Conservative Mark Logan defects to Labour

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Mark Logan, the Tory MP for Bolton North East for the last five years, has defected to Labour, joining the party and publicly supporting them at the general election.[2]

Mr Logan said the Conservative Party was “unrecognisable” from the one he joined a decade ago[3] and revealed on Thursday he was applying to become a Labour member.

He holds one of the most marginal seats in the country, winning with a majority of just 378 in 2019.

Mr Logan said: “When I look back to my teenage years, in 1997 when Labour came to the fore[4] at that time and we obviously heard the song Things Can Only Get Better, I feel that we’re at that point again in British politics and British history.”

He added: “For my constituents and for the country, it’s right that we get some stability back into the UK, we get optimism, we get new and fresh ideas.”

resignation letter

Mr Logan’s resignation letter

Mr Logan made the announcement in an interview with the BBC on Thursday. He is now a former MP, given he is not seeking re-election and Parliament has officially dissolved for the campaign.

It comes weeks after Dan Poulter and Natalie Elphicke[5] switched from the Conservatives to become Labour MPs, crossing the aisle and publicly calling on voters to back their former political opponents.

Christian Wakeford,[6] the MP for Bury South, defected to Labour in January 2022, meaning Mr Logan is the fourth person elected a Tory MP in 2019 to switch to Labour.

Lee Anderson, the former Tory MP for Ashfield, joined the Reform party after being stripped of the whip for comments about Sadiq Khan, the London mayor, in March.

Mr Logan’s victory in Bolton North East, a seat held by Labour for decades until 2019, made him part of Boris Johnson’s takeover of the so-called Red Wall, a group of traditionally Labour-voting seats in the North and Midlands which flipped to the Tories. 8atco0O2PPU

Mr Logan eventually joined the Government as a parliamentary private secretary to the Northern Ireland Office but resigned after Chris Pincher, the Tory whip, was accused of impropriety in 2022. Mr Pincher later apologised for his behaviour and resigned from his role.

The backlash, which Mr Logan was part of, triggered the end of Mr Johnson’s premiership. Mr Logan indicated when resigning at the time that the partygate scandal had “not sat well with me” and had angered some constituents.

Before entering politics, Mr Logan had been a British diplomat for the Foreign Office and spent time as a businessman.

It is unclear what he will do next. In the BBC interview, he kept open the possibility of a return under Labour, saying: “I wouldn’t rule out coming back into public life.”

Explaining his decision to back Labour on Thursday, Mr Logan said: “It’s more about not the push factor of Conservatives, but the pull factor of Keir Starmer, the new Cabinet that would come in, the fresh faces, the fresh ideas.”

He said he had been supporting Labour “for quite a long period” but explained he wanted to wait for the point he was no longer an MP to express his views “because the electorate did vote me in as a Conservative MP”.

He added: “I believe as a politician it’s incumbent upon me to be able to say, to look people in the eyes in Bolton and say that I believe that a Labour government is going to serve you better, your interests better, it’s going to be better for your pockets, it’s better for the economy, it’s going to be better for the UK.”

Live coverage has ended – follow our Question Time blog for coverage of tonight’s events[7]

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Live coverage ending

That’s all for today…We’re pausing our live coverage of the 2024 general election for now.

Here is what has happened on day seven of the general election campaign:

  • Diane Abbott accused Sir Keir Starmer of an “appalling cull of Left-wingers” after Faiza Shaheen was barred from standing for Labour at the election. Ms Abbot also claims that she has been barred.
  • Angela Rayner said Diane Abbott should be allowed to stand as a Labour candidate in a direct challenge to Sir Keir Starmer.
  • Mark Logan, the Tory MP for Bolton North East for the last five years, defected to Labour by joining the party and publicly supporting them at the general election. 
  • Rishi Sunak said he won’t force people to change their cars as part of premature net zero schemes, in a speech at a factory in Milton Keynes.
  • Nigel Farage said the “election is over” and that Reform UK will be the main opposition to a Labour government
  • Sir Keir Starmer stood by embattled Welsh First Minister Vaughan Gething as Labour’s election campaign arrived in Wales.
  • The Green Party said it would push Labour “beyond the timid change they are offering” if Sir Keir Starmer wins the general election, as the party launched it election campaign in Bristol.


Sunak speaks to party members in Milton Keynes

Rishi Sunak has been on the campaign trail in Milton Keynes on Thursday. 

He answered questions from factory workers at Niftylift, a cherry picker manufacturer, and gave a short speech to party members at MK Gallery (pictured).

Sunak MK Gallery

Rishi Sunak delivers a speech at MK Gallery

Credit: PA


Tories hit back after Logan defects

The Conservatives have hit back at former Tory MP Mark Logan after he announced he was quitting the party to back Labour at the election.

A spokesperson said: “It’s notable that Mark Logan has defected to a party he can’t even name a single policy of.

“We wish Mark Logan well with the Labour Party – a party that has no plan for the country and would take us back to square one.

“We will select a new candidate in due course. The people of Bolton North East now have the choice to vote to stick with the plan by choosing bold action for a safer, more prosperous future with the Conservatives, or go back to square one with Keir Starmer and the same old Labour.”


‘Labour is back’, says Logan

In a statement posted on X, formerly Twitter, Mark Logan says that “Labour is back”.

“‘Things can only get better’ by a Northern Irish band, represented the optimism of the incoming Labour government of 1997,” the former Tory MP said in the letter.

“Labour is back, and given how things have been, I believe things can only get better”.


(My decision and letter from yesterday)[12]

— Mark Logan (@Mark_Logan_MP) May 30, 2024[13]


Mark Logan refuses to rule out Labour return

Before entering politics Mr Logan had been a British diplomat for the Foreign Office and spent time as a businessman.

It is unclear what he will do next. 

In the BBC interview he kept open the possibility of a return under Labour, saying: “I wouldn’t rule out coming back into public life.” 

Explaining his decision to back Labour on Thursday, Mr Logan said: “It’s more about not the push factor of Conservatives, but the pull factor of Keir Starmer, the new cabinet that would come in, the fresh faces, the fresh ideas.” 

He said he had been supporting Labour “for quite a long period” but explained he wanted to wait for the point he was no longer an MP to express his views “because the electorate did vote me in as a Conservative MP”. 

He added: “I believe as a politician it’s incumbent upon me to be able to say, to look people in the eyes in Bolton and say that I believe that a Labour government is going to serve you better, your interests better, it’s going to be better for your pockets, it’s better for the economy, it’s going to be better for the UK.”


Who is Mark Logan?

Mark Logan, a former businessman and diplomat, is the fourth person elected as a Tory MP in 2019 to switch to Labour.

His victory in Bolton North East, a seat held by Labour for decades until 2019, made him part of Boris Johnson’s takeover of the so-called “Red Wall”, a group of traditionally Labour-voting seats in the North and Midlands which flipped to the Tories.

Mr Logan eventually joined the government as a parliamentary private secretary to the Northern Ireland Office but resigned after the Tory whip Chris Pincher was accused of impropriety in 2022. Mr Pincher later apologised for his behaviour and resigned for his role.

The backlash, which Mr Logan was part of, proved to trigger the end of Boris Johnson’s premiership. Mr Logan indicated when resigning at the time the partygate scandal had “not sat well with me” and had angered some constituents. 


Labour will better serve my constituency, says Tory MP

Mark Logan MP, who has defected to Labour, said a Labour government would better serve his constituents in Bolton North East.

He told BBC News: “I believe, as a politician, it’s incumbent upon me to be able to say, to look people in the eyes in Bolton and say that I believe that a Labour government is going to serve you better, your interests better, it’s going to be better for your pockets, it’s better for the economy, it’s going to be better for the UK.”

He added: “It’s more about not the the push factor of Conservatives, but the pull factor of Keir Starmer, the new cabinet that would come in, the fresh faces, the fresh ideas.”


Tory MP defects to Labour

A former Tory MP has defected to Labour, saying the party can “bring back optimism into British life”.

MP Mark Logan, who represents Bolton North East, told BBC News that he was backing Labour at the general election.

He said his application to join Labour was “going in today”.

“For my constituents and for the country, it’s right that we get some stability back into the UK, we get optimism, we get new and fresh ideas,” he said.

He added that Labour had been on a “journey” and now offered “centrist politics”.


Labour election campaign in ‘chaos’, say Tories

The Conservatives say that Labour’s election campaign has “descended into complete chaos”.

It comes after Angela Rayner said Diane Abbott should be allowed to stand as a Labour candidate in a direct challenge to Sir Keir Starmer.

A Tory spokesman said: “Today the Labour Party campaign has descended into complete chaos. Keir Starmer changed major tax policy overnight in response to a press release, and today he’s being undermined by his own deputy.

“Starmer’s central claim is that he has ‘changed’ the Labour Party has been exposed as nothing more than a con which is falling apart before the the public’s eyes”


Sunak declines to name concrete tax target

Rishi Sunak has declined to make a concrete pledge on reducing the overall tax burden. 

The Prime Minister was asked to name a target when speaking to broadcasters during a campaign visit to Niftylift, a cherry picker manufacturer near Milton Keynes.

He said: “We’re very clear, both the Chancellor and I, that we want to keep cutting taxes on working people and that is the choice at this election.

“I believe people’s hard work should be rewarded. And after a difficult few years, we’re now in a position to cut people’s taxes.”

He added that “we want to do more when we can responsibly do so”.


Starmer serves ice cream on Barry seafront

Sir Keir Starmer has been serving ice cream to day trippers on Barry seafront in South Wales.

He was earlier launching Labour’s six steps for change in Abergavenny.

Starmer ice cream

Starmer serving ice cream on Barry seafront

Credit: PA


Sunak: I’m sorry for ‘Partygate’

Rishi Sunak has apologised for the ‘Partygate’ scandal after he was asked about it by a factory worker in Milton Keynes.

During an event at the factory Niftylift, a cherry picker manufacturer, the Prime Minister was asked about trust by a worker whose mother died during the pandemic.

“I’m sorry for what was going on in Downing Street,” said Mr Sunak, who was fined over lockdown parties at Number 10 during lockdown.

He referenced the furlough scheme and said that “he did everything by to protect you and your family” during the pandemic.

“When the country goes through tough times, I will always be there.”


‘I won’t force you into premature net zero measures’, vows Sunak

Rishi Sunak has arrived on the campaign trail in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, writes Neil Johnston.

Speaking to workers at the factory Niftylift, a cherry picker manufacturer, he is asked what will be done to achieve net zero and support households.

“Of course I believe in climate change, I want to get to net zero,” he said.

“The questions is how do we get there. We need to be more serious. I want to prioritise our countries energy security…we are better off getting it here at home.

“I also want to prioritise your bills. What I don’t want to do is force you prematurely to rip out your boiler, change your car. We don’t need to do them right now.”

Sunak factory speech

Sunak speaking to factory workers in Milton Keynes

Credit: Aaron Chown/PA Wire


Davey hits the doorsteps in Somerset

Ed Davey is hitting the doorsteps in Somerset on Thursday afternoon. 

The Liberal Democrat leader is out with with his party’s candidate for Frome & East Somerset, Anna Sabine.

Ed Davey

Ed Davey speaking to residents in Somerset



Green Party says it will push ‘timid’ Labour

The Green Party says it will push Labour “beyond the timid change they are offering” if Sir Keir Starmer wins the general election.

Launching the party’s election campaign from Bristol, co-leader Carla Denyer said: “It’s so important that when Labour form the next government, they are pushed beyond the timid change they are offering.

“Pushed to be more ambitious, braver, not to skirt around the edges of the massive crises facing our country, but to actually make real change that benefits people’s lives every day, that’s what Green MPs can do.”

The party said it hopes to elect four MPs on July 4, targeting Brighton Pavilion, Bristol Central, Waveney Valley, and North Herefordshire.

Carla Denyer

Green Party co-leaders Carla Denyer and Adrian Ramsay at the party’s campaign launch in Bristol

Credit: PA


Labour: ‘Army at smallest size since Napoleon’

Labour has criticised the Government for allowing Army numbers to fall below its target figure for the first time.

Shadow defence secretary John Healey said “our forces can’t afford five more years of the Tories”, after Ministry of Defence personnel statistics showed soldier numbers dropping below the 73,000 target.

The Government’s defence plans include reducing the size of the regular Army from a commitment of 82,000 troops to 73,000 by 2025 – down from 97,000 a decade ago.

But the data released on Thursday showed that numbers had dipped even further, to 72,510, in April.

Mr Healey said on social media site X, formerly Twitter: “The Tories have already cut the Army to its smallest size since Napoleon, now they’ve allowed soldier numbers to slump below their own target strength.”


‘Abbott has been treated in appalling way’, says Fire Brigades Union

The Fire Brigades Union general secretary has hit out at the “appalling” way Diane Abbott and other candidates had been treated by Labour.

Matt Wrack claimed there were “double standards” in the way left-wingers were dealt with.

He said: “There are clearly double standards in how they have been treated as left-wingers and as women of colour when compared to more centrist MPs.

“It is only a matter of weeks since hard-right Tory Natalie Elphicke was welcomed with open arms.

“This has all been an embarrassing distraction. The Labour leadership must now act decisively to reinstate the affected candidates and ensure that no-one is barred from standing at the last minute with no due process.”


Jump in applications to vote since election announced

Applications to register to vote have jumped sharply since Rishi Sunak’s announcement of the general election, figures show.

A total of 405,063 applications were submitted in the seven days to May 29, more than double the 159,770 in the previous seven days to May 22.

The Prime Minister made his speech triggering the election on the afternoon of May 22.

People who have not yet registered to vote in the General Election, or are not sure if they are eligible, have until 11.59pm on June 18 to submit an application.

This can be done online at


Yvette Cooper warns of ‘new street crime wave’

The Tories are ignoring a “new street crime wave”, according to shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper.

On a visit to Maltby, South Yorkshire, Ms Cooper said Labour will “get the police back on our streets” by putting 13,000 more police and police community support officers into communities.

Ms Cooper said: “There’s a new street crime wave happening – a big increase in mobile phone thefts but also real growing problems on anti-social behaviour.

“The Conservatives are just ignoring it and they cut the neighbourhood police we need.”

She said the cost of up to £400 million would be funded by a crackdown on duplication and bureaucracy in the fragmented system of police procurement across the 43 forces in England and Wales.


Vote: Who is best placed to manage education?

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‘I’ll vote for Abbott to stand’, says Labour NEC member

A member of Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC), the party’s governing body, has said she will vote for Diane Abbott to be allowed to stand.

Gemma Bolton told Radio 4’s World at One programme that the NEC will vote on whether to endorse a list of candidates in a meeting on Tuesday.

She said she hoped there will be a “clear consensus that Diane should be a candidate” by the time the meeting happens.


Yvette Cooper on campaign trail in Yorkshire

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper is on the campaign trail in Maltby, South Yorkshire.

She spoke to a shopkeeper on Maltby High Street as she out Labour’s plan to tackle the nationwide issues of anti-social behaviour, street crime and shoplifting.

Yvette Cooper

Yvette Cooper speaks to a shopkeeper in Maltby

Credit: Getty Images Europe


Comment: Rayner has just dealt a devastating blow to Keir Starmer

Question of the day: what is the job of a deputy party leader? asks Tom Harris.

Previous incumbents of the post in the Labour Party never doubted the answer: it was to support the leader publicly and to advise him privately. That was how John Prescott, probably the party’s most successful deputy to the party’s most successful leader, saw it.

Prescott was a man of the Left but he had a keen understanding of pragmatism and the role it plays in shaping a party’s platform and helping it to victory. Deputies often have to bite their tongue and smile for the cameras. Self-indulgence, that most tempting of political traits, should always take second place to the needs of the party.

Angela Rayner

Angela Rayner marshals an easyJet plane arriving from Amsterdam onto the stand during a visit to London Stansted

Credit: Joe Giddens

Angela Rayner seems to have a different approach, and it’s one that threatens to dangerously undermine her own leader. And for “leader”, read “party”.

For during an election campaign – especially during an election campaign – the leader and the party might as well be the same thing. What’s good for the leader is good for the party. A disaster that afflicts the leader is a disaster inflicted on the entire party.

Tom Harris: This could destabilise Labour’s entire campaign[33]


‘Haven’t you hurt me enough already?’

Responding to a photograph of Sir Keir Starmer campaigning with her at the 2019 election, Faiza Shaheen said: “Please don’t undermine my credentials

“I came from a family with a violent father and spent part of my childhood on benefits. I’m now a visiting professor and teach at LSE. Public services really helped me, and I had to work so hard to get to this point in my life.

“Haven’t you hurt me enough already?”


Davey dismisses claim Lib Dems are unserious

Sir Ed Davey has dismissed the claim that the Liberal Democrats are not a serious party because of their campaign stunts, writes Tim Sigsworth.

The party leader went down a slip and slide on Thursday morning as he announced a new pledge to triple social media giants’ taxes to pay for mental health professionals in schools.

“My belief is that politicians need to take the concerns and the interests of voters seriously, but I’m not sure they need to take themselves seriously all the time,” he told reporters at Frome Town Football Club in Somerset.

“And it’s quite happy to have some fun. I think it’s quite right.

“However, today we’re [also] showing the serious side of our policy-making.”


Rayner: I’ve never been in trouble with the police but shoplifted as a child

Angela Rayner said she had never been in trouble with the law but shoplifted once while under the age of 16.

The deputy Labour leader said a police investigation into her tax affairs, which was ended by Greater Manchester Police with no further action, had been “shaming”, adding: “As a working class person, it taints you.”

In an interview with Sky News, Ms Rayner claimed her “wings had been clipped” during the campaign.

On her living arrangement, she said it “was a massive deal” as a single mother to provide for her son and own a home of her own. She said she and her ex-husband Mark Rayner “always had separate finances”.


Angela Rayner: Diane Abbott should stand for Labour

Angela Rayner has insisted that Diane Abbott should be allowed to stand as a Labour candidate in a direct challenge to Sir Keir Starmer, writes Nick Gutteridge.

Labour’s deputy leader said she could not “see any reason” why the veteran Left-wing backbencher should not stand for the party on July 4. 

In an interview with ITV she also said that she is “not happy” about anonymous briefings which said that Ms Abbott had been barred from standing,

Her intervention will pile pressure on Sir Keir to intervene in the case and ensure that she is given the chance to be on the ballot paper for the party. 

Ms Rayner is widely seen as the Left’s standard bearer within the shadow cabinet.

She told ITV: “I don’t see any reason why Diane Abbott can’t stand as a Labour MP going forward. I am saying that as the deputy leader of the Labour Party.”

She added that she was “not happy” about negative briefings against Ms Abbott, adding: “I don’t think that is how we should conduct ourselves.”


How to fight back against Labour’s attack on private school fees

For parents of children at fee paying schools, this is a worrying time. With an election now called and victory looking ever more likely, the Labour Party has reaffirmed its commitment to apply VAT on private school fees, writes Mike Warburton.

The vast majority of parents make major sacrifices to give their children the advantages of a private education and an additional 20pc on fees will be too much for some. In my past live Q&A sessions, Telegraph readers have been asking what, if anything, can be done to reduce the impact of the fee increases.

One possibility is that the VAT charge may not apply to all fees. For example, if it only applied to the educational content, boarding fees, school trips and other extracurricular activities may remain VAT free. In addition, some school expenditure may be on items that carry VAT, such as construction works.

If fees become VAT standard rated, the school should be able to recover that VAT element involved. In addition, a few schools may be able to absorb some of the additional costs or possibly phase in fee increases by stages.

Tax Tips: What can be done to soften Starmer’s raid[39]


Tice and Farage far apart

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Abbott: Unions are backing me to be a Labour candidate

Diane Abbott said amid the ongoing row over her candidacy: “I am very grateful to all the trade unionists who have offered me support.

“I have met with a number of leading trade unionists, including general secretaries who have offered me their backing to be a Labour candidate at next week’s NEC.”

I am very grateful to all the trade unionists who have offered me support. I have met with a number of leading trade unionists, including general secretaries who have offered me their backing to be a Labour candidate at next week’s NEC.[42]

— Diane Abbott (@HackneyAbbott) May 30, 2024[43]


Tice downplays fears businesses would go bust

Asked whether the employer immigration tax would lead to businesses going bust, Richard Tice insisted “businesses have a choice” to hire more British young people.

“Get them on the payroll, make work pay and frankly we’ll all be better off.”


Farage clashes with Guardian reporter over Trump

Nigel Farage was asked by the Guardian newspaper how he squared his concern about sectarian politics and concern for women’s rights with his support “for a man who openly boasts about sexually assaulting women and is under investigation for fermenting insurrection”.

Mr Farage replied: “I think the comments that made Trump, going back a long time now, were as he described ‘locker room talk’ and I bet you’ve said one or two things to your mates in the pub that you’d rather not be aired in public.

Nigel Farage on the 2020 US presidential election campaign trail with Donald Trump

Nigel Farage on the 2020 US presidential election campaign trail with Donald Trump

Credit: Chip Somodevilla

“People do do these things. Look, I know that you have a loathing, your newspaper, of The Donald but I don’t accept those comments you’ve made about him, I have to say I think what is going on in New York at the moment is absolutely obscene in legal terms but he will be the 47th President of the United States of America.

“And that’s a good thing, to have an American president that likes this country, adores this country, feels a strong connection to this country, but perhaps more important than that to have a world leader who did so much to promote peace.”


Farage: Reform voters are scared to admit their support

Nigel Farage said a “growing number” of young British Muslims were being attracted to extremism.

“I raise that not because I want to see division, that division is being felt I think with the Jewish community in our country already.

“I raise that because I think we ought to have a debate about it. But, you know, of course I get called all the names under the sun for daring to raise the issue. That’s why when pollsters or anybody else ask people whether they support Reform, they’re shy about it. They’re shy of getting abuse.”


‘You won’t get a cigarette paper between us’

Nigel Farage downplayed any suggestions of a split between him and Richard Tice.

“Unless there’s anything Richard hasn’t told me, we seem to be getting on reasonably well.

“And you can try as hard as you like, you won’t get a cigarette paper between us, I promise you.”


Farage: We will win seats at this election

Nigel Farage told a press conference: “The election’s over, we know that, we understand that, it doesn’t fill us particularly with joy, but that’s where we are. So that begs the question, who’s going to be the opposition?

“When people realise that when the Conservatives can’t win, and they actually agree with a lot of what we’re saying, I believe we are going to win seats, maybe not a huge number but are going to win seats and we intend to be the voice of opposition to a Labour government over the next five years. That’s the aim, that’s the ambition.”

Richard Tice said the idea Reform was a wasted vote is “offensive to democracy”, adding: “If you vote Labour or Tory it’s socialism, there’s no difference.”


Tice: We need a freeze on net migration

Asked by The Telegraph about the level of net migration that Reform wanted to see on an annual basis, Richard Tice said it should be a “similar number” to that leaving the country this year.

“What we’ve had in the last few years is about 1.2 million people arrive. The country needs to catch up. We’ve got to create some economic growth, we’ve got to create some wage growth… We need a pause. We need to freeze net immigration, let all of that happen.”

He added: “There’s some great degrees out there, but we have to be honest, and even Sunak’s now admitted it, there are too many Mickey Mouse degrees out there.”


Farage: There is no deal with the Conservatives whatsoever

Nigel Farage tells a press conference: “I feel betrayed by the Conservative Party. I have absolutely no interest of any kind of all in doing anything with them. There is no deal with the Conservatives whatsoever.”

Richard Tice said there was “nothing wrong with having a sense of humour” and repeats that Mr Farage’s comments were “banter”.

“As Nigel said our trust has been completely and utterly betrayed. And it’s a bit like the plumber. Good-looking chap, comes along, tells you he’s going to fix the leak, disappears and it still leaks. And he comes back and he blames the pipe. And it still leaks. And then he blames the glue and it still leaks. And then eventually you say, no, actually, it’s you. A bad workman blames his tools… They’ve betrayed us all and frankly, they need to be fired.”


Farage: I was being ‘deeply sarcastic’ about Tory deal

Asked if he was open to a deal with the Conservatives, Nigel Farage insists: “This was a deeply sarcastic answer given to Harry Cole, the political editor of the Sun, on his new programme Never Mind the Ballots.

“I’ve been asked this for 25 years. For 25 years I’ve been asked what are you going to do for the Conservatives? Why don’t you stand aside, so-and-so’s a frightfully good chap, he was at Eton, really, he was…  I think in 2019, we did the Conservatives the biggest favour anyone’s ever done them.

“With the complete catastrophe of the May premiership we formed the Brexit Party and within six weeks we reduced the Conservatives to their most humiliating election result in nearly 200 years. And that led directly to Theresa May going, that was the first bit of very significant help we gave the Conservatives in 2019.

“The second was perhaps more significant and that was we withdrew 319 candidates because we frankly couldn’t bear the thought of a Corbyn-Lib Dem-SNP coalition, a second referendum, an unpatriotic prime minister… so in the interests of the country we stood aside. That helped enormously because it gave the nod, it’s okay to vote for Boris, it’s okay to vote for the Conservatives in this election.”


Farage: We might just surprise everybody

Nigel Farage told the Reform press conference: “We are not as a party, and no party has ever been part of, anti-immigration. We understand that high-skilled migration into Britain can lead to economic benefits.

“But we are totally opposed to what has happened over the course of the last 25 years. We are confident that a clear majority of the British public feel exactly the same way we do on this issue. We are certain that they have never, ever been asked properly at an election that this is what they want.

Nigel Farage

“And who knows. If people start to understand what Reform UK is all about, and let’s face it, we’re a very new party, [and that] we want to stand up for ordinary British folk, then we might just surprise everybody in the course of the next five weeks.”


Starmer faces Labour Left backlash as flurry of moderate candidates announced

Sir Keir Starmer is facing a backlash from the Labour Left after the party announced a flurry of moderate candidates for the election, writes Amy Gibbons.

Four young centrists have been picked to stand for Labour on July 4, prompting accusations that would-be MPs ideologically aligned with Sir Keir are being “parachuted” into parliamentary seats by Labour HQ.

The Labour leader has been accused of a “cull” of the party’s Left, with the row over Diane Abbott’s candidacy, the suspension of Lloyd Russell-Moyle, the MP for Brighton Kemptown, and the blocking of Faiza Shaheen, a Left-wing candidate.

Among Labour’s new cohort at the election is Luke Akehurst, a moderate member of the national executive committee and a long-time critic of the hard Left. Labour confirmed that he will stand in North Durham, replacing Kevan Jones, the outgoing MP.

Amy Gibbons has more here[54]


Farage: This is a bold, innovative policy

Nigel Farage hailed a “bold, innovative policy”, adding: “I can hear the multinationals wailing already because you’re quite right, we have become addicted to cheap foreign labour.”

Mr Farage said legal migration was the “really big elephant in the room” amid an understandable focus on the Channel crisis.

“I really do believe this should be the immigration voters. You ask voters, what are their priorities? The subject of immigration has gone from fifth a few months ago to second or third depending on which pollster you look at.

“So what are the big priorities of the electorate? Well, cost of living clearly is one of them. What greater cost of living is there for the average family, for ordinary folk, in this country than the cost of either renting a property or the cost of buying a property? It is the biggest capital outlay that people face.

“We need to build one new property every two minutes just to accommodate current levels of net migration.”


Tice: There’s a whole load of ‘shy Reformers’

Richard Tice said he “loves campaigning, knocking on doors, all of that”.

“Let me tell you what is out there, and my good friend knows it and I know it. Do you remember the whole shy Brexiteers? There’s a whole load of shy Reformers.

Richard Tice

Credit: PA

“They’re out there, every day, I meet them, a little sort of wink, ‘don’t tell everyone’. That’s why we’re going to do so much better than everybody predicts on July 4. And that’s why with my good friend Nigel, we are going to surprise everybody because this great country needs Reform.”


Tice: Ordinary Britons sick of identity politics

Richard Tice said “the vast majority of ordinary, decent British workers are sick of pathetic identity politics that is designed purely to suppress debate and discussion”.

“What we want to talk about in Reform UK, and what I want to talk about, is how we get this country growing again, and how we can help young people.”

He called Labour and the Conservatives “two sides of the same socialist coin”.


‘We think this is a perfectly reasonable premium to pay’

If you want to employ non-British passport holders, then we think it’s perfectly reasonable that you should pay a premium on National Insurance.

So actually what you should pay is National Insurance of 20 per cent, as opposed to 13.8 per cent. It’s about a 45 per cent increase. We think that is a perfectly reasonable premium to pay.

Now of course there should be an exemption for very small businesses, five people and under, and of course there should be an exemption for healthcare and social care, that’s the right thing to do. This will actually change people’s thoughts and behaviour. We believe over one electoral cycle, this employer immigration tax will raise over £20 billion.


We must incentivise businesses to hire British workers, says Tice

Richard Tice said: “British wages are depressed by mass immigration from overseas… and it’s particularly unfair for young British people, people leaving school, leaving university, that’s deeply unfair.”

He added: “We need to incentivise business to say if you want to employ people from overseas, that’s fine, but you have to pay a price for it, an employer immigration tax, because actually we want to incentivise to employ British workers.

“Now big business will say ‘oh come on Richard, British workers don’t want to work’, to which I say ‘nonsense’.

“Before the era of mass immigration, in the 1980s and 1990s, British workers were working, we had real wage growth. So maybe actually it’s you, big business, getting away without paying a decent working wage.”


Richard Tice: We need an employer immigration tax

Richard Tice told a press conference: “Our economy has a deadly, deadly addiction, that’s the hard truth. It’s the drug of cheap overseas labour. And that drug is being pushed on every street corner by the Labour Party and by the Tories.

“They believe that this drug, this addiction, is good for the British economy. Let me tell you it’s not. And what we need is a cure for this addiction, and the cure is an employer immigration tax. That is the cure to this addiction.

“Smart immigration, highly-qualified, highly-skilled, can be a great thing. But there’s a price to it, there’s a cost to it, and at the moment there’s no cost to business for employing cheap, low-skilled overseas labour.

“There’s no cost for trading, there’s no cost for infrastructure, there’s no cost for housing, there’s no cost for health, there’s no cost for transport. And the list goes on. So they’re getting away without paying for overseas labour. That cost is borne by the British taxpayer. And the truth that no other main party will tell you is that is simply unfair.”


Pictured: Nigel Farage arrives for press conference

Nigel Farage

Credit: Justin Ng/Avalon


Starmer: Labour is not blocking Left-wing candidates

Sir Keir Starmer has denied that Labour is blocking Left-wing candidates from the election, insisting that he wants “the highest quality candidates” to stand, Genevieve Holl-Allen reports.

The Labour leader again denied that Diane Abbott had been barred from standing, and praised her as a “trailblazer” MP.

Asked whether Labour was barring Left-wing candidates, Sir Keir told Sky: “No. I’ve said repeatedly over the last two years as we’ve selected our candidates that I want the highest quality candidates. That’s been the position for a very long time. 

“The situation in relation to Diane Abbott is that no decision has been taken to bar her. We have to remember that she was a trailblazer as an MP, she overcame incredible challenges to achieve what she’s achieved in her political career.”

“She literally carved out the path for others to come into politics and she did all that whilst also being one of the most abused MPs across all political parties. But I’ve always had the aspiration that we’ll have the best quality candidates as we go into this election.”


Blocked Left-wing candidate may run against Labour

A Left-wing Labour candidate blocked by the party from standing at the general election has suggested she may run as an independent.

Faiza Shaheen, an economist and academic, was selected to be Labour’s candidate in the north London constituency of Chingford & Woodford Green but found out last night that she will not be endorsed by the party.

Writing on X, formerly Twitter, Ms Shaheen said: “I feel that a huge injustice has been done, not just to me, but to our community.

“As you can imagine, I’m a little overwhelmed right now, so will use this morning to meet with my campaign and legal teams, as well as have some hugs with my baby.”

It comes amid a separate row over whether Diane Abbott, the former shadow home secretary, will be allowed to run again as a Labour candidate.


Former defence secretary: Labour left us with no money

Ben Wallace, the former defence secretary, referenced Liam Byrne’s infamous “there is no money” letter as he urges people to stick with the Conservatives.

Mr Byrne has said the letter – which read “Dear Chief Secretary, I’m afraid there is no money. Kind regards – and good luck!” – was meant to be encouraging. But it was seized on by the Conservatives to argue against Labour’s economic competence.

Mr Wallace is standing down as a Tory MP at the forthcoming general election.

just in case you forgot Labour’s record in 2010![65]

— Rt. Hon Ben Wallace (@BenWallace70) May 30, 2024[66]


Iain Dale ‘never liked’ town where he wants to be MP

Iain Dale, the former LBC radio presenter, has said he “never liked” the town where he hopes to stand as an MP.

Mr Dale quit his job on Tuesday after 14 years with the station to run as a Conservative MP in the general election.

However, the prospective Tory candidate has previously admitted he does not like Tunbridge Wells, where he is hoping to be selected.

Speaking on his For The Many podcast on August 6 2022, the broadcaster said: “I’ve lived in Tunbridge Wells since 1997 slightly against my will in that my partner comes from Tunbridge Wells and can’t really imagine living anywhere else.”

Alex Barton has more here[68]


Starmer: We can stop the chaos and division

In his concluding remarks, Sir Keir Starmer spoke of “a change election where we can stop the chaos and division, put an end to it, we can turn the page and rebuild Wales and the United Kingdom together, working together for the future”.

“That’s the way forward, that’s the choice. Vote Labour.”


Starmer’s six pledges

Sir Keir Starmer is rattling through his ‘six pledges’.

They are delivering economic security, cutting NHS waiting times, a new Border Security Command, setting up Great British Energy, cracking down on antisocial behaviour and recruiting 6,500 new teachers.

My colleague Genevieve Holl-Allen has a rundown of what the Labour leader is promising here[71].


Starmer: I’ll put country first, party second

Sir Keir Starmer said: “We changed the Labour Party, put it back in the service of working people. We are humbly asking permission for the opportunity to change our country and put it back in the service of working people.

“Now I know that will be difficult, I’m not going to stand there and say it will be easy. It will be difficult, tireless work but I’ve never shied away from the difficult. When I was heading up the Crown Prosecution Service, it was difficult, many people said don’t do it, slow down, it won’t work, but we did it.

“Here in the Labour Party we had to change our party and put it back in the service of working people. That wasn’t easy, lots of people said don’t do it that way, don’t go it so fast, but we did it. We’ll never shy away from that. Because driving through this for me has always been country first, party second.”


Starmer: Sunak has caught himself in his own ambush

Sir Keir Starmer praised the “beautiful” surroundings of Abergavenny during his speech.

“Rishi Sunak has finally called the general election. He’s given us our chance to take the case to the country and I don’t know about you but I think Wales has been waiting for this general election for a very, very long time,” he said.

“If just over a week ago Rishi Sunak thought he was laying a careful trap of an ambush, he didn’t catch us, he caught himself in his own ambush. So now we get the chance.”

He spoke of the prospect of Labour administrations in both Westminster and the Senedd “working together and working together for Wales”.


The Somerset weather rains on Davey’s parade

The heavens opened just as Sir Ed Davey took to the slip and slide. It is bucketing down here in Somerset, writes Tim Sigsworth.

But thankfully for the Lib Dem leader he is well prepared, wearing a wet suit-like top and short shorts.

Day Four: A slip and slide near Frome, Somerset. ‘Lib Dems are go!’ says Sir Ed.[75]

— Tim Sigsworth (@tjsigsworth) May 30, 2024[76]
Sir Ed Davey

Credit: Hollie Adams


Labour is humiliating Diane Abbott because she is black

Diane Abbott’s work as the first British black woman MP[78] – and as a driving force in the Labour party’s black sections – first changed the face of the Labour party, then changed the face of the Tory party when David Cameron realised that the Tory opposition had to look more like Britain if it was to succeed electorally, writes John McTernan.

This alone should guarantee Ms Abbott a celebrated status in the recent history of the Labour party. It is one of the central reasons that her contemporaries as MPs such as Harriet Harman and Ed Balls – and even renowned Blairites like me have consistently called for Diane’s rapid return to the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) after her suspension last year.

How has Keir Starmer[79]’s Labour party responded?

They have shown disdain for Ms Abbott and subjected her to a seemingly more tortuous suspension than any other Labour MP who has been accused of misconduct over the last five years.

Diane Abbott: It breaks my heart to see the way Diane is being treated[80]


Rwanda plan ‘a shameless gimmick’, says David Lammy

David Lammy, the shadow foreign secretary, recalled first leaving Tottenham aged nine “and it was Wales I came to”.

“I can’t convey how wonderful it is to be here again with Keir Starmer and Vaughan Gething,” he told Labour activists.

“Today the world’s challenges are Britain’s challenges, and Britain’s challenges are indeed the world’s. We see this in our cross-border crime, which blights Britain’s streets, from my home in Tottenham to right here in Abergavenny, organised crime gangs exploit the vulnerable not just in Wales but right across Britain and of course across the continent, creating modern slaves, running drug gangs and tricking people onto dangerous small boats that arrive on Britain’s shores.”

David Lammy, the shadow foreign secretary

Credit: Stefan Rousseau

Mr Lammy noted the number of Channel crossings had “surged” in the Tories “while tens of thousands remain in asylum hotels, permanently in limbo with no prospect of removal”.

He went on to brand the Rwanda plan “a shameless gimmick” to applause from the room.


Vaughan Gething: Keir is offering hope for a better tomorrow

Vaughan Gething, the Welsh First Minister, said there was a “clear choice at this election”.

“More chaos with the Tories or a new start with Labour. In Wales, Labour has a proud history of standing up for our communities. Today Keir is offering hope for a better tomorrow.

“It is time to let that hope and history rhyme. It is time for two Labour governments, working together for your future, delivering on our nation’s promise. It is time for young people to feel hopeful for a brighter future right here at home. It is time to win.”


First Minister: Tories have blocked Welsh Labour at every turn

Vaughan Gething, the Welsh First Minister, is speaking at a campaign event with Sir Keir Starmer.

“Uncertainty stalks our streets and hobbles the ambition of young people for our future,” Mr Gething said.

“At every turn over the last 14 years, the Tories have tried to block Welsh Labour from delivering transformational change for our country. They slashed our budget, blocked our legislation and day after day after day they put politics above people. Treating politics as a game, not a route to opportunity, hope and security.

“Just a few months ago Rishi Sunak wouldn’t even pick up the phone to Mark Drakeford to help save thousands of steelworkers’ jobs. But Sunak wants you to save his job. But he wouldn’t lift a finger or a phone to save yours… Rishi Sunak and the Tories will never stand up for Wales.”


Davey gets ready to slip and slide

Sir Ed Davey has arrived at a slip and slide on the outskirts of Beckington, near Frome, for his latest election campaign stunt, writes Tim Sigsworth.

Here, the Lib Dem leader will launch himself down a 10-metre drop with local candidate Anna Sabine and slide another 30 metres to the waiting press.

Ms Sabine, who owns a chain of co-working cafes in Bath and the surrounding area, is standing for the party in the new Frome and East Somerset seat.

The Lib Dems previously won the Somerton and Frome predecessor constituency in a July 2023 by-election.


Candidate running against Streeting hits out at ‘Labour Party purges’

The independent pro-Palestinian candidate standing against Wes Streeting has said that the “Labour Party purges” of recent days show that they “no longer represent the voices of young ethnic minorities and Muslims”, Genevieve Holl-Allen reports.

Leanne Mohamad, who is standing in Ilford North, wrote on X, formerly Twitter: “The last few days of Labour Party purges are evidence enough that this party no longer represent the voices of young ethnic minorities and Muslims. 

“We have to move beyond this two-party nightmare.”

Ms Mohamad was chosen as an independent parliamentary candidate in Ilford North in January following a hustings event open to local residents.


Coming up

Sir Keir Starmer is about to give a speech in Wales alongside Vaughan Gething, the Welsh First Minister.

You can follow along live and watch Sir Keir’s remarks at the top of this live blog.


‘Starmer’s sinister plan for Britain will end the country as we knew it’

Labour’s real plans for office remain shrouded in mystery, but we know one central fact: Sir Keir Starmer’s party is a fanatical believer in “international law”, writes Allister Heath.

It will be predisposed to accept any new treaty that limits Britain’s ability to govern itself, and will cheer any ruling from a global court striking down the actions of a national government.

It will reflexively take sides with the “international community”, Davos man, the human rights lawyers, post-national technocrats, Foreign Office mandarins and NGO activists. 

None of this should come as a surprise. Labour in 2024 is the party of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), of the UN and its agencies, however corrupt or wrong-headed, of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the World Health Organisation, the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice. It considers criticism of such bodies, even when their decisions are absurd, to be taboo. 

Allister Heath: Labour risks further catastrophic damage[88]


The Daily T: Starmer’s Left-wing problem

Diane Abbott has been barred from standing as a Labour candidate in the General Election… or has she? 

Camilla Tominey and Kamal Ahmed unpack whether the veteran MP will be allowed to stand for Labour in July and debate why Labour’s Left is still creating problems for Sir Keir Starmer: PS2bqEsuTyw


Lord Frost: Voters not offered enough choice between Labour and Tories

Voters are not being offered enough choice between the two main parties, a senior Boris Johnson ally has warned.

Lord Frost said the Conservative Party had been “going down the same track as the Labour Party, but at a slower pace” and “we need to get onto a different path” with policies to win back supporters.  

Speaking at an event to mark the 200th episode of The Telegraph’s Planet Normal podcast, the former Brexit negotiator also suggested that he may stand as a Tory MP at the election in five weeks.

He said Prime Minister Rishi Sunak giving him the green light to stand on Friday “opens possibilities” and “we’ve got to let that play out and see where it takes”.

Ewan Somerville has the full story here[91]


‘No deal with Tories’ says Reform leader as he slaps down Farage

Richard Tice has slapped down Nigel Farage over his hint at a possible election pact with the Tories.

The Reform UK leader said there are “no deals” to be done with the Conservative Party after Mr Farage suggested he could be willing to come to an agreement.

Mr Farage, the honorary president of Reform UK, said he would be open to “a conversation” with the Conservatives if they give him “something back” for the “huge favours” he has done over the years.

Richard Tice and Nigel Farage

Richard Tice and Nigel Farage on stage at Reform’s annual conference last year

Credit: Chris J Ratcliffe

In an interview with The Sun’s Never Mind the Ballots show, Mr Farage said: “I’ve done them some huge favours over the years as a party. Give me something back. We might have a conversation.”

But on Thursday, Mr Tice told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The reality is there is no deals with the Conservative Party. He’s having a bit of banter with Harry Cole of The Sun and that’s a bit of fun. But the reality is we are doing no deals with the Tories.”

Amy Gibbons, our Political Correspondent, has more here[93]


‘There are lots of different tins of dog food’

Jeremy Hunt did not appear to know how much the price of a tin of dog food cost on Sky News.

Asked “Do you know how much a tin of dog food costs?”, the Chancellor replied: “There are lots of different tins of dog food.”

Mr Hunt has a dog called Poppy, who can be seen helping him with his fiscal planning below:

Jeremy Hunt


The Tories’ new election poster: ‘If you think Labour will win, start saving…’

Warning, if @UKLabour get in , start saving….[96][97]

— Elliot Hammer (@ElliotHammerSR) May 29, 2024[98]


Election diary: What’s happening on the campaign trail today

Rishi Sunak will continue his charm offensive in the south of England on Thursday afternoon as he visits Buckinghamshire for an election question-and-answer session with workers in a traditional Tory heartland.

Opponent Sir Keir Starmer is headed to Wales, where he is set to launch Labour’s “doorstep offer” to voters alongside Jo Stevens, the shadow Wales secretary, and Vaughan Gething, the Welsh First Minister.

Sir Keir Starmer with Labour activists at Worcester City FC

Sir Keir Starmer with Labour activists at Worcester City FC’s ground

Credit: Hollie Adams/Bloomberg

The visit comes as Sir Keir finds himself under fire over his handling of the Diane Abbott row. It is also the day after confirmation that the Welsh First Minister will face a confidence vote in the Senedd following the collapse of the Welsh Labour agreement with Plaid Cymru.

Read The Telegraph’s full election diary here[100]


Rachel Reeves’s seemingly empty waffle has been decoded – and it’s terrifying

The general election has been called and the respective party leaders are busy trying to define what it is all about, writes Brian Monteith.

Should we recognise and nurture a slow recovery or change course to avoid chaos and incompetence? Or from a different perspective, must we lash ourselves to the submerging mast of net zero, or focus on repelling the cultural assault proffered by mass immigration and wokery?

Yet none of these false constructs (that are not mutually exclusive) confront the key question that the broadcast media interrogators also fail to address – what will Keir Starmer’s Labour actually do if fortunate enough to gain power?

In the absence of clear declarations of intent by the Labour leadership (other than putting 20pc VAT on independent school fees and hiking taxes on domestic oil and gas production) I have felt compelled to write a series of articles seeking to establish the reality of Labour economic policy, as it will determine the parameters for everything else it will do. 

Brian Monteith: Labour is only being economical with the truth[102]


Sadiq gets the scoop as Tooting Bec Lido reopens

Sadiq Khan

Sadiq Khan enjoyed an ice cream yesterday evening at the official opening of Tooting Bec Lido. The Labour Mayor of London wrote on Instagram: “The new refurbishment at the UK’s biggest open-air freshwater pool – and my local, is a fantastic community space for all to enjoy.”

Credit: Sadiq Khan/Instagram


Jeremy Hunt takes aim at Starmer

I absolutely do think it is my job to highlight the risks of a Labour government that crashed the economy before.

And I believe would, even if they didn’t crash it, would fail to grow it in the way it needs to go.

I would just say one more point about risk. If Keir Starmer can’t deal with Diane Abbott, how on earth is he going to deal with Vladimir Putin?


We believe Labour will raise taxes, says Chancellor

Jeremy Hunt said he was “not pretending” there hadn’t been times when Tory Governments raised taxes.

Mr Hunt told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We believe [Labour] will have to increase taxes because they have £38bn of spending in the next Parliament that they have committed to.”

Asked if he would increase the NHS budget by around three or per cent a year in real terms, the Chancellor said he had a “good track record” on health service spending.


Jeremy Hunt: Tax thresholds will stay frozen until 2028

Asked about Rachel Reeves’s assurances that she had no plan to raise VAT, Jeremy Hunt told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “In an election campaign it is legitimate to concern about a Labour Party that doesn’t seem able to make up its mind on these basic issues.

“Four times this week Keir Starmer and Rachel Reeves had the chance to deny that they were going to increase VAT, and they refused to do so until late last night… When Labour can’t make up their mind, taxes will go up as night follows day.”

On income tax going up until 2028, he added: “The tax rises that happened as a result of the pandemic and the energy shock, these two giant shocks, will stay for their allotted time period. Let’s be crystal clear, in autumn 2022 I took very difficult decisions, yes to increase taxes, and now in my Budget and Autumn Statement last year, I’ve been able to bring them down.

“I can absolutely undertake that the threshold freeze that we introduced until 2028 will not continue after that.”


‘I don’t think there’s any question of Keir’s leadership’

Darren Jones rejected the suggestion the Diane Abbott row was “not a good row” for Sir Keir Starmer.

“I don’t think there’s any question of Keir’s leadership here,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“There is an independent process here that is independent of Keir’s leadership, that is run for any partnership.”


Darren Jones declines to say nine times whether Abbott should stand

Asked whether he felt sorry for Diane Abbott, Darren Jones, Labour’s shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, said: “Yeah, I suppose I do really, because it’s unfortunate that we’re in this position after her service to her community and her country.

“But the independent complaints process in any party and in the Labour Party is independent of any politician’s status or history. Where we’ve ended up now because of this snap election is in this accelerated process.”

Pressed for a personal view, Mr Jones told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “That’s a question for Diane and for Diane to have that conversation with the Labour Party. It’s not for me to speak for Diane or the Labour Party.”

Mr Jones was pressed on nine separate occasions by Emma Barnett on whether he thought Ms Abbott should stand but declined to give a view.


Jeremy Hunt: I want to start bringing taxes down

In his interview with BBC Breakfast, Jeremy Hunt said the past four years had been “truly exceptional”[110] because of the pandemic and an energy crisis.

“What you get with a Conservative Government is a team of people who are willing to take the difficult decisions that are necessary to get the economy back on its feet.”

On high levels of tax, he said: “Yes, I did put up taxes after the pandemic but the big difference in British politics today in an election campaign is that a Conservative Government wants to bring taxes down… When it comes to the windfall profits made by energy giants, we have been prepared to take difficult decisions.”

And asked whether energy giants would pay more or less tax under a future Tory government, Mr Hunt responded: “I want to start bringing taxes down on business and on consumers and on families because that will help to grow the economy and create more jobs… I want to start bringing taxes down, I made a start with the National Insurance cuts and the full expensing for businesses, and that’s the direction I want to go.”


Jermey Hunt: Higher mortgage rates not a result of Liz Truss

Asked about “mortgages which remain stubbornly high because of what a former Conservative prime minister did” and high costs of living, Mr Hunt replied: “Charlie, I really would challenge you, and I know the BBC is fiercely impartial. I would really challenge you on making statements like you’ve just said.

“Because if the higher mortgage rates were the result of Liz Truss, why is it that living standards have fallen further in Germany or Austria or Sweden? The reason why we’ve had 11 per cent inflation and interest rates have to go up was because of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.”

Challenged on whether there was “no connection” between Ms Truss’s policy decisions and interest rates that people are paying when their fixed rates end, Mr Hunt said: “I reversed the decisions that she took. That’s why I think you can see the reason interest rates went up was because of global factors, I think most people understand that.

“Of course the Labour Party would like to say that it’s something that a Conservative Government did. But look at what the independent International Monetary Fund (IMF) said last week. They said the difficult decisions that Rishi Sunak and I have taken are ‘paying off’… [They] said that it is good news for the UK economy, that we have turned a corner, and we are heading for a ‘soft landing’.”


We want to avoid austerity-style cuts – Jeremy Hunt

Jeremy Hunt said the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) was “absolutely right to point to the fact that public finances are very challenging”.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, the Chancellor added: “Because we want to avoid austerity-style cuts that we had to have after the financial crisis, I set out in the Budget very clear plans to improve the efficiency of public services.

Jeremy Hunt preparing for his broadcast media round this morning

Jeremy Hunt preparing for his broadcast media round this morning

Credit: Tayfun Salci/ZUMA Press Wire/Shutterstock

“Conservative governments are prepared to take difficult decisions to make sure we can continue to grow the economy. But when it comes to tax or welfare reform or creating a flexible labour market so we can keep creating the jobs we need, you don’t see the willingness to take those decisions from the Labour Party.”


Hunt: Tories will not raise income tax, National Insurance or VAT

Jeremy Hunt, the Chancellor, told BBC Breakfast: “What I can confirm is that a future Conservative government will not increase income tax, National Insurance or VAT and that is a very important commitment to people who are worried about cost of living.

“I think people are right during an election campaign to be worried about a Labour Party that can’t make up its mind on these very basic issues… As sure as night follows day, taxes will go up.”

He added: “You can look at the National Insurance cuts which originally [Rachel Reeves] supported, now she says she doesn’t want to bring down National Insurance further. You can look at the £28bn they dithered on for months and months. And what you have is a party that when it comes to the basic economic questions cannot make up its mind.”

Mr Hunt’s pledge to raise none of the taxes he mentioned was matched overnight by Rachel Reeves, Labour’s shadow chancellor.


Faiza Shaheen: I’m so shocked right now to be treated this badly

“Honestly I’m so shocked right now, to be treated this badly”

Faiza Shaheen, who was set to stand for Labour, describes hearing that her candidacy had been pulled over liking a series of Tweets which she claims Labour said would frustrate its campaign#Newsnight[115][116]

— BBC Newsnight (@BBCNewsnight) May 29, 2024[117]


Darren Jones: Of course we’re accelerating candidate processes

Asked whether Labour was “clearing house” ahead of the election, Darren Jones told Sky: “There’s always an accelerated process when a snap election is called.

“Because you’ve got to make sure that the candidates are sorted, all of these processes are concluded… Yes, we’re processing all of those outstanding issues.”

Mr Jones insisted Labour was “ready for an election at any point”, adding: “We constantly had our plans ready to go, as I think you saw by the professionalism and quality of our launch as soon as it was announced.

“Would I have bet on July 4 before the Prime Minister said so? No, I thought it would be autumn at that stage…”

He added polls were “just a snapshot of today, not a prediction of the future… This is not a done deal by any stretch of the imagintion”.


Darren Jones refuses three times to say if he wants Diane Abbott to stand

Darren Jones, Labour’s shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, said “I don’t think a decision has been made” about Diane Abbott.

He told Sky News: “Any candidate that’s currently not endorsed needs to have a conversation with the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party if they wish to be endorsed and stand as a Labour candidate.

Darren Jones and Kay Burley

Credit: Sky News

“I’ve seen Diane’s been on the news but I hope a conversation would happen if she wants it to happen… As far as I’m aware she’s not been ‘barred’ from standing. As far as I’m aware no decision’s been taken about whether she’s going to be the candidate or not.”

Mr Jones three times refused to say whether he wanted to see Ms Abbott run as a candidate.


Labour refuses to rule out some cuts to public services

Darren Jones, Labour’s shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, refused to rule out cuts to some public services.

“We’re going to have to do a spending review if we win the election on July 4 and it’s going to be really hard because of the state of the economy and what we would inherit from the Conservatives, the worst fiscal inheritance since the Second World War.”

Pressed on whether he would potentially cut some public services, Mr Jones replied: “We’re not planning to cut public services. We’ll have to do the spending review.

“But what we have set out in our first six steps for the Labour manifesto is fully-funded, fully-costed policies, those first steps, 6,500 extra teachers in schools, 40,000 extra appointments in the NHS each week, funded by closing tax loopholes which we’ll be able to get on with immediately.”


Darren Jones: ‘We have no plans to raise taxes on working people’

Darren Jones, Labour’s shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, is on the morning broadcast round for the official opposition.

“The Conservative Party are desperate to try to say that they’ve scored a point in this election campaign but Rachel Reeves has been consistently clear that we have no plans to raise taxes on working people, we’ve said it a million times,” he told Sky News.

“I’m not sure what the Conservatives are trying to get at here. We have no plans to raise taxes on working people. Do you know why? Because the burden of tax on working people is the highest it has been in the last 70 years because of the Conservative Party.”

He said his party’s “working people” language came as “shorthand for working people”.

Mr Jones added the Tories’ pensioner tax pledge was “entirely unfunded”.


Vote Tory and get Labour, says Richard Tice

Pressed on whether he was more scared of Rishi Sunak or Sir Keir Starmer being prime minister after July 4, Richard Tice told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “They’re both a horror show for the United Kingdom.

“The truth is they’re both forms of socialism – high taxes, big state, more immigration. Vote Tory, get Labour, because everyone knows that the Tory Party are not going to win this election.

“Ninety-nine point nine per cent of people think Labour is going to win this general election.”


Tice: I lead Reform, not Farage – and there’ll be no Tory deal

Richard Tice was asked about Nigel Farage, Reform’s honorary life president, hinting he would consider a deal with the Conservatives if there was “something in return”. 

Mr Tice told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The reality is there is no deals with the Conservative Party. He’s having a bit of banter with Harry Cole of the Sun and that’s a bit of fun.

Richard Tice

Credit: Hollie Adams/Bloomberg

“But the reality is we are doing no deals with the Tories. They’ve betrayed Britain, they’ve betrayed Brexit… Nigel and I we speak loads of times every day.”

Challenged on the need to “take people at their word” during an election campaign, Mr Tice replied: “You also have to have a sense of humour within life. I’m very happy to provide the exact clarification. Of course there’s no deals, of course not, absolutely not. I’m the leader of the party and I’ve been saying that very clearly for the last few years.”


Tice: ‘Nicey-nicey’ illegal immigration policy not working

Richard Tice, the Reform UK leader, said a “nicey-nicey” approach on illegal migration was not working.

Mr Tice told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “With regards to stopping the boats, neither of the main two parties have a plan. We know Rwanda is a farce, it won’t be a deterrent whatsoever, and Labour has no plan.

“Under international maritime law, France has legal obligations in order to prevent the loss of life at sea, to pick up and take back. They are failing in those obligations and if they continue to fail in those obligations, we have the right, the legal right, to pick up and take back to France… The only difference is you pick up and take to France [not Dover].”

Asked what about his experience could bring the French government to the table where others had failed, Mr Tice replied: “Firstly we know it works because it’s what the Belgian authorities are doing. The reality is you’ve got to have a hard discussion with France and say you’ve got to meet your international obligations, otherwise we’re going to do the job for you.

“We know at the moment the being nicey-nicey and diplomatic, not going very well. People are dying in the Channel and the kind and compassionate thing to do is to pick up and take back so people stop dying.”


Tories accuse Labour of ‘major policy U-turn’ over VAT

The Tories have accused Labour of a “major policy U-turn” after Rachel Reeves issued a statement insisting her party was not planning to increase VAT.

Labour has repeatedly refused to rule it out when asked at various campaign events, prompting Jeremy Hunt to accuse the opposition of having a secret plan to raise it.

A Conservative Party spokesman said: “Keir Starmer, Rachel Reeves and Darren Jones have repeatedly refused to rule out raising VAT throughout this campaign and have now only caved in due to a CCHQ press release.

“They have pulled their shadow home secretary off the morning media round and deployed Darren Jones to tell everyone that ‘nothing has changed’. If they were not planning to increase VAT they would have ruled it out on the many occasions they have been asked to do so by the media.

“The reality is everyone knows this is a major policy U-turn and the second time they have junked economic policy due to CCHQ press releases. If this is how they make major tax policy decisions in opposition, imagine how chaotic they would be in government.”


Lib Dems head for the West Country

Sir Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrat leader, will be visiting the West Country today on his now-signature battle bus, writes Tim Sigsworth.

Recent days have seen Sir Ed take part in a number of stunts, including falling into Lake Windermere while paddleboarding and cycling down a steep hill.


Left-wing Labour candidate blocked from standing amid anti-Semitism row

A Left-wing Labour candidate has been blocked by the party from standing at the general election[128] after she allegedly liked a series of posts on X that downplayed anti-Semitism accusations.

Faiza Shaheen, an economist and academic, was selected to be Labour’s candidate in the north London constituency of Chingford & Woodford Green but found out last night that she will not be endorsed by the party.

Faiza Shaheen

Faiza Shaheen out on the campaign trail with Jeremy Corbyn at the 2019 general election

Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

She is the latest prospective Left-wing Labour candidate to be barred by the party from standing on July 4 and it comes amid the row over the candidacy of former shadow home secretary Diane Abbott.

The Telegraph reported yesterday that Labour has also suspended Lloyd Russell-Moyle, the MP for Brighton Kemptown, pending the outcome of an investigation into a serious complaint received last week.


Redwood: Where’s Hunt’s plan to boost productivity?

Sir John Redwood has asked the Tory Party where its plan is to make Britain more productive and stop public sector losses.

Sir John is standing down as the MP for Wokingham after representing the constituency since 1987.

Welcoming “a rush to rule out” tax rises across the board, he wrote on X: “Can we now debate how we get better value for public spending? Where’s the plan to boost productivity and stop public sector losses?”


Your guide to day eight on the campaign trail

[embedded content]


Analysis: Could Starmer smash the Ming Vase?

Rishi Sunak is acutely aware of the mountain he has to climb if he has any chance of winning this election.

Hence a policy blitz that has included national service, the triple lock-plus and a crackdown on “Mickey Mouse degrees”.

Like his opposite number, Sir Keir Starmer has also been touring the country every day. But the Labour campaign is, to date, significantly lighter on policy as the party pursues a ‘Ming Vase’ strategy aimed at retaining a comfortable average lead of around 20 points.

But the risk that presents is a campaign which can easily be taken over by events – not least mounting anger over the Diane Abbott row.

Labour appears to have failed to plan for the need to make a decision about Ms Abbott sooner or later. And as dissent grows among both activists and backbenchers, the seemingly botched handling of the affair could well see Sir Keir lose control.


Jeremy Hunt accuses Labour of secret tax raid plan

Jeremy Hunt has accused Labour of having a secret plan to raise VAT and has challenged Sir Keir Starmer to explicitly rule out the possibility.

Labour has repeatedly refused to rule it out after being asked at various campaign events.

Jeremy Hunt

Jeremy Hunt heading to his new Godalming and Ash constituency to canvas

Credit: Geoff Pugh

In the wake of the accusation, Rachel Reeves, the shadow chancellor, issued a statement insisting that the party was not planning to increase VAT, although it remains to be seen whether that will be a manifesto commitment.

The attack will be on the first Conservative poster of the election campaign, unveiled on Thursday, which declares: “If you think Labour will win, start saving…”

Ben Riley-Smith, our Political Editor, has more[133]


Analysis: How Labour failed to give Abbott a graceful end

Had her former boyfriend Jeremy Corbyn won an unlikely victory in 2019, Diane Abbott would have become the country’s first black home secretary, writes Gordon Rayner.

Instead, she now appears destined to bow out of politics altogether – following a botched attempt to ease her out of Parliament with a modicum of dignity.

Ms Abbott, 70, was suspended by Labour in April 2023 following comments she made in a newspaper article about Jewish people experiencing a lower level of racism than black people.

Incredibly, Sir Keir Starmer had insisted the investigation into her behaviour was ongoing despite 13 months having passed, but with the election five weeks away Ms Abbott needed a decision on whether she could stand as a Labour candidate.

Sir Keir Starmer’s team wanted to give her a “soft landing” so that she could “go with grace”, party sources said. They decided to restore the whip with the expectation that she would then announce her retirement. But someone in the Labour Party had other ideas.

Gordon Rayner: How even senior ministers are in the dark over Abbott[135]


Diane Abbott tells Starmer: ‘I won’t be intimidated’

Diane Abbott warned Sir Keir Starmer last night that she would not be “intimidated” as she vowed to remain the MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington.

In her first public remarks about the row over her selection, which has thrown Labour’s campaign into turmoil this week, she said that she intends to stay on as an MP “by any means possible”. 

Sir Keir’s leadership was questioned on Wednesday by his own party as he was accused of “bullying” and “vindictive” treatment of Ms Abbott.

Senior Labour figures broke ranks to attack their party’s handling of the affair, with several MPs going public with their criticism.

Addressing her supporters on the steps of Hackney Town Hall, Ms Abbott said: “You have always stood with me, in good times and bad. And I will always stand with you. I am not going to allow myself to be intimidated. I am going to be your MP as long as I am allowed to.”


Good morning

Dominic Penna, The Telegraph’s Political Correspondent, guiding you through day eight of the general election campaign.


  1. ^ General election polling latest (
  2. ^ at the general election. (
  3. ^ “unrecognisable” from the one he joined a decade ago (
  4. ^ Labour came to the fore (
  5. ^ Natalie Elphicke (
  6. ^ Christian Wakeford, (
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  68. ^ Alex Barton has more here (
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  76. ^ May 30, 2024 (
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  80. ^ Diane Abbott: It breaks my heart to see the way Diane is being treated (
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  88. ^ Allister Heath: Labour risks further catastrophic damage (
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  91. ^ Ewan Somerville has the full story here (
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  93. ^ Amy Gibbons, our Political Correspondent, has more here (
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  96. ^ @UKLabour (
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  100. ^ Read The Telegraph’s full election diary here (
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  133. ^ Ben Riley-Smith, our Political Editor, has more (
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  135. ^ Gordon Rayner: How even senior ministers are in the dark over Abbott (
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