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General election – latest:Tory MP defects to Labour as Starmer ‘dominant’ in poll

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Piers Morgan accuses Nigel Farage of ‘bottling it’ over deciding not to stand

A Tory MP has said he is endorsing Labour at the upcoming general election in a fresh blow for Rishi Sunak.

Mark Logan – who represented Bolton North East for the Tories until Parliament’s dissolution on Thursday – told the BBC that Labour could “bring back optimism into British life”, while he described the Conservatives as “unrecognisable” from the party he joined a decade ago.

Mr Logan is standing down at the 4 July general election – but, asked if he would run for Labour in the future, he said: “I wouldn’t rule out coming back into public life.”

The Conservative Party hit back at its former Tory MP shortly after the announcement, with a spokesperson accusing Mr Logan of defecting to a party “he can’t even name a single policy of”.

It comes as the latest weekly tracker poll conducted by Techne UK for The Independent sees Labour still on 45 percent with a huge 24 point lead over the Tories.

The company’s chief executive Michela Morizzo described Sir Keir’s party as enjoying a “dominant” lead despite the row engulfing Labour over the future of Diane Abbott and a purge of leftwingers in the party.

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Sunak insists he was not attempting to undermine independence of Bank of England

Rishi Sunak insisted he was not attempting to undermine the independence of the Bank of England with comments he made about low interest rates to the Times.

Asked about the remarks made in an interview with the newspaper, Mr Sunak told reporters: “No. I didn’t do that at all.

“What I said was the governor (Andrew Bailey) himself had said he was optimistic that we were heading in the right direction and I agree with him, because we are heading in the right direction.

“The best way for interest rates to come down, which is of course an independent decision made by the Bank of England, is that we get a grip of inflation.

“That is why I am pleased that inflation has come down from 11 per cent, effectively back to normal, just over 2 per cent, as part of an economic plan that is working.

“The economy is growing, wages are rising, energy bills are falling and that is why I am confident that if we stick to that plan, people can have confidence that there is a secure future ahead of us.”

Tara Cobham31 May 2024 03:00

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Meet Georgia Gould – the ‘red princess’ who could one day lead Labour

She’s been called one of “Blair’s babies” – and, given Georgia Gould’s political pedigree, it’s not hard to see why.

How many other thirtysomethings can claim they were at Downing Street – waving a flag and wearing a “Things Can Only Get Better” T-shirt – when the former prime minister walked into No 10 in May 1997?

Or that they appeared, as a babe in arms, at a political rally in 1987 (the arms in question being those of Neil Kinnock)? Or that their closest ally and mentor is none other than Alastair Campbell, with whom they have holidayed since the age of five?

Tara Cobham31 May 2024 02:00

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Sinn Fein not fielding candidates in four Northern Ireland seats at election

Sinn Fein has announced it will not run candidates in four constituencies in Northern Ireland in the General Election.

The party’s director of elections Conor Murphy said it would not be standing in East Belfast, North Down, South Belfast and Lagan Valley.

He said he was encouraging voters in those constituencies to back “progressive parties, who will reject Tory cuts and Tory pacts”.

Mr Murphy said: “We need every constituency fighting back against that and we have decided to give the best chance in those four constituencies to those progressive and inclusive candidates who can win.

“It was not an easy decision for Sinn Fein to make but we believe it is in the best interests of society here in the north.”

Tara Cobham31 May 2024 01:00

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Labour attacks Tories for ‘allowing soldier numbers to slump below their target’

Labour has criticised the Government for allowing Army numbers to fall below its target figure for the first time.

Shadow defence secretary John Healey said “our forces can’t afford five more years of the Tories”, after Ministry of Defence (MoD) personnel statistics showed soldier numbers dropping below the 73,000 target.

The Government’s defence plans include reducing the size of the regular Army from a commitment of 82,000 troops to 73,000 by 2025 – down from 97,000 a decade ago.

Tara Cobham31 May 2024 00:00

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Tory candidate says ‘excrement’ was put through office letterbox

A Tory parliamentary candidate has said “excrement” was put through the letterbox of her constituency office.

Katherine Fletcher, who is standing for re-election in South Ribble for the Conservatives, said the act was an “attempt to bully me”.

She added that a volunteer discovered the substance and police are looking into the matter.

In a video posted to X on Thursday, Ms Fletcher said: “Today the police are at my office because somebody has put excrement through the letterbox. One of my volunteers had to find that this morning.

“Now, I understand that women get more than their fair share in political environments, but this attempt to bully me will not work because it is not the decent or right thing to do. I’m working hard for South Ribble. I’ve delivered loads – I want the opportunity to do more. And so to the bully that did this: not the right person.”

A £31 million package to boost security measures for politicians – including providing MPs with a dedicated police safety liaison – was introduced by the Government in February.

It came amid heightened tensions caused by protests around the Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza.

Justice minister Mike Freer, who is not standing at the General Election because of threats to his safety, said the extra cash was “not actually going to the root cause” of why people were targeting MPs.

Ms Fletcher, who served as transport minister and minister for women under Liz Truss in 2022, has represented the South Ribble constituency in Lancashire since 2019.

Tara Cobham30 May 2024 23:00

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Ex-Labour candidate Faiza Shaheen says she faced ‘racism, Islamophobia and bullying’ from inside party

In a statement hitting out at Labour insiders, the former candidate claimed there had been numerous examples of how she had been singled out for unfair treatment.

Tara Cobham30 May 2024 22:49

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Faiza Shaheen to take Labour to court over ‘campaign of prejudice’

The blocked Labour candidate has announced she will challenge the party’s decision to deselect her from the candidates list in the courts.

In a statement, she has accused Labour of “dragging her name through the mud” to satisfy a “factional agenda”.

She said: “This campaign of prejudice, bullying and spiteful behaviour has finally been rewarded by Labour’s NEC [national executive committee] and my name has been added to the list of those not welcome in the candidate club. And it is no surprise that many of those excluded are people of colour,” she said in a statement.

“I have come to the inescapable conclusion that Labour, far from being a broad church encompassing different views, has an ingrained culture of bullying, a palpable problem with black and brown people, and thinks nothing of dragging a person’s good name through the mud in pursuit of a factional agenda, with no thought of the impact on committed members’ mental health and wellbeing.”

Salma Ouaguira30 May 2024 22:00

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Labour makes statement on Israel-Gaza with candidate selection

Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour appeared to make a clear statement about the pro-Palestinian activists in his party, particularly on the far-left, with the selection for target seat Chingford and Woodford Green, The Independent’s political editor David Maddox reports.

The seat is currently being defended by former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith.

Last night, Muslim pro-Gaza leftwinger Faiza Shaheen was ditched as Labour’s candidate, having fought the seat in 2019.

Ms Shaheen had courted controversy by liking tweets that were anti-Israel and led to accusations of antisemitism.

Just 24 hours later, the party selected Shama Tatler, a member of the Jewish Labour Movement, which was attacked by supporters of former leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Currently, there are no Muslim Labour candidates in east London.

Political editor David Maddox30 May 2024 21:48

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Watch: Piers Morgan accuses Nigel Farage of ‘bottling it’ over deciding not to stand

Piers Morgan accuses Nigel Farage of ‘bottling it’ over deciding not to stand

Tara Cobham30 May 2024 21:40

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Watch: Piers Morgan asks Nigel Farage if he would object to another referendum

Piers Morgan asks Nigel Farage if he would object to another referendum

Tara Cobham30 May 2024 21:40

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