Labour promises to fix one million extra potholes a year

Sir Keir Starmer vowed to fix the 'plague' of potholes
Sir Keir Starmer vowed to fix the 'plague' of potholes - John Keeble/Getty Images

A Labour government would fix one million extra potholes a year, Sir Keir Starmer has pledged.

The opposition leader said the number of road craters in need of repair across the country was a “plague” as he promised to tackle the issue if elected on July 4.

Contractors filled in just over two million potholes last year but the RAC estimates there are still around a million potholes at any given time as British roads continue to crumble.

The policy would be funded with existing government cash as well as £320 million by deferring the A27 bypass in West Sussex, which the party says offers poor value for money.

In an interview with The Sun newspaper, Sir Keir said: “There’s a pothole plague. Go anywhere in the country and everybody knows the problem about potholes. If you’re a driver and you hit a pothole, that’s going to cost you a fortune to get a repair done.

“And if you’re a tradesperson or a business or running a van or whatever it may be, a vehicle to work with, you’re not only paying for the repair, you’re then out of action for however long it takes to repair your van or vehicle or whatever it may be.

“If you’re a cyclist and you hit it, you’re likely to risk serious injury. So it is a plague, it’s across the country, we’re going to fix it.”

Potholes in Wrenbury on Station Road
Local councils paid more than £22.7m in compensation for damage from potholes in 2023 - Paul Cooper

Sir Keir vowed a future Labour government would “roll our sleeves up and end the plague of the potholes”, saying: “I want to be able to look those drivers in the face and say we’re getting on with it.”

Recalling his first family car, his father’s Ford Cortina, he added: “I love driving. I still do drive but I love it. Not as much as I would like. And I’m as irritated by the potholes as everyone else, by the way.”

Labour said it was also putting in place long-term measures to remove planning barriers, in order to deliver road infrastructure projects more quickly.

Some critics will question how far the Labour plans go. A report by the Asphalt Industry Alliance last year found it would cost £14 billion to fix all of the potholes in the UK, up from £12 billion the previous year.

It also warned that one fifth of all roads across the country would be undrivable within the space of five years unless action is taken.

Pro-driver policies

Pro-driver policies have become a battleground of the general election, with the Conservatives pledging to “end Labour’s war on motorists”.

The Tory manifesto includes a promise to ban mayors and local authorities from introducing pay-per-mile road pricing.

Any new 20mph zones or low-traffic neighbourhoods would have to be put to a referendum, while there would be a new “right to challenge” existing active travel schemes.

The Conservatives would also reverse Sadiq Khan’s expansion of his ultra-low emissions zone (Ulez) to outer London.

The pothole crisis reached a post-pandemic high this year, with the number reported to councils at its highest since 2020.

This figure is the equivalent of more than 2,700 being flagged to authorities every single day.

The south east of England is the worst area for potholes, the insurance comparison site found, while residents in some areas of the UK are being forced to wait more than 18 months for them to be fixed.

More than four million drivers have made insurance claims as a result of pothole damage to their vehicles, although councils can also be claimed against as they are responsible for road maintenance.

Local authorities paid out more than £22.7 million in compensation in 2023, with the average payout totalling £347.

10:06 PM BST

That’s all for today...

Thank you for joining The Telegraph’s live coverage of day 19 of the general election campaign.

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

10:05 PM BST

Tory manifesto ‘very cautious’, says Kwarteng

The Conservatives should have adopted a “bolder” manifesto, Kwasi Kwarteng has said as he warned the party’s promises were unlikely to “shift the dial” of the election campaign, writes Dominic Penna.

Mr Kwarteng, a former Chancellor, suggested the party’s promises would be seen as “small beer” in the absence of major tax measures beyond pledges to cut National Insurance.

He told GB News: “I think that it was very cautious and I saw that Nadhim Zahawi, who was a colleague, and indeed my predecessor as Chancellor, writing in The Daily Telegraph that we should have looked at scrapping inheritance tax.

“I think there needed to be something bolder, perhaps, something that would actually shift the dial in the campaign.”

Mr Kwarteng added: “I think he’s made a very good attempt, the Prime Minister, to try and balance the commitments.

“But the problem with all of this is that given what happened last week, given what’s going on, this could be regarded as small beer. I think people will have expected something a bit more dynamic.”

09:44 PM BST

Watch: Audience member attacks SNP’s Swinney

09:32 PM BST

Eric Clapton endorses pro-Palestine independent against Starmer

Eric Clapton has endorsed a pro-Palestine independent candidate running against Sir Keir Starmer.

The rock star, 79, said he and Pink Floyd bassist Roger Waters were backing Andrew Feinstein’s bid to become MP for Holborn and St Pancras, the Labour leader’s constituency.

Writing on X, formerly Twitter, Mr Clapton said: “Along with my dear friend Roger Waters, I stand in support of Andrew Feinstein, independent candidate for Holborn and St Pancras, in his fight for the children of Gaza, for the freedom of the people of Palestine, and for the soul of the human race... Against the genocide in Gaza... For love and Truth.”

Mr Feinstein, a former MP in South Africa for Nelson Mandela’s ANC, is a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn.

09:25 PM BST

Tory manifesto ‘not enough’, say Lib Dems

The Conservative manifesto is “not enough” to make up for the party’s record in Government, the Liberal Democrat Christine Jardine has said.

She told Sky News that voters are “not even listening because of so many broken promises”.

09:00 PM BST

Give us a second referendum, Scottish Greens demand

The Scottish Greens have demanded Anas Sarwar commit the Labour Party to giving Scotland a second referendum on independence.

Co-leader Lorna Slater said: “You said it yourself, it’s for the people of Scotland to decide, so will you respect our democratic mandate and allow us a referendum on independence?”

Mr Sarwar said he did not support independence.

Lorna Slater speaking during the debate
Lorna Slater speaking during the debate - Jane Barlow/PA Wire

08:56 PM BST

Sarwar: Election is about removing Conservatives, not independence

This election is about removing the Conservatives from power and not achieving independence, Anas Sarwar said.

Addressing the BBC debate, the Scottish Labour leader also made a plea to those who support independence.

“I don’t support independence, I don’t support a referendum, but I can understand why so many people across Scotland were looking for an escape route from a Tory Government,” he said.

08:41 PM BST

Labour will introduce austerity, Swinney claims

The Labour Party will introduce “austerity” if Sir Keir Starmer wins the general election, John Swinner has claimed.

The SNP leader said: “The austerity we are facing in Scotland is direct product of austerity cuts from the United Kingdom Government and Anas Sarwar is going to prolong those cuts within Scotland if his party win the election.”

Mr Sarwar interjected: “In 23 days’ time the Tories could be gone if people vote Labour. They could be gone, and we can start changing our country.”

But Mr Swinney said the Tories would only “be replaced by an austerity-wielding Labour government”.

John Swinney and Anas Sarwar clash at the debate
John Swinney and Anas Sarwar clash at the debate - Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

08:34 PM BST

Labour will be in power for a ‘very long time’ if you don’t vote for me, says Sunak

Rishi Sunak has warned that voters must back him at the general election or the Labour Party will be in power for “a very long time”.

Speaking as he launched the Conservative manifesto, the Prime Minister said: “Do not forget that Keir Starmer is asking you to hand him a blank cheque, when he hasn’t said what he’ll buy with it, or how much it’s going to cost you.

“If Labour win this time, they’ll change the rules so that they are in power for a very long time.”

He added: “So if you don’t know what Labour will do, don’t vote for them.”

Mr Sunak has promised £17 billion of tax cuts in a bid to win re-election.

08:33 PM BST

Labour vows to fix one million potholes a year

The Labour Party has vowed to fix one million potholes every year, claiming it would save drivers as much as £250 in lower repair costs and also reduce car insurance prices.

Louise Haigh, the shadow transport secretary, said “drivers have been totally failed by this Conservative government”.

She added: “Labour is the only party truly on the side of drivers.”

08:25 PM BST

No austerity under Labour, Sarwar insists

There will be “no austerity” if Labour is elected at the general election, Anas Sarwar has said.

The Scottish Labour leader said: “Let me say unequivocally there will be no austerity under a Labour government.

“We saw the consequences of Tory austerity on this country, and how it devasated local budgets. And we also saw the consequences of austerity imposed by John Swinney when he was finance secretary.”

Mr Sarwar said “Tory economic carnage” meant the average mortgage in Scotland had gone up by over £2,000 in the last year, with household bills and energy bills also rising.

He later added, imitating Bill Clinton: “Read my lips. No austerity under Labour.”

Anas Sarwar at the BBC's Scottish leaders' debate
Anas Sarwar at the BBC's Scottish leaders' debate

08:15 PM BST

End the SNP’s ‘independence obsession’, Ross urges

If the SNP wins the General Election in Scotland, it will “claim every seat as a mandate for independence”, outgoing Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross has said.

In his opening statement at the BBC debate, Mr Ross did not reference his decision this week to announce he would stand down after the July 4 vote, instead saying: “If the SNP win, they’ll claim every seat as a mandate for independence.

“They’ll be distracted from the local issues you care about most.

“So in key seats up and down Scotland, if everyone who wants to beat the SNP votes together for the Scottish Conservatives, we can end their obsession with independence for good.”

Douglas Ross at the Scottish leaders' debate
Douglas Ross at the Scottish leaders' debate

08:12 PM BST

Westminster to blame for Scotland’s problems, claims SNP

Westminster is to blame for Scotland’s problems, the Scottish National Party has claimed.

“Spending cuts, Brexit and the cost of living have all hit people hard,” First Minister John Swinney told the BBC’s leaders’ debate.

“Each is a product of decisions made in Westminster. As your First Minister I want to deliver the best future for Scotland. The SNP has doubled front line funding for the NHS, expanded childcare and protected free tuition and free prescriptions.

“But Westminster still holds most of Scotland’s purse strings. Independent experts are warning that Labour and the Conservatives are not being straight with you about massive spending cuts that are to come.

“We’re arguing for no more cuts and to reverse Brexit so we can raise living standards. Independence would give us the power to address all of these issues.”

08:07 PM BST

Scottish party leaders’ debate begins

A debate of the Scottish party leaders has started on the BBC.

The debate is featuring the SNP’s John Swinney, the Scottish Conservatives’ Douglas Ross, Scottish Labour’s Anas Sarwar, the Scottish Liberal Democrats’ Alex Cole-Hamilton and the Scottish Greens’ Lorna Slater.

08:05 PM BST

Tories should have tried harder with manifesto, Labour jibes

The Conservatives should have tried harder when drawing up their manifesto, a Labour shadow minister has jibed.

“I kind of wish they would try harder, to be honest,” Darren Jones, the shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, told Sky News’ Politics Hub with Sophy Ridge programme.

There’s £71 billion of unfunded policy commitments over the course of the next Parliament and then you look at the numbers, how they think they might pay for some of these things, and they’ve not even tried.

“If you look at tax avoidance, for example, they’ve just gone in each year, in terms of billions, two, three, four, five, six, with no plan for how they’re going to raise it.

“It’s like they’ve literally just gone on the keyboard, two, three, four, five, six..”

07:53 PM BST

Anti-Farage protesters had ‘minds poisoned at university’

Protesters against Nigel Farage have had their minds “poisoned” at school and universities, the Reform UK leader has claimed.

Speaking at a rally in Great Yarmouth, Mr Farage said: “I have to say politics, it would appear, is worse five years on than when I left it. I genuinely believe that our democratic process is directly under threat.

“What happened to me in Clacton last week, when a young woman threw a milkshake in my face, and then the mob violence that we saw in Barnsley today is an attempt to stop me speaking. It’s an attempt to stop us campaigning. It’s an attempt to crush democracy.

“It is worrying, it is frightening and it’s noticeable that most of the people there today were young men and women either at or freshly out of our university system. Their minds are being poisoned, in school, in university, and it’s plain wrong.”

07:48 PM BST

Tory manifesto has ‘brought campaign alive’, claims ex-No 10 press chief

The Conservative manifesto is “starting to bring this campaign a little bit more alive”, Boris Johnson’s former director of communications has said.

Guto Harri told Sky News’s Politics Hub with Sophy Ridge programme: “In the end, this is about values.

“This is about if the money is available, would you actually spend it on benefits or would you spend a disproportionate amount on people who work hard and deserve to be rewarded more generously?

“And that is opening a genuine ideological divide here which he’s done very subtly at the moment but that’s the signal that’s being sent out there.

“And I think it’s starting to bring this campaign a little bit more alive.”

07:37 PM BST

‘I will not surrender to the mob’, vows Farage

Nigel Farage has vowed “I will not surrender” after being attacked on a campaign visit.

The Reform UK leader had objects thrown at him on Tuesday morning as he toured Barnsley on his party’s general election battle bus.

Speaking at a rally in Great Yarmouth, Mr Farage said: “It is not nice or pleasant to be subjected to violence. I’m not paid for that.

“But I will not surrender. I will not give in to the mob. I will go on fighting for what I believe to be right.”

South Yorkshire Police arrested a man at the scene on suspicion of a public order offence.

07:32 PM BST

Tories are tax cutters despite overall tax burden set to increase, says minister

The culture secretary has insisted that the Conservatives are a tax-cutting party despite the tax burden being set to increase under the Tory manifesto.

Lucy Frazer told Sky News’s Politics Hub with Sophy Ridge programme: “We’ve managed to find tax cuts from what the position would otherwise be and I think it’s really important to state this.”

Sophy Ridge interjected: “It’s going up less quickly but it’s still going up.”

Ms Frazer went on: “It’s going to come down by one per cent, year-on-year-on-year from what it was projected to be.

“And the important thing is, the really important thing, Sophy, is that Labour are not offering any of those tax cuts and instead of that they are offering tax rises.

“So people’s taxes will go up by at least £2,000 if they vote for Labour and we get a Labour government and I think that is a really important distinction to make between our manifesto and what we’re going to hear from Labour.”

07:05 PM BST

Tories on just 10 per cent in Hartlepool three years after Johnson’s by-election victory

The Conservatives could win just 10 per cent of the vote in Hartlepool three years after Boris Johnson’s Tories won a by-election victory in the seat.

A poll of 448 voters in the seat for The Economist by WeThink puts Labour on 58 per cent, Reform UK on 23 per cent and the Tories on 10 per cent.

The Conservative victory in the seat in 2021 was the first time the party had ever won there and a rare by-election victory for a party in Government.

Sir Keir Starmer even considered quitting as Labour leader in the aftermath of the defeat, according to Tom Baldwin’s biography of him.

06:38 PM BST

Poll: Farage tipped as better opposition leader than Sunak

More people believe Nigel Farage would be a better leader of the opposition than Rishi Sunak, a poll has found.

Redfield & Wilton found that 28 per cent said the Reform UK leader would be the best opposition leader, followed by the Prime Minister on 27 per cent and Sir Ed Davey on 14 per cent.

“Someone else” received 12 per cent and 19 per cent did not know.

The poll surveyed 10,000 adults and was conducted from Friday to Monday.

06:28 PM BST

In pictures: Farage attacked on Barnsley campaign visit

A man launched a coffee cup at the Reform UK battle bus on which Nigel Farage was travelling on Tuesday
A man launched a coffee cup at the Reform UK battle bus on which Nigel Farage was travelling on Tuesday
The Reform leader was visiting Barnsley, where his party is looking to take both Barnsley North and Barnsley South from the Conservatives
The Reform leader was visiting Barnsley, where his party is looking to take both Barnsley North and Barnsley South from the Conservatives

06:13 PM BST

Ross apologises to Scottish Conservative voters

Douglas Ross has apologised to Scottish Conservative voters for the last few days of his campaign not being “good enough”.

Mr Ross said he would quit as party leader and as MSP for the Highlands and Islands on Monday after being selected for the new Westminster seat of Aberdeenshire North and Moray East.

But he has been dogged by controversy because he had previously committed to leave Westminster and only be an MSP. The seat’s former Tory MP, David Duguid, was also barred from standing after an illness, but he said he was well enough to contest the election.

“It’s been a very challenging few days and I’m not trying to ignore that or run away from that,” he said.

He added: “I’m sorry this has not been good enough. It’s not how I planned the campaign. I didn’t expect to be announcing that I would be standing down during the middle of the campaign.”

06:02 PM BST

Pollster: Tories with majorities of 20,000 or less are in trouble

Sitting Conservative MPs with majorities of up to 20,000 are at risk of losing their seats at the general election, a veteran pollster has said.

Frank Luntz told Times Radio’s How to Win an Election podcast about a briefing he gave to the backbench 1922 Committee in July last year.

“I said that if you had a majority of 15,000 [votes] or less, you’re in real trouble,” he said. “And you know what, I was wrong. It’s 20,000 and you’re in real trouble.”

A majority of 20,000 has historically been seen as a comfortably safe seat for an MP to defend.

Those with majorities of that size include schools minister Damian Hinds (19,696), deputy foreign secretary Andrew Mitchell (19,272) and former Prime Minister Theresa May (18,846).

05:41 PM BST

Craig Mackinlay: I wish I could take on Nigel Farage again

“Good to see you in one piece,” shouts a motorist, giving a cheery wave as he drives past Craig Mackinlay, writes Chief Reporter Robert Mendick.

The outgoing Tory MP is out and about for the first time in his former constituency, a little over seven months after having both arms and both legs amputated after contracting sepsis.

“With a few bits missing,” responds Mr Mackinlay, with a broad smile. He holds up his hands to show what he means.

In place of one is a new bionic hand, whose artificial fingers he can manipulate into a grip. On the left hand is a hardened lump of black plastic that’s good, in his words, only for “fighting and smashing windows”. Its bionic replacement had been causing a lot of pain and has been left at home.

Read the full story here.

Craig Mackinlay canvassing in his former seat of South Thanet with Tory candidate Helen Harrison
Craig Mackinlay canvassing in his former seat of South Thanet with Tory candidate Helen Harrison - Steve Finn for The Telegraph

05:23 PM BST

In full: LatestYouGov poll

05:04 PM BST

Tories only one point ahead of Reform, poll finds

Reform UK has closed the gap on the Conservatives in the polls to just one point.

A new YouGov poll put Nigel Farage’s party on 17 per cent, just one point behind the Conservatives on 18 per cent.

Reform have gained one point and the Conservatives have lost one point from the results in YouGov’s poll last week, from 16 and 19 per cent respectively.

Labour remains in the lead but is down three points to 38 per cent, whereas the Lib Dems have surged by four points to 15 per cent following the launch of their manifesto.

The poll was conducted on Monday and Tuesday this week.

04:57 PM BST

Starmer attacked for The Sun adverts

Sir Keir Starmer has been attacked by one of his own MPs after Labour paid for advertisements on The Sun’s website.

Kim Johnson, who is standing for election in Liverpool Riverside, said: “When he was seeking support to be the leader of the Labour Party, Keir stood in my constituency and pledged that he would not write in ‘The Scum’ newspaper.

“So myself, [Liverpool] Riverside residents and the whole city will now be very disappointed that he has broken his promise to boycott.

“By U-turning on this pledge, he fails to recognise just how deep the hurt runs in this city.”

The Sun is boycotted on Merseyside because of its reporting on the 1989 Hillsborough Stadium disaster, in which 97 Liverpool FC supporters died.

04:49 PM BST

Reform membership up 50 per cent since Farage’s return

Reform UK membership has increased by almost 50 per cent since Nigel Farage became leader last week, it has been reported.

Figures shared with ITV News showed almost 14,000 people have joined Reform in the last seven days, increasing membership by 45 per cent to more than 45,000.

Each new member pays £25 to join, meaning £350,000 has been raised in the past week.

04:46 PM BST

Tories accuse Reeves of ‘confusing facts and fiction’

The Conservatives have hit back at Rachel Reeves, accusing her of “confusing facts and fiction on numbers”.

A party spokesman said: “Once again Reeves is confusing facts and fiction on numbers.

“Rachel Reeves’s chaotic and panicked dossier is full of complete nonsense and capped off with the extraordinary claim that it will cost the taxpayer £5.7 billion to cut the civil service back to pandemic levels.

“Most substantially, Labour’s position is that it is not possible to save a single penny from the welfare budget. This kind of thinking is why they have ended up with a £38.5 billion black hole and need to raise taxes by £2,094 per working household.”

04:43 PM BST

Reeves refuses to commit to lowering tax burden

Rachel Reeves has refused to commit to lowering the tax burden by the end of the next Parliament if Labour are elected at the general election.

“I won’t make any commitments unless I know where the money will come from,” she told a press conference in central London.

Rachel Reeves speaking in central London on Tuesday
Rachel Reeves speaking in central London on Tuesday - Lucy North/PA Wire

04:40 PM BST

Coming up on The Daily T

04:38 PM BST

Reeves: Sunak ‘cosplaying Liz Truss’

Rachel Reeves has claimed that Rishi Sunak is “cosplaying Liz Truss”.

“He said he was the antidote to Liz Truss,” the shadow chancellor said.

“Instead, he’s cosplaying Liz Truss by again doing what the Conservatives did in that mini-budget with £71 billion of unfunded commitments.”

Asked whether a Labour government would raise some taxes, Ms Reeves said: “I want taxes to be lower. I wake up every morning not thinking how I can raise taxes, but how I can grow the economy.”

The Labour Party has released social media mock-ups of a merged Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss
The Labour Party has released social media mock-ups of a merged Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss - @UKLabour

04:36 PM BST

I will not put up fuel duty, says Reeves

Rachel Reeves has suggested she will not increase fuel duty if she is Britain’s next Chancellor, saying “jude me on my record”.

The shadow chancellor told a press conference in central London: “Every time that fuel duty has threatened to go up, we’ve opposed it.

“We’ve supported the freezes in fuel duty every time during the course of this parliament.

“Indeed, I backed The Sun’s campaign to freeze fuel duty ahead of the last Budget and pushed the Government to do just that.”

04:21 PM BST

Reeves: ‘Gaslighting’ Conservatives are ‘tax risers not tax cutters’

The “gaslighting” Conservatives are “tax risers” not “tax cutters”, Rachel Reeves has said.

“The Conservatives have increased taxes to their highest level in 70 years,” the shadow chancellor told a central London press conference.

“They increased taxes 26 times in the course of this Parliament, so the Tories are gaslighting people.

“They are not tax cutters, they are tax risers.

“Taxes have risen under the Conservatives and, indeed, according to the Office for Budget Responsibility taxes are due to rise in each of the next five years of the forecast.”

04:10 PM BST

Tory manifesto contains £71bn of unfunded commitments, Reeves claims

Rachel Reeves has claimed that the Conservative manifesto contains £71 billion of unfunded commitments.

“Over the last four-and-a-half hours we have gone through the Conservative manifesto line by line,” the shadow chancellor said in a speech in central London.

“They claim that their plans are fully funded and fully costed. Analysis that we have conducted since publication has identified £71 billion of unfunded commitments over the course of the next Parliament.

“The consequence of an increase in day-to-day borrowing to fund the commitments made in this manifesto would amount to a second Tory mortgage bombshell because higher borrowing at this scale would force the Bank of England to increase interest rates.

“The result would be an increase in the average mortgage totalling £4,800 over the course of the parliament.”

She added: “The Conservatives are gaslighting you, and no one will believe their claims.”

Rachel Reeves speaks at a press conference in central London
Rachel Reeves speaks at a press conference in central London

04:05 PM BST

Reeves begins speech by dismissing Tory manifesto as ‘desperate wishlist’

Rachel Reeves has dismissed the Conservative manifesto as a “desperate wishlist of unfunded promises from a weak Prime Minister”.

“We know where these sorts of unfunded promises from Conservative Party prime ministers lead,” the shadow chancellor said in a reference to Liz Truss’s premiership.

“They lead to higher mortgages, leaving you and your family worse off. They’ve done it before and their manifesto today is proof that they will do it all over again.

“This is a recipe for five more years of Tory chaos which will leave British people paying the price.”

04:01 PM BST

‘Money is not there’ for Tory manifesto, Labour claims

At Rachel Reeves’ press conference in London, Labour aides have handed out a dossier called “Tory manifesto: The money’s not there”, Dominic Penna reports.

It claims the Conservative offering at this election is a “desperate wish list of unfunded promises”, claiming it will raise family mortgages by £4,800.

“It is a recipe for five more years of Conservative chaos,” it reads, before setting out “five significant mistakes” in Tory costings.

The attack file claims £12 billion in welfare savings do not add up, tax avoidance pledges do not have the necessary pledges, national service “costs at least double what they have assumed”, the money “is not there” from scrapping poor university courses and there is a further £1 billion black hole in a proposal to save money from Government agencies.

03:58 PM BST

Reeves to deliver ‘withering verdict’ on Tory manifesto

Journalists have assembled in a conference room in central London ahead of remarks by Rachel Reeves, writes Political Correspondent Dominic Penna.

The shadow chancellor is set to deliver a withering verdict on the Tory manifesto that was set out by Rishi Sunak this morning.

But Ms Reeves will also face scrutiny on her and Sir Keir Starmer’s own vision for the country in a question-and-answer session with journalists following her short speech.

She is to speak from a platform emblazoned with Labour’s one word campaign slogan ‘change’, while there is a Union Flag each side of the podium.

03:48 PM BST

Starmer criticised for comparing ‘uncosted’ Tory manifesto to Jeremy Corbyn’s – which he backed

Sir Keir Starmer has been criticised for comparing the “uncosted” Tory manifesto to Jeremy Corbyn’s which he backed before taking over as leader, Political Reporter Genevieve Holl-Allen writes.

The Labour leader has been accused of “chutzpah” and “attacking his own side” with his remarks as he supported Mr Corbyn’s manifestos in 2017 and 2019 when serving as a shadow minister.

Speaking to journalists about the Conservative manifesto outside a school in Teesside, Sir Keir said: “We are being absolutely clear that all our plans are fully costed. We will not be increasing income tax, National Insurance, no tax increases for working people.

“None of our plans require tax rises. This is coming from a party that’s put tax at the highest level for 70 years, and they’re building the sort of Jeremy Corbyn-style manifesto where anything you want can go in it, none of it is costed.”

Read the full story here.

03:40 PM BST

Cleverly clashes with Maitlis: ‘How many doors do you knock on a week?’

James Cleverly clashed with Emily Maitlis as she put it to him that “it feels like people have stopped listening” to the Conservatives.

Speaking to The News Agents podcast, the Home Secretary replied: “No. How many doors do you knock on in a week?

Ms Maitlis interjected: “Tell us about you.”

Mr Cleverly went on: “No, no. How many doors do you knock on in a week? How many? Give it a nice round number.”

Ms Maitlis replied: “We’re not campaigners, okay, so we don’t knock on doors. We do talk to voters.”

Mr Cleverly said: “I’ve spoken to hundreds this week, so when you say, ‘People are saying this’, well, I’m telling you what people are saying.”

03:32 PM BST

Tory manifesto a ‘declaration of war’ on workers, claims union chief

A union chief has claimed that the Conservative manifesto is a “declaration of war” on workers’ rights.

Matt Wrack, the Jeremy Corbyn-supporting general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), attacked Rishi Sunak for not vowing to repeal anti-strike laws that guarantee minimum service levels.

The current president of the Trades Union Congress said: “The Tory manifesto is a further declaration of war on trade unions and workers’ rights.

“The minimum service legislation seeks to effectively ban firefighters and other workers from going on strike to defend their jobs, wages and employment conditions.

“It’s outrageous that the Tories are planning to continue to use this highly authoritarian and dictatorial law to attack trade unions if they are re-elected.”

03:18 PM BST

Sunak promises total of £17bn in tax cuts

Rishi Sunak has promised £17 billion of tax cuts in the Conservative manifesto.

Estimates provided by Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ) put the total cost of the promised tax cuts over the next Parliament at £17.2 billion.

Halving employee national insurance contributions is the most expensive at £10.3 billion, followed by the abolition of self-employed NI contributions at £2.6 billion and increasing the tax-free pension allowance at £2.4 billion.

Doubling the threshold for paying high income child benefit tax charge (HICBC) to £120,000 will cost £1.3 billion, abolishing stamp duty for first-time buyers £590 million, and the suspension of capital gains tax when landlords sell houses to their tenants £40 million.

Mr Sunak has put tax cuts at the centre of his re-election campaign in a bid to draw a dividing line between him and Sir Keir Starmer.

03:16 PM BST

Watch: Tories ‘accelerating’ at Silverstone, Gove tells The Daily T

03:01 PM BST

Farage: Barnsley ‘mob’ would have hospitalised me

Nigel Farage has said a “mob” would have hospitalised him if he had stepped off the Reform UK battle bus in Barnsley this morning, Neil Johnston reports.

The party leader was visiting South Yorkshire on a campaign visit when a man, who has since been arrested, threw two objects at him.

“Had I got off that bus, I’d probably be in a hospital,” Mr Farage said at a factory in Ashfield, Notts. “That’s how nasty this is. You know, and I had a similar incident that took place last week.

“There was an attempt to shut me down, there was an attempt by a violent Left-wing mob, who by the way, didn’t come from Barnsley.

“They had names like Jocasta and Sebastian and mommy and daddy are very rich and they live in Cheshire and Surrey. They are the sort of people that go on Just Stop Oil protests and all the rest of it.”

Nigel Farage speaks at Boneham and Turner Ltd, a tools manufacturer in Barnsley, South Yorkshire
Nigel Farage speaks at Boneham and Turner Ltd, a tools manufacturer in Barnsley, South Yorkshire - DARREN STAPLES/AFP

02:53 PM BST

Conservatives to ban mobile phones during school day

The Conservatives would ban mobile phones during the school day and ensure parents can see what their children are being taught especially on “sensitive matters like sex education”, reports Political Correspondent Amy Gibbons.

The party would aim to “transform” post-16 education by introducing a new Advanced British Standard, bringing together academic A-levels and technical T-levels.

It has also pledged to create a further 100,000 apprenticeships by 2029, paid for by scrapping “poor quality” degrees.

Both primary and secondary schools would be required to deliver two hours of PE every week. To boost recruitment, new teachers in priority areas and sought-after subjects would receive bonuses of up to £30,000 tax-free over five years from September 2024.

02:39 PM BST

IFS: Average earners’ taxes at lowest in 50 years

The taxes of average earners are at their lowest level in half a century and will decrease further if the Conservatives are re-elected, the director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies has said.

Paul Johnson told Sky News: “It is already the case that despite the high level of taxes overall, taxes on people on average earnings today are probably the lowest they’ve been in 50 years and the proposals, if implemented, that the Conservatives have here will bring those taxes on people on average earnings down even further.

“So there is a big gap between what is happening in the economy as a whole – people on high incomes, companies are paying a lot more tax, people on average earnings are not.”

02:30 PM BST

Good afternoon

Tim Sigsworth here, taking over from my colleague Jack Maidment for the rest of the day.

02:24 PM BST

Telegraph readers respond to Tory manifesto

Rishi Sunak will be hoping the new Tory manifesto will deliver a boost to the Conservative Party and help it to gain ground on Labour.

But how has the policy blueprint been received by Telegraph readers?

Today’s live blog comments section is full of reaction. Here is a selection of some of it:

02:21 PM BST

Pictured: Farage and Anderson out on the campaign trail in Ashfield

Nigel Farage and Lee Anderson meet members of the public while on the campaign trail in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire
Nigel Farage and Lee Anderson meet members of the public while on the campaign trail in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire - Dominic Lipinski /PA

02:17 PM BST

Sunak ‘very happy’ college students learning maths

Rishi Sunak told students at a technical college he was “very happy” that they were learning maths.

On a visit to Silverstone University Technical College, he rolled up his sleeves and donned a pair of safety glasses as he spoke to several young people using different machines who said they were taking classes in a number of subjects.

“You’re taking maths alongside? I’ve heard a lot of that. Very happy to hear that,” he said.

02:10 PM BST

Sunak tries his hand at using a lathe during visit to college after manifesto launch

Rishi Sunak tried his hand at using a lathe as he met students at a technical college in Silverstone.

The Prime Minister said “brilliant” after being shown by one of the students how to turn on the machine.

He told one Year 12 student that the Conservatives were planning to create more apprenticeships, to which the student replied: “Good idea, Rishi.”

02:06 PM BST

Tory manifesto silent on potential cuts to unprotected services

The Institute for Fiscal Studies’ Paul Johnson said the Tories’ manifesto “remains silent” on where public spending cuts could fall in unprotected Whitehall departments to fund more money for protected ones like defence.

The think tank director said: “What the manifesto did not tell us was where the £10 to £20 billion of cuts to spending on unprotected public services, as implied by the March budget, might come from.

“Indeed, the billions of savings from cutting civil service numbers and the rest noted in the manifesto have been earmarked to fund the additional defence spending, and would come on top of those cuts.

“This manifesto remains silent on the wider problems facing core public services – and if you think those civil servants, management consultants and quangos were delivering anything, these plans imply an even tougher time than set out back in March.”

01:54 PM BST

IFS sceptical Tory savings can be delivered

The Institute for Fiscal Studies said it was sceptical that savings identified by the Tories to fund tax cuts would come to fruition.

Paul Johnson, the director of the think tank, said the savings identified were “uncertain” and “unspecific”.

He said: “The Conservatives have promised some £17 billion per year of tax cuts, and a big hike in defence spending.

“That is supposedly funded by reducing the projected welfare bill by £12 billion; cracking down on tax avoidance and evasion; and saving billions from cutting civil service numbers, reducing spending on management consultants, and ‘quango efficiencies’. Those are definite giveaways paid for by uncertain, unspecific and apparently victimless savings. Forgive a degree of scepticism.”

Mr Johnson also said the plan to scrap NI payments for the self-employed would “further entrench the tax advantages of self-employment over employment”.

01:44 PM BST

Tory manifesto a ‘desperate wishlist’, says Labour

Labour frontbencher Jonathan Ashworth described the Tory manifesto as a “desperate wishlist” and the “most expensive panic in history”.

The shadow paymaster general told Sky News: “What we have just heard from Rishi Sunak is a desperate wishlist. The most expensive panic in history. A set of commitments he cannot fund, from savings he cannot find because the money is simply not there after 14 years of the Conservatives.

“And the reality is the consequence of these unfunded commitments, the consequence of the money not being there would be five more years of chaos for working families.”

01:39 PM BST

Man arrested after objects thrown at Nigel Farage

A 28-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of public order offences after objects were thrown at Nigel Farage on the general election campaign.

The Reform UK leader was on top of a party battle bus in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, this morning, when a cup was thrown, narrowly missing him.

A man in a red hoodie could be seen shouting from a work site below, before reaching into a bucket and throwing something else, which also missed.

Workmen appeared to then haul the man from the site and he ran off, before police officers tackled him.

South Yorkshire Police said: “We have arrested a 28-year-old man on suspicion of public order offences following disorder in Barnsley town centre today.

“It is believed that the man threw objects from a nearby construction area. A suspect was quickly detained and remains in police custody.”

01:26 PM BST

Tory tax cuts ‘do not go far enough’, says Taxpayers’ Alliance

The Taxpayers’ Alliance campaign group said the Tory manifesto does not go far enough in cutting taxes.

John O’Connell, chief executive of the TPA, said: With the tax burden on course to hit an 80 year high, Brits of all ages are looking for concrete measures to get runaway spending under control and fundamentally reform the tax system to deliver the economic growth the country needs. Cuts to National Insurance and changes to stamp duty will be welcome, but do not go far enough.

“The harsh reality is that squeezed taxpayers cannot wait years to feel relief.

“Should the Conservatives manage to stay in office, they must focus on tackling the nation’s growing debt, wasteful spending, record tax burden, and suffocating regulatory regime.”

01:20 PM BST

Labour: Tory manifesto is ‘recipe for five more years of Tory chaos’

Labour claimed the Conservative Party’s manifesto was a “recipe for five more years of Tory chaos”.

Pat McFadden, Labour’s national campaign coordinator, said Rishi Sunak’s policy blueprint was “stuffed full of unfunded spending commitments”.

He said: “This Conservative Manifesto is a recipe for five more years of Tory chaos. After 14 years in power, the Prime Minister’s desperate manifesto published today is stuffed full of unfunded spending commitments.

“The Prime Minister that was brought in to be the antidote to the chaos of Liz Truss has instead become the next instalment of the same thing.

“Tory desperation leads to costs for the British people. The public is still paying the price of the Conservatives crashing the economy. Now they promise a repeat if they win again leading to higher mortgages and a weaker economy.

“After today the choice at this election could not be clearer: five more years of chaos with the Conservatives or stability and growth with Labour.”

01:16 PM BST

Average self-employed worker could save £1,346 under Tory plan

A self-employed worker on an average salary would save £1,346 per year under the National Insurance proposals unveiled by Rishi Sunak, according to analysis by wealth manager Quilter.

Meanwhile, those with profits of £60,000 could save £2,262, writes Charlotte Gifford. 

Shaun Moore, of Quilter, said: “The policy would therefore alleviate a tax burden, potentially freeing up funds for reinvestment in self-employed businesses, which could foster innovation and growth. However, the broader economic impact may be muted. The total number of self-employed individuals, while significant, constitutes a fraction of the overall workforce.”

01:08 PM BST

The Tory manifesto at a glance

  • Cut National Insurance: Employee NI would be cut by a further 2p, taking the tax to 6 per cent by April 2027.

  • Help for self-employed: Abolish the main rate of self-employed National Insurance entirely by the end of the next Parliament.

  • Pension protection: A guarantee that both the state pension and the tax free allowance for pensioners always increases with the highest of inflation, earnings or 2.5 per cent so the new state pension doesn’t get dragged into income tax.

  • No new net zero charges: A Tory government would roll out no new green levies or charges while also cutting the cost of going green for consumers.

  • National Service: Mandatory National Service would be introduced for all school leavers at 18, with the choice between a placement in the military or civic service roles.

  • School mobile phone ban: The use of mobile phones during school day would be banned.

  • Boost for MoD: Defence spending as a proportion of GDP would rise to 2.5 per cent by 2030.

  • Migration cap: A legal cap on migration would be introduced to ensure it falls every year.

  • Greater protection for women and girls: The Equality Act would be amended to better protect female-only spaces and competitiveness in sport.

12:56 PM BST

Lib Dems: Tory manifesto ‘isn’t worth the paper it’s written on’

The Liberal Democrats claimed the Tory manifesto “isn’t worth the paper it’s written on”.

Daisy Cooper, the party’s deputy leader, said: “Rishi Sunak got one thing right in this speech: people are frustrated with him and the Conservative Party. This manifesto isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. No one will believe anything they’re promising today.

“From his D-Day disservice to a Formula One flop, Rishi Sunak’s Conservatives have packed their campaign with desperation and lies.

“After years of taking people for granted, the Conservatives have overseen crumbling hospitals, sewage scandals and a cost of living crisis like no other. It’s time for a change.

“Frankly, it’s astonishing that they managed to sit politely in a room and agree with each other for long enough to publish something.”

12:52 PM BST

Sunak unable to say how many monthly Rwanda flights he wants to see

Rishi Sunak declined to set a figure for how many Rwanda flights he wanted to see taking off each month.

The Prime Minister said: “We have deliberately not [set out a figure publicly] because we don’t want to compromise operational security but I have been very clear that it is not just about one flight.

“You do need a regular rhythm of flights because you need to build that deterrent.”

Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister, unveils the Tory manifesto at an event at Silverstone today
Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister, unveils the Tory manifesto at an event at Silverstone today - James Manning /PA

12:47 PM BST

PM: Choice on tax between Tories and Labour ‘crystal clear’

Rishi Sunak was told that a recent poll had found Labour was more trusted than the Tories on cutting taxes.

Asked if he had destroyed the Tories’ reputation when he was chancellor, Mr Sunak said: “I am very proud of my record as chancellor.”

He said the Tories were a “responsible party” willing to take difficult decisions when they are needed, like putting up taxes after the pandemic.

But he said the choice at the election will be “crystal clear” between a Conservative Party wanting to cut taxes and a Labour Party wanting to put them up.

12:42 PM BST

Tax burden will fall by one percentage point a year under Tory tax plans, says Sunak

Rishi Sunak said the overall tax burden would fall by one percentage point every year under the plans set out in the Conservative Party’s general election manifesto.

Asked if he could guarantee that overall taxes would be lower after another five year Tory term, the Prime Minister said: “Because of the measures that are announced in the manifesto and you can see the document afterwards, the tax burden will be about one percentage point lower in every single year compared to the forecast that you saw at the spring Budget a couple of months ago.”

12:38 PM BST

Tory leader: Voters can trust me to deliver on pledge to cut taxes

Rishi Sunak was asked why anyone should believe his pledge to bring taxes down given the fact that the tax burden has ballooned on the Conservative Party’s watch.

The Prime Minister hit back and said: “Simple because we already have.”

He conceded that he had taken “difficult decisions after Covid” due to the state of the public finances and that he had no choice but to increase taxes at that time.

But he said that now the economy has turned a corner the Tories can bring down the tax burden.

“Yes, people can trust me when I say we are going to keep cutting their taxes,” he said.

12:34 PM BST

Analysis: The two big omissions from the Tory manifesto

It is worth taking a look at what is not in the Tory manifesto. Two big ones jump out on this front, writes Ben Riley-Smith. 

There is no promise to cut or abolish inheritance tax. That is despite it being seriously considered by Downing Street for more than a year.

Indeed there is also no pledge to cut income tax. The Prime Minister has chosen to focus again on National Insurance for cuts, what he has dubbed a “tax on work”.

The Conservative Party manifesto is handed out at a launch event in Silverstone
The Conservative Party manifesto is handed out at a launch event in Silverstone - Victoria Jones /Shutterstock

And then there is the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Some Tories on the Right and Nigel Farage, the Reform leader, want the UK to leave the Convention.

Rishi Sunak has not gone that far. Instead there is a loose conditional - “if” a foreign court blocks Rwanda deportation flights then something else could follow. We are not told what.

12:32 PM BST

Starmer asking voters for ‘blank cheque’, claims Sunak

It was suggested to Rishi Sunak that the Tory manifesto represented his “last chance saloon”.

Asked why he believed the document would help to boost the Conservative Party’s electoral fortunes, Mr Sunak said he believed the economy had “turned a corner” and pointed to plans to cut National Insurance.

He said the Tories had already taken “bold action” and there was more to come.

Mr Sunak said: “There is a clear choice at this election. We are the only party putting bold action on the table to transform our country.

“Labour have nothing to say about the problems our country faces and how best to address them. Nothing. Keir Starmer is asking for a blank cheque and he will not tell people which taxes he is going to put up that are ultimately going to cost them £2,000.”

12:28 PM BST

Sunak asked why he was not bolder on quitting ECHR

Rishi Sunak is now answering questions from members of the media.

Mr Sunak was asked why he was not bolder in the Tory manifesto and why he had not given a concrete commitment to leaving the ECHR if it blocks Rwanda flights after his hint earlier today (see the post below at 12.04).

The Prime Minister referred to the comments he made in his speech and repeated that if he was forced to choose between the flights and the foreign court he would “choose our country’s national security every single time”.

12:25 PM BST

Tory manifesto will deliver ‘secure future’, says Sunak

Concluding his speech in Silverstone, Rishi Sunak said: “Your Conservative MP will deliver lower taxes, lower immigration, protected pensions and a sensible approach to net zero.

“Our country wants a clear plan and bold action. Our country needs a secure future and it is this Conservative manifesto that will deliver it.”

12:23 PM BST

Sunak concedes voters are ‘frustrated’ with him and with Tories

Rishi Sunak said he was “confident and optimistic” about the UK’s future but admitted he was “not blind to the fact that people are frustrated with our party and with me”.

He said the Tories had “not got everything right” but he believed the Conservatives were the only party with the “big ideas to make our country a better place to live”.

12:19 PM BST

Analysis: NI cut for self-employed a ‘very Sunak move’

The scrapping of the self-employed National Insurance main rate is the big reveal in this manifesto, with No 10 insiders pointing eyes towards that, writes Ben Riley-Smith. 

“A tax abolished and enterprise encouraged,” the Prime Minister declared with a flourish when he unveiled the surprise tax cut.

It feels a very Rishi Sunak move, building on his financial background and his belief in business innovation driving forward the British economy.

12:17 PM BST

Sunak vows greater protection for women and girls

The Equality Act would be amended by a new Conservative government to deliver greater protections to women and girls, Rishi Sunak said.

Speaking in Silverstone, the Tory leader said: “We will protect women and girls by guaranteeing single sex spaces through an amendment to the Equality Act to make it clear that sex means biological sex.”

12:15 PM BST

Tories pledge to build 1.6m new homes in next five years

The Conservative Party would deliver 1.6 million new homes in the next parliament, Rishi Sunak pledged.

This would be delivered by increasing development on brownfield sites, the Prime Minister said.

Mr Sunak also promised to abolish stamp duty entirely for first time buyers on properties up to the value of £425,000 while a new Help to Buy scheme would be rolled out to make it easier to get onto the property ladder.

12:13 PM BST

Sunak: State pension ‘simply isn’t safe with Labour’

The Tories would ensure that “the state pension is never dragged into income tax”, Rishi Sunak said.

He said Labour would not make the same commitment and as a result a voter’s pension “simply isn’t safe with the Labour Party”.

12:10 PM BST

Sunak pledges further 2p cut to National Insurance

Rishi Sunak confirmed the Tories would bring forward a further 2p cut to National Insurance, bringing it down to six per cent.

He said: “We will keep cutting taxes in the coming years meaning that by 2027 we will have halved National Insurance to six per cent, that is a tax cut worth £1,300 to the average worker.”

He also reiterated that the Tories wanted to eventually completely abolish the double taxation of NI.

He also said the Tories would “scrap entirely” the main rate of self-employed National Insurance.

Mr Sunak argued that the NI self-employed move would help to foster a “culture of enterprise”.

12:07 PM BST

Families ‘cannot afford’ a Labour government, says Sunak

Rishi Sunak repeated the Tory claim that Labour would put up taxes by more than £2,000.

The Prime Minister said: “Families cannot afford that and it is our job to make sure that does not happen.”

12:04 PM BST

Sunak hints he is willing to take UK out of ECHR if it blocks Rwanda flights

Turning to immigration, Rishi Sunak hinted he would be willing to take the UK out of the European Convention on Human Rights if it blocks the Tories’ Rwanda flights.

The Tory leader said that the migrant deportation flights “will depart in July, establishing the deterrent that will stop the boats”.

He said that if the Tories were “forced to choose between our security” and the jurisdiction of a foreign court “we will always choose our nation’s security”.

12:02 PM BST

Sunak takes aim at Labour over failure to match Tory defence pledge

Rishi Sunak highlighted a Tory pledge to increase defence spending to 2.5 per cent of GDP by 2030 and pointed out that Sir Keir Starmer and the Labour Party are not matching it.

He said that the UK is facing “increasing threats and we must show our enemies that this country with our allies will stand strong”.

The Prime Minister claimed it was only the Conservatives who could keep the nation safe.

Rishi Sunak launches the Tory manifesto at Silverstone
Rishi Sunak launches the Tory manifesto at Silverstone - James Manning /PA

12:00 PM BST

Tory manifesto a ‘clear plan’ to deliver success for UK, says Sunak

Rishi Sunak said he believed Britain can “out compete the best in the world”.

He said the Tories wanted to see “more British success stories” as he started to set out the Tories’ policy plans.

The Prime Minister said the Tory manifesto represented a “clear plan for the United Kingdom”.

11:58 AM BST

Sunak vows to abolish NI for self-employed

Rishi Sunak has unveiled plans to abolish National Insurance payments for almost all self-employed people if the Tories win the election.

At the launch of the Conservative Party’s manifesto in Silverstone he said more than nine in 10 self-employed people - some four million workers - would be exempted from the tax.

He said the announcement was “a further downpayment” on his party’s long-term plan to abolish the levy entirely, which it calls a double tax on work.

The Tories also pledged to cut employee National Insurance by a further 2p, taking it down to 6 per cent by April 2027.

Away from taxation, Mr Sunak repeated his hint that he would be willing to take the UK out of the European Convention on Human Rights if it blocked his Rwanda flights.

And on net zero, the Prime Minister promised to cut the cost for consumers, guaranteeing that the Tories would introduce no new green levies or charges.

Mr Sunak also promised to deliver 1.6 million new homes over the next five years, abolish stamp duty for first time buyers on homes with a value of up to £425,000 and to introduce a new Help to Buy scheme.

11:55 AM BST

Pictured: Akshata Murty claps as Tories launch election manifesto

Akshata Murty claps at the Tory manifesto launch in Silverstone
Akshata Murty claps at the Tory manifesto launch in Silverstone - Victoria Jones/Shutterstock

11:54 AM BST

Starmer ‘taking the Great British public for chumps’, claims Houchen

Ben Houchen, the Tory Tees Valley Mayor, is the second person on the main stage to introduce Rishi Sunak.

Mr Houchen said that with a Labour government there would be “no aspiration, no positivity and no plan for our future”.

The senior Tory Claimed Sir Keir Starmer was “taking the Great British public for chumps” by failing to set out in detail Labour’s plans for power.

Mr Houchen warned the nation would face “armageddon” if Sir Keir wins power on July 4.

11:46 AM BST

Gillian Keegan introduces Rishi Sunak at Silverstone

Gillian Keegan, the Education Secretary, is introducing Rishi Sunak at Silverstone.

Ms Keegan said the Tories have had a “clear plan” to improve the nation’s schools and to boost apprenticeships.

The Tory Cabinet minister said Mr Sunak had taken “bold action” on education reforms to deliver on the “central goal in education, giving young people the best chance in life”.

“We have invested in Britain’s future,” she said.

Gillian Keegan, the Education Secretary, introduces Rishi Sunak at the Tory manifesto launch at Silverstone
Gillian Keegan, the Education Secretary, introduces Rishi Sunak at the Tory manifesto launch at Silverstone - Victoria Jones/Shutterstock

11:43 AM BST

Sunak’s Cabinet arrives for manifesto launch

Rishi Sunak’s Cabinet ministers have just arrived and taken their seats.

We should be underway imminently.

11:38 AM BST

Sunak running late

Rishi Sunak is running a little late.

We had been expecting proceedings to kick off at 11.30am at Silverstone but we are still waiting to see the Prime Minister.

The PM is expected to speak for about 15 minutes.

11:33 AM BST

Tory manifesto launch a ‘critical moment’ - Sunak to speak shortly

My colleague Ben Riley-Smith is at Silverstone this morning and he has just sent across this update:

Hello from Silverstone where the Tories are about to launch their election manifesto. Expect plenty of puns about whether the campaign can move out of second gear in the press conference that will follow.

It is a critical moment in this contest. The Prime Minister has less than four weeks to turn around the polls, which have Labour an average of 21 points ahead.

What to expect? There will be tax cuts, promises of help to get people on the housing ladder, moves to appeal to pensioners, a vow to tighten the welfare system.

A lot of policy announcements have already been moved forward to earlier in the race. Are there still big rabbits to be pulled out of the manifesto hat? Let’s see.

11:26 AM BST

Tory manifesto launch set to get underway

The stage is set and the audience is settled in Silverstone for the Tory manifesto launch.

Rishi Sunak should be on stage in about five minutes’ time.

The Prime Minister will unveil his party’s policy plans in front of the slogan: “Clear plan, bold action, secure future.”

11:22 AM BST

Starmer defends plan to ban sale of energy drinks to under-16s

Sir Keir Starmer has defended his party’s proposal to ban the sale of energy drinks to under-16s against claims of “nanny-state” interference.

Speaking at a campaign visit to the Whale Hill Primary School in Middlesbrough, the Labour leader told broadcasters: “The state of the nation can be measured in many respects by the health of our children. It’s in a terrible place.

“I was shocked, genuinely shocked, to learn that more children go into hospital to have their teeth taken out between the ages of six to 10 than any other operation.

“I’m not prepared to simply stand by and let that happen, which is why we’ve championed supervised teeth cleaning. We’ve been watching that this morning.

“I don’t really care what people call it. If the price for a child of not taking action is losing your teeth between the ages of six to 10, that’s a price that’s too high.”

11:16 AM BST

Starmer: The money is not there to pay for Tories’ NI cut

Sir Keir Starmer claimed “the money’s not there” to pay for the Tories’ flagship manifesto pledge to cut National Insurance by a further 2p.

Asked whether his party, if elected, would match the promise, the Labour leader told broadcasters on a visit to a school in Middlesbrough: “The money’s not there for the Tories’ desperation. And what they’re producing is a recipe for five more years of chaos.

“I think that’s why it’s so important that we see this election as a choice, because we can’t go on like this.”

11:08 AM BST

Tories launching ‘Jeremy Corbyn-style manifesto’, claims Starmer

Sir Keir Starmer has accused the Conservatives of launching a “Jeremy Corbyn-style manifesto”, writes Genevieve Holl-Allen. 

The Labour leader, who backed Labour manifestos under Mr Corbyn twice, said that the Tories had created a manifesto in the style of the former Labour leader where “none of it is costed”.

He told journalists during a visit to Teesside: “We are being absolutely clear that all our plans are fully costed. We will not be increasing income tax, National Insurance, no tax increases for working people. None of our plans require tax rises. This is coming from a party that’s put tax at the highest level for 70 years, and they’re building the sort of Jeremy Corbyn-style manifesto where anything you want can go in it, none of it is costed.”

He added: “I changed the Labour Party from top to bottom after the 2019 election because if you lose that badly you don’t look at the electorate and say ‘What were you doing?’ You look at your party and you say you need to change.

“And that’s why we are absolutely clear with Rachel Reeves that there’ll be no unfunded, uncosted proposition in our manifesto. We’re not going to make promises we can’t keep.”

He added: “That’s why I say it’s a Jeremy Corbyn-style manifesto, which is load everything into the wheelbarrow, don’t provide the funding and hope that nobody notices the money isn’t there.”

Sir Keir Starmer (right) and shadow health secretary Wes Streeting (left), during a visit to Whale Hill Primary School in Eston, Middlesbrough
Sir Keir Starmer (right) and shadow health secretary Wes Streeting (left), during a visit to Whale Hill Primary School in Eston, Middlesbrough - Stefan Rousseau/PA

11:06 AM BST

Farage: Tory manifesto launch will be ‘more lies’

Nigel Farage claimed the Tory manifesto launch would be “more lies”.

The Reform UK leader said he did not believe “a single word that they say”.

Asked about the Conservative launch event at Silverstone, Mr Farage said: “I’m sorry to use this word – more lies, more lies.

“In 2010, 2015, 2017, 2019, they told us they would reduce immigration and they’ll be saying the same thing today. They’re also saying today they’re going to reduce tax.

“Well, hang on. The tax burden has now risen. It’s the highest it’s been since 1948.”

Speaking on the Reform bus on the way to a campaign event in South Yorkshire, he said: “I don’t believe a single word that they say and I think, increasingly, nor does the country. The funny thing is that, with (Sir) Keir Starmer, I literally still have no idea what he believes in.”

11:04 AM BST

Pictured: Sir Ed Davey meets a guide dog during visit to Torquay

Sir Ed Davey, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, meets a guide dog during a visit to Torquay Harbour in Devon this morning
Sir Ed Davey, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, meets a guide dog during a visit to Torquay Harbour in Devon this morning - Ben Birchall/PA

10:59 AM BST

Sunak promises ‘clear plan’ and ‘bold action’ at manifesto launch

10:57 AM BST

Sunak draws inspiration from Boris Johnson with manifesto launch location

Rishi Sunak has seemingly borrowed Boris Johnson’s preferred location for his manifesto launch by choosing Silverstone this morning.

It was reported back in 2019 that Mr Johnson had wanted to use the racetrack for his launch event at the last general election but he could not because the venue had already been booked for a running race.

10:44 AM BST

Sunak arrives at Tory manifesto launch event at Silverstone

Rishi Sunak has arrived at Silverstone ahead of the launch of the Conservative Party’s general election manifesto.

Mr Sunak arrived with his wife, Akshata Murty, and the pair posed with Tory activists.

Rishi Sunak and Akshata Murty pose with Tory activists after arriving at Silverstone
Rishi Sunak and Akshata Murty pose with Tory activists after arriving at Silverstone - Benjamin Cremel/AFP

10:41 AM BST

Analysis: Manifesto launch is make-or-break moment for Sunak

Party leaders get a finite number of opportunities to deliver big momentum swings during general election campaigns.

TV debates and manifesto launches are usually the major moments when a leader can radically improve their situation - or make things a whole lot worse.

Today’s Tory manifesto launch is a huge chance for Rishi Sunak to get the Conservative campaign back on track after a torrid few days dominated by the D-Day row.

The stakes could not be higher for the Prime Minister. A strong launch with enticing new policies could reignite Tory hopes of gaining ground on Labour, with July 4 still more than three weeks away.

But a weak performance by Mr Sunak and a bland set of policies could further fuel suggestions that the contest is already over.

10:39 AM BST

Wes Streeting fails to rule out CGT changes under Labour

Wes Streeting has failed four times to rule out changing capital gains tax if Labour wins the general election.

There has been speculation that the party could increase the levy on asset sales at its first budget in order to raise extra money for public services.

The shadow health secretary did not rule out changes to the tax when asked repeatedly about Labour’s stance on Tuesday morning.

You can read the full story here

10:27 AM BST

Rishi Sunak to launch Tory manifesto at 11.30am

Rishi Sunak will launch the Conservative Party’s general election manifesto at an event at Silverstone racetrack at 11.30am.

My colleague, Nick Gutteridge, has put together a round up of everything we know so far about what will be in the policy blueprint.

You can find it here.

10:15 AM BST

Farage mocks Sunak over immigration admission

Nigel Farage has mocked Rishi Sunak over comments he made about immigration.

Mr Sunak admitted during an interview on the BBC’s Panorama programme last night that he had not controlled Britain’s borders as Prime Minister.

BBC presenter Nick Robinson asked: “Last year 685,000 extra people came here. That’s twice the population of Coventry. You didn’t control our borders, did you?”

Mr Sunak replied: “No, the numbers are too high.”

Mr Farage tweeted this morning: “For once, I agree with the Prime Minister!”

10:06 AM BST

Pictured: Nigel Farage campaigns in South Yorkshire this morning

Nigel Farage, the Reform leader, is pictured this morning in Cawthorne, South Yorkshire
Nigel Farage, the Reform leader, is pictured this morning in Cawthorne, South Yorkshire - Danny Lawson /PA

09:58 AM BST

Sunak: Conservatives only party with plan to make home ownership affordable

Rishi Sunak said the Conservative Party is the “party of the property-owning democracy” as he set out the Tories’ plan to help more young people onto the property ladder.

Writing for The Telegraph today, the Prime Minister said:

Labour say they would be builders not blockers, and yet their record shows they can’t be taken at face value on this. Last year, thanks to the freedoms Brexit provided us, we fixed defective EU laws that we inherited, enabling 100,000 homes to be built where local people wanted them to be built.

But Labour blocked this common-sense step that would have helped thousands of families.

The choice for voters at this election is clear – a thought-through plan to help a new generation to get on the property ladder or Labour, who has no plan, no courage or convictions, and would take us back to square one.

You can read the Prime Minister’s piece in full here

09:45 AM BST

Jamie Oliver welcomes Labour plan to ban under-16s from buying energy drinks

Jamie Oliver, the celebrity chef, has welcomed Labour’s pledge to ban under-16s from buying energy drinks.

Mr Oliver said that he was “apolitical” but Labour’s pledge was “really exciting”.

09:40 AM BST

Farage BBC Panorama interview postponed

Nigel Farage was supposed to be taking part in a BBC Panorama interview this evening but it has been postponed.

Mr Farage has a busy day of campaigning ahead, with visits in the North of England this morning and this afternoon and then a rally in Norfolk this evening.

It is not immediately clear when the rescheduled interview will happen.

09:30 AM BST

Douglas Ross: Scottish Tory MSPs did not ask me to resign

Douglas Ross has said Scottish Tory MSPs did not ask him to resign as party leader.

The Scottish Tory chief announced yesterday he would step down from the leadership role in Holyrood following a row over his decision to contest the Aberdeenshire North and Moray East seat at the general election.

Mr Ross also confirmed he would quit as a Highlands and Islands MSP if he won the seat.

The issue stemmed from the deselection of former Scotland Office minister David Duguid who was told by the party’s management board he could not stand due to ill health, with Mr Ross stepping in.

Speaking on BBC Radio’s Good Morning Scotland programme, the outgoing leader was asked if his colleagues asked him to step down. He replied: “No they did not.”

09:13 AM BST

Stride: Tories offering ‘big, bold interventions’ to help young people onto property ladder

Mel Stride said the Conservatives were promising “big, bold interventions” to help people buy their first home.

The Work and Pensions Secretary defended the Conservatives’ plans when asked by BBC Radio 4’s Today programme if the party was offering enough to young people to help them with housing.

Mr Stride replied: “What we are going to be doing is extending the £425,000 threshold below which as a property purchase price first-time buyers will pay no stamp duty whatsoever.

“We will also be providing help to buy which will mean Government equity loans going into properties, up to 20 per cent of their value for first-time buyers, and a requirement just to find a 5 per cent deposit to get on the property ladder, because what we know is that many people, young people included, can afford mortgages but struggle to find that deposit.

“These are big, bold interventions to help the very people that you are referring to.”

09:06 AM BST

Pictured: Lord Cameron arrives at Ukraine Recovery Conference in Berlin

Lord Cameron, the Foreign Secretary, is pictured this morning arriving at a Ukraine Recovery Conference in Berlin
Lord Cameron, the Foreign Secretary, is pictured this morning arriving at a Ukraine Recovery Conference in Berlin - Odd Anderson /AFP

08:59 AM BST

Sunak highlights Tory achievements ahead of manifesto launch

Rishi Sunak has published a video highlighting Tory achievements since 2010 as he lays the groundwork for the Conservative Party manifesto launch later this morning.

The video states that there are four million more people in work today than there was 14 years ago and there had also been a record increase to the national living wage.

08:51 AM BST

Tories publish letter from Simon Case over £2,000 Labour tax claim

Richard Holden, the chairman of the Conservative Party, has published a letter from Simon Case, the Cabinet Secretary, which states the Civil Service produced 21 of the costings used in the Tories’ tax attack dossier on Labour.

A huge row erupted over the “Labour Tax Rises” document last week after James Bowler, the permanent secretary at the Treasury, issued a warning about how the department’s work assessing the cost of Labour’s spending plans was being presented.

The dossier underpinned a Tory claim that Labour would put up taxes by £2,000. Labour seized on Mr Bowler’s letter and claimed it showed that Rishi Sunak had lied with the £2,000 claim.

Mr Holden wrote to Mr Case to get a confirmation that Mr Bowler’s letter had not shown Mr Sunak had lied, as Labour had claimed.

Mr Case said in his response that Mr Bowler had made “no reference to the Prime Minister”.

08:20 AM BST

Mel Stride promises ‘very bold moves’ in Tory manifesto to cut taxes

Mel Stride said the UK was now at an “inflection point” when taxes can be cut.

The Work and Pensions Secretary said the “trajectory is downwards” on cutting taxes.

Mr Stride said that “real progress” is now being made on reducing taxes and the Conservative Party’s manifesto will include “very bold moves to further reduce tax”.

He said: “We are making real progress now on getting taxes down but we are not going to stop there and what you are going to hear later on with our manifesto today are some very bold moves to further reduce tax because we think this really matters to families up and down the country.”

08:19 AM BST

Streeting: Tory manifesto launch will be ‘most expensive panic attack in history’

Wes Streeting claimed the Tory manifesto launch would be the “most expensive panic attack in history”.

The shadow health secretary claimed Rishi Sunak will be unveiling “all sorts of unfunded spending commitments” even though the “money isn’t there” to pay for them.

08:07 AM BST

Labour pledges to ban energy drinks for under-16s

Labour has pledged to ban energy drinks for children under the age of 16 due to their “dangerously high” caffeine content.

The party said it would outlaw the “toxic” products for schoolchildren to prevent them turning up to class “wired on the equivalent of three shots of espresso”.

Wes Streeting, the shadow health secretary, said this morning that the pledge had been brought forward in response to “outcry” from parents and teachers.

He told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: “What we are responding to is the outcry from parents and teachers who are seeing the consequences of these high energy drinks on children’s concentration, their wellbeing, their sleep, their mental health.

“So this is a measure to support children both in terms of their education and their wellbeing, to support teachers who are trying to focus their children on learning and to support parents who with the best will in the world cannot always have their eyes on their kids, cannot always monitor what they are buying on their way to and from school.”

08:00 AM BST

Wes Streeting fails to rule out changes to capital gains tax

Wes Streeting failed to rule out a Labour government making changes to capital gains tax but suggested such a move would not be included in the party’s general election manifesto.

Asked if the party could make changes to CGT, the shadow health secretary told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: “Our manifesto is out on Thursday but I can tell you that nothing in that manifesto requires an increase in capital gains tax.”

Asked again if changes could be made to CGT, he said: “Well, the manifesto will be out on Thursday. I have to be a bit careful about not preempting that.

“But I don’t think any of those things you have just mentioned are in Labour’s manifesto on Thursday.”

There has been speculation that Labour could increase capital gains tax at its first Budget in order to raise extra money for public services.

07:40 AM BST

Cabinet minister: Labour trying to ‘drift across the line’

Mel Stride claimed Labour was trying to “drift across the line” and into power as he accused the opposition of adopting a “Ming Vase” strategy during the general election campaign.

The Work and Pensions Secretary told Sky News: “If you think about this election campaign, you have got Labour who don’t want to say anything, they want to keep a small profile, they want to carry that Ming Vase across the polished floor, they want to hold onto that lead and drift across the line.

“We are the party that is out there with the bold, clear plan for our country.”

07:33 AM BST

Tories to set numerical housebuilding target in manifesto, says Stride

A firm housebuilding target will be included in the Tory manifesto, Mel Stride said this morning.

The Work and Pensions Secretary said the Conservative Party will commit to a numerical target, to be built in a specific time frame.

It was suggested to Mr Stride during an interview on Times Radio that the Tories may not set a target due to fears of not being able to deliver on it.

But he said: “No, we will have a target. If you are patient, wait for the manifesto, there will be a very clear position on that.”

Asked if it would set a specific number of houses to be built in a specific amount of time, Mr Stride said: “Yes. Correct.”

07:19 AM BST

Mel Stride promises no tax rises if Tories win election on July 4

The Conservative Party will not increase any taxes if it wins the general election on July 4, a Cabinet minister promised this morning.

Mel Stride, the Work and Pensions Secretary, was asked if he could confirm there would be no tax rises under a new Tory government.

He told Times Radio: “Correct. What the manifesto will set out very clearly are areas where we will be cutting tax further and I have explained very clearly where that money will come from in order to do that.

“But we will not be raising taxes, unlike Labour who will be taxing pensioners, who will go for your home, will go for capital gains tax…”

07:14 AM BST

Streeting: Sunak ‘taking people for fools’ with promise of tax cuts

Rishi Sunak is “taking people for fools” with his signal of further tax cuts, Wes Streeting has said.

Asked if Labour would seek to match a 2p National Insurance cut expected to be in the Tory manifesto, Mr Streeting told BBC Breakfast: “We are not able to make that commitment today because the money simply isn’t there and I think Rishi Sunak should level with people that the money simply isn’t there.

“I think he is taking people for fools.”

The shadow health secretary had earlier urged the public to “look really carefully at this enormous and desperate attempt to buy people’s votes at this election with a whole raft of unfunded spending commitments and tax cuts”.

He added: “This is Liz Truss’ mini-Budget on steroids and we have seen the damage that unfunded, uncosted spending commitments make on people’s bills, that is the big tax bombshell that is waiting if the Conservatives get a fifth term.”

Asked if Labour planned to hike capital gains tax, Mr Streeting said: “Our manifesto is out on Thursday and I can certainly confirm that not a single policy in that manifesto requires Labour to increase capital gains tax.”

07:04 AM BST

Rayner appears to call for abolition of private schools in newly surfaced clip

Angela Rayner appeared to call for the abolition of private schools while serving as shadow education secretary, it has emerged.

Labour’s deputy leader pledged that her party would “end the marketisation and privatisation of our education” in a clip that has emerged from 2018.

Ms Rayner said that Labour would not do so because of “dogma” but because “the evidence says that the best system for our young people’s education is a comprehensive state system.”

The remarks emerged as Labour comes under growing pressure over its plan to impose VAT on private school fees.

You can read the full story here

06:55 AM BST

Rishi Sunak offers tax breaks to landlords in Tory manifesto

Rishi Sunak will unveil tax breaks for landlords later this morning as he puts reducing the tax burden and boosting home ownership at the heart of the Conservative general election manifesto.

The Telegraph can reveal that the Prime Minister will promise to scrap capital gains tax for landlords who sell their property to tenants. The scheme would last two years.

Mr Sunak will also pledge a tax cut for 27 million households if he is re-elected by reducing employee National Insurance again, this time to 6 per cent.

You can read the full story here

06:43 AM BST

Poll: Almost half of voters believe Tories running worst campaign

Almost half of voters believe the Tories are running the worst general election campaign of any of the main parties, according to a new YouGov poll.

Some 45 per cent of respondents in a survey conducted on June 10 picked the Conservative Party when asked the question.

That number had jumped up by 11 per cent for the Conservatives when compared to a survey conducted on June 4, suggesting that Rishi Sunak’s D-Day debacle may have cut through with voters.

No other party was in double figures in the latest poll.

Some 9 per cent of people said Labour was running the worst campaign, 4 per cent picked Reform UK, and 3 per cent picked the Liberal Democrats.

06:27 AM BST

What is happening in the general election campaign today?

It’s a huge day for Rishi Sunak as he prepares to launch the Conservative Party’s general election manifesto this morning. Key policies are expected to include a tax break for landlords and help for first-time buyers.

While the Tories set out their pitch to the public, in one of Mr Sunak’s last major chances to trigger a comeback in the polls, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and Wes Streeting, the shadow health secretary, will be out campaigning in the North East of England.

Having been first out of the blocks with his manifesto yesterday, Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey presses on with his bid to charm the Blue Wall in the South West.

Elsewhere, Nigel Farage, the leader of Reform UK, will be out in Yorkshire, the East Midlands and the East of England.

Following the shock announcement that he will step down as Scottish Tory leader after the election, Douglas Ross is back on the campaign trail, visiting a site benefiting from the UK Government’s Community Ownership Fund. Caroline Lucas, the former leader of the Green Party of England and Wales, will also be making a speech.

This evening, Scottish leaders will take part in a BBC debate in Glasgow. Later on, Mr Farage is in the hot seat for the second in a series of special interviews for BBC Panorama.

06:24 AM BST

Labour extends poll lead as Sunak prepares to launch manifesto

Labour has extended its poll lead over the Tories by three points, according to a new survey published by Redfield & Wilton Strategies as Rishi Sunak prepares to launch the Conservative Party’s general election manifesto.

A survey conducted between June 7-10 puts Labour on 45 per cent of the vote and the Tories in second place on 19 per cent.

That gave Labour an overall lead of 26 points.

Mr Sunak will launch the Tory manifesto at an event later this morning and he will be hoping his policy plans can help to get the Conservatives’ campaign back on track after a difficult few days.