General election latest: Tory tactic on Starmer age may backfire, poll suggests; Farage changes tune on Tory deal (2024)

Election news
  • 'How can we trust you?' Voter challenges PM
  • Tory defects to Labour|'The right thing for country'
  • Dropped Labour candidate accuses some in party of racism
  • Corbyn claims Starmer 'clearly intervening' in 'purge'
  • Tory tactic on Labour leader's age may backfire, poll suggests
  • Farage changes tune on Tory deal
  • Live reporting by Tim Baker
Expert analysis
  • Jon Craig:LatestTory defector not an obvious fit for Labour
  • Gurpreet Narwan:Reform unfussed by impact of 'immigration tax'
  • Darren McCaffrey:Partygate clearly still an issue for Tories
  • Beth Rigby:Massive distraction gives Starmer questions to answer
Election essentials
  • Trackers:Who's leading polls?|Is PM keeping promises?
  • Campaign Heritage:Memorable moments from elections gone by
  • Follow Sky's politics podcasts:Electoral Dysfunction|Politics At Jack And Sam's
  • Read more:What happens next?|Who is standing down?|Key seats to watch|How to register to vote|What counts as voter ID?|Check if your constituency's changing|Your essential guide to election lingo|Sky's election night plans


That's it for tonight

Things have wrapped up for the night here, so we'll be seeing you tomorrow for the next day in the General Election 2024 campaign.

Thanks for joining us!


If Starmer is ruthless, he needs to resolve 'purge' row quickly - as Labour faces first election crisis

By Beth Rigby, political editor

When I asked Sir Keir Starmer a couple of weeks back if he was ruthless, he said he was - but qualified it.

His ruthlessness was trained firmly on trying to get a Labour government that "could change this country for the better".

He was "not ruthless for [his] own ambition" - nor was it ruthlessness for the Labour Party, he said.

"I'm ruthless for the country," said Sir Keir. "The only way we'll bring about change in the country is if we are ruthless about wining the general election."

But that ruthlessness is now blowing up and knocking the party's election campaign off course.

After a slick first week, Labour is having its first crisis, as the row over whether to de-select Diane Abbott has seized the headlines and muddied the message.

It has prompted, not just open splits at the top of the party, but wider questions about whether Starmer is purging the Labour Party as left-wing candidates are blocked from standing and loyalists are being drafted into safe seats.

Ms Abbott herself has called it a purge, while Andrew Fisher, who worked in Jeremy Corbyn's team, asked: "Is it racism, sexism, factionalism or a combination of all? Either way, it looks appalling."

After previously iron-tight discipline, the party is beginning to fray at the edges.

Read Beth's full analysis below:


Sunak reveals what he is full of during campaign

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is well known for his abstemious diet - saying that he engages in intermittent fasting while also enjoying Coca-Cola as a treat.

The campaign trail, however, is known to be a hard place to keep to a nutritionally optimal lifestyle - even if you are the PM.

Speaking to journalists today, Mr Sunak says he is eating "far too much chocolate" and enjoying "too many pieces of cake".

He went on: "My normal fitness has taken a bit of knock, but I am walking a lot, if nothing else, but eating far too much chocolate on the road.

"Because we are getting out and about talking to lots of people, that is keeping me fit, just running around the country trying to talk to as many people as possible."


Starmer's 'purge' and return of partygate - today's essential election news

It's 10pm and another busy day in the general election campaign is wrapping up.

All the parties have been on the campaign trail as we remain more than a month out from election day.

Labour's row over a so-called "purge" of candidates from the left of the party has continued to dominate.

However, there was some good news for Labour as the Conservative former MP Mark Logan announced he was defecting.

Let us get you up to speed on everything you may have missed today…

  • Sir Keir Starmerlaunched his party's election campaign in Wales, alongside the embattled first minister, where he reiterated his message of "change" and "national renewal" - and said Rishi Sunak didn't catch them out with the early election call;
  • But the accusation that he is blocking left-wing candidates from standing for the party is overshadowing the party's messaging, with his predecessor Jeremy Corbyn telling Sky News he is "clearly intervening" in a "purge";
  • The Labour leader denied that he is doing so, however, insisting the party wants "the highest quality candidates";
  • He also praised Diane Abbott - who claims she has been blocked from standing - as a "trailblazer", but added: "No decision has been taken to bar her";
  • And his deputy, Angela Rayner, told Sky News there was no reason Ms Abbott can't stand;
  • Our political editor Beth Rigby says the issue has turned into a "massive distraction" - and leaves Sir Keir with questions to answer;
  • And Faiza Shaheen, who was blocked by Labour from being their candidate in Chingford and Woodford Green, told Sky News she has evidence to back up claims she suffered racism, Islamophobia and bullying.
  • Rishi Sunak had a tough afternoon at a voter Q&A in Milton Keynes, where a man who lost his mother during the pandemic challenged him over his partygate fine;
  • Ourpolitical correspondent Darren McCaffreysays this shows the scandal that brought down Boris Johnsonis still relevant in this year's election;
  • And it got worse when Tory Mark Logan defected to Labour;
  • Meanwhile,the Conservative Partyhas been hitting Labour on its tax pledges today, with Chancellor Jeremy Hunt accusing the opposition of "flip-flopping";
  • He accused his opposite number, Rachel Reeves, of "buckling under pressure" to rule out raising VAT in the next parliament, having "carefully and deliberately" avoided doing so all week -including in an interview with Sky News' Sam Coates;
  • Speaking to Sky News, hedefended the PM's assertion that interest rates would fall under a government led by him, saying although the Bank of England is "independently" responsible for interest rates, he claimed Labour would fund spending through borrowing, which would see higher interest rates;
  • But Mr Hunt also refused to commit to lowering prices amid this cost of living crisis by cutting VAT, saying prices are "decided in a market economy".
  • Elsewhere, theGreen Partyhas launched its election campaign, saying they want to win at least four seats in parliament to ensure Labour are "pushed beyond the timid change they are offering".
  • TheLib Demshave been unveiling their plans for a mental health professional to work in every school - and Sir Ed Davey went down a waterslide.
  • The SNP leader, John Swinney, has been out campaigning in Edinburgh.
  • Plaid Cymruhas launched its campaign in Bangor, declaring it's "time to kick the Conservatives out of power".
  • AndReform UKhas launched itslegal immigration policy, which consists primarily of an "employer immigration tax" to incentivise businesses to employ British workers;
  • Nigel Farage also took the time to rule out a deal with the Tories.

Here are a couple of other stories that may interest you:

Our essential political podcast,Politics At Jack And Sam's, is going daily through the election campaign to bring a short burst of everything you need to know about the day ahead as this election unfolds.

Click here to listen to this morning's episode - and tap here to follow Politics At Jack At Sam's wherever you get your podcasts.

Stick with us for all the latest throughout the evening.


Candidate to replace Faiza Shaheen selected

As we reported earlier, Faiza Shaheen was previously running to be Labour's MP in Chingford and Woodford Green.

However, the party withdrew their support yesterday, and there are now accusations this is part of a "purge" of left-wing candidates.

Ms Shaheen stood in the seat in 2019, losing to incumbent Conservative Iain Duncan Smith.

Now, Labour has announced who will be standing for them in the seat instead.

Shama Tatler has been chosen to contest Chingford and Woodford Green.

Ms Tatler is a Labour councillor in Brent.

The full list of candidates for Chingford and Woodford Green is:

  • Chris Brody, Green Party;
  • Josh Hadley, Liberal Democrats;
  • Yousaff Khan, Workers Party of Britain;
  • Paul Luggeri, Reform UK;
  • Shama Tatler, Labour;
  • Iain Duncan Smith, Conservative Party.


Starmer welcomes Tory defector

As we reported earlier, the former Conservative MP Mark Logan has defected to Labour.

He is not standing to be an MP again.

In a statement, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: "Voters across the country are looking to Labour for change. I am pleased Mark Logan has taken the decision to vote for Labour at this upcoming general election.

"After 14 years of Tory failure, voters are returning to Labour because they can see that we are a changed party and back in service of working people.

"It's time to stop the chaos, turn the page and rebuild Britain."


'This is the first TikTok election'

No major party had much of a TikTok presence before the general election was called.

Now, they're racing to build them on the fly.

But it's not all about follower count - while Reform leads in that field, it's Labour who are making the most of this key digital battleground.

Ouronline campaign correspondentTom Cheshireexplains...


Until voters go to the polls on 4 July, the Politics Hub will be looking back at some memorable moments from previous general election campaigns.

We have the perfect follow-on from our previous post...

New Labour's time in power often saw stories about an apparently fractious relationship between Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

But the pair put on the truest form of friendship imaginable on the 2005 campaign trail: enjoying some delectable 99 Flakes together.

The photo op was designed as a rebuttal to reports they did not much like each other, and nothing brings people together like a good ice cream.

And they probably really did cost 99p back then.

Previous entry:'Nothing has changed'


Sir Soft Serve? Starmer serves up ice cream to voters

One of the Tories' favourite attacks on Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has been to label him "Sir Softy" for an allegedly weak stance on crime.

Well, he somewhat lived up to that moniker today - for very different reasons.

He was in South Wales today on the campaign trail, where he served ice cream to day trippers on Barry seafront.


Dropped Labour candidate accuses some in party of 'racism, Islamophobia and bullying'

Faiza Shaheen, who was until yesterday set to be the Labour candidate for Chingford and Woodford Green, has released a statement and spoken to Sky News in the wake of the row.

Writing on X, she said the central Labour Party withdrawing their backing comes at "the end of a systematic campaign of racism, Islamophobia and bullying from some within the party when I first announced that I wanted to run for Labour again".

Sky News has contacted Labour for comment.

Ms Shaheen previously stood for the seat in 2019, and enjoyed visits from the then shadow minister Sir Keir Starmer.

Speaking to Sky presenter Gillian Joseph, Ms Shaheen says she was suspended because of 14 posts on X over 10 years.

However, she played down the fact she "liked" a post from US comedian Jon Stewart in 2014 in which he criticised Israel - saying she was not "pressed particularly on that".

Asked about the claims of racism, Islamophobia and bullying, Ms Shaheen says she will "put out" evidence.

She says she made a complaint in October or November about something posted in a WhatsApp chat.

"It took six months for them to come back to me and even then they were like, we consider... it is closed," Ms Shaheen says.

She adds that she "really upset" when Sir Keir Starmer said Labour was searching for the "best" candidates.

The full list of candidates for Chingford and Woodford Green is:

  • Chris Brody, Green Party;
  • Josh Hadley, Liberal Democrats;
  • Yousaff Khan, Workers Party of Britain;
  • Paul Luggeri, Reform UK;
  • Iain Duncan Smith, Conservative Party.
General election latest: Tory tactic on Starmer age may backfire, poll suggests; Farage changes tune on Tory deal (2024)
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