Dorries lays into Tories who ousted Boris Johnson as poll reveals Sunak set to lose seat

Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister, is pictured today during a visit to the Sizewell nuclear power plant in Suffolk
Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister, is pictured today during a visit to the Sizewell nuclear power plant in Suffolk - James Manning /PA

Follow our latest coverage on The Telegraph’s general election live blog

Nadine Dorries attacked Tory MPs who she has accused of ousting Boris Johnson, after a new poll for The Telegraph revealed the Conservatives are set for a wipeout.

The major opinion poll has predicted that the Tories are set to slump to just 53 seats, with around three-quarters of the Cabinet and Rishi Sunak himself voted out on July 4.

Ms Dorries, a close ally of Boris Johnson and ex-Cabinet minister, laid into former colleagues who she accused of having “worked so hard” to get rid of the former leader.

She wrote on X: “MPs like Andrew Mitchell, Mark Harper, Oliver Dowden, Michael Gove and all who worked so hard to remove [Boris Johnson] in order to install Rishi in exchange for a seat at the cabinet table would do it all again tomorrow, if the price was right.”

More than 50 MPs resigned from Mr Johnson’s government in 2022, and critics of Mr Johnson said that his downfall was of his own doing following a series of scandals.

Lord Goldsmith, a Tory peer and Boris Johnson ally, in response to the poll’s findings shared a video of a mannequin head repeatedly hitting a brick.

The former Foreign Office minister wrote on X: “Lots of Conservative MPs in private right now after realising they were hoodwinked into chucking Boris.”

Meanwhile, Johnny Mercer, the Veterans Minister, said that “the media is wall to wall doom and gloom” but that he had had a “great day on the doors”.

He said on X: “Another poll came out tonight that had the Tories on for a thrashing. Look, if you want to have an MP in Plymouth who is always going to put you first, always going to stand up for you like I have, you’ve got to go out and vote for me on July 4.”

Jeremy Hunt, who faces losing his seat to the Liberal Democrats according to the poll, admitted: “I face a fight here”.

He told the BBC that he was telling voters while he was out campaigning that “If you vote for Reform, Reform aren’t going to win. But the Lib Dems will win - you will have fewer centre right MPs in Parliament and fewer MPs who want to control migration, your MPs who want to reduce tax, and that isn’t what those voters want.”

A separate poll commissioned by Arron Banks, the co-founder of the Leave.EU campaign, out Nigel Farage on course to win his seat in Clacton for Reform UK.

You can follow the latest updates below and join the conversation in the comments section

10:18 PM BST

That’s all for today...

Thank you for joining The Telegraph’s live coverage of day 26 of the general election campaign.

My colleague Jack Maidment will be back tomorrow to guide you through the day’s developments.

10:17 PM BST

Michael Portillo: Rishi Sunak losing his seat ‘would blot out all Portillo moments’

Rishi Sunak losing his seat at the general election would be “without any precendent” and “would blot out all Portillo moments”, Michael Portillo has said.

‌The “Portillo moment” was one of the defining points of the 1997 election as the Tory cabinet minister was ousted by Labour, signalling that Sir Tony Blair was heading for a landslide win.

A poll for The Telegraph, conducted by Savanta, predicted that around three-quarters of Cabinet ministers would lose their seats on July 4, and that the Prime Minister would also be ousted.

Mr Portillo told his GB News programme: “In my judgement, a Portillo moment has to be the unforeseen defeat of a prominent government minister and that is now very difficult in the present election, as most Cabinet ministers are expected to be unseated.”

He added: “A Savanta poll published today suggests astonishingly that even the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak could lose in Richmond. So according to my definition, there can be no Portillo moment because even his defeat would be no surprise. But it would be a historic moment, without any precedent that would blot out all Portillo moments”.

09:53 PM BST

Watch: Labour party broadcast with Gary Neville

09:31 PM BST

Reeves: ‘I want to close the gender pay gap once and for all’

Rachel Reeves has said that she would “close the gender pay gap once and for all” if she becomes Britain’s first female chancellor.

In an interview with The Guardian, Ms Reeves said that she wanted to make a similar impact on the lives of women as Barbara Castle, who brought in the Equal Pay Act, and Harriet Harman, who introduced the Equalities Act.

“I feel like in many ways, I’m standing on their shoulders, and the same way that they have made achievements for women, I want to do the same.”

She added: “In the position of chancellor, I believe the biggest impact that I can make to the lives of ordinary women, women who go out to work, is to close the gender pay gap once and for all. That’s what I’m setting out to do.”

Labour would not put any legal enforcement on businesses to reduce the gender pay gap, but big businesses would be obliged to implement an action plan.

09:10 PM BST

Scottish Labour suspends candidate accused of pro-Russia posts on social media

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said his party had taken “swift action” to suspend a candidate accused of “unacceptable” pro-Russian posts on social media.

Andy Brown was dropped as the party’s candidate in the Aberdeenshire North and Moray East constituency following reports he shared content which played down the country’s role in the Salisbury poisonings.

Reports suggest he shared an article from Russian state media outlet RT which claimed the “toxin” used in the poisonings was “never produced in Russia, but was in service in the US, UK and other Nato states”.

The candidate told the BBC he did not make the social media posts.

Speaking to the PA news agency during a General Election campaign visit, Mr Sarwar said: “We’ve taken swift action. New information came to light to us last night and within hours this candidate was suspended pending an investigation.

“I think that’s right thing for us to do.”

Andy Brown, who was standing for Labour in Aberdeenshire North and Moray East
Andy Brown, who was standing for Labour in Aberdeenshire North and Moray East

08:57 PM BST

Will your MP lose their seat? Use our search tool...

Labour will secure a record-breaking majority in the upcoming election, a bombshell new poll from Savanta projects.

The constituency-level MRP poll suggests the Conservatives will see their seat number drop to 53, only marginally ahead of the Liberal Democrats on 50 and Labour on a record-breaking 516.

Our tool allows you to explore the predicted outcome in your area, as well as how well - or badly - each major party is expected to perform.

Click here to find our the fate of your MP

08:32 PM BST

James Cleverly accuses Labour of having no plan for Bibby Stockholm

James Cleverly has accused Sir Keir Starmer of not having a plan for the Bibby Stockholm, after the Labour leader repeatedly refused to say what would happen to the barge and the asylum seekers on board if he wins the election.

Sir Keir said that Labour were “not planning to have more barges and more hotels” but did not say what his plans were for the barge in Dorset (see post at 18:55).

The Home Secretary said on X: “We have a plan to stop the boats, close the hotels, and close the Bibby.

“Keir doesn’t – he can’t even answer the question.”

08:28 PM BST

Kemi Badenoch is the future of the Tory party – no one else survives

An exclusive poll for The Telegraph suggests Kemi Badenoch will be the future of the Conservative Party by default as the only “big beast” left standing after the election, writes Gordon Rayner

Not only most of the Cabinet – including Rishi Sunak, Jeremy Hunt and James Cleverly – would be wiped out under a Labour mega-majority, but also leadership contenders including Penny Mordaunt and Suella Braverman.

Among others said to be contemplating leadership bids, only Tom Tugendhat is predicted to keep his seat, raising the possibility of a Badenoch-Tugendhat run-off as the Right of the party fights the centrist One Nation Tories for control.

The poll makes for terrifying reading for the Conservatives, who are currently predicted to retain just 53 seats, making them the second-biggest party in front of the Lib Dems on 50. Labour is predicted to take 516 seats, giving Sir Keir Starmer a record-breaking peacetime majority of 382.

Read more of The Telegraph’s Associate Editor’s analysis here

08:07 PM BST

Davey: We would raise taxes, but in a ‘fair’ way

Sir Ed Davey has said that the Liberal Democrats would raise taxes in a “fair way”.

The Liberal Democrat leader, whose manifesto includes policies such as an increased minimum wage for care workers and NHS reform, has pledged to reform capital gains tax.

Asked “spending cuts or tax rises” as a quickfire question by Sophy Ridge on Sky News, Sir Ed said: “You’re going to have to raise taxes to do the spending programme that we’re talking about, but we’re going to do it in a fair way.”

Ed Davey speaks to Sky news Politics Hub
Ed Davey speaks to Sky news Politics Hub

08:00 PM BST

Sir Ed Davey: Sir Alan Bates deserves knighthood more than I do

Sir Ed Davey has said that he believes that former subpostmaster and Horizon campaigner Sir Alan Bates deserves his knighthood more than he deserves his own.

The Liberal Democrat leader has come under fire in recent months over his role as Post Office minister in 2010, when he initially refused to meet Sir Alan.

He met with the campaigner five months later, and has said he regrets not having done so sooner.

Sir Alan received a knighthood in the King’s Birthday honours this year.

Asked which of the two men deserved their knighthood more, Sir Ed told Sky News: “I think Alan Bates does.

“I’m very proud of my knighthood, though, which I was very fortunate to get from her late Majesty because of the work I had done on climate change.”

07:52 PM BST

The Liberal Democrats would not scrap need for local consent for onshore wind projects

Local community consent would still be needed for onshore wind projects to go ahead under Liberal Democrat plans, Sir Ed Davey has said.

The party has set out a target of 90 per cent of electricity to be generated by renewables by 2030 in its manifesto.

But Sir Ed said that the party would not want to see the requirement for local consent for onshore wind projects scrapped.

Asked whether he would axe that requirement, Sir Ed told Sky: “No, because actually local communities often like onshore wind.”

Pressed on how he could achieve his target without scrapping the requirement, he said: “If you look at the main barriers to onshore wind farms and solar farms, they’re not actually local consent.

“It’s the grid, the grid that takes that power to our homes and to our factories, and the Conservatives have massively under-invested in the National Grid. So it’s not actually about local communities’ consent. There’s lots of communities that would give their consent.”

07:41 PM BST

Tories release betting video as member of Sunak’s protection team arrested over alleged bet

The Conservatives have released a new campaign video featuring betting on a roulette wheel, on the same day that one of Rishi Sunak’s protection team is arrested over an alleged general election bet.

The Metropolitan Police officer was arrested on Monday on suspicion of misconduct in public office before being bailed pending further enquiries, the BBC reported.

The Conservatives released a video on X with the caption: “If you bet on Labour, you can never win”.

It showed a spinning roulette wheel with “more debt” and “more taxes”.

07:28 PM BST

In pictures: On the election campaign trail

Sir Ed Davey reads a book about his experience as a Member of Parliament gifted to him by a local party member in Eastleigh , on the 'Yellow Hammer One' campaign bus
Sir Ed Davey reads a book about his experience as a Member of Parliament gifted to him by a local party member in Eastleigh , on the 'Yellow Hammer One' campaign bus - Dinendra Haria/London News Pictures Ltd
Jeremy Hunt stops for a coffee in local cafe as he campaigns in Godalming
Jeremy Hunt stops for a coffee in local cafe as he campaigns in Godalming
Gillian Keegan is joined by James Cleverly on the campaign trail
Gillian Keegan is joined by James Cleverly on the campaign trail

06:55 PM BST

Starmer refuses to say whether migrants will stay on Bibby Stockholm barge under Labour

Sir Keir Starmer has refused to say whether or not Labour would continue to house migrants on the Bibby Stockholm barge if he becomes prime minister.

The Bibby Stockholm has been used to house asylum seekers in Dorset since August last year.

The Labour leader refused on at least four occasions to say whether or not migrants would remain on the Bibby Stockholm if he entered government.

He told ITV: “The thing we need to do in relation to asylum seekers is to make sure that we stop people climbing into boats on the northern coast of France.”

He added: “That is evidence of the failure of the Government. They are using barges, they’re using hotels. It’s costing the taxpayer an absolute fortune. We cannot go on like this.”

When pressed further on the fate of those on the Bibby Stockholm, he said: “We’re not planning to have more barges and more hotels. That is the problem we’re in.”

06:46 PM BST

Sir Keir Starmer names Thierry Henry and Nelson Mandela as his heroes

Sir Keir Starmer has named footballer Thierry Henry and Nelson Mandela as his heroes.

Asked who his hero from history was, Sir Keir told ITV1 Peston: “I don’t pick heroes from history… I just, I don’t have pinups of politicians on my wall.”

When pressed, he said: “Thierry Henry is my favourite ever footballer. And on my wall I had pictures of Blondie and I had pictures of footballers. I didn’t have pictures of politicians.”

Asked for a third time, Sir Keir said: “Mandela. You know, these are people who made a significant contribution to history. So I’ll go with Thierry Henry and Mandela.”

06:26 PM BST

Pictured: Sir Keir Starmer and Gary Neville filming Labour party election broadcast

Sir Keir Starmer and Gary Neville, football pundit and former player, pictured filming Labour's Party Election Broadcast in the Lake District
Sir Keir Starmer and Gary Neville, football pundit and former player, pictured filming Labour's Party Election Broadcast in the Lake District - Labour Party

06:10 PM BST

New: Rishi Sunak’s police protection officer arrested for betting on date of election

A police officer working in Rishi Sunak’s protection team has been arrested as part of an investigation into bets on the date of the general election.

According to the BBC, the Metropolitan Police were contacted by the Gambling Commission on Friday last week.

The force were told that an investigation was under way into alleged bets made by a police constable from its royalty and specialist protection command.

Read more on this breaking news story here

06:05 PM BST

Jeremy Hunt: ‘I face a fight here’ as he battles for his seat

Jeremy Hunt has said that he faces “a fight” to win his seat at the general election, as he said that the country needs an “effective opposition” to Labour.

Polling has shown that Jeremy Hunt risks losing his seat to the Liberal Democrat challenger in Godalming and Ash, Surrey.

Mr Hunt told the BBC that he was knocking on doors for six hours a day, adding: “I do face a fight here - for sure”.

He said that his message to voters was “if you vote for Reform, Reform aren’t going to win. But the Lib Dems will win - you will have fewer centre right MPs in Parliament and fewer MPs who want to control migration, your MPs who want to reduce tax, and that isn’t what those voters want.”

He added: “It’s very important if Labour win, that they have an effective opposition in Parliament.”

05:47 PM BST

Watch: Conservative candidate in Clacton removes Reform UK posters covering his sign

05:38 PM BST

Starmer defends new billionaire supporters

Sir Keir Starmer has insisted that John Caudwell and Sir Jim Ratcliffe because they’re entrepreneurs and not because of “their own personal wealth”.

The Labour leader has come under fire for accepting the backing of the billionaire businessmen, including by Momentunm, the campaign group set up to support Jeremy Corbyn.

But Sir Keir has defended their support, as he said it showed that they are backing Labour “based on their experience of how you actually get the economy going”.

He told ITV1’s Peston: “They’re billionaires, but they’re saying we’re backing Labour because we’re entrepreneurs. We’ve run businesses successfully and we know what a plan for growth looks like. We know what wealth creation looks like. We know a serious plan about the jobs of the future. That’s why they’re backing us.

“They’re not backing us because of their own personal wealth. They’re backing us based on their experience of how you actually get the economy going. How you grow and move living standards up.”

05:21 PM BST

New Tory attack ad pictures leaders of Russia, North Korea and China ‘watching’ Starmer

A new Tory attack ad has suggested that Britain would be less safe under Sir Keir Starmer, as it pictures Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-un and Xi Jinping “watching” the Labour leader.

The Conservatives have repeatedly sought to portray themselves as the party of national security, having committed to reaching 2.5 per cent of GDP on defence spending by 2030 – a pledge unmatched by Labour.

Rishi Sunak had said earlier today: “In fact if Keir Starmer is elected, one of the first things he will do is head off to a Nato summit having cut British defence spending from the planned increases that I’ve announced.

“I think that sends exactly the wrong message, both to our allies, where we want to lead so that they invest more in their defence as well, but also to our adversaries, like Putin, and like the North Koreans, and actually we need to deter them with strength.”

But the ad was quickly criticised on social media, with Brendan Cox, the husband of murdered MP Jo Cox, writing on X of the Tories: “You should be better than this”.

05:06 PM BST

Labour candidate for Richmond reacts to Telegraph poll

The Labour candidate in Rishi Sunak’s seat has said that he is “fighting for every vote” after a major poll for The Telegraph predicted the Prime Minister would lose to him at the general election.

Mr Sunak is predicted to become the first sitting prime minister ever to lose their seat at a general election, losing to Tom Wilson in Richmond and Northallerton.

Responding to the poll, Mr Wilson said on X: “Most votes have not been cast yet. But polls and local results in May agree that Labour is best placed to beat the Conservatives in Richmond and Northallerton. I am fighting for every vote, and with your support, we can send a message to the Conservatives that cannot be ignored.”

05:01 PM BST

Labour’s fiscal rules are ‘phoney’ and the party must borrow says Sharon Graham

Labour has tied itself into “phoney fiscal rules” that have “straitjacketed” the economy, the general secretary of the Unite union has said.

Sharon Graham urged Labour to borrow money “for some of the things that we need to do in this country”.

She told Andrew Marr on LBC: “There is going to have to be an injection of cash. That is the reality. Of course, we’re going to have to look at other things too, but that is the reality, and they’re going to have to find that money from somewhere.

“The other thing that I think is really key here is the point they talk about growth, and I think they’ve tied themselves into these phoney fiscal rules that effectively we make, and we’re now straitjacketed in because if you invest, if you borrow to invest, that is a different type of debt if you borrow to invest.”

Ms Graham added: “And I think that we’ve sort of boxed ourselves in. So I’m really clearly saying to Labour, look, you need to borrow for some of the things that we need to do in this country.”

04:41 PM BST

Ed Davey claims rural Tory heartlands are turning to the Lib Dems

Sir Ed Davey has claimed that the Lib Dems are picking up votes in the rural Tory heartlands in the run-up to the general election, Ben Riley-Smith reports.

Speaking to The Telegraph, the Lib Dem leader said the Conservative slump outside of towns was being driven in part by deep frustration with NHS waiting times.

He said that his party finally has its “mojo” back and predicted it would overtake the Tories to become the “party of rural Britain”.

He indicated supporters of rival parties should consider lending him their votes to make it happen.

Read the full interview of the Liberal Democrat leader by The Telegraph’s Political Editor here

04:29 PM BST

Watch: Gary Neville appears alongside Starmer in Labour’s latest party political broadcast

Sir Keir Starmer has been joined by the former England defender Gary Neville in the latest Labour party political broadcast.

In a clip shared online by Labour ahead of the full broadcast being aired this evening, the football pundit asked Sir Keir: “Because you only came into politics nine years ago and you’re actually in a position now whereby you could in a few weeks be in the top position in the country. How has that happened?”

The full broadcast will air at 6:25pm on ITV1 and 7:25pm BBC1.

04:11 PM BST

Labour frontbencher says party should go ‘much much further’ on child poverty

A Labour frontbencher has said that the party needs to go “much much further” in tackling child poverty, as she was challenged over the two-child benefit cap.

Liz Kendall, the shadow work and pensions secretary said she knew there was “further to go” on addressing the problem, but said that Labour needed to be “honest” with the electorate about its promises.

Asked whether she found it difficult that Labour would not scrap the cap, Ms Kendall told the Evening Standard: “It’s a Tory policy and we voted against it and I am passionate about tackling child poverty.

“That’s why we have a commitment to a bold and ambitious cross-government strategy to tackle child poverty in our manifesto and that starts with free breakfast clubs in every primary school, a big warm homes initiative to make sure homes are insulated, our plans for a genuine living wage, our back to work plan and our plan to create more jobs.

She added: “Look, I know there’s much much further that we need to go, but we are also honest with people that we won’t make promises that we can’t keep, that we can’t show how we’ll deliver.

“That is a real priority for me, tackling child poverty. We’ve set out our first steps, but I know there’s further to go.”

03:51 PM BST

Labour will ‘lift Conservatives’ onshore wind ban’

Labour will lift the “Conservatives’ onshore wind ban in England” within days of coming to power, Ed Miliband has confirmed.

A spokesman for the shadow climate change secretary told the BBC that the current requirement for community concerns to be “appropriately addressed” would be removed “as soon as Parliament is sitting” if Labour enters government.

Mr Miliband spoke at an industry conference in Manchester this morning about Labour’s plans for clean energy.

He wrote on X: “The offshore wind industry is the beating heart of our mission to make Britain a clean energy superpower.

“If Labour wins on 4 July we will unleash a wave of investment in clean energy to cut bills, create good jobs and boost energy independence.”

03:30 PM BST

Pictured: George Galloway launches Workers Party of Britain manifesto

Leader of the Workers Party of Britain George Galloway holds a copy of the manifesto during his party's manifesto launch in Manchester
Leader of the Workers Party of Britain George Galloway holds a copy of the manifesto during his party's manifesto launch in Manchester - Anthony Devlin/Getty Images Europe

03:12 PM BST

Nigel Farage: ‘I was offered ten peerages and a knighthood to stand aside in 2019’

Nigel Farage has claimed that he was offered ten peerages and a knighthood for his party to stand aside at the 2019 election.

The Reform UK leader, who was then leading the Brexit Party, said he turned down the offer, calling it “corruption on the most extraordinary level”.

Mr Farage told The Sun that he had been offered by allies of Boris Johnson “ten peerages for the party, a knighthood for me”.

The leader said: “I wouldn’t take a peerage because I said I wouldn’t take a peerage under any circumstances.

He added: “And those that know me when this offer was made said they’d never heard me shout so loudly. I was that angry at total corruption.”

Mr Johnson has previously said that claims he offered peerages to the Brexit Party are “nonsense”.

03:01 PM BST

Politicians react to Just Stop Oil Stonehenge protest

02:51 PM BST

Pictured: Lucy Frazer campaigns alongside Lucia Hunt, Akshata Murty and Susie Cleverly

Lucia Hunt, wife of Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt, Akshata Murty, wife of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Secretary of State for Culture, Media, and Sport, Lucy Frazer and Susie Cleverly, wife of Home Secretary James Cleverly, in Fordham, Suffolk
Lucia Hunt, wife of Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt, Akshata Murty, wife of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Secretary of State for Culture, Media, and Sport, Lucy Frazer and Susie Cleverly, wife of Home Secretary James Cleverly, in Fordham, Suffolk - Chris Radburn/PA

02:40 PM BST

Lembit Opik lavishes praise on Reform and Nigel Farage

Lembit Opik, the former Liberal Democrat MP, has lavished praise on Reform UK and Nigel Farage.

“I think by far the best campaign has been run by Reform,” he told The Telegraph. “Compared to the other parties, Reform looks like an adult in a kindergarten.

“Farage has plausible charisma, he looks present, whereas the other ones look vacant. Farage is saying things which are really specific, for example junking net zero, which I find very attractive. There are really clear things that nobody else is saying.

“They are Premier League material in a third division election. I think Nigel has got the best natural leadership, from a theoretical point of view. It’s not going to happen this time, but it could happen in 2029 and as long as he had a good team, at least it would be a change.”

Mr Opik added he had not yet decided how he would vote on July 4, insisting he would need to consider his local candidates.

02:29 PM BST

Lembit Opik ‘frustrated’ with Lib Dems and Ed Davey’s campaign

Lembit Opik has said he is “frustrated” with the current Liberal Democrat campaign as he urged Sir Ed Davey to “junk the japes”, Dominic Penna writes.

Mr Opik, a former Lib Dem MP who also led the Welsh Liberal Democrats, criticised Sir Ed for a series of stunts which have seen him watersliding, building sandcastles and falling into a lake while paddleboarding.

“Ed Davey is frustrating and so is my old party,” he told The Telegraph. “I like the man, I used to share an office with him, but instead of a sincere alternative to the others, which the Lib Dems do well, he’s decided to fall into the water and do all of this paddleboarding.

”He’s squandering the airtime by making himself look like a joker. I believe the Liberal Democrats could have become the official opposition, but he doesn’t look like a leader and he doesn’t look like a prime minister in waiting. He looks like he’s running Ed Davey’s Flying Circus.”

02:20 PM BST

Farage ‘on course to win in Clacton’

Nigel Farage is on course to win the Clacton seat he is standing in on July 4, it has been claimed.

The Times reported that a poll carried out by Survation and commissioned by Arron Banks, the co-founder of the Leave.EU campaign, had put the Reform leader on 42 per cent, with the Tories trailing in second place on 27 per cent.

The Tories won the seat in 2019 with a majority of almost 25,000 votes.

Survation told the newspaper that such a swing in a seat would be “unprecedented in modern electoral history”.

02:13 PM BST

Tom Tugendhat expected to run for Tory leader after election

Tom Tugendhat, the security minister, is expected to run for the Conservative leadership if a contest is triggered next month by election defeat, The Telegraph understands.

Mr Tugendhat, a former soldier seen as being on the moderate wing of the party, won more votes than expected when he sought the leadership in the summer of 2022.

He is one of a handful of Conservatives said by colleagues to be keeping an eye on the race to replace Rishi Sunak as the polls all point to defeat.

You can read the story in full here

01:49 PM BST

Pictured: Sunak visits Sizewell nuclear power plant in Suffolk

Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister, visits the Sizewell B nuclear power facility in Suffolk today
Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister, visits the Sizewell B nuclear power facility in Suffolk today - Leon Neal /Getty Images Europe

01:37 PM BST

PM: Starmer’s defence stance would send ‘wrong message’ to UK’s adversaries

Rishi Sunak said Sir Keir Starmer would send “exactly the wrong message” to the UK’s adversaries, such as Russia and North Korea, as the Prime Minister highlighted differences between the Tories and Labour on defence.

Speaking to reporters in East Anglia, the Prime Minister repeated his concerns of an “axis of authoritarian states, including Russia, Iran, North Korea and China, who are increasingly acting together in a way that threatens our values, our interests and our security”.

He continued: “That’s why I made the decisions to increase investment in defence spending to 2.5 per cent of GDP, because we’re living in the most dangerous and uncertain time that our country has known since the end of the Cold War.

“Just from the conversations I’ve been having at the G7, and the Ukraine peace summit, that is a view that is shared widely across the world, that’s why it’s the right thing to do to invest more in our defence, to keep everybody safe.

“Keir Starmer has not matched that pledge and that deeply concerns me because the first duty of government is to protect the country.

“In fact if Keir Starmer is elected, one of the first things he will do is head off to a Nato summit having cut British defence spending from the planned increases that I’ve announced, and I think that sends exactly the wrong message, both to our allies, where we want to lead so that they invest more in their defence as well, but also to our adversaries, like Putin, and like the North Koreans, and actually we need to deter them with strength.”

01:08 PM BST

Sunak won’t be drawn on calls for Covid fine amnesty

Rishi Sunak said he was “not familiar” with a former Tory minister’s call for an amnesty for people convicted of Covid rule-breaking.

Asked whether he agreed with former justice secretary Sir Robert Buckland that the slate should be wiped clean for people sanctioned over breaches, he told reporters in East Anglia: “I’m not actually familiar with what Robert has said.”

Mr Sunak, who was fined for a Covid rule breach while serving as chancellor, said: “This election is about the future. Covid was a very difficult time for our country, right? And that was followed by a war in Ukraine … this election is about how do we build going forward.

“When it comes to Covid, it’s important we learn all the lessons of Covid and that’s why we have a full public inquiry.”

01:04 PM BST

Farage: Migrant Channel crossings a ‘national security emergency’

12:50 PM BST

SNP only focused on ‘constitutional wrangling’, claims Sunak

The SNP are only focused on “constitutional wrangling”, Rishi Sunak said following the party’s manifesto launch.

The Prime Minister told broadcasters: “All the SNP do is focus on constitutional wrangling. They’re the ones that aren’t focused on what people care about day to day.

“They have already made Scotland the highest tax capital of the UK, and if Labour are elected, they would just do the same, hike up everyone’s taxes, just like the SNP have done.

“A vote for anyone who’s not a Conservative candidate at this election is just a vote for higher taxes. I don’t want to see that happen. That’s not how you deliver financial security.”

12:39 PM BST

Sunak: Labour would ‘whack taxes up for everyone’

Rishi Sunak claimed a Labour government would “whack taxes up for everyone”.

The Prime Minister told broadcasters during a visit to the Sizewell nuclear plant this afternoon that a fall in inflation was a “very positive step”.

He said: “It shows that the plan we put in place is working. Inflation back to target. It was 11 per cent when I became Prime Minister.

“I said it was a priority to bring it down so that people can start now to feel an ease in the cost pressures that they have seen.

“It is because that plan has worked that we have been able to start cutting people’s taxes and this election is about the future. We want to build on this economic foundation that we now have and I want to keep cutting people’s taxes at every stage in their life.

“And in contrast Labour would reverse the progress that we have made and just whack taxes up for everyone and I don’t want to see that happen.”

12:33 PM BST

Muslim entrepreneur gives Reform biggest donation of campaign

A Muslim entrepreneur has donated hundreds of thousands of pounds to Reform UK, saying migrants who came to Britain legally are dismayed that “we have lost control of our borders”.

Zia Yusuf, who co-founded the luxury concierge app Velocity Black before selling it last year for £233 million, believes Nigel Farage alone has the policies to heal the “broken” country.

Mr Yusuf’s donation to Reform, the biggest of the election campaign so far, is a major coup for a party which faces regular accusations of racism from its critics.

You can read the full story here

12:27 PM BST

Sunak talking ‘nonsense’ on billionaires, says Starmer

Rishi Sunak was “talking nonsense” when he said billionaires switching to Labour could afford the tax hikes the party will introduce, Sir Keir Starmer has said.

The Prime Minister made the comment this morning in response to Phones4U founder John Caudwell and Manchester United co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe announcing they are supporting Labour.

Sir Keir told reporters on a campaign visit to Wiltshire: “He’s talking nonsense and not for the first time... Rishi Sunak should stop lecturing anybody else about the economy. Ask people as you meet them around the country as we do, ‘do you feel any better off now than you did 14 years ago?’ And there is a resounding ‘no’ to that question.”

12:21 PM BST

Pictured: Sunak visits Sizewell nuclear power station

Rishi Sunak and Therese Coffey, a Tory former Cabinet minister, visit the training control room at the Sizewell nuclear power station in Suffolk
Rishi Sunak and Therese Coffey, a Tory former Cabinet minister, visit the training control room at the Sizewell nuclear power station in Suffolk - James Manning/PA

12:15 PM BST

Starmer seeks to clarify ‘working people’ definition

Sir Keir Starmer has described himself as a “working person” as he expanded on his definition of “working people” as those who cannot “write a cheque when they get into trouble”.

He told reporters in Wiltshire: “The response of the Tories to this shows just how out of touch they are, of course people have savings.”

He added: “Of course, our definition covers people who’ve got savings, but it covers people who can’t just afford on top of that, to pay for other things. And nobody wants to use their savings to pay the bills of the day because the Government’s lost control of the economy.

“So, I’m afraid that’s an attack, which has backfired spectacularly, in terms of showing just how out of touch they are.”

Asked if he would consider himself a “working man”, Sir Keir said: “Yes. I’m a working person.”

He continued: “I come within my own definition of a working person, which is earning my living, paying my taxes and knowing what it means to save money, and when you do save money, not wanting to use that money to get out of a cost-of-living crisis which is of the Government’s making.”

12:11 PM BST

Starmer will support Scotland at Euros - unless they play England

Sir Keir Starmer has said he is supporting Scotland at the Euros, until they play against England.

The Labour leader told reporters in Wiltshire: “I want Scotland to win, and I will keep wanting them to win unless and until they get drawn against England, but until that point, actually, I want them to win the game.”

12:00 PM BST

Small boat numbers are ‘shocking’, says Starmer

The Labour leader said the number of people crossing the Channel in small boats was “shocking” after daily crossings hit a new record high for 2024 (see the post below at 09.59).

He told broadcasters in Wiltshire: “The number of people crossing the Channel now is shocking.

“It’s record numbers, as you rightly say, and this was Rishi Sunak’s pledge to the country 18 months ago, he would stop the boats – numbers have gone up.

“The way to bring this down – it has to be dealt with, this is a very serious issue – is what we would do, which is to set up a border security command to smash the gangs that are running this vile trade.”

11:58 AM BST

Starmer fails to rule out inheritance tax rise

Sir Keir Starmer has declined to rule out raising inheritance tax in the first term of a Labour government.

Asked whether he could rule it out, the Labour leader told GB News on a campaign visit to Wiltshire: “We’ve been really clear that we’re not raising income tax, national insurance or VAT.

“All of our plans are fully funded, don’t require tax rises over and above what we’ve already set out. And that is because we’re focusing on growing our economy.”

11:56 AM BST

Voters are ‘fed up’ with Tory economic message, says Starmer

Sir Keir Starmer said the public was “fed up” with the Government saying “everything is fine” with the economy after inflation fell to 2 per cent.

He told broadcasters in Wiltshire: “Inflation is now down to where it was three years ago. That doesn’t mean that for many people life’s suddenly got easier.

“So, yes, it’s back where it was three years ago, but that doesn’t mean that prices are coming down, it doesn’t mean that mortgages are coming down.

“If there’s one thing that’s been picked up on this campaign trail over and over again, it’s people being fed up with the Government sort of saying, ‘oh, you need to thank us now, we are turning a page, everything is fine’.

“Everybody here at Morrisons that we’ve been talking to, people across the country, don’t think it’s fine because they know that they are still paying the cost of the Government losing control of the economy.”

11:54 AM BST

Scottish Tories: SNP ‘obsessed’ with independence

The Scottish Tories claimed that independence was a higher priority than every other political issue for the SNP.

Responding to the SNP manifesto launch, Craig Hoy, the chairman of the Scottish Conservatives, said: “The SNP’s entire manifesto can be summed up in one word – independence. The first page is dedicated solely to splitting up Scotland from the rest of the United Kingdom.

“None of Scotland’s urgent priorities will get any focus from the SNP. For John Swinney, independence comes before the economy, the NHS and everything else.

“On July 4, if everyone who wants to beat the SNP votes Scottish Conservative in key seats, we can defeat the nationalists and end their obsession with independence for good.”

11:48 AM BST

Swinney: Labour will ‘pick up where the Tories left off’ on spending cuts

John Swinney warned ex-SNP voters who may be considering voting for the Labour Party in Scotland on July 4 to be “careful what you wish for”.

The SNP leader said: “People are desperate to get rid of the Tories. Absolutely desperate to get rid of this awful, awful Conservative Government and they are considering, and I put it no further than that, considering voting Labour .

“But I find it my duty to say to people ‘be careful what you wish for’ because the Labour Party is going to pick up where the Tories left off with spending cuts and that will be a disastrous outcome for Scotland.”

11:33 AM BST

SNP publish slimline manifesto

11:31 AM BST

SNP winning majority of seats on July 4 should trigger Indyref2, says Swinney

John Swinney said the SNP winning a majority of seats in Scotland on July 4 would be used by the Scottish Government to increase pressure on the UK Government to agree to holding a second referendum on independence.

The SNP leader said the general election represented a chance for voters to “ intensify the pressure to secure Scottish independence”.

Speaking in Edinburgh, he said: “If the SNP wins a majority of seats in this election in Scotland, the Scottish Government will embark on negotiations with the UK government to turn the democratic wishes of the people of Scotland into a reality.

“And the democratic wishes of the people of Scotland were expressed at the 2021 Scottish parliament election where... there is a parliamentary majority in favour of independence and in favour of a referendum on the question of independence.

“I have long made clear my view and it is my party’s view that the best way to secure independence is through a democratic referendum. The obstacle to that is the intransigence of the United Kingdom Government.

“So what this election gives people the chance to do is to intensify the pressure to secure Scottish independence and to bring that about by voting SNP in order for us to achieve a majority of Westminster seats at this election.”

John Swinney, the SNP leader, launches the party's manifesto at an event in Edinburgh this morning
John Swinney, the SNP leader, launches the party's manifesto at an event in Edinburgh this morning - Jeff J Mitchell /Getty Images Europe

11:24 AM BST

Swinney: No guarantee independent Scotland would succeed

There is no guarantee that an independent Scotland would succeed, John Swinney said.

Speaking in Edinburgh, the SNP leader said: “Of course, an independent Scotland like all countries would face challenges. Success would not be guaranteed.

“That would be determined by our own decisions as a country and the choices we make. But when we look at independent European countries similar to Scotland there are grounds for optimism and hope.”

11:21 AM BST

Power of democracy will deliver independence, says Swinney

Scottish independence will only be achieved through democratic means, John Swinney told SNP activists in Edinburgh this morning.

The SNP leader said: “With independence people in Scotland will always get the governments they vote for. That is how democracy should work.”

He added: “It is through the power of democracy that we will win our independence. There is no other way to do it.”

11:16 AM BST

Swinney accuses Westminster of ‘outrageous power grab’

The SNP will fight to lift the two-child benefit cap and to scrap the UK’s nuclear deterrent, John Swinney said.

Speaking in Edinburgh, the SNP leader claimed that Scotland had been the victim of an “outrageous Westminster power grab”.

He said any attempts to curb devolution “must stop”.

11:13 AM BST

Both Labour and Tories would oversee ‘eye-watering’ public service cuts, claims Swinney

John Swinney said the SNP is the “only party arguing for an end to spending cuts”.

The SNP leader said that under both the Tories and Labour there would be “eye-watering cuts”.

He called for the introduction of “new sensible fiscal rules that will end the cuts”.

John Swinney, the SNP leader, launches his party's general election manifesto in Edinburgh
John Swinney, the SNP leader, launches his party's general election manifesto in Edinburgh - Jeff J Mitchell /Getty Images Europe

11:10 AM BST

Swinney launches SNP manifesto: People ‘crying out for principled leadership’

John Swinney is now on his feet in Edinburgh as he launches the SNP’s general election manifesto.

The SNP leader said that “people are hurting” in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and society is going through “rapid change”.

He said that in an “atmosphere of turmoil” politicians needed to govern with the right values.

Mr Swinney said he believed that people are “crying out for principled leadership which is prepared to argue for what it believes in”.

11:08 AM BST

Labour blast Sunak after migrant crossings hit new daily high for 2024

Labour said Rishi Sunak was “presiding over the worst year our country has ever seen for Channel crossings” after a new daily record high was recorded yesterday (see the post below at 09.59).

Stephen Kinnock, the shadow immigration minister, said: “Far from stopping the boats, Rishi Sunak is presiding over the worst year our country has ever seen for Channel crossings, with an arrivals total yesterday higher than any day in the last 18 months.

“While he has focused all his efforts on trying to get 300 migrants sent to Rwanda, 40 times that many people have crossed the Channel already this year, the trafficking gangs have got ever richer and the amount the government is spending on hotels for asylum seekers remains stuck at £8 million a day.

“The Labour Party has a comprehensive plan to smash the gangs and end the use of hotels, with hundreds of specialist investigators using anti-terrorist powers under a new Border Security Command and the creation of a new Returns and Enforcement Unit to remove people from Britain who have no right to be here.”

11:01 AM BST

Reader poll: Who will win the general election?

The general election is now just 15 days away.

Which party do you think is going to win on July 4? You can have your say in our reader poll below:

10:53 AM BST

Coming up: SNP to launch manifesto

John Swinney will launch the SNP’s general election manifesto at an event in Edinburgh shortly.

We are expecting to hear from the SNP leader just after 11am.

You will be able to watch the event live at the top of this page.

10:49 AM BST

Three-fifths of voters expect Labour to raise capital gains tax, Telegraph poll finds

Three-fifths of voters expect Labour to put up capital gains tax, a poll for The Telegraph has found.

Some 60 per cent say they believe Sir Keir Starmer will increase the levy on profits, while 56 per cent think he will put up inheritance tax.

More than half – 53 per cent – think he will increase income tax, even though Labour’s manifesto specifically rules that out.

The survey for Savanta suggests that a third of the public (36 per cent) believe that taxation would generally be higher under a Labour government, compared to 22 per cent who say the same about a government led by Rishi Sunak.

You can read the full story here

10:38 AM BST

100 Tory seats are too close to call, latest poll finds

More than 100 Tory-held seats are “too close to call”, a new poll has found.

Labour has been projected to win 453 seats on July 4, in the latest poll by Ipsos, with the Conservatives winning just 115.

But the pollster also found that 117 seats were considered “too close to call” with a winning margin of less than five percentage points, more than 100 of which are held by the Conservatives.

You can read the full story here

10:30 AM BST

Pictured: Starmer and Reeves visit a supermarket during campaign stop in Wiltshire

Sir Keir Starmer and Rachel Reeves are pictured this morning during a visit to a Morrisons supermarket in Wiltshire
Sir Keir Starmer and Rachel Reeves are pictured this morning during a visit to a Morrisons supermarket in Wiltshire - Hannah McKay /Reuters

10:19 AM BST

Farage issues warning to Labour

10:12 AM BST

Last thing families need is ‘tax raising Labour government’, says Trott

Laura Trott renewed the Tories’ tax attacks on Labour this morning as the Chief Secretary to the Treasury said the “last thing families need now is an unaccountable tax raising Labour government with a big majority”.

The senior Tory said: “Keir Starmer has already said anyone who has savings is fair game for Labour’s £2,094 in higher council tax and other tax rises.

“Now Rachel Reeves has added family homes, pensions, and the other tax rises she used to propose to Labour’s tax targets. Labour think the British people will hand them a blank cheque, without saying what they would spend it on, or which taxes they will hike to pay for it.

“With inflation back under control, the last thing families need now is an unaccountable tax raising Labour government with a big majority, locked into power for a generation through votes for 16 year-olds, putting up council tax.”

09:59 AM BST

Migrant Channel crossings hit new daily high for 2024

Rishi Sunak received some good news for the Tory election campaign this morning in the shape of a fall in inflation.

The Tory campaign has now been handed some bad news.

The Home Office has just announced that 882 people were detected crossing the English Channel yesterday. That is the highest number on a single day so far this year.

09:57 AM BST

Compare and contrast: Sunak and Farage adopt different strategies on campaign events

General election campaigns take party leaders to all sorts of different locations as they travel far and wide in the hope of winning votes.

But often a theme emerges on the type of places and settings each leader prefers to visit.

Halfway through the current campaign and there are clear differences in the approaches taken by Rishi Sunak and Nigel Farage, for example.

'Meet Nigel Farage' town hall event held for locals in Clacton to hear directly from the Nigel Farage himself
'Meet Nigel Farage' town hall event held for locals in Clacton to hear directly from the Nigel Farage himself - Martyn Wheatley/i-Images Picture Agency

The Reform leader’s events and visits tend to be loud, often well-attended and visually striking.

Last night’s “Meet Nigel Farage” event in Clacton, the seat he is trying to win on July 4, is a good illustration of this.

But where Mr Farage is more of a showman, Mr Sunak tends to be more conservative with a small “c”, favouring more intimate visits and carefully coordinated photograph opportunities.

Like this one in Devon yesterday:

Rishi Sunak speaks to farmers as he campaigns on a farm near Barnstaple in North Devon
Rishi Sunak speaks to farmers as he campaigns on a farm near Barnstaple in North Devon - Leon Neal/Reuters

09:41 AM BST

Reeves refuses to rule out capital gains increase

Rachel Reeves has refused to rule out tax rises on pensions and capital gains, as well as reforms to inheritance tax.

The shadow chancellor said Labour “don’t need to increase any of those taxes”, but insisted she was “not going to write five years’ worth of budgets” when pressed on whether the levies could increase.

When it was put to her that she had advocated for a rise in capital gains tax, a cut to pensions tax relief and inheritance tax reform as a backbencher, she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Well, what’s happened since then, and that was many years ago now, is that the economy has stagnated living standards have declined, and so that’s why the number one mission of an incoming Labour government is to grow the economy.

“Because the way out of this is not more taxes or tinkering with tax rates. It is a wholesale reform of how our economy works, to encourage businesses to invest in Britain, to create jobs in Britain.”

09:23 AM BST

Labour’s definition of ‘working people’ includes pensioners, says Reeves

Rachel Reeves said Labour’s definition of “working people” includes pensioners and those with savings.

Labour has pledged that it will not increase taxes for “working people”.

Sir Keir defined that yesterday as “people who earn their living, rely on our services and don’t really have the ability to write a cheque when they get into trouble”.

Asked if that meant anyone with savings was not a working person, Ms Reeves told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “No, working people are people who get their income from going out to work every day, and also pensioners who have worked all their lives and are now in retirement, drawing down on their pensions.”

Pressed on whether that included people with savings, she said: “Many working people do have savings, but the truth is during the cost-of-living crisis loads of working people have had to run down those savings. They have very little left, very little to draw upon.”

Asked who was excluded from Labour’s definition of working people, Ms Reeves cited non-doms and private equity bosses.

09:20 AM BST

Stride: Labour could be on course for ‘largest majority virtually in the history of this country’

Mel Stride warned Labour could win the “largest majority virtually in the history of this country” if current polling holds until election day.

The Work and Pensions Secretary said the polls showed the Tories were a “long way behind” Labour but insisted the only poll that matters is the one on July 4.

Asked about recent comments by Grant Shapps that a Conservative victory on July 4 is “not the most likely outcome”, Mr Stride told the BBC: “Where Grant is absolutely right is that the polls have been stuck broadly in the same position for some time now.

“That shows us a long way behind Labour and, indeed, if you take those polls and extrapolate that into a result, you could end up seeing a Labour government with 450 or 460 seats, the largest majority virtually in the history of this country.

“And I think the question that Grant is servicing, which I think is a perfectly sensible question to ask, is that if that is where it goes – if the polls are right, and they stick where they are through to election day and that is the result – it is to some degree about what government colour you get, but it is also substantially about what kind of opposition you’re going to get.

“And whether you’re going to have a Parliament that is able actually to hold a government to account or not.”

Mr Stride added: “I don’t think we should assume that the polls are the same as the only poll that’s going to matter which is what happens on general election day.”

09:18 AM BST

Hunt: Labour could win power for a ‘very long time’

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said Labour could be in power for “a very long time” if Sir Keir Starmer won by a landslide.

He told broadcasters: “I think when people go to the polls, they will reflect on the dangers of Labour having such a big majority and then changing the rules by giving votes to people at the age of 16, giving votes to EU citizens, so that they’re here not just for a short time, for a very long time indeed.

“Compared to that, they will look at a Conservative government that hasn’t got everything right but took difficult decisions having inherited an economy that had higher inflation than nearly any of our major competitors.

“It is now lower, not just lower inflation but lower taxes, and soon hopefully lower mortgages as well.”

Asked if the Tories could win, he said: “Let’s see what happens on July 4. But what people will know when they go to the polls in just over two weeks’ time is that having inherited inflation that was higher than nearly any other major economy, it is now lower than America, lower than Germany, lower than France.”

It would be a “terrible shame to turn the clock right back and put up taxes on families with savings as it appears Keir Starmer wants to do”.

09:11 AM BST

Sunak promises Martyn’s Law before summer break if re-elected

Rishi Sunak was challenged by Figen Murray, mother of Manchester Arena bomb attack victim Martyn Hett, after he had promised her he would introduce Martyn’s Law before calling the general election.

The Prime Minister responded in an LBC radio phone-in: “If we’re re-elected, Parliament will re-form at the beginning of July and we’ll be able to introduce the legislation before summer recess.

“Before summer recess is what I told Figen and that will still be the case.”

He added: “I can understand why Figen would like to have seen this done even quicker, but it is important that it works properly. And that takes time to get right.”

It is “reasonable” to take the time to ensure the law is effective because “it will impact thousands and thousands of businesses”, he added.

09:08 AM BST

Sunak accepts he is ‘rich’

Rishi Sunak accepted he is “rich”.

A caller during an LBC phone-in this morning said that Mr Sunak was “richer than the King” as they suggested the Prime Minister could not understand how difficult it was at the moment for struggling families.

Asked if he accepted that he is “rich”, Mr Sunak replied: “Yes. I am very fortunate in my life, I have been. I am not going to apologise for that because my parents worked really hard to give me and my brother and sister a good life.”

Asked if he believed his wealth to be a political hindrance in terms of connecting with voters, Mr Sunak said: “People can see my actions.”

09:02 AM BST

Starmer would make UK ‘soft touch of Europe’ on immigration, says Sunak

Sir Keir Starmer would make the UK the “soft touch of Europe” on illegal immigration, Rishi Sunak claimed.

The Prime Minister told LBC: “If you care about stopping the boats, I am the only one who has got a plan to do it.

We have got, over the last 12 months the numbers are down, it shows you can make progress. But the only way to fully solve this issue is to have a deterrent so that if people come to our country illegally they won’t get to stay.

“And what I would say to everybody is when I was making my first speech on that I said where we lead others will follow. What we have now seen is multiple other European countries agree with our approach.

“The only person who doesn’t is Keir Starmer. He will release everyone we have detained, cancel the flights and that just means we will become the soft touch of Europe.”

08:57 AM BST

PM admits frustration over no pay deal with junior doctors

Rishi Sunak said it was “frustrating” a pay deal has not been able to be agreed between the Government and junior doctors.

He said ministers had been able to do deals with “every other part of the NHS workforce” after he was asked a question by a junior doctor during an LBC phone-in.

The Prime Minister said that if he was re-elected he would “sit down again with your union and find a way through”.

08:53 AM BST

Sunak insists he is a ‘friend’ of LGBT community

Rishi Sunak rejected the accusation that he was “anti-LGBT rights” after a caller during a phone-in on LBC claimed the Prime Minister had behaved “disgracefully” towards the trans community.

The Prime Minister said: “I am very sorry to hear that you feel that way, first of all... all I’d say is look, I don’t believe that at all. I care very much about making sure that people, whatever their backgrounds, are respected and treated with compassion and sensitivity.”

Asked if he was a “friend” of the LGBT community, Mr Sunak said: “Yes, of course I am.”

08:45 AM BST

Sunak: NHS waiting lists won’t be ‘resolved overnight’

Rishi Sunak said large NHS waiting lists were “not going to be resolved overnight” after the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

He told LBC: “We haven’t made as much progress on waiting lists as I would have liked.”

He insisted that waiting lists are “now coming down overall”.

08:40 AM BST

July 4 is ‘right moment’ for election, insists Sunak

July 4 is the “right moment” to hold a general election, Rishi Sunak insisted this morning.

It was suggested to the Prime Minister that the Tories could have been in a stronger position if he had waited until October or November.

But he told LBC that “this was the right moment to have an election” because he had delivered on his pledge to restore “economic stability”.

He said there was a “clear choice for people” on July 4.

08:37 AM BST

Tories will not return donations to Frank Hester

Rishi Sunak said the Conservative Party will not return any of the money donated to the Tories by Frank Hester amid an ongoing row over comments he is said to have made about Diane Abbott.

Asked during a phone-in on LBC if the Tories would return any of the more than £15 million donated, Mr Sunak said: “No. As I said, when someone apologises genuinely for what they have done and expresses contrition I think that should be be accepted and that is what happened in this case.”

08:30 AM BST

LBC caller accuses Sunak of ‘lying’ over housing reform

One caller to LBC claimed Rishi Sunak was “lying through his teeth” on promises of delivering housing reform.

The caller called Ellen said the Tories had achieved little since 2010 in terms of improving the housing sector and the rental market and “young people just don’t believe your promises anymore”.

Mr Sunak replied: “I am sorry you feel like that Ellen and I am probably not going to be able to convince you otherwise but we have actually made a difference in abolishing tenant deposit fees and that has made a difference to people and actually the quality of rental accommodation has gone up... there is obviously more work to do, I appreciate that, but if I am elected I will keep working hard to improve things for you and everyone else.”

08:14 AM BST

Sunak guarantees he will serve as MP for five years if Tories lose election

Rishi Sunak has promised he would serve as an MP for the whole of the next parliament if he loses the general election and stands down as Tory leader.

Asked the question during a phone-in on LBC, Mr Sunak said: “I have to win first and that is up to my constituents in Richmond but I hope very much I have the chance to represent them for another Parliament and I love doing that job and of course I will do that.”

08:12 AM BST

Sunak hits back at Caudwell and Ratcliffe after business figures back Labour

Rishi Sunak hit back at John Caudwell and Sir Jim Ratcliffe after the two senior business figures announced they were backing Labour.

The Prime Minister told LBC: “They are two of Britain’s richest men, they can probably afford Labour’s tax rises but for 10s of millions of people who are working really hard, they can’t.”

08:08 AM BST

Sunak refuses to rate Tory campaign out of 10

Rishi Sunak was asked how he believed the Tory campaign was going.

The Prime Minister said he was “energised” by going out into the country and

Told that the Tories had actually gone backwards in the polls since he triggered the general election, Mr Sunak replied: “The only poll that matters is the one on July 4.”

LBC presenter Nick Ferrari asked Mr Sunak how he would rate the Tory campaign out of 10 but he would not be drawn.

He said he was “not interested in those kinds of things” and “that is for the voters to judge on July 4”.

08:05 AM BST

Sunak welcomes ‘very good news’ after fall in inflation

Rishi Sunak is now taking part in a phone-in on LBC.

The first question was on the fall in inflation.

The Prime Minister said it was “very good news because the last few years have been tough for everybody”.

He said families were now starting to “feel the benefits” and the improving economic situation meant the Tories could look to cut taxes. He said he wanted to be “cutting people’s taxes at every stage of their life”.

07:59 AM BST

Sunak claims Labour would ‘push up inflation’

07:56 AM BST

Reeves broadens ‘working people’ definition after Starmer sparked tax rise fears

Rachel Reeves has broadened the Labour Party’s definition of “working people” after Sir Keir Starmer’s definition sparked fears of potential tax rises on millions of families.

Labour has pledged that it will not increase taxes for “working people”.

Sir Keir defined that yesterday as “people who earn their living, rely on our [public] services and don’t really have the ability to write a cheque when they get into trouble”.

His comments appeared to suggest that his manifesto commitment only applied to those who do not have money set aside.

But Ms Reeves told Sky News this morning: “It is people who go out and earn their money through work. That’s who working people are.”

Told that her definition appeared to differ to the one given by Sir Keir, the shadow chancellor said: “That is just one example and that is the people who have been hit hardest by the cost of living crisis.

“But working people are those people who earn their income through going out to work.”

Rachel Reeves, the shadow chancellor, is interviewed on BBC Breakfast this morning
Rachel Reeves, the shadow chancellor, is interviewed on BBC Breakfast this morning - BBC

07:46 AM BST

Cabinet minister: Boris Johnson ‘clearly an asset’ to Tory campaign

Boris Johnson is “clearly an asset” to the Tory general election campaign, Mel Stride has said.

The Work and Pensions Secretary told Sky News: “I think he is campaigning. I mean, I’ve been aware that he’s certainly been doing videos for specific candidates, writing endorsements, tens of thousands of letters are being sent out in his name, I think, as we speak.

“I think that in this modern way of campaigning, that’s probably quite an effective way of getting a message across.

“I mean, Boris is clearly an asset to the campaign, he clearly chosen to get involved and he’s clearly urging people to vote Conservatives.”

07:42 AM BST

Truss economic aspirations were ‘absolutely right’, says Stride

Liz Truss’s economic aspirations were “absolutely right”, Mel Stride has said.

The Work and Pensions Secretary was asked about Jeremy Hunt reportedly saying the former prime minister’s plans were a “good thing to aim for”.

Mr Stride told Sky News this morning: “I think in terms of the aspirations that Liz had, which were to get taxes down, and recognising that low tax generally means growth, and I think that’s absolutely right.

“I mean, I was very clearly on the record at the time as chair of the Treasury select committee having considerable doubts about the way in which that particular policy or aspiration was pursued.

“So, I think Jeremy is absolutely right though that what we’ve got to do now is continue to bear down on taxes.”

07:40 AM BST

Tories did not have ‘crystal ball’ on election timing, says Stride

Mel Stride would not say if calling the election in July was the right decision but said the Tories did not have a “crystal ball” to predict the future.

The Work and Pensions Secretary was told during an interview on Times Radio that polling and analysis had suggested the Tories could end up with just 115 seats, with Labour on 453.

Asked if calling the election on July 4 was the “right decision”, Mr Stride said: “I think it would be wonderful in life if one had a crystal ball and you could look at the counterfactuals and weigh up those two possibilities with what you have actually decided to do.

“The reality is we have seen inflation coming down to 2 per cent today. I think that was one of the key pledges that the Prime Minister made…”

07:38 AM BST

YouGov to publish second MRP poll at 5pm

YouGov will publish its second MRP poll of the general election campaign this afternoon at 5pm.

Its first major poll and analysis of how many seats each party could win was published on July 3.

That poll suggested Labour was on course to win 422 seats, with the Tories sinking to just 140.

07:25 AM BST

Stride: Sunak would have been criticised regardless of which election date he picked

Mel Stride suggested Rishi Sunak would have been criticised regardless of which date he picked for the general election amid suggestions he may have made a mistake by choosing July 4.

It was suggested to the Work and Pensions Secretary that if the Tories had waited until November to hold the election the Rwanda scheme could have been operational, potentially allowing Mr Sunak to say that he had delivered on his pledge to “stop the boats”.

Asked if in retrospect July was the right choice, Mr Stride told Times Radio this morning: “I think if we decided not to have an election now the question you would be putting to me is why are you hanging on, everybody is calling for a general election and so on.

“So I don’t think you could win either way on that one. But in terms of Rwanda and the boats, we have set it up and it is ready to go and it will work.”

07:05 AM BST

Boost for Sunak as inflation falls

Rishi Sunak has been handed a general election campaign boost this morning after official figures revealed a fall in the rate of inflation.

The rate of Consumer Prices Index inflation fell to 2 per cent in May, down from 2.3 per cent in April, according to the Office for National Statistics.

It is the first time inflation has returned to the Bank of England’s 2 per cent target in nearly three years.

07:01 AM BST

Labour chair refuses to rule out fiscal event before summer

A Labour frontbencher refused to rule out the party holding a summer Budget if the party wins power on July 4.

Anneliese Dodds, the Labour chair, refused to be drawn on the issue amid speculation Rachel Reeves could call a swift fiscal event in order to hit the ground running.

Asked the question during an interview on Sky News, Ms Dodds said: “Well, I’m going to have to say something before I answer that question, which is that barely any votes have been cast. Postal votes are only just starting to land now. So, you know, still lots of people who don’t know. We’re getting up and down the country to have that conversation with them.

“If we are given that chance to serve, the very first thing that we will do for our economy is that first economic step that Keir and Rachel set out before the general election was even called.”

Labour’s first step, as set out on the party’s pledge card, is to “deliver economic stability”.

Asked again when the next fiscal event could be, Ms Dodds said Ms Reeves will be thinking “very carefully” about it.

06:48 AM BST

What is happening in the general election campaign today?

It’s Rishi Sunak’s turn for a grilling by LBC’s Nick Ferrari this morning on the second of the station’s special election phone-ins.

The Prime Minister will then head to East Anglia, where he will take questions from journalists as the Tories step up their tax attacks on Labour.

Mr Sunak’s wife Akshata Murty is also out campaigning with Lucia Hunt and Susie Cleverly, the wives of Jeremy Hunt, the Chancellor, and James Cleverly, the Home Secretary.

Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, and Rachel Reeves, the shadow chancellor, are off to a supermarket in the South West, where Ms Reeves will reiterate the party’s pledge to make Britain a clean energy superpower by 2030.

Daisy Cooper, the Lib Dem deputy leader, is out in one of the party’s key target seats.

And it’s a big day for the SNP, as the party launches its manifesto in Edinburgh. Anas Sarwar, the Scottish Labour leader, and Jonathan Reynolds, the shadow business minister, are also out campaigning north of the border.

06:42 AM BST

Tory campaign is ‘confused’ and in a ‘muddle’, says Portillo

The Conservative Party’s general election campaign is “confused” and in a “muddle”, according to Michael Portillo.

The former Tory MP said the party’s campaign messaging was not clear.

He told GB News: “Recently the Conservatives’ campaign has looked confused over whether they hope or aim to win the election or whether their message to electors is that they should avoid giving Labour a super majority.

“One result of this muddle is that the Conservatives will not know where to invest their campaigning efforts.

“Can they be seen to abandon seats that have traditionally been regarded as marginal but which may already be lost, to put resources into seats traditionally thought to be safe where the Conservative candidate is in fact now in mortal danger.”

06:35 AM BST

Tories keep ‘interrupting Labour whenever it makes mistakes’, says Portillo

Michael Portillo criticised the Conservative Party’s general election campaign as he said the Tories keep “interrupting Labour whenever it’s making mistakes”.

The former Tory Cabinet minister and now TV presenter said the Conservatives had faced an “uphill battle” ever since Rishi Sunak triggered the contest on July 4.

He told GB News: “For the Tories, ever since the soggy election announcement by the bedraggled Prime Minister in Downing Street, it’s been an uphill battle.

“Given Labour’s lead in the polls, perhaps it might have helped the Tories to focus on Sir Keir Starmer’s party, especially what it’s going to do and how it’s going to pay for it.

“But the Conservatives seemingly can’t help but make the campaign about themselves, interrupting Labour whenever it’s making mistakes, and blurting out policy announcements.”

06:33 AM BST

Michael Portillo: Many Tories could suffer ‘Portillo moments’ on July 4

Michael Portillo warned many Tory candidates could “suffer the same fate” as he did in 1997 on July 4.

The so-called “Portillo moment” was one of the defining moments of the 1997 general election as the Tory cabinet minister was ousted by Labour.

The result in the early hours of the morning was viewed as a key sign that Labour was heading for a crushing landslide victory.

Mr Portillo told GB News: “It seems that many Conservative incumbents could suffer the same fate [as he did in 1997].

“They know already that over the last five years of Tory government people have ceased to listen to what their party has to say.

“I rather assume that whilst half the party talks of winning and the other half warns of an upcoming Labour super majority the voters will shut their ears to both.”