Election latest: Tories and Labour fall in post-D-Day poll - as Lib Dem leader flies high on Thorpe Park rollercoasters (2024)

Election news
  • Bulletin:What you need to know this lunchtime
  • Lib Dems launch manifesto to 'save the NHS'
  • Pledges include free social care, bereavement support for parents, tackling river sewage, and 'fixing' ties with EU - Ed Conway looks at how much it would cost
  • Reform outlines tax plan|Is it 'Trussonomics on steroids'?
  • Tories and Labour fall in new poll|PM 'not thought about' quitting
  • Douglas Ross to resign as Scottish Tory leader
  • Live reporting by Tim Baker
Expert analysis
  • Tamara Cohen:Labour takes on enormous childcare challenge
  • Connor Gillies:Big moment for Scottish politics
  • Rob Powell:Sunak struggles to change weather after bad two weeks
Election essentials
  • Battle For No 10:PM and Starmer taking part in Sky News special
  • Campaign Heritage:Memorable moments from elections gone by
  • Trackers:Who's leading polls?|Is PM keeping promises?
  • Follow Sky's politics podcasts:Electoral Dysfunction|Politics At Jack And Sam's
  • Read more:Who is standing down?|Key seats to watch|How to register to vote|What counts as voter ID?|Check if your constituency is changing|Your essential guide to election lingo|Sky's election night plans


Outgoing Scottish Tory leader denies putting himself before party

There was big news from Scottish politics this morning, as the country's Tory leader Douglas Ross announced he was stepping down.

It came less than a week after Mr Ross announced he'd be standing to become an MP at Westminster.

He had previously said he wouldn't.

It made this morning's news an almost complete reversal of his previous position, where he said he would not stand as an MP so he could focus on being a member of the Scottish parliament and his work in Scotland.

He'll be standing in Aberdeenshire North and Moray East, which is considered a fairly safe Tory seat - but he denied this was a case of him putting his career above his party and country.

Speaking to broadcasters, Mr Ross said it would be a "huge honour and privilege" to be the new constituency's MP, saying voters there had a "straight choice between the Scottish Conservatives and SNP".

'I'm not running away from anything'

Mr Ross said he had chosen to step down as Scottish Tory leader so he could tell local voters "they will be my number one priority".

He disputed a claim by Alba Party leader Alex Salmon that he was a rat escaping from a sinking ship.

"I'm not running away from anything," he insisted.


Who is Sir Ed Davey? The Lib Dem leader who cared for his terminally ill mother as a child

Sir Ed Davey has today launched the Liberal Democrats' manifesto.

It's the first one since he took on the leadership after the party's disastrous results at the 2019 general election.

Sir Ed is hoping for much better this time round, having overseen several by-election victories during this parliament.

Indeed, in many seats the Lib Dems are seen as the main threat to the Tories and the party is hoping to have a big role to play in Westminster politics after 4 July.

Ahead of the big day, Sky's Faith Ridler has taken a look back at the life and career of the party leader:


A rollercoaster election campaign continues...

From paddleboarding to waterslides, Sir Ed Davey has made a point of having a good time during this election campaign.

And now he's celebrated the launch of the Lib Dem manifesto today by heading off to Thorpe Park.

This editor is extremely jealous.


What is in the Lib Dem manifesto - and what will it cost?

Following the Liberal Democrats manifesto launch, which the party claimed is "fully-costed", our economics and data editor Ed Conway has been picking through it to see if everything adds up.

He'll be doing the same for all the manifestos as they come out.

Check out what he had to say below:


Labour and Tories fall in post-D-Day poll - as Reform and Greens rise

You can never have enough polls during an election.

JL Partners have today published their latest poll of 2,004 people, asking how they expect to vote.

This took place after D-Day last week, when Rishi Sunak left the commemorations in Normandy early, sparking a significant backlash.

The results show Labour maintaining a 17-point lead - but the party dropped two points compared to the pollster's last survey, which was before the D-Day anniversary event.

The gap stayed the same as the Tories also dropped two points.

The full results are as follows, with the change from the previous period in brackets.

  • LAB: 41% (-2)
  • CON: 24% (-2)
  • REF: 15% (+3)
  • LDEM: 11% (-)
  • GRN: 5% (+2)


'A disgrace to the party': Tory discontent continues over controversial selection

We reported over the weekend about how a Tory candidate had told our deputy political editor Sam Coates that party chairman Richard Holden was a "disgrace to the Conservative Party".

A reminder that he's been accused of a stitch-up by choosing to stand in a safe seat in Essex - 300 miles away from his former constituency in the North East that looks more under threat.

Now, there's more hostile reaction.

A Tory who's been a candidate before and hoped to be again this time texted Sky News saying Mr Holden is an "imbecile" and there was a "great stitch-up of seats".

"I, too, didn't get a seat because ultimately Rishi shoved all his mates into the best ones, while candidates like me didn't hear a peep from CCHQ despite being told to fill in endless application forms for the retirement seats at the last minute," they added.

"Thankfully, the Conservative ship is sinking and couldn't come soon enough."

They said the affair shows the PM's judgement is "way off", adding: "It's quite frankly embarrassing the party allowed this to happen."

A candidate who missed out in a three-way selection added it was "unbelievable" Mr Holden hadn't prepared for questions about his selection in Basildon and Billericay, adding: "Can't wait for it all to be over so we can get rid of these useless people."

You can read more on the row here:


What you need to know from the campaign trail

It's been a busy morning on the campaign trail, with a manifesto launch and Reform policy event to name but two things we've covered, so forgive us being a tad late with our latest bulletin.

If you're just joining us, here's what you need to know:

  • The Liberal Democrats have launched the first manifesto of the election, vowing to "save the NHS";
  • Leader Sir Ed Davey fixing social care would be key to helping the health service, making care available for free and offering better wages to carers, and spoke movingly about his experience looking after his mother and son;
  • Other pledges included stopping raw sewage being dumped into Britain's waterways and improving ties with the EU;
  • Our deputy political editor Sam Coates described the party's ambitious policy offering as "serious", though slightly at odds with their often silly campaigning style;
  • You can read the party's manifesto in full hereand read our full story on the launch event below:
  • Reform's tax-cutting agenda has been outlined by the party leadership, though they won't be launching a manifesto until next week;
  • Chairman Richard Tice said the party wants to raise the threshold for paying income tax to £20,000and the point at which small business pay VAT from £90,000 to £150,000;
  • This so-called "great British tax cut" would be funded by overhauling the Bank of England, though it's seen Reform accused of pursing a strategy of "Trussonomics on steroids";
  • Nigel Farage also used the event to say he'd welcome the likes of ex-minister Suella Braverman to Reform if the party has a presence in parliament, and defended his comments about Rishi Sunak.
  • Rishi Sunak himself has insisted he did not consider quitting over the fallout from his decision to leave D-Day commemorations early;
  • And he hit out at those aforementioned comments by Mr Farage, when he suggested the PM didn't understand "our culture";
  • But it's been another difficult day for the Tories, with their Scottish leader Douglas Ross having announced he'll quit the role after the election;
  • And our chief political correspondent Jon Craig has heard more discontent from Tories over claims the party chairman has been parachuted into a safe seat, with one labelling it a "disgrace".
  • Elsewhere, Labour has announced it will honour the government's commitment to expand free childcare;
  • Our political correspondent Tamara Cohen says the party has taken on an "enormous challenge" by pledging to take up the policy, which the government has faced serious trouble implementing;
  • Labour has also said it will offer 100,000 new nursery places.

That's all for our lunchtime bulletin - stick with the Politics Hub throughout the afternoon for more news and analysis, and we'll have another bulleting around teatime.

If you need something to help the afternoon go by until then, listen to today's episode of Politics At Jack And Sam's.


Labour takes on enormous challenge with pledge to honour free childcare expansion

Sir Keir Starmer and his shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson were at a school today to launch one of Labour's key retail offers of the campaign - 100,000 new nursery places.

By repurposing 3,000 "surplus" primary school classrooms, particularly in disadvantaged areas where childcare demand is not being met, they say it will help parents into work, and ease children into life at school.

'We will deliver'

Speaking to Sky News, Sir Keir clarified for the first time that the scheme announced by Jeremy Hunt to expand the 30 "free" childcare hours to all pre-school children from age nine months would be honoured by Labour.

Asked if he would deliver it, he said: "Yes, we will deliver. Our plan is actually better than the government's... they haven't planned for it, and therefore they haven't got the spaces for it.

"But of course we want to complete on the government's plan, but actually do it in a way that's planned and deliverable."

This is a change of tune, after Labour had claimed they would pursue a different system. Ms Phillipson called it a "shoddy plan" back in February.

This expansion has been rolled out only in part - with nine-month-olds due to receive 15 subsidised hours from September, in what the childcare sector says will be an enormous challenge to fund and staff.

Nurseries have been warning they will be driven out of business, which could exacerbate pressures.

Delivering it will be an enormous staffing challenge - with the government's figures showing 40,000 extra people would be needed.

Getting it right could be key to economic growth and closing the attainment gap between the most and least advantaged children.

But the workforce and infrastructure needed to make it happen will require major investment.


'If this wasn't an election, Sunak would have resigned'

Nigel Farage is asked what he makes of suggestions over the weekend that Rishi Sunak was considering resigning because of the reaction to him leaving D-Day commemorations last week.

The prime minister has today insisted it didn't cross his mind.

Mr Farage says he'd be "very surprised" if the PM does quit before the election on 5 July, but says if we weren't in the midst of a campaign "he would have resigned already".

Were he to quit, the Tories' poll ratings would fall even lower, he says.

Asked if he was willing to work with Tories like Suella Braverman, Robert Jenrick or Kemi Badenoch, Mr Farage says if he establishes an "electoral beach head" in the Commons by winning in Clacton for Reform, he will welcome any Conservatives who want to join him.

The other candidates in Clacton are:

  • Matthew Bensilum, Lib Dems;
  • Craig Jamieson, Climate Party;
  • Tony Mack, independent;
  • Natasha Osben, Greens;
  • Jovan Owusu-Nepaul, Labour;
  • Tasos Papanastasiou, Heritage Party;
  • Andrew Pemberton, UKIP;
  • Giles Watling, Conservatives.


Sunak made 'gargantuan' mistake with COVID borrowing

Sky political correspondent Gurpreet Narwan asks the Reform leadership more about their policy to change how the Bank of England pays interest on the debt it holds.

As a reminder - this is the money, about £800bn worth, that the Bank has printed since 2008 to keep the UK economy healthy by lending it to the government.

In late 2022, it started to sell the debt off, but this process will take years to complete.

Nigel Farage and Richard Tice want to see an end to interest being paid on the figure, as they say it means billions is going from the taxpayer to high street banks through the Bank of England.

Mr Farage singles out Rishi Sunak for his acts as chancellor during COVID, in which the Bank lent £400bn.

He says the then-chancellor should have locked in the interest rate at which the money was borrowed by the government. The base rate stood at 0.1% at the time, and is now above 5%.

He says it was "financial mismanagement on a gargantuan scale" and is costing tens of billions.

The pair say they want to see the Bank pay zero interest on the debts.

'Trussonomics on steroids'

Asked if Reform's plans equate to "Trussonomics on steroids", with the former prime minister's tax cut agenda having caused economic chaos which led to her resignation, Mr Tice and Mr Farage said they will be laying out more of their policies next Monday.

But they say they will not call it a manifesto as people equate that to mean "lies".

Election latest: Tories and Labour fall in post-D-Day poll - as Lib Dem leader flies high on Thorpe Park rollercoasters (2024)
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