Sunak must go if Tories lose, serving minister says

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak during a visit to Cambridge Rugby Club in Cambridge
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak during a visit to Cambridge Rugby Club in Cambridge - Joe Giddens/PA

Rishi Sunak must “almost certainly” go if the Conservatives lose the general election, a serving minister has said.

Lord Callanan, an energy minister, said that Mr Sunak would need to be replaced by a “credible” figure to lead the Tories in opposition.

He told Times Radio: “If you believe the opinion polls, we’re going to lose — but who knows whether they’re right or not? If that is the case, then … almost certainly, I assume, we’ll need a new leader after that.

“And it has to be somebody who’s credible and can appeal to the country and provide the opposition that the country will need to see.

He added: “We have to be a broad church … I believe that our future is as a liberal, mainstream, centre-right Conservative Party that’s socially liberal but economically conservative.”

The minister’s comments came hours after Grant Shapps, the Defence Secretary, said that a Tory victory on July 4 was “unlikely but possible”.

Mr Shapps told Times Radio: “Yes, it is possible to win the election. Do I accept it is not the most likely outcome? Yes, I accept that, I am a realist.”

The Tories remain over 20 points behind Labour in opinion polls more than halfway through the election campaign.

The party was found to be tied with Reform UK, which unveiled its manifesto on Monday, on 18 points in a new Redfield and Wilton Strategies poll.

Nigel Farage, the Reform leader, dubbed the party’s “contract” with the people their “first big push”, with policies such as scrapping the net zero drive and raising the income tax threshold to £20,000.

In response to the party’s manifesto offering, the Tories warned voters that voting for Reform risked delivering a “generation under Labour”.

The Redfield & Wilton survey also revealed that Labour’s lead over the Conservatives had widened, and Sir Keir Starmer’s party led by 25 points.

But Mr Sunak insisted that he and the party have still “got time over the next few weeks to talk to people about the choice” between him and Labour.

He told journalists: “I think our manifesto contains a very clear plan for the country.

“A very clear plan with a bold set of actions. You pick a policy area, there’s something bold in there that will change our country for the better. Now that both manifestos are out, we’ve got time over the next few weeks to talk to people about the choice.


10:00 PM BST

That’s all for today...

Thank you for joining The Telegraph’s live coverage of day 24 of the general election campaign.

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


09:50 PM BST

Watch: Ex-West Midlands mayor hits campaign trail and warns against voting Reform

The former Tory mayor of the West Midlands has appeared on the campaign trail and has urged voters not to defect to Reform UK.

Andy Street, who lost in the May elections to Labour’s Richard Parker, supported Rachel Maclean, the former MP for Redditch, in her campaign for re-election.

In a video Ms Maclean uploaded to X, she asked Mr Street what his message was for voters who were thinking about supporting Reform.

Mr Street said: “I think I’m the man to ask about that. So I’ve just lost my election in the West Midlands, very narrowly by 1500 and when I lost, the then-leader of Reform UK (Richard Tice) went on the telly and said ‘We defeated the Tory mayor of the West Midlands’.

“They delivered a Labour mayor of the West Midlands and they’re proud of it. It couldn’t be clearer in my case”.


09:41 PM BST

Starmer and Reeves ‘think we ought to be part of the EU’ claims Lord Frost

Sir Keir Starmer and Rachel Reeves “think we ought to be part of the EU” and cannot “stop themselves floating new ideas” for closer alignment, Lord Frost has claimed.

The former Brexit negotiator told GB News that he believed the Labour leader “wants to get as close to [rejoining the EU and the single market] as possible”.

“Possibly he won’t with a stroke of the pen join the single market on day one, but he’s already admitted in the manifesto that he wants a Food and Agriculture veterinary deal, which will require subordination to EU laws.

“We heard from Rachel Reeves this morning that they wanted a chemicals deal - that’s a big industry in this country not mentioned in the manifesto at all.

He added: “And this is what we can expect to see. Keir Starmer, Rachel Reeves, all the people around them, they think we ought to be part of the EU and they can’t stop themselves floating new ideas.


09:30 PM BST

Tactical voting could lead to ‘Portillo moments’ for five Tory Cabinet ministers

Campaigners believe the Conservatives face five potential “Portillo moments” if people vote tactically at the general election, Amy Gibbons writes.

Best for Britain, the anti-Tory campaign group, is aiming to inflict the “heaviest possible election defeat” on the Government on July 4 by advising people to vote tactically.

Based on the most up-to-date MRP polling, it predicts that Tory big beasts Penny Mordaunt, Jeremy Hunt, Grant Shapps, James Cleverly and Robert Jenrick could all lose their seats if voters club together to oust the Conservatives.

The campaigners described these potential defeats as “Portillo moments”, referring to the defeat in New Labour’s 1997 rout of Michael Portillo, the former Tory cabinet minister.

Read more from The Telegraph’s Political Correspondent here


09:17 PM BST

Rishi Sunak: ‘We’ve got time over the next few weeks’

Rishi Sunak said the Tories have “got time” to talk to voters about the “choice” between them and Labour over the coming weeks.

Asked whether he would consider changing strategy after the Conservative manifesto launch failed to boost their standing in the polls, the Prime Minister told journalists on the Tory battlebus in Cambridgeshire: “I think our manifesto contains a very clear plan for the country.

“A very clear plan with a bold set of actions. You pick a policy area, there’s something bold in there that will change our country for the better. Now that both manifestos are out, we’ve got time over the next few weeks to talk to people about the choice.”

He said people had “seen the choice very clearly on taxes” between the Tories and Labour, though Labour has said it will not raise personal, capital gains or corporation tax.


08:58 PM BST

Pictured: David Lammy campaigns in Mansfield with Labour candidate Stephen Yemm

David Lammy travels with the Labour Party battle bus to Mansfield
David Lammy travels with the Labour Party battle bus to Mansfield - Alan Keith Beastall /Alamy Live News

08:39 PM BST

Labour general secretary under Corbyn reveals she plans to vote Green

The general secretary of the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn has revealed that she plans to vote for the Greens at the election.

Jennie Formby, a Corbyn ally who was in post between 2018 and May 2020, said that the Green Party was “not perfect” but had a “much more transformative agenda”.

Writing on X, Ms Formby said: “I’m voting Green, not perfect but much more transformative agenda.

“And people can’t just keep voting Labour ‘because we’ve got to get the Tories out’.

“They’re out anyway so we should vote for parties that genuinely represent what we believe in - which may well be Independents.”


08:20 PM BST

Reform UK candidate defends Hitler remarks

A Reform UK election candidate has defended himself after it emerged that he had described Adolf Hitler as “brilliant” at using personality traits to “inspire people to action”.

Jack Aaron, standing for Nigel Farage’s party against Grant Shapps in Welwyn Hatfield, made the remarks as he promoted socionics, which critics call a pseudo-scientific theory about personality types.

Jack Aaron, Reform UK candidate for Welwyn Hatfield
Jack Aaron, Reform UK candidate for Welwyn Hatfield

In online posts, the psychologist also described Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian dictator, as “gentle by nature” and suggested that Vladimir Putin’s use of force in Ukraine was “legitimate”. He said his comments were psychological analyses, not endorsements of their actions.

Read more on this story here 


08:03 PM BST

We’re the only party with a fully-costed manifesto, says Labour

Labour is the only party with a fully-costed manifesto, the shadow chief secretary to the Treasury has said, as he compared Reform UK’s offering to that of the Tories.

Darren Jones said that Reform had out out “tens of billions of pounds of commitment with no explanation as to how they’re going to pay for it” in their manifesto today.

He told Sky News: “I would point out that I think we’re probably the only party now that has a fully-funded, fully-costed manifesto. The Reform party manifesto today has tens and tens of billions of pounds of commitment with no explanation as to how they’re going to pay for it, which seems to be exactly the same as the Conservative Party manifesto.”

Asked if he was concerned about Nigel Farage’s party, he said: “Every party is able to put forward candidates and their proposals at an election.

“What we’re focused on in the Labour Party is working hard in every constituency across the country to sell our message of change.”


07:50 PM BST

Pictured: Starmer celebrates 200 years of the British pint

Sir Keir Starmer and Labour's Filton & Bradley Stoke candidate Claire Hazelgrove celebrate 200th birthday of the British pint at the Beaufort Arms, Stoke Gifford
Sir Keir Starmer and Labour's Filton & Bradley Stoke candidate Claire Hazelgrove celebrate 200th birthday of the British pint at the Beaufort Arms, Stoke Gifford - Labour Party

07:40 PM BST

Tice: UK would have ‘international standoff’ if French authorities did not take back migrants

Richard Tice has said there would be an “international standoff” with France if the authorities did not accept migrants returned across the Channel from Britain.

One of Reform UK’s immigration policies is that “migrants in small boats will be picked up and taken back to France”.

Asked by Andrew Marr on LBC what Reform would do if the French authorities did not allow the boats of migrants to dock after being returned, Mr Tice said: “Well, then we’ve got an international standoff, and there’s going to be a row.

“But sometimes you have to have a row to get stuff done and to make things happen. You cannot just say we’re going to keep letting people leave the beaches and keep dying. That is unacceptable.

“And if we have to have a row with the French, let’s have a major row with the French and sort this out and stop people dying and stop the magnet effect through France.”


07:21 PM BST

Sunak must go if Tories lose, minister says

Rishi Sunak must be replaced as leader of the Conservatives by a moderate if the party loses the general election, a minister has said. 

Lord Callanan, the minister for energy efficiency and green finance told Times Radio: “If you believe the opinion polls, we’re going to lose — but who knows whether they’re right or not? If that is the case, then … almost certainly, I assume, we’ll need a new leader after that.

”And it has to be somebody who’s credible and can appeal to the country and provide the opposition that the country will need to see.

He added: “We have to be a broad church … I believe that our future is as a liberal, mainstream, centre-right Conservative Party that’s socially liberal but economically conservative.”


07:17 PM BST

There’s ‘no point impoverishing ourselves’ to reach net zero, says Tice

There is “no point impoverishing ourselves” to combat climate change “becuse elsewhere in the world far more CO2 emissions are being created than we are reducing”, Richard Tice has said.

The chairman of Reform UK spoke to Andrew Marr on LBC after Nigel Farage, the party leader, unveiled the party’s manifesto, which includes a pledge to scrap net zero targets.

Asked whether he agreed with the views of the majority of scientists who attribute climate change to human behaviour, Mr Tice said: “There are also thousands and thousands of scientists who fundamentally disagree with that.

“Well, I’m on the side, actually, of ordinary people in the United Kingdom who should not be made to feel much poorer, pursuing targets that will make no difference, because elsewhere in the world, far more CO2 emissions are being created - man-made CO2 emissions -  then we are reducing.

“There’s no point impoverishing ourselves, making ourselves poorer, if actually, all you’re doing is enriching people elsewhere in the world,” he added


07:08 PM BST

From inheritance tax to stamp duty: how much money you stand to gain (or lose) under Reform

Reform UK has unveiled its plans for personal finance after overtaking the Tories for the first time in the polls last week, Charlotte Gifford writes.

There is little to no chance of Reform forming the next government – but the fledgling party seems certain to hoover up hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of votes. Mr Farage is on course to become highly influential whichever party runs the country over the next five years and, who knows, by 2029 anything’s possible.

So, how much money would you stand to lose or make if Reform’s financial policies came into effect?

Find out more from The Telegraph’s Senior Money Reporter here


06:49 PM BST

Labour could impose levy on Premier League transfers

Labour could put a levy on Premier League transfers of up to ten per cent if it wins the general election.

The idea was proposed in an independent fan-led review of football governance, but was rejected by the Tories in government.

But Thangham Debbonaire, the shadow culture secretary, said she could look at the proposal again.

She told reporters at a football club in the South West: “I’m going to look at everything again that was in Tracey Crouch’s fan-led review.

“I think it’s important we go back to first principles just to make sure there’s not something that’s been missed that is needed in order to ensure the financial sustainability.”

Pressed on whether this meant a transfer levy was back on the table, she added: “I’m obviously going to look at absolutely everything that was in Tracey’s review.”


06:36 PM BST

Watch: Sir Ed Davey builds ‘affordable sandcastles’

Sir Ed Davey built “affordable sandcastles” with children and parents in a nod to his manifesto pledge to build 380,000 new homes a year, 150,000 of which would be social housing.

The Liberal Democrat leader got down in the sand on Broadsands Beach near Paignton, Devon to build one of the sand structures, declaring: “I think that’s not bad. Now where’s my Lib Dem poster board.”

“Liberal Democrats winning here,” he added, pointing at the newly-built sandcastle.


06:22 PM BST

Ronnie O’Sullivan backs independent Faiza Shaheen

Ronnie O’Sullivan, the world snooker champion, has backed independent candidate Faiza Shaheen at the general election.

Ms Shaheen was blocked from running as a Labour candidate in Chingford and Wood Green, and launched her own independent campaign in a bid to oust Sir Iain Duncan-Smith.

O’Sullivan, 48, said in a video alongside Ms Shaheen: “I love this area, it’s my home and it’s a really special place for me.”

“I think it’s really important we have a local person as our MP, someone who knows this community, someone who has roots here and wants the best for us. And I think Faiza is that person.”

The snooker player has previously backed Jeremy Corbyn in 2017 and Ed Milliband in 2015.


06:11 PM BST

Don’t allow Starmer to ‘put up everyone’s taxes completely unchecked’ says Sunak

Current polling would allow Sir Keir Starmer to “put up everyone’s taxes completely unchecked with no one to stand up to them”, Rishi Sunak has warned.

Speaking to supporters in Cambridgeshire, he urged party supporters to “fight hard”, as he warned of the possible consequences of a large Labour majority.

The Prime Minister said: “If those polls were replicated at a general election, it would mean handing Labour and Keir Starmer a blank cheque, a blank cheque to do whatever he wanted, put up everyone’s taxes completely unchecked, with no one to stand up to them.

“And that’s why this election is so important, that’s why we need to fight so hard, because at this election there is only one party that is going to deliver a government that cuts everyone’s taxes, and it’s the Conservatives.

“There’s only one party that is going to stand up for the values that our country believes in, opportunity, freedom, security, aspiration, and it’s the Conservative Party.”

Rishi Sunak during a visit to Cambridge Rugby Club in Cambridge
Rishi Sunak during a visit to Cambridge Rugby Club in Cambridge - Joe Giddens/PA

He added: “And it is only one party that has a clear plan, that will take the bold action to deliver a more secure future for our country. And it’s the Conservative Party. So, let’s get out there, let’s fight hard. Let’s get everyone to vote Conservative  so we can stand up for Britain.”


06:04 PM BST

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05:47 PM BST

Wes Streeting reveals he considered using private healthcare

Wes Streeting has told The Daily T podcast that he had considered using private healthcare after finding a new lump.

The shadow health secretary, who was treated for kidney cancer three years ago, said he had faced the dilemma when he found the lump recently.

He made the comments after Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, ruled out using private healthcare even if a family member faced a long wait for NHS treatment.

Read more on this story here or listen to the interview in full on the Daily T


05:32 PM BST

Former Tory MP hits out at ‘unforced and forced errors’ of campaign

A former Tory MP standing for re-election has hit out at the “unforced errors” and “forced errors” of the Conservative election campaign, calling it “enormously frustrating”.

Anthony Mangnall, who served as the MP for Totnes since 2019 and is standing in the new seat of South Devon, also said that Reform UK had “certainly captured” some on the Right.

He told the Sun’s Never Mind the Ballots show: “It’s an enormously frustrating campaign. There have been some unforced errors. There have been some forced errors as well for that matter.”

He added: “But actually what I get time and time again is people actually reflecting on the fact that Rishi Sunak is the man that supported them through the pandemic, he’s the man who has created a better degree of stability over his tenure in No 10 and that does play.”

Asked about the impact of Reform UK on the Tories’ chances, said: “Well, Reform has got a big voice, and it certainly captured a number of the people who sit on the Right and will take a number of votes away from the Conservative Party.

“But I think it’s important people remember that Reform is promising things that it won’t actually be able to deliver.”


05:15 PM BST

New poll shows Labour widens lead to 25 points

Labour is leading the Conservatives by 25 points more than halfway through the general election campaign, a new poll has found.

A new poll by Redfield & Wilton has found that Sir Keir Starmer’s party is polling at 43 per cent, followed jointly by Reform UK and the Conservatives, both at 18 per cent.

The survey was conducted after both the major parties unveiled their manifestos last week.

The Tories are at their tied-lowest result in this Parliament, according to the pollster, while Labour has widened their lead by one point since last Thursday.


04:54 PM BST

Rishi Sunak: ‘I believe we can win’

Rishi Sunak has insisted that he believes that the Conservatives can still win the next election, after Grant Shapps earlier admitted a Tory victory was “unlikely”.

The Prime Minister said during a visit to Centrica’s Rough 47-3B gas rig: “Two and a half weeks to go in this election, I’m fighting hard for every vote because I believe we can win.

“And there’s a very clear choice at this election. It’s having your taxes cut by the Conservatives or facing significant tax rises with the Labour Party.

He added: “We know now the manifestos are all out, everyone’s cards are on the table. With the Conservatives, we will cut your taxes at every stage of your life.

“And in contrast, with Labour the tax burden is going up to the highest we’ve seen in our country’s history.”


04:32 PM BST

Watch: Jonathan Ashworth shreds Tory manifesto

Jonathan Ashworth has shredded a copy of Tory manifesto that he said lacks economic credibility, Connor Stringer reports.

At a press event in central London, the shadow paymaster general said “the money is not there” as he claims Tory plans are underfunded.

Referring to a recently published newsletter by the Chancellor, Mr Ashworth said: “Mr. Hunt is confirming that the welfare savings in the Tory manifesto are in fact the welfare savings that they have already banked in the baseline and used to fund previous tax cuts.”

The Tories had claimed that £12 billion in welfare savings would fund the tax cuts set out in the document, including another two pence cut in National Insurance.

A Conservative Party spokesman said: “Not for the first time in this campaign, Jonathan Ashworth is confused.

“The measures to achieve £12 billion in welfare savings had not been announced at the time of the last OBR forecast so the entire premise of his latest press conference is redundant.”


04:14 PM BST

Watch: Ed Davey races the campaign trail with yellow wheelbarrow

Sir Ed Davey has narrowly lost a wheelbarrow relay race in Yeovil, Devon, against the local team fronted by Liberal Democrat candidate Adam Dance.

The Liberal Democrat leader, who has taken part in several light-hearted activities over the course of the campaign trail, has in his latest stunt taken part in a yellow wheelbarrow race.

Wheelbarrow racing takes place each year in Watchet, further west in Somerset.

But when party organisers brought out a blue wheelbarrow, Sir Ed, still with his yellow one, won by a large margin.


04:03 PM BST

Farage: I do not want to work with the OBR

Reform UK leader Nigel Farage said he does not “want to work with” the Office for Budget Responsibility.

Asked about the comparisons between Reform’s plans and former prime minister Liz Truss’ mini-budget, he said: “I don’t want to work with the OBR.

“I mean they’re part of the problem, not part of the solution. We need radical, fresh thinking, we haven’t had it for years in this country. We are getting poorer.

He added: “Britain is broken, we’re presenting some radical ideas for how we can change that.”

Nigel Farage waves from the window as he leaves by car after the launch of Reform UK's general election manifesto in Merthyr Tydfil, south Wales
Nigel Farage waves from the window as he leaves by car after the launch of Reform UK's general election manifesto in Merthyr Tydfil, south Wales - JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP

03:49 PM BST

Labour oil and gas windfall tax ‘will raise £2bn less’ than claimed

Sir Keir Starmer’s proposed raid on North Sea oil and gas operators will raise as much as £2bn less than claimed by Labour, analysts have said, writes Eir Nolsøe.

Analysts at Stifel said the £6bn sum proposed in Labour’s manifesto would be “impossible to raise” without significantly deterring investment among North Sea producers, while leaving the UK increasingly reliant on foreign gas imports.

The party’s plans to increase the marginal rate on oil and gas windfall levy from 75pc to 78pc was more likely to raise between £4bn and £5bn, Stifel said.

Read more from The Telegraph’s Senior Economics Reporter here


03:37 PM BST

Gove attacks Farage for ‘ridiculous’ claim he wants to be prime minister

Michael Gove has said it is “ridiculous” that Nigel Farage wants to be prime minister, Dominic Penna reports. 

The Housing Secretary, who is standing down at the general election, branded Reform “a giant ego trip” after Mr Farage unveiled his party’s manifesto in Wales on Monday afternoon.

Asked what he made of it, Mr Gove told Times Radio: “Ridiculous. Nigel Farage is part of a great entertainment machine.

“He is not someone who can govern this country. Reform is a giant ego trip, not a serious programme of alternate change. Nigel Farage provides amusement and diversion. What he does not provide is authority and good governance.

“In this country, whoever we vote for in the end, the British people choose authoritative, sensible managers, whether from the Left or the Right.

“What they don’t do is go in for the performative politics that Nigel has made such a successful financial career out of.”


03:25 PM BST

Sunak: Labour ‘will push our nation’s finances to a cliff edge’ with ‘extreme’ green proposals

Labour will “push our nation’s finances to a cliff edge” with their “extreme” net zero proposals, Rishi Sunak has said.

Sir Keir Starmer has said that no new oil and gas licences would be granted in the North Sea under a Labour government.

Labour will also reintroduce the 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars, after the prime minister pushed it back to 2035 last October, and also pledges clean power by 2030.

Mr Sunak said: “Labour’s extreme net-zero proposals put the unnecessary demands of green ideology ahead of the needs of British families

“For no benefit they will push our nation’s finances to a cliff edge, hike your bills and hand tyrant’s like Putin the power to blackmail the UK.”

He added: “The [Conservatives] will always take an honest and pragmatic approach to Net Zero.

“But Keir Starmer wants unchecked power to do exactly the opposite - to go too far and too fast with unnecessary taxes and rules that families cannot afford.”


03:11 PM BST

Watch: Wes Streeting says ‘politics shouldn’t be a game of working class Top Trumps’

Politics should not be “a game of working class Top Trumps”, Wes Streeting has said, as he criticised Rishi Sunak for his response to being asked for something he went without when he was younger.

The Prime Minister came under fire last week for telling ITV that he did not have Sky TV when he was a child, when asked what he had gone without when he was younger.

Wes Streeting has spoken to the Daily T podcast about Mr Sunak’s response, in an episode that will go live at 5pm today.


03:01 PM BST

Voting for Reform risks ‘generation under Labour’ say Tories

Voting for Reform UK risks delivering “a generation under Labour”, the Conservatives have warned after Nigel Farage unveiled the party’s manifesto.

A Conservative Party spokesman said: “A vote for Reform risks delivering an unaccountable Labour majority.

“That would hand Keir Starmer a blank cheque to raise your taxes, take no action on illegal immigration, and even rejoin the EU, with no way to stop him.

“Labour are already planning to lower the voting age to 16, and we can expect votes for migrants, EU citizens, and prisoners to follow. So a vote for Reform won’t mean five years of Labour, it would mean a generation.

“If you’re thinking about voting for Reform, and a generation under Labour scares you, there’s only one way to prevent it: vote Conservative.”


02:53 PM BST

Pictured: Oliver Dowden campaigns in a Mini Moke

Oliver Dowden campaigning in a classic Mini Moke in his constituency of Hertsmere
Oliver Dowden campaigning in a classic Mini Moke in his constituency of Hertsmere - ISO IMAGES LTD/ISO IMAGES LTD

02:38 PM BST

Ed Davey: Tories are ‘out of time’

Sir Ed Davey has said that the Conservatives are “out of ideas” and “out of time”, after Grant Shapps admitted earlier today that a Tory victory was “unlikely”.

The Liberal Democrat leader was asked for his response to the Defence Secretary’s remarks while he was out campaigning in Devon.

Sir Ed said: “Well, I’ll let the Conservatives speak for themselves. They don’t deserve to be in government.

“They’re out of ideas, they’re out of time, they’re out of excuses and they should be out of office. So I personally believe we need to defeat the Conservatives.”


02:23 PM BST

Pictured: Sunak chats to workers on a North Sea gas platform

Rishi Sunak (R) shares a joke with crew members in the canteen of the Rough 47/3B Bravo gas platform on June 17, 2024 in North Sea
Rishi Sunak (R) shares a joke with crew members in the canteen of the Rough 47/3B Bravo gas platform on June 17, 2024 in North Sea - Leon Neal/Getty Images Europe

02:21 PM BST

Starmer: Tories are getting ‘desperate’

Sir Keir Starmer said that reports Rishi Sunak is being urged “go for the jugular” and launch more direct personal attacks against him for his campaign show that the Tories are “desperate”.

The Times reported that Cabinet ministers and senior Tories are urging the Prime Minister to launch “personalised attacks” on Sir Keir over his support for Jeremy Corbyn, his decision to campaign for a second referendum on Brexit and his work as a human rights lawyer.

Sir Keir told reporters: “That’s all they’ve got left after 14 desperate years. You get to to the last weeks and their only thing they’ve got left is to attack me personally, I think that tells you everything.”

“If they had a record to stand on, they would go into the final two weeks saying these are the brilliant things we’ve done but they haven’t got a record to stand on and if they said they’d done brilliantly people would laugh at them.”

He added: “This is desperate.”


02:19 PM BST

Tories are ‘on the right track’, says Sunak

Rishi Sunak insisted the Conservatives are “on the right track”, despite Grant Shapps admitting earlier today that a Tory victory at the general election was unlikely (see the post below at 07.28).

Speaking from Centrica’s Rough 47-3B gas rig, the Prime Minister said: “There’s still two-and-a-half weeks to go in this election, I’m fighting hard for every vote because I believe we can win.

“And there’s a very clear choice at this election: it’s having your taxes cut by the Conservatives or facing significant tax rises with the Labour Party.”

Asked if he understood people’s frustrations with the Tory party with some deciding to turn to Reform UK, he replied: “Of course I understand people’s frustrations with that, I mean that’s undeniable, and I’ve been very clear that we have made progress but there is more to go.

“But the point now is we are on the right track and this election is about the future. The choice is clear: if you want your border secure and migration down, if you want your taxes cut, your pension protected, it’s only the Conservatives that are going to deliver that for you.”

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (C) and Energy Secretary Claire Coutinho (R) are shown around the Rough 47/3B Bravo gas platform by the Chief Executive of Centrica Chris O'Shea (L) on June 17, 2024 in North Sea, United Kingdom
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (C) and Energy Secretary Claire Coutinho (R) are shown around the Rough 47/3B Bravo gas platform by the Chief Executive of Centrica Chris O'Shea (L) on June 17, 2024 in North Sea, United Kingdom - Leon Neal /Getty Images Europe

02:10 PM BST

Reform’s manifesto at a glance

  • Migration: Freeze all non-essential immigration.

  • Stop the boats: Leave the ECHR, illegal migrants will be detained and deported, small boats will be picked up and taken back to France, set up new department for immigration.

  • NHS: Introduce tax relief of 20 per cent on all private healthcare and insurance. All frontline NHS and social care staff would pay zero basic rate income tax for three years.

  • Tax: Lift the income tax threshold to £20,000 and the inheritance tax threshold to £2 million.

  • Going green: Scrap the Net Zero drive and green levies to bring down energy bills.

  • Spending: Save £5 in every £100 that the government spends.

  • International development: Cut foreign aid spending by 50 per cent to save £6 billion.

  • Businesses: Lift the VAT threshold to £150,000.

  • Education: Introduce a patriotic curriculum in primary and secondary schools. Ban transgender ideology in primary and secondary schools. Tax relief of 20 per cent on all independent education.

  • Welfare: Enforce a two-strike rule for job seekers with benefits withdrawn from people who repeatedly turn down work.


02:04 PM BST

Farage: UK is ‘skint’

Nigel Farage said the UK is “skint” and neither Labour nor the Tories were being honest about the state of the public finances.

The Reform UK leader said: “We simply cannot go on like this. We are skint. Who else would dare say that in this campaign? We are skint. We are in real trouble.

“And the nonsense of the economic argument we hear from Rachel Reeves and Jeremy Hunt never acknowledges the fact that both of them are expected to be in deficit next year by yet another £100 billion.

“So we are saying let’s face reality, we have to have a slimmed down public sector, we have to do that whilst maintaining services.”


01:59 PM BST

Backing Reform not a ‘protest vote’, says Farage

Nigel Farage rejected the claim that people would back Reform as a “protest vote”.

He said that the party’s supporters believe in what he is promising.

He said: “This is not a protest document. This is not a protest vote. It has been a common misconception with all the campaigns I have run over the years.”


01:54 PM BST

Farage: Reform manifesto is ‘outside the box’ thinking

Nigel Farage was told that Reform’s manifesto would result in £141 billion in extra spending every year - significantly more than what Labour and the Tories are promising.

It was suggested to Mr Farage that the document was therefore “deeply unserious”.

Mr Farage replied: “It is radical, it is fresh thinking, it is outside the box. It is not what you are going to get from the current Labour and Conservative parties who are virtually indistinguishable, frankly, from each other.”


01:50 PM BST

Reform manifesto sets out how we will challenge Labour, says Farage

It was suggested to Nigel Farage that Reform’s manifesto was full of “unrealistic promises” and it was not a “serious plan”.

Mr Farage said “it is a promise that this is what we are going to campaign for over the next five years”.

He said that Reform will be a “voice of opposition and this outlines where we are going to challenge Labour”.


01:47 PM BST

Tice: ‘We can spend money better’

Richard Tice is now setting out some of Reform’s spending plans.

He said it was “utter nonsense” to claim that no money could be saved in the public sector.

Reform has pledged to slash £50 billion in “wasteful” government spending to fund some of its plans.

“We can spend money better,” the party’s chairman said.


01:45 PM BST

Pictured: Nigel Farage launches Reform’s manifesto

Nigel Farage launches Reform UK's general election manifesto at an event in Merthyr Tydfil
Nigel Farage launches Reform UK's general election manifesto at an event in Merthyr Tydfil - Victoria Jones/Shutterstock

01:38 PM BST

2024 election is ‘our first big push’, says Farage at Reform manifesto launch

Nigel Farage said the 2024 general election is just “step one” in the rise of Reform.

Concluding his opening remarks in Merthyr Tydfil, the Reform leader said: “This is step one. Our real ambition is the 2029 general election. But this is our first big push.

“I have been back in this job for a couple of weeks. I sense we are doing really rather well.”

Nigel Farage holds a copy of Reform's general election manifesto
Nigel Farage holds a copy of Reform's general election manifesto - Phil Noble /Reuters

01:35 PM BST

Farage: ‘You can be traditional and radical at the same time

Reform UK is an “unashamedly patriotic” party, Nigel Farage said.

The party leader said that he believed “British history is a great thing and should be taught properly” in the nation.

He said Reform was offering “radical” solutions.

“You can be traditional and radical at the same time,” he said.


01:32 PM BST

Farage calls for ‘radical’ rethink on how NHS works

Nigel Farage said the nation needs to have a “rethink” about how the NHS works.

The Reform UK leader said that “we are not getting bang for our buck” in the health service and currently it “simply isn’t fit for purpose”.

He said there was a need to “look at other funding models” and to “be radical”.


01:26 PM BST

Income tax threshold would rise to £20,000 under Reform

Nigel Farage confirmed that Reform would increase the threshold at which people start paying income tax to £20,000 as part of a simplification of the tax system.

He said raising the threshold would be a “good thing for those on low pay” and a “good thing for many pensioners”.

He also said it would act as an incentive to get more people back into work.

Mr Farage also announced that Reform would increase the threshold for inheritance tax to £2 million.


01:22 PM BST

Reform leader: ECHR is ‘completely out of date’ and UK should leave

Nigel Farage said Reform would take the UK out of the European Convention on Human Rights in order to restore the nation’s ability to control its own borders.

He said the ECHR was “completely out of date”.


01:20 PM BST

Immigration should be ‘dominant issue’ ahead of July 4, says Farage

Nigel Farage said the ongoing “population explosion” in the UK, fueled by immigration, should be the “dominant issue” at the general election.

The Reform leader said Tory pledges to reduce net migration could not be believed and the scale of immigration in recent years was unlike anything previously seen.

He called for a “proper honest debate” on migration and said Reform would implement an “overall freeze” on net migration.


01:16 PM BST

Reform leader: ‘Labour is not very different to the Conservatives’

Reform chose to launch its manifesto in Wales in order to highlight Labour’s record in government there, Nigel Farage said.

He highlighted the Welsh government’s move to introduce 20mph limits on some of the nation’s roads as one of Labour’s missteps in power.

Reform activists booed at the mention of the 20mph limit policy.

He said that Labour in power in Wales had shown that “Labour is not very different to the Conservatives, it is just more incompetent” and wastes more money.


01:13 PM BST

Farage concedes Reform not in a position to win election in 2024

Nigel Farage said Reform has “some momentum around the country”, with a “rapidly increasing number of young people” turning to his party.

The Reform leader conceded that his party is not in a position to win the general election on July 4 and therefore it would not be able to deliver its manifesto.

“That’s not possible in this election,” he said.

But Mr Farage argued that July 4 would be the “first important step on the road to 2029” when he hopes to be a viable candidate to be PM.

Nigel Farage launches Reform's manifesto at an event in Wales
Nigel Farage launches Reform's manifesto at an event in Wales

01:09 PM BST

UK suffering from ‘lack of leadership’, says Farage

Nigel Farage said the UK was currently suffering from a “lack of leadership”, with voters looking for “some sense of being inspired”.

The Reform leader said that there was “the most enormous gap” between the “political class and the people” and it had widened since the Brexit referendum.

Nigel Farage arrives at Reform's manifesto launch in Merthyr Tydfil
Nigel Farage arrives at Reform's manifesto launch in Merthyr Tydfil - Victoria Jones /Shutterstock

01:06 PM BST

Farage: UK in cultural, social, economic and political decline

Nigel Farage is now on his feet as he unveils Reform’s general election manifesto at an event in south Wales.

The Reform leader said he had returned to the political front-line because he had concluded that “nothing actually works anymore”

“We are broken economically,” he said

Mr Farage said that he believed “increasingly we are broken socially” and also “in decline culturally”.


12:47 PM BST

Starmer: Labour would renegotiate post-Brexit trade deal with EU

Sir Keir Starmer insisted Labour would not take the UK back into the European Union but would seek to renegotiate the post-Brexit trade deal between Britain and the bloc.

Speaking to workers in Southampton this afternoon, the Labour leader said: “We took the decision to leave the EU so we are not going to go back in.

“But we think the deal we have got is botched, it is not good enough and I think many businesses would say ‘we need something that works better for us’.”

Sir Keir said he believed there was a “better deal to be had”.

Sir Keir Starmer and Rachel Reeves answer questions from workers in Southampton
Sir Keir Starmer and Rachel Reeves answer questions from workers in Southampton - Chris J. Ratcliffe /Reuters

12:34 PM BST

Telegraph readers weigh in on Reform ahead of manifesto launch

Nigel Farage will unveil Reform UK’s general election manifesto at 1pm at an event in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales.

Telegraph readers have been weighing in on the party’s electoral chances and Mr Farage’s statement that he hopes to be a viable PM candidate in 2029 in today’s comments section:


12:29 PM BST

Starmer: Too much ‘self-entitlement in politics’

Sir Keir Starmer and Rachel Reeves are visiting the docks in Southampton this afternoon and are due to be answering questions from workers.

The Labour leader said: “It is obviously an election where there is a choice. The basic choice is do you want to carry on with what we have got, what we have had for the last 14 years which in my view hasn’t worked very well or do you want to turn the page and rebuild the country with Labour.”

He said that if Labour win power there will be a “mindset change in government”.

He added: “I think there has been too much self-entitlement in politics recently.  We want to return it to service. That means it will be your government.”

Sir Keir Starmer and Rachel Reeves visit Ocean Gate, Eastern Docks in Southampton
Sir Keir Starmer and Rachel Reeves visit Ocean Gate, Eastern Docks in Southampton - Stefan Rousseau/PA

12:25 PM BST

Pictured: Scottish Lib Dem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton on his ‘battle tractor’

Alexander Cole-Hamilton, the leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, visits Craigie's Farm in South Queensferry to launch the party's manifesto
Alexander Cole-Hamilton, the leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, visits Craigie's Farm in South Queensferry to launch the party's manifesto - Jane Barlow/PA

12:07 PM BST

Labour to revisit Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal ‘and boost EU ties’

Rachel Reeves has pledged to forge closer ties with the European Union if Labour wins the general election.

The shadow chancellor said she wanted to improve the UK-EU trade deal agreed by Boris Johnson’s government in 2020.

“We would look to improve our trading relationship with Europe, and do trade deals around the world,” she told the Financial Times.

You can read the full story here


11:54 AM BST

Pictured: Anas Sarwar launches Scottish Labour’s battle bus

Anas Sarwar, the Scottish Labour leader, launches his battle bus at South Queensferry this morning
Anas Sarwar, the Scottish Labour leader, launches his battle bus at South Queensferry this morning - Alan Simpson /Alan Simpson Photography

11:43 AM BST

Labour accuses Tories of making unfunded tax cuts

Labour has accused Jeremy Hunt and the Conservative Party of making unfunded tax cut promises.

The Tories have said that saving money on welfare would help to fund their plans but Labour said a newsletter sent by Mr Hunt to his constituents last week showed the money was not new and had already been spent.

Mr Hunt reportedly said in the newsletter that the Tories are “funding an enormous back to work programme (which I announced in the Autumn Statement last year) and using the savings (around £12 bn a year) to fund” the 2p National Insurance cut.

Darren Jones, Labour’s shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, said: “This private admission from Jeremy Hunt that the Conservatives’ welfare cuts are not new, the money has been spent, and their plans are therefore unfunded drives a coach and horses through his party’s manifesto, which is no longer worth the paper it is written on.”

Mr Hunt’s newsletter was first reported on by the BBC. A Conservative spokesman told the broadcaster that Labour was in “complete denial” about the size of the nation’s welfare bill and the need to save money.


11:36 AM BST

Sunak: Starmer will let welfare bill spiral out of control if he gets keys to No 10

Sir Keir Starmer will let Britain’s welfare bill spiral out of control if he wins the keys to Number 10, Rishi Sunak has warned.

The Prime Minister said Labour did not think it was possible to save “a penny” in benefits spending, whereas the Tories wanted to see cuts of £12 billion a year.

Speaking at the G7 summit in Italy, he also pledged to bring back the proportion of people who are on ill-health benefits to the level it was at before the pandemic.

You can read the full story here


11:15 AM BST

Pictured: Starmer and Reeves travel to Hampshire on the campaign trail

Sir Keir Starmer and Rachel Reeves are pictured this morning as they travelled to Hampshire on the campaign trail
Sir Keir Starmer and Rachel Reeves are pictured this morning as they travelled to Hampshire on the campaign trail - Stefan Rousseau /PA

10:55 AM BST

Sir Ed Davey builds sandcastles in Devon

Sir Ed Davey is campaigning in the South West of England today and has arrived at Broadsands Beach near Paignton, Devon.

The Liberal Democrat leader took his shoes and socks off and built sandcastles with children and their parents.

His first attempt collapsed, prompting him to give it a “seven out of 10”.

A campaigner said: “Considering you haven’t done it before.”

Sir Ed laughed and replied: “Well, not for 40 years.”

Sir Ed Davey, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, is pictured this morning building sandcastles on Broadsands Beach in Torbay
Sir Ed Davey, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, is pictured this morning building sandcastles on Broadsands Beach in Torbay - Dinendra Haria /London News Pictures Ltd

10:52 AM BST

Tice defends Reform’s benefits policy: ‘No such thing as a free lunch’

Richard Tice said there is “no such thing as a free lunch” as he defended Reform’s plans to overhaul the benefits system.

Reform is pledging to enforce a “two-strike rule” which would mean that all job seekers must find employment within four months or accept a job after two offers or they would have their benefits withdrawn.

David Bull, the party’s deputy leader, was asked during an interview on Sky News this morning how people who have their benefits withdrawn would survive and he said it was about making “work attractive”.

Mr Tice tweeted: “Quite right. If you can work you should work. No such thing as a free lunch.”


10:28 AM BST

Swinney pledges new ‘social tariff’ to halve energy bills for the elderly

John Swinney announced the SNP will pledge in its manifesto to introduce a new “social tariff” to halve the cost of energy for the most vulnerable in society.

Speaking in Stornoway, in the Outer Hebrides, Mr Swinney said the tariff would mean that “for people who are elderly, on low incomes or disabled that they are freed of the excessive burden of energy costs”.

He suggested the tariff could be set at half the rate of regular energy bills.

He also said the tariff would apply to broadband to make it cheaper.


10:26 AM BST

Labour ‘not counting any chickens’ ahead of July 4

Labour is “not counting any chickens”, one of the party’s frontbenchers said after a Survation poll published at the weekend suggested it was on course to win a 262 seat majority.

Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow paymaster general, told Sky News: “Votes are beginning to be cast because people are getting their postal vote.

“But look, I am not counting any chickens, as it were, we are taking nothing for granted, there is a long way to go to the 4th of July.”


10:15 AM BST

Labour mocks ‘desperate’ Tory tax attacks

Jonathan Ashworth mocked Tory tax attacks on Labour and said they showed how “desperate” the Conservatives had become.

The Tories have claimed that Labour is planning numerous tax rises to pay for its spending plans.

Mr Ashworth, the shadow paymaster general, told Times Radio: “Why don’t I say Grant Shapps is going to tax windows, Rishi Sunak is going to tax windows.

“You will rightly say that is nonsense. This is how desperate and nonsensical the Tory campaign has become.”


10:09 AM BST

Pictured: Reeves and Reynolds meet business leaders in the City of London

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves and shadow secretary of state for business and trade Jonathan Reynolds (right) during a meeting with business leaders at M&G Investments in central London
Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves and shadow secretary of state for business and trade Jonathan Reynolds (right) during a meeting with business leaders at M&G Investments in central London - Lucy North/PA

10:02 AM BST

Ashworth fails to rule out capital gains increase

Jonathan Ashworth failed to rule out a Labour government increasing capital gains tax.

He said a Tory claim that Labour could change the levy so that it applied to primary residences was “absolute nonsense”.

But he failed to rule out a broader increase.

Asked if he could rule out an increase in capital gains tax, Mr Ashworth told Times Radio: “There is nothing in our plans which requires tax increases over and above [that which Labour has already set out].”

His failure to rule out an increase in CGT came after he did rule out revaluing council tax bands (see the post below at 09.47).


09:47 AM BST

Labour rules out revaluing council tax bands

Labour has ruled out making changes to council tax bands if it wins power.

The party had previously refused to rule out the possibility of recalculating council tax, with the bands having been set in 1991.

But Jonathan Ashworth today insisted council tax bands would not be changed under a Labour government.

The shadow paymaster general was asked during an interview on Times Radio this morning if he could promise “there’ll be no movement on council tax bands”.

Mr Ashworth said: “No, we’re not changing council tax bands.”

Asked if that was a promise, Mr Ashworth said: “Yeah.”

A council tax revaluation would be likely to result in tax increases for millions of households.

Labour has ruled out increases on income tax, National Insurance and VAT but the Tories have claimed the opposition is plotting numerous tax rises in other areas.


09:36 AM BST

Campaigners publish tactical voting plan

Tactical voting recommendations have been offered in more than 450 constituencies by campaigners hoping to unseat a series of high-profile Conservatives.

Best For Britain, which is behind the GetVoting campaign, said its recommendations have been made in a bid to deal the “heaviest possible electoral defeat for the Government, to keep them out of power for a decade and to avoid the election of Reform UK MPs”.

They have recommended Labour in 370 seats, Liberal Democrats in 69, the Green Party in three, the SNP in seven and Plaid Cymru in two.

Best for Britain CEO Naomi Smith speaking during a press conference at The Conrad London in central London
Best for Britain CEO Naomi Smith speaking during a press conference at The Conrad London in central London - Aaron Chown /PA

09:31 AM BST

Labour can’t say how much energy bills would fall under green pledge

Labour has insisted its proposed green energy drive will result in lower household bills.

But Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow paymaster general, was unable this morning to put a number on how much bills would reduce.

He said “existing licences in the North Sea will be honoured” but Labour will “invest in the North Sea by creating good jobs in hydrogen, in carbon capture”.

He said investing in UK renewables will bring down energy bills for people across the country.

Asked for a percentage of how much lower energy bills would be by the end of a Labour parliament, Mr Ashworth would not give a figure, adding: “You wouldn’t believe me if I plucked the figure from thin air because it depends on the investment we’re putting into renewable energy sources, but we can cut energy bills for good for people across the country.”


09:29 AM BST

Pictured: Sunak, Starmer and Davey watch England’s Euro 2024 victory over Serbia

Rishi Sunak watches on as England play Serbia at Euro 2024
Rishi Sunak watches on as England play Serbia at Euro 2024
Angela Rayner and Sir Keir Starmer celebrate England's win over Serbia
Angela Rayner and Sir Keir Starmer celebrate England's win over Serbia
Sir Ed Davey celebrates England scoring against Serbia as he travels on the Lib Dem battle bus
Sir Ed Davey celebrates England scoring against Serbia as he travels on the Lib Dem battle bus - London News Pictures Ltd

09:16 AM BST

Don’t expect immigration change under Labour, says Farage

Nigel Farage claimed there would be no change on immigration under a Labour government.

Asked about Labour’s plans to seek closer trade ties with the EU, Mr Farage told the BBC: “I think we’re perfectly capable of regulating and running our own industries.”

He added: “Labour’s six-point manifesto plan doesn’t even mention immigration, so don’t expect, folks, any change there at all.”


09:00 AM BST

Farage: We paid for candidate vetting but ‘it wasn’t done’

Nigel Farage said Reform had paid for its candidates to be professionally vetted but the work “wasn’t done”.

He said the party had spent a “great deal of money” on a vetting system provided by a “well-known political figure” but it had not delivered and he will be revealing more details in the coming days.

Mr Farage was asked this morning if he could give voters an assurance that he had got rid of all of Reform’s “unpleasant” candidates after one candidate resigned after historic comments emerged in which he urged people to vote for the BNP.

Mr Farage told the BBC: “We did put in place with quite a well-known political figure who runs a professional vetting company, we put in place something, we spent a great deal of money on getting that vetting done. It wasn’t done.

“I will talk more about that over the next couple of days.”

Mr Farage said the short notice nature of this general election meant that “every party is having problems with candidates”.


08:42 AM BST

UK elections becoming more like the US, says Farage

UK elections are shifting to an almost “presidential-style”, Nigel Farage said this morning.

The Reform leader told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: “We have almost got a presidential-style now.  People are voting for or against Keir Starmer, Rishi Sunak, Ed Davey or me.

“They are the names that are really on the ballot paper.”


08:30 AM BST

Farage makes ‘minimum’ five-year commitment to be on political front-line

Nigel Farage said his return to the political front-line would last for at least five years.

Mr Farage said he was making a “minimum five-year commitment of my life to build this political movement to get real change”.

“We know what we believe in,” he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.


08:21 AM BST

Farage plans to fight 2029 election as viable PM candidate

Nigel Farage said he wanted to use the election to establish a Reform UK “bridgehead” in the House of Commons which could be used as a springboard to fight to be prime minister at the 2029 contest.

The Reform leader claimed the Tories were “split down the middle” and he wanted Reform to become the “proper voice of opposition”.

He said his plan was to “establish that bridgehead in Parliament” and to use that to build a “big national campaigning movement around the country over the course of the next five years for genuine change”.

Asked if it was his intention to therefore be vying to be PM at the next election, Mr Farage told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: “Yes, absolutely.”


08:19 AM BST

Labour’s energy plans ‘risk turning out the lights’, says Sunak

Rishi Sunak claimed Labour’s energy plans risked “turning out the lights”.

The Tories are focusing their campaign today on Labour saying it would block exploration of new oil and gas fields.

The Tories have taken steps in recent months to boost exploration in the North Sea.

The Prime Minister tweeted this morning: “Jobs lost, higher taxes and investment destroyed.

“The one thing we know about Labour’s energy policy is that it risks turning out the lights and hiking your taxes to pay for it.”


08:11 AM BST

Seven seats for Reform would be ‘extraordinary’, says David Bull

Reform winning seven seats on July 4 would be an “extraordinary” result, the party’s deputy leader said.

A Survation poll and analysis published at the weekend suggested Reform could end up with seven MPs.

David Bull told Sky News this morning: “As you know under our system it is incredibly difficult for small parties to succeed.

“So I would have said two or three seats would be amazing. If we got to seven seats that would be extraordinary.”


08:06 AM BST

Reform would find £50bn in public sector savings, says deputy leader

Reform would find £50 billion in savings in the public sector to help fund its policy plans, the party’s deputy leader said this morning.

David Bull told Sky News: “There are huge examples of government waste that we believe that we can actually go through and remove all of that waste.

“We are not efficient in this country. £50 billion.”


07:57 AM BST

Shapps suggests he would welcome Boris Johnson campaigning for Tories

Grant Shapps suggested he would welcome Boris Johnson campaigning for the Conservative Party.

Asked if the former premier would be a help or a hindrance, the Defence Secretary told Times Radio: “In terms of who campaigns, every Conservative I hope will be involved in this campaign in their own way at different times.

“That is the right way to proceed, we want to campaign as one big Conservative family and warn people of the dangers of Starmer and this massive majority that the polls you are telling about would suggest, if they were indeed true.”


07:50 AM BST

Coming up at 1pm: Reform to unveil ‘contract’ with voters


07:38 AM BST

Labour landslide would have ‘horrendous’ consequences, warns Shapps

A massive Labour majority victory on July 4 would have “horrendous” consequences for the country, Grant Shapps claimed.

A Survation poll published at the weekend suggested Labour was on course to secure a 262 seat majority.

Mr Shapps told Times Radio: “The risks of a blank cheque for Starmer are horrendous for this country and it doesn’t do the country any good to have that kind of size majority for Starmer.”


07:32 AM BST

Not necessary for Sunak to be more aggressive against Starmer, suggests Shapps

Grant Shapps suggested there was no need for Rishi Sunak to become more aggressive in his attacks on Sir Keir Starmer.

Cabinet ministers and senior Tories are reportedly urging the Prime Minister to “go for the jugular” in an attempt to boost the Conservative campaign.

Asked if that was necessary, Mr Shapps, the Defence Secretary, told Times Radio: “All I think is actually required is to remind people that Keir Starmer is the only other person who can walk into Downing Street.

“He twice supported Jeremy Corbyn, urged us all to vote for him, and worse than that has plans to increase everybody’s taxes.”


07:28 AM BST

Shapps: Tory election victory ‘unlikely but possible’

Grant Shapps agreed a Tory general election victory is “unlikely but possible”.

The Defence Secretary said he believed the Conservative Party can still win the contest on July 4 and form the next government.

But he admitted that is “not the most likely outcome”.

Asked if the Tories can still win, Mr Shapps told Times Radio: “Yes, it is possible to win the election. Do I accept it is not the most likely outcome? Yes, I accept that, I am a realist.

“But I also think that when people start to narrow down on this focus, in particular I have noticed this with talking to people on the doorstep where they have been perhaps toying voting in another direction and then realising that just gives Starmer more power and no one, I think at this stage thinks that it would be in the benefit of this country… to have a massive Starmer majority.”

Asked if he was saying that a Tory victory was “unlikely but possible”, he replied: “I think that is the realistic position, isn’t it? I live in the real world… let’s not try and pretend black is white.

“But let’s not also try and say that just because opinion polls say ‘X’, that’s what will happen at the ballot box because, as I have mentioned, in 2015, 2016 and 2017, pollsters were the ones who ended up with egg on their faces.”


06:58 AM BST

Labour’s oil and gas ban will create £4.5bn tax black hole, Energy Secretary warns

Labour’s ban on new North Sea oil and gas will create a £4.5 billion black hole in the public finances that will have to be filled by higher taxes, the Energy Secretary has warned.

Claire Coutinho has accused Sir Keir Starmer of planning to take Britain “back to the dark ages” with his net zero plan to phase out domestic production.

The Labour leader has made a manifesto pledge to block exploration of new oil and gas fields because it would “accelerate the worsening climate crisis”.

Tory analysis has claimed that the ban would lead to lost tax takings of £4.5 billion over the next 10 years and £12.4 billion in total as North Sea production dwindles.

You can read the full story here


06:44 AM BST

What is happening in the general election campaign today?

Nigel Farage will take the fight to Labour in Wales today as he launches Reform UK’s manifesto - or “contract” with the British people.

The Reform leader will seek to position his party as the opposition-in-waiting by claiming voters have been let down by the Labour-led Welsh Government, which the “feeble” Tories have failed to hold to account.

Meanwhile, Rishi Sunak is returning to the campaign trail after a brief hiatus to attend the G7 in Italy, followed on Saturday by Trooping the Colour and a major international summit on Ukraine in Switzerland.

Sir Keir Starmer and Rachel Reeves will fire the starting gun on a week of campaigning on the economy with a visit to the South East, where they will take questions from the media.

Sir Ed Davey, the Lib Dem leader, will be out in Devon and Somerset, while the party’s Scottish branch will be launching its manifesto north of the border, with leader Alex Cole-Hamilton and deputy leader Wendy Chamberlain.

To kick things off, Grant Shapps, the Defence Secretary, and Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow paymaster general, are batting for their respective parties on the morning media round.


06:32 AM BST

‘Completely illogical’ for Tory Brexit supporters to switch to Reform, says Fox

Sir Liam Fox suggested it would be “completely illogical” for Tory voters who backed Brexit at the 2016 EU referendum to now consider voting for Reform UK.

The Tory former Cabinet minister was asked during an interview on Sky News if he understood why some Tory voters may be turning to Reform.

He said: “I can understand their frustrations but they have to understand that the price for what they think is a protest vote would be a Labour government that would do the very things, for example in the referendum, that they voted against.

“It is completely illogical.”


06:24 AM BST

Liam Fox: Reform’s ‘clear objective’ is to ‘destroy Conservative Party’

Sir Liam Fox warned Reform UK’s “clear objective” is to “destroy the Conservative Party” as Nigel Farage prepares to unveil his “contract” with the nation.

Sir Liam, the Tory ex-international trade secretary, said Mr Farage was “not a friend” of the Conservatives and his party was “not an ally”.

Mr Farage will use an event in Wales this afternoon to set out Reform’s finalised policy pledges.

Sir Liam told Sky News: “They [Reform] have a clear objective, which is to destroy the Conservative Party, and they don’t actually seem to mind what the implications of that would be.

“Let me just take two elements of that. The Labour Party are proposing closer regulatory alignment with the European Union in things like veterinary services and goods.

“That’s what Nigel Farage said he could never accept. Now he seems quite happy for his party to hand Labour seats to do exactly what he wanted to avoid, which was closer regulatory alignment with the EU.

“Trade union reform, Labour Party proposing more trade union rights. So this is not, Nigel Farage is not a friend of the Conservative Party. Reform is not an ally of the Conservative Party. They seek to destroy it.”