General election latest: PM laughs off washout election launch; Starmer on why he wants to lower voting age (2024)

General election called for 4 July
  • Starmer confirms support for extending voting age to 16
  • 'No pneumonia yet': PM laughs off election launch deluge
  • Tories deny Sunak taking 'duvet day' on first campaign weekend
  • Housing Secretary Michael Gove to stand down at general election
  • Sunak doesn't rule out Johnson joining Tory campaign
  • PM agrees to take part in Sky News leaders' event on one condition
  • Live reporting by Brad Young
Expert analysis
  • Beth Rigby:Starmer launched in Scotland but he needs to keep his base
  • Tamara Cohen:What the Mail's front page means for the campaign
  • Sam Coates:Gove stepping down shows the political winds are shifting
  • Sophy Ridge:This is what the Tories don't want to talk about
Election essentials
  • Trackers:Who's leading polls?|Is PM keeping promises?
  • Subscribe to Sky's politics podcasts:Electoral Dysfunction|Politics At Jack And Sam's
  • Read more:What happens next?|Which MPs are standing down?|Key seats to watch|How to register to vote|What counts as voter ID?|Check if your constituency's changing|Sky's coverage plans


'No pneumonia yet': PM laughs off election launch deluge

We can now bring you footage of the prime minister's breakfast with veterans in Northallerton, North Yorkshire.

On a sunny morning, he met the group of eight veterans and sat in The Buck Inn, a Wetherspoon's pub on the High Street in his Richmond constituency, where the group were sipping tea and some tucked into breakfasts.

But it was the wet weather in which Mr Sunak called the general election that was the subject of conversation...


Labour manifesto 'ready', says shadow chancellor

The shadow chancellor says Labour's manifesto is "ready" to be published.

Rachel Reeves went on to criticise government plans for "uncosted, unfunded tax cuts" on a campaign visit to a supermarket in west London.

She suggested the Conservatives would cause a repeat of Liz Truss's mini-budget in 2022.

"I want taxes on working people to be lower, but the Conservatives have now put forward a number of un-costed, unfunded tax cuts similar to what Liz Truss did just 18 months ago."

She continued: "The risk of another five years of Conservatives is that they do exactly the same thing all over again."

Earlier this month, Jeremy Hunt said the tax burden would go down under a Conservative government.

He signalled a desire to cut taxes in the autumn, following the 2p cut to national insurance at the spring budget, and to scrap national insurance altogether in the future.

He called accusations that scrapping national insurance would create a £46bn funding gap and lead to higher taxes on pensioners "fake news".


Starmer confirms support for extending voting age to 16

Sir Keir Starmer has confirmed he wants 16 and 17-year-olds to be able to cast a ballot.

"Yes, I want to see both 16 and 17-year-olds. If you can work, if you can pay tax, if you can serve in your armed forces, then you ought to be able to vote," he said, speaking at Marston Road, the stadium of Stafford Rangers FC.

Yesterday, party sources told The Times they would be "extremely surprised" if the policy wasn't in its first King's Speech if it comes to power.

There are more than 1.5 million 16 and 17-year-olds in the UK, which would increase the voting-age population by roughly 3%.

Scotland and Wales have already lowered the voting age to 16 for local elections and in those for the regional parliaments.

In 2014, 16 and 17-year-olds were able to vote in the Scottish independence referendum.


Starmer takes campaign to West Midlands - after Labour's shock mayoral win

Rishi Sunak is not the only leader drinking tea on the campaign trail this morning.

Sir Keir Starmer has been pictured stopping for a hot drink with voters in the West Midlands.

In a shock win, Labour challenger Richard Parker beat incumbent Andy Street to become the next mayor of the combined authority on 2 May.

Mr Starmer was seen walking with Labour's candidate for nearby Stafford, Leigh Ingham, and speaking to residents.


Reform UK leader launches campaign for Boston and Skegness

The leader of Reform UK has launched his campaign to become MP for Boston and Skegness.

Richard Tice is challenging Conservative Matt Warman, who has held the seat since 2015 and has a comfortable 25,000 vote majority.

Mr Tice said the prime minister "bottled it" and called a summer election because Reform "was going up in the polls".

Much of his launch speech focused on freezing net immigration.

"This great nation of ours, we've got to make it great again," said Mr Tice - a phrase reminiscent of Donald Trump's 'Make America Great Again' slogan.

Nigel Farage previously said he would campaign for Reform UK and stressed his support for Mr Tice.

Reform UK has one MP, Lee Anderson, who defected from the Tories in March.


Analysis: Fears small boat crossings could reach record high will be tricky for Sunak

The number of migrants crossing the channel has hit 10,000 significantly earlier than it did so in 2022, when a record 45,000 people arrived in the UK on small boats by the end of the year, says political correspondent Matthew Thompson.

The "symbolic threshold" has also been passed a month earlier than last year - and is more than the total for 2020, he added.

This will be "slightly tricky" for Rishi Sunak, having previously pledged that flights to Rwanda would be a deterrent and would get off the ground before the general election, said Thompson.

"The fear is, amongst politicians, that this year may even surpass what we saw in 2022, even at a time when it has becomes such a political hot topic."

He said it was "potentially problematic for the prime minister if we don't see those Rwanda flights taking off", but he may have calculated it is electorally strategic to pitch that the flights will take off if the public re-elect him.

The question for whichever party ends up in government is what are they going to do to tackle an issue that is not going away, said Thompson.


Number of migrants arriving in small boats surpasses 10,000

The number of migrants arriving in small boats has risen to more than 10,000 this year.

Some 288 migrants crossed the Channel on five boats yesterday, according to government figures.

One of the key battlegrounds in the election campaign is expected to be migration.

A Home Office spokesperson said: "We continue to work closely with our French partners to prevent crossings and save lives."


Analysis: Daily Mail's front page a moment in campaign

A smiling Rachel Reeves pictured in the Daily Mail next to an article saying "I'll never play fast and loose with your money" is a big moment in the campaign so far.

It's the second piece of positive front-page coverage the Conservative-supporting paper has given Labour in recent weeks, after Keir Starmer backed Trident and the Mail's campaign to increase defence spending last month.

But during the election campaign, and on a touchstone issue for its readers like tax, it seems a sign of where the paper suspect at least a chunk of its readers will be turning.

Around a third of the paper's readers voted Labour in 1997.

According to Ipsos Mori polling last October, the Mail was the only paper whose readers planned to vote Conservative by a slim margin of 40% to 38% for Labour.

These are the Middle England swing voters Labour will need to win a majority and the economy is their key issue.

Yes, it's underneath a banner of Boris Johnson saying: "Starmer would be the most dangerous and Left-wing Labour PM since the 1970s".

This is not an endorsem*nt, but it's a far cry from how right-leaning newspapers have treated Labour leaders and their plans for Britain since 2010.


Sunak defends wet election announcement

Rishi Sunak has defended calling the election in the pouring rain - and allayed one woman's concern he could have caught pneumonia.

At a breakfast meeting with ex-servicemen in a Yorkshire Wetherspoon's pub, the prime minister said he was unsure what state his suit would be in when he returned to London.

One attendee at The Buck Inn, Vicky Rudd, asked Mr Sunak about his health, concerned he might have caught pneumonia "after seeing that picture".

He replied: "It was wet. The number of people who have given me an umbrella over the last couple of days..."

He reflected it was still right to make the announcement in the rain, saying: "When the moments happen, that's what you do. That's our tradition, the prime minister, in the big moments, they call the election and they go out there.

"I thought, come rain or shine, it's the right thing to do. But no pneumonia yet - my suit on the other hand...

"I'm not quite sure what state it will be in when I get back down to London."

The optics of making the speech in the rain was called into question by former Scottish Conservatives leader Ruth Davidson, who questioned whether there was a "double agent" at CCHQ after the "deluge launch" and the PM's visit to the Titanic Quarter in Belfast.


Minister says exodus of Tory MPs 'not unnatural' - and insists he can beat 'strong' Lib Dems

Following his interview with Sky News, a minister has insisted the exodus of prominent Tory MPs is "not unnatural".

Bim Afolami told Times Radio he was confident about his own seat Hitchin and Harpenden, where the Tory majority has waned in recent years, and said it had not crossed his mind to stand down.

"It's not unnatural if you've got people who served for 20, sometimes 30 or 35 years in Parliament in their 50s or 60s coming to retirement or indeed retiring completely, that they choose to bring their political careers to a close. I think that’s fine."

The average age of Conservative MPs stepping down is ten years younger than those Labour MPs leaving parliament.

Mr Afolami said he thinks the party has a "good balance" of Tory big beasts like Chancellor Jeremy Hunt and newer MPs like himself, and insisted the mood in his blue-wall seat is one of optimism.

"The Lib Dems are strong but, you know, we’re confident that we’ll hold the seat and we’ll beat them."

Both Labour and the Liberal Democrats are hoping to snap up seats in the traditional Conservative heartlands of southern England, with Sir Ed Davey's party accusing Michael Goveof "running scared" from the prospect of a wipeout after he announced he was stepping down.

General election latest: PM laughs off washout election launch; Starmer on why he wants to lower voting age (2024)


Is Keir Starmer a socialist? ›

A few days into the general election campaign, Keir Starmer surprised some voters by declaring himself a socialist. “I would describe myself as a socialist. I describe myself as a progressive. I'd describe myself as somebody who always puts the country first and party second,” he said.

What religion is Sir Keir Starmer? ›

Starmer is an atheist, but has said that he "does believe in faith", and its power to bring people together. His wife, Victoria Alexander, is Jewish, and their two children are brought up in Jewish faith.

Why is Keir Starmer a sir? ›

In 2008, he became Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and Head of the Crown Prosecution Service, holding these positions until 2013. On conclusion of his five-year term as DPP, he was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) in the 2014 New Year Honours.

Where does Keir Starmer live? ›

The lawyer-turned-politician studied at Leeds University and St Edmund Hall, Oxford, Starmer moved to North London and he's called the area home ever since. Having moved between Archway, Highgate and Stoke Newington, he now lives with his wife Victoria and their two children in Kentish Town.

Is Churchill a socialist? ›

Churchill was wary of socialist tendencies toward state planning and bureaucracy, because he consistently believed in both the liberty of the individual and of free markets. Paul Addison asserts, however, that Churchill was paradoxically supportive of trade unionism, which he saw as the "antithesis of socialism".

What do the socialists believe in? ›

Socialists believe that sharing ownership of the means of production equally among society would increase people's quality of life. Socialists want to give people free access to basic life necessities like food, housing, and healthcare. Some socialists also believe employment should be guaranteed as a human right.

Did Keir Starmer have a party? ›

The Labour Party hopes that is just what Britain needs. Starmer, the center-left party's 61-year-old leader, is the current favorite to win the country's July 4 election. Starmer has spent four years as opposition leader dragging his social democratic party from the left towards the political middle ground.

Is Starmer a German name? ›

The surname Starmer comes from the Old English words sterre, or starre, which mean star, and would have been given to someone with a bright personality.

What does the Labour Party stand for? ›

It proclaimed a socialist party whose principles included a guaranteed minimum standard of living for everyone, nationalisation of industry, and heavy taxation of large incomes and of wealth.

Who was Keir Starmer's first wife? ›

Victoria, Lady Starmer (née Alexander; born c. 1963) is an English former solicitor and the wife of Keir Starmer, the Leader of the Opposition and leader of the Labour Party. She currently works for the NHS.

Where did Tony Blair go to university? ›

Who was the previous Labour leader before Keir Starmer? ›

Leaders of the Labour Party (1906–present)
No.Leader (birth–death)Left office
17Ed Miliband (b. 1969)8 May 2015
Harriet Harman (b. 1950) (acting: 2nd time)12 September 2015
18Jeremy Corbyn (b. 1949)4 April 2020
19Sir Keir Starmer (b. 1962)Incumbent
49 more rows

What did Keir Starmer do for a living? ›

Standing up for working people. Keir got his qualifications as a lawyer in 1987 and began working as a barrister. He spent a lot of his time providing free legal advice defending ordinary people against the powerful.

Which party is in power in the UK? ›

Conservative Party (UK)

Who is the leader for the Labour Party? ›

Labour leader Keir Starmer is often called dull. But he might be Britain's next prime minister.

Is the Labour Party socialist? ›

The Labour Party is a political party in the United Kingdom that has been described as an alliance of social democrats, democratic socialists, and trade unionists. The Labour Party sits on the centre-left of the political spectrum.

Was Keir Hardie a socialist? ›

Scottish Labour Party

Hardie was a dedicated Georgist for a number of years and a member of the Scottish Land Restoration League. It was "through the single tax" on land monopoly that Hardie gradually became a Fabian socialist.

What kind of socialist was Orwell? ›

As a self-described democratic socialist, Orwell believed in active government, yet his alertness to the excesses of official power informed Animal Farm and 1984, his two masterpieces about totalitarianism.

Did Keir Starmer's father own a factory? ›

There is no evidence from sources such as Companies House that Kier Starmer's dad owned a tool factory. The source used by the account to back up his claim in the comments also suggests that Rodney Starmer was in fact a sole trader working by himself.…

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