To get a place within 100 hours of being selected is a great achievement (if you know an estate agent who can work it out sooner please let me know!) and demonstrates my commitment to Surrey Heath.

“Presumably the landlord had it listed on Airbnb and didn’t immediately remove it as soon as I moved in.”

The listing has since been removed from Airbnb.

Tory Party chairman clashes with reporter before aide ends interview

Sunday 9 June 2024 20:04 , Tara Cobham

The Conservative Party chairman has been involved in a clash with a reporter as he attempted to dodge questions before an aide stepped in to end the interview altogether in the latest of a string of embarrassments to hit the Tories.

Richard Holden was being grilled by Sky News’s chief political Correspondent Jon Craig in Westminster on Sunday over the way he was chosen as an electoral candidate for the Basildon and Billericay constituency at the last minute this week.

A bumbling Mr Holden repeatedly tries to avoid answering directly, but he is pressed by Mr Craig over the accusations of a “stitch-up” – and then an off-camera CCHQ advisor interrupts to complain about the questions and terminate the interview.

Labour and the Tories must stop avoiding the difficult issues

Sunday 9 June 2024 19:16 , Editorial

When the political parties unveil their manifestos this week, they have an opportunity to engage voters who have not yet tuned into the election and might not do so. Worryingly, a survey by Techne UK for The Independent found that 20 per cent of people have already decided not to vote, and some experts think we might see the lowest turnout in modern history.

That would not be a surprise given that many voters have written off Rishi Sunak and the Conservatives but have not yet been won over by Keir Starmer’s Labour Party. Labour’s 20-point opinion poll lead has encouraged Sir Keir to run a safety-first campaign. So far, the Tories appear to be appealing to their core vote to limit the scale of the defeat they expect on 4 July, rather than talking to the whole country.

Read more here:

Labour and the Tories must stop avoiding the difficult issues

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