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UK general election latest: Day one in the race for Downing Street as campaigns kick off in Westminster after Rishi Sunak calls snap vote for July 4

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Election campaigns get under way today with politicians dashing across the country to secure votes for their parties after Rishi Sunak called a vote for July 4.

Mr Sunak is set to embark on a whistle-stop tour of all four nations of the UK, while his rival Keir Starmer heads to the south east for Labour’s first major event in a traditional Conservative heartland.

It comes after the Prime Minister sprung a surprise on the steps of Downing Street last night by triggering a contest in the pouring rain after a day of frenzied speculation that a date had been set.

Follow MailOnline’s live coverage below

Greens – Votes for us aren’t ‘wasted’

For use in UK, Ireland or Benelux countries only BBC handout photo of co-leader of the Green Party Carla Denyer appearing on the BBC 1 current affairs programme, Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg. Picture date: Sunday April 14, 2024. PA Photo. See PA story POLITICS XXXX. Photo credit should read: Jeff Overs/BBC/PA WireNOTE TO EDITORS: Not for use more than 21 days after issue. You may use this picture without charge only for the purpose of publicising or reporting on current BBC programming, personnel or other BBC output or activity within 21 days of issue. Any use after that time MUST be cleared through BBC Picture Publicity. Please credit the image to the BBC and any named photographer or independent programme maker, as described in the caption.

Voting for the Greens is “not a wasted vote”, its co-leader Carla Denyer has said with the party aiming to field candidates in every seat across England and Wales for the first time.

Ms Denyer was asked on BBC Breakfast how she would counter the refrain from some politicians and voters that supporting the party in the upcoming general election would be akin to throwing the ballot away.

I would simply say it’s not a wasted vote if you vote for the party whose policies you agree with, that is how democracy works.

And to be honest, voters are – especially in places like Bristol, my home city – telling us that they are disgusted frankly with the direction that Conservatives have been taking this country in over the last 14 years, but are feeling utterly uninspired by Keir Starmer’s Labour Party who they feel are reneging on their principles, U-turning on their policies every few weeks before they even get into power.

Watch: Rishi Sunak on the campaign trail

Mr Sunak has done the morning round of interviews as he hits the campaign trail with visits to the Midlands, Wales and Scotland today on a whistle-stop UK tour.

Liberal Democrats – We won’t make pacts with other parties

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Jonathan Hordle/Shutterstock (14458621e) Daisy Cooper 'Peston' TV Show, Episode 14, London, UK - 01 May 2024

One line we can bring you from earlier today is from the Lib Dems as Daisy Cooper (pictured above), the party’s deputy leader, insisted there won’t be pacts with other parties in the general election.

The Lib Dems, who formed a coalition government with the Conservatives in 2010 when David Cameron was prime minister, fas faced questions about whether it would form an administration with Labour if Keir Starmer fails to secure a majority.

There have never been any pacts and there won’t be any pacts because we don’t need any pacts.

On whether the Lib Dems would hold government-forming talks with Labour if it comes short of a majority, she added:

I’m not going to think about anything that happens after 10pm on polling day.

We are completely focused on winning as many votes as possible and beating Conservative MPs right now.

Timings: What is happening today?

Here are just some events coming up today on day one of the election campaign

  • 9:10am – Labour leader Keir Starmer visits Gillingham, Kent
  • 9:15 – Rishi Sunak is hosting a Q&A in Derby where he has done the broadcast round this morning
  • 9:35 – Foreign Secretary David Cameron is at a UK Defence conference
  • 11:00 – Reform UK leader Richard Tice holds press conference
  • 12:30pm – Rishi Sunak visits South Wales
  • 1.30pm – Lib Dem leader Ed Davey visits Cheltenham

We will try to bring you lines and reactions from all of them.

We’re all set for a busy day here with election campaigns in full swing after Rishi Sunak confirmed the general election will be held on July 4.

To understand how we got to this point and for more an insight into THAT speech by a sodden Mr Sunak in the pouring rain outside Downing Street, read our current top story on MailOnline by Jason Groves, The Daily Mail’s Political Editor.

Breaking:Rwanda flights will take off after election, Sunak concedes

Flights carrying migrants to Rwanda will take off “after the election”, Rishi Sunak has conceded.

The Prime Minister told LBC radio: “If I’m elected, we will get the flights off.”

Pressed further on timing, he said: “No, after the election. The preparation work has already gone on.”

Labour – Ignore polls and assume nothing about election

Pat McFadden, UK member of parliament, speaks on the opening day of the UK Labour Party annual conference in Liverpool, UK, on Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023. UK Labour leader Keir Starmer said his party is on track to return to power at the next election, as he deflected concerns that voters are still unclear about what he stands for. Photographer: Anthony Devlin/Bloomberg via Getty Images

On the airwaves for Labour this morning is the party’s national campaign co-ordinator Pat McFadden (pictured above) who has given an interview to Good Morning Britain.

He is urging voters not to get complacent, the same message that will be repeatedly delivered to MPs over the next six weeks, by assuming Labour will score a comprehensive victory on July 4.

Look, I would encourage people to ignore the polls because we start this election with not a single vote being cast, not a seat being won, or lost, and we assume nothing about the outcome.

And the basic choice will be, we can carry on with five more years of what we’ve already had for the past 14, or we can vote for change.

Asked if they were caught off guard by the announcement on Wednesday, Mr McFadden said they weren’t expecting Sunak to call an election this summer as there had been indications a date in the autumn was being looked at.

Keir Starmer to kick off Labour’s election campaign in Kent

© ©️ Licensed to London News Pictures. 23/05/2024. London, UK. Labour Party Leader Sir Keir Starmer leaves his London home the day after the general election was announced by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Photo credit: Marcin Nowak/LNP

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has been pictured leaving his London home this morning before he is expected to kick off the party’s general election in Kent.

Heading to a traditionally Conservative-voting area of the country may be seen as Labour trying to park its tank onto Tory lawns with Mr Starmer aware he will have to lure voters who shunned the party at the last election.

Rishi Sunak – Vote for me to deport migrants to Rwanda

Rishi Sunak

The Prime Minister is touring the broadcast studios this morning and has urged voters to re-elect him if they want to see deportation flights to Rwanda take off.

Speaking to GB News from Derby in the East Midlands, Rishi Sunak said:

If you elect me, if I’m Prime Minister on July 5, those flights will go off to Rwanda and we will begin to put in place the deterrent that we need to stop the boats.

Because there is no way to stop this problem unless you can have a deterrent, unless it’s clear that if someone comes to our country illegally they won’t be able to stay and they will be removed.

Meanwhile, in a separate interview on BBC Breakfast, Mr Sunak denied suggestions he called an election because inflation is expected to rise again this year.

No, that’s not the real reason.

And when it comes to the economy, of course I know there’s more work to do. I know that people are only just starting to feel the benefits of the changes that we’ve brought.

Good morning

Mandatory Credit: Photo by James Veysey/Shutterstock (14500500an) British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announces a General Election on July 4th 2024. British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announces a General Election in Downing Street, London, UK - 22 May 2024

MailOnline will be reporting live updates on day one of the general election campaign with parties hunting for votes.

It comes after the Prime Minister sprung a surprise on the steps of Downing Street last night by triggering a contest in the pouring rain after a day of frenzied speculation that a date had been set.

We will bring you the latest political news, reaction and analysis throughout the day.

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