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General election 2024 live: Gove exit shows Sunak can’t be trusted, Starmer claims

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Labour Party ‘leaks Rishi Sunak’s campaign diary’ in new ad attacking gaffes

Sir Keir Starmer has sought to question why voters should have trust in Rishi Sunak’s general election proposals if Michael Gove appears to have “lost faith” in the PM by joining the record exodus of Tory MPs.

On a visit to Stafford, the Labour leader said: “If he has effectively lost faith in what Rishi Sunak is putting before the electorate it does beg the question as to why the voters should have faith in what Rishi Sunak is putting forward.

“They have effectively got off the bus, because they don’t think the bus is going anywhere, I do think that’s significant.”

The first weekend of the general election campaign kickstarted with the Tories and Labour clashing over the economy, with Sir Keir focusing on the cost-of-living crisis, and chancellor Jeremy Hunt hinting at tax breaks for high earners.

His shadow, Rachel Reeves, vowed to deliver financial stability with a Thatcher-style commitment to “sound money”.

Sir Keir also confirmed he wanted to lower the voting age to 16.

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Lib Dems continue campaign in South East

Sir Ed Davey’s party was continuing its trail across the South East on Saturday, with the leader hitting two marginal constituencies to highlight sewage-dumping as a key electoral battleground in areas near the coast.

The party leader was out door-stepping in education secretary Gillian Keegan’s constituency of Chichester, where he hopes to flip the Tory majority.

The Lib Dems claimed that party analysis shows water company bosses have pocketed some £54m in bonuses since 2019 as they announced plans for a new, strengthened water industry regulator to replace Ofwat.

Andy Gregory25 May 2024 16:34

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Starmer defends Labour’s worker’s rights package

Sir Keir Starmer has defended Labour’s decision to rebrand its package of workers’ rights pledges following a backlash from one of the UK’s biggest trade unions.

The party leader denied he was watering down policies on areas like zero-hours contracts, parental leave and sick pay after Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said the plans had “more holes than Swiss cheese”.

It comes after the latest flare-up in a row over Labour’s New Deal for Working People, following reports it would go through a formal consultation process with businesses – potentially delaying or toning down the pledges.

On Friday, Labour rebranded the New Deal as “Labour’s plan to make work pay”.

Andy Gregory25 May 2024 15:53

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Senior Tories ‘getting off the bus because it’s going nowhere’, claims Starmer

Sir Keir Starmer has attacked Rishi Sunak over the record exodus of Tory MPs, including longstanding parliamentarians such as Michael Gove.

“Michael Gove has a reputation for delivery in government. So if he has effectively lost faith in what Rishi Sunak is putting before the electorate it does beg the question as to why the voters should have faith in what Rishi Sunak is putting forward,” the Labour leader was quoted by the Telegraph as saying during a vist to Stafford.

“They have effectively got off the bus, because they don’t think the bus is going anywhere, I do think that’s significant.”

Andy Gregory25 May 2024 15:10

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SNP’s John Swinney defends challenge of ‘prejudiced’ probe sanction

John Swinney has defended his decision to challenge the sanction ordered against his colleague Michael Matheson, saying the process on a Holyrood committee was “damaged” by “prejudice” from one of its members, reports Neil Pooran.

Holyrood’s Standards Committee backed a 27-day suspension for Mr Matheson following the row over a near-£11,000 data roaming bill on his parliamentary iPad.

But the First Minister said he did not support the cross-party committee’s sanction as one of its members, Conservative Annie Wells, had previously made critical comments about Mr Matheson’s explanation for the bill, which Mr Swinney believes therefore prejudiced the decision.

The Conservatives have said voters will punish Mr Swinney for his “shameful defence” of his former ministerial colleague.

Andy Gregory25 May 2024 14:51

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Tory candidate crisis memes go viral

The Tories started the election needing to find 191 candidates and now another 10 MPs including Michael Gove have decided they do not want to run bringing the total to 78.

With candidates also deciding they would rather not put their names forward for what could be a thankless task in many constituencies the party’s crisis is now being mocked on social media.

Memes of pictures with Mr Sunak with random voters with the message “do you want to be a Conservative candidate?” are circulating on X (formerly Twitter) and other platforms.

Others have a lifeboat crew member asking the same question of asylum seekers on the Channel in a small boat.

Another one is an image of Alistair Sim’s version of Scrooge from the 1951 adaption of A Christmas Carol shouting the same question from window.

David Maddox, Political Editor25 May 2024 14:22

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Sunak ‘hiding away in mansion’, Labour claims

Labour has accused Rishi Sunak of “hiding away in his mansion” as his predecessor Liz Truss urged him to scrap all net zero targets in order to win the election.

The PM was out campaigning on Saturday morning as he met with local veterans in his constituency, though his plans for the rest of the day have not been publicly confirmed.

Shadow paymaster general Jonathan Ashworth said: “While Rishi Sunak spends today hiding away in his mansion, Liz Truss is yet again reminding voters that he has no control over his party and desperate Jeremy Hunt is making more completely unfunded promises.

“Five more years of the Tories will mean more of this chaos – with the British public left paying the price every single day.”

The Conservatives say it is inaccurate to suggest Mr Sunak is not out on the trail, pointing to his meeting with veterans on Saturday morning.

Andy Gregory25 May 2024 14:11

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Government could be first in post-war history to end with British public worse off, think-tank says

The current Conservative government may be on track to be the first since the Second World War in which the British public’s average disposable income is lower in real terms than when it took power in 2019, according to the Resolution Foundation.

Andy Gregory25 May 2024 13:51

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Tories would cause mini-budget disaster repeat, Reeves warns

The shadow chancellor has criticised government plans for further “uncosted, unfunded tax cuts”, suggesting they would cause a repeat of the mini-budget in 2022.

Speaking on a visit to a supermarket in west London, Rachel Reeves said: “I want taxes on working people to be lower, but the Conservatives have now put forward a number of uncosted, unfunded tax cuts similar to what Liz Truss did just 18 months ago.

“The Conservatives haven’t learned that lesson and putting forward unfunded commitments is something that I would never do, because when you play fast and loose with the public finances, it is ordinary working people that pay the price.

“We saw that with the Conservatives’ mini-budget, the risk of another five years of Conservatives is that they do exactly the same thing all over again.”

Ms Reeves added that Labour’s manifesto was ready to be published.

Jane Dalton25 May 2024 13:15

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Scottish party leaders hit out at SNP

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar is due to visit Wishaw in North Lanarkshire following the official launch of Scottish Labour’s campaign.

Mr Sarwar said: “This chaotic and dysfunctional Tory government has let down Scots and put their own party interest ahead of the national interest – but the same is true of the SNP.

“This is a pivotal moment for Scotland and a chance to reject the division and decline of both the Tories and the SNP.”

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross was joined by Stephen Kerr, the party’s candidate for Angus and Perthshire Glens, as he visited a railway station in Brechin.

Mr Ross said: “Our campaign to beat the SNP and end their obsession with independence is going full steam ahead.”

Scottish Lib Dem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said it was time to “tear down the acid yellow wall of the SNP” as he campaigned in Mid Dunbartonshire, which he claimed would be the most tightly fought seat in Scotland.

Keir Starmer Joins Anas Sarwar
Keir Starmer Joins Anas Sarwar (Getty Images)

Jane Dalton25 May 2024 12:55

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All the MPs standing down at election as Gove and John Redwood join exodus

Use our clickable map to see which MPs are standing down, the size of their majority and who came second in the seat at the last election, including number of votes won:

Jane Dalton25 May 2024 12:39

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