Election

Read the latest General Election news, views and analysis.

James Heale

Farage: I am now the ‘Leader of the Opposition’

After the first poll was published showing Reform ahead of the Tories, there was only one thing for Nigel Farage to do: hold an emergency press conference at the heart of Westminster. This afternoon journalists scrambled over to the Wellington Hotel to hear what Farage had to say after reaching the long-awaited ‘crossover’ moment when his party overtook the Conservatives. The Reform leader was on punchy form, branding himself the new ‘Leader of the Opposition’ and suggesting that ‘some of the polling industry were acting entirely dishonestly’ by not prompting for his party in surveys. He said that: ‘I’m pleased to say, as a result of my letter to the

Steerpike

Boris backs Sunak sceptic

At long last, Boris Johnson has joined the campaign trail. With less than three weeks to go until polling day, the former prime minister has today urged voters to back Rishi Sunak’s wounded party – just hours after a YouGov poll revealed that support for Reform has overtaken the Tories for the first time. And no stranger to internal party politics, Johnson raised eyebrows this morning when he publicly backed Sir Simon Clarke in a short video. This is, after all, the MP who was so disillusioned by Sunak’s leadership that at the start of the year he took to the pages of the Telegraph to urge the PM to

Steerpike

Watch: Starmer slams audience for ‘disrespect’ over ‘toolmaker’ jibes

There’s less than three weeks to go until polling day and the TV debates are continuing to roll in. This week, we’ve seen party leaders Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer quizzed by Sky’s political editor Beth Rigby before being turned on by the audience. And while the Prime Minister had a rather more gruelling time in the hands of the crowd, it’s Sir Keir who’s still moaning about it. In an interview with GB News’s political editor Christopher Hope, the Labour leader hit out at audience member who laughed at him when he spoke of his parents’ jobs. The first groan of the night rang through the hall when

Patrick O'Flynn

Reform is rapidly gaining on the Tories

The great British public seems to have got over its feelings of anger and disillusionment towards the Conservative party. It is mainly just laughing at the Tories now. The descent into outright ridiculousness brought about by the centrist ‘sensibles’ who currently run the Tory show came across loud and clear in last night’s seven-way ITV debate. Twice the audience responded with spontaneous giggles at the answers given by Penny Mordaunt. The first burst of titters came when she described our education system as world class. In fact, there is much international data to back this up, at least for England where Conservative reforms have paid dividends in rising standards. But

Isabel Hardman

Who is the real opposition to Labour now?

Nigel Farage tried to claim at the start of Thursday’s TV debate that Reform was the real threat to Keir Starmer, given it has just passed the Conservatives in the polls (more from Katy on that here). Penny Mordaunt, of course, didn’t want to entertain the idea of her party being in opposition, but she did want to accuse Farage of being a ‘Labour enabler’, something he threw right back in her face by claiming that actually voting Tory was a vote for Labour. It was striking that in this debate, Mordaunt was prepared to acknowledge Farage was actually in the room: in the first one, she had pretended he

Katy Balls

Reform overtakes Tories in new poll

Here we go. This evening the Reform party has overtaken the Tories according to a new YouGov poll. The survey for the Times found that support for Nigel Farage’s party has increased by two points in the past few days to 19 per cent, with the Tories one point behind on 18 per cent. The fieldwork took place after Conservative party released its manifesto on Tuesday – therefore suggesting that the launch failed to improve Tory fortunes. The poll puts Labour on 37 per cent, meaning Keir Starmer is on course for a super majority. So, what will this poll mean for Tory morale? As I wrote in Sunday’s Election

The illiberal implications of Labour’s manifesto

Labour’s election manifesto may not have much in terms of extra spending, or any substantial plans. But it sends a green light to activists in government, schools, universities and corporations to carry out their illiberal cultural revolution without restraint.  It promises to introduce ethnicity pay gap reporting requirements for ‘large employers’ and upgrade the focus on hate crime. Compliance departments will emphasise going beyond the letter of the law, leading to discriminatory quotas and speech suppression. The manifesto promises a ban on ‘conversion therapy’ for trans people that will make it risky for adults to question a young person’s decision to change pronouns, take puberty blockers and undergo gender reassignment

Katy Balls

What wasn’t included in Labour’s manifesto

13 min listen

Keir Starmer launched Labour’s manifesto today, but how much did we actually learn about their plans for government? And with no rabbits pulled out of the proverbial hat, how do they plan to achieve growth? Kate Andrews and Starmer’s biographer Tom Baldwin joined Katy Balls to discuss. Tom also provided some insight into Angela Rayner’s election bus, including a surprising admission about a lettuce…  Produced by Patrick Gibbons.

Isabel Hardman

Why Labour’s plans are so vague

Keir Starmer has deliberately pursued a strategy of revealing as little as possible, boasting today that his manifesto didn’t contain any surprises. In between his verbal tic about his father being a toolmaker, Starmer has been least at ease in the TV debates, and it was in the first of these that he said more than he probably intended to. Asked by ITV’s Julie Etchingham whether he had any advice for ‘Gareth on his way to Berlin [for the Euros]’ about leadership, Starmer replied: ‘You need a strategy for winning. So it depends on your opponent and what the issue is.’ It isn’t telling us what it is going to do

Steerpike

Watch: Dawn Butler’s bizarre campaign rap

Today’s a big day in the election calendar. This morning, Labour launched its official manifesto, while campaigners hit the three-week countdown until the big day. As even the Tories seem to have accepted that the 5 July will see a victory for Sir Keir and his Starmtroopers, one Labour candidate seems to be especially enjoying herself on the election trail. Dawn Butler, standing in new constituency Brent East, is ramping up her campaigning as polling day looms ever closer. Taking a leaf out of the SNP’s book – after Falkirk candidate Toni Giugliano created a Spotify song in an attempt to woo voters – Butler has decided that the best

Patrick O'Flynn

Keir Starmer’s manifesto will disappoint Tory spin doctors

Keir Starmer and the Labour party today launched a manifesto that’s good enough to win this election and presented it in a commensurate manner. If that comes across as damning with faint praise then this is what your author intended. After all, there was – as Beth Rigby of Sky News noted in her question to Starmer – no new policy and no discernible retail offer for voters in the entire manifesto. Starmer made a virtue of that, stressing that all Labour’s ambitions to provide better public services and build a fairer society depended on economic growth picking up to provide the funds to make them happen. He even had

Michael Simmons

Does Labour have the stomach to tackle welfare reform?

Regardless of who wins the election, taxes are going up. Spending plans from both Labour and the Tories suggest the tax burden – already at a post-war high – is going to do nothing but rise. During last night’s Sky News debate, Rishi Sunak laid the blame at the two ‘once in a century’ events the country has just emerged from. But the truth is that a huge part of these tax rises is needed to fund an ever-growing welfare bill. Analysis published this morning shows that one in every £44 of state spending will be spent on sickness benefits by the end of the decade. The report, published by the Resolution

Katy Balls

‘Change’: Starmer unveils manifesto

What would Labour do in power? This is the question Sir Keir Starmer tried to answer this morning as he appeared in Manchester for the launch of his party’s manifesto. Given Labour is currently over 20 points ahead in the polls and on course for a super-majority, this 136-page document (with no less than 33 photos of Starmer) is by far the most important of the manifestos to be published this week. Ahead of Starmer’s entrance, a song by Dua Lipa (the pop star is a Labour supporter) played in the background while a string of speakers, from Iceland boss Richard Walker to Nathaniel Dye, who has terminal cancer and

Steerpike

Watch: Sir Keir heckled at Labour manifesto launch

Oh dear. It’s not been the smoothest of starts this morning for Sir Keir Starmer, who is in Manchester launching the Labour manifesto. As the Labour leader was introducing his party’s official election manifesto to swathes of supporters and reporters, he was rather rudely interrupted. A rather young protestor holding a banner emblazoned with the words: ‘Youth Deserves Better’ was the culprit. Slamming Starmer’s ‘change’ agenda, she raged: We have been let down by the Labour Party and this manifesto. You say that you’re offering change but it’s the same old Tory policies. We need better. Ouch… Sir Keir retorted that ‘we gave up being a party of protest five

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Salmond wages war on STV

Uh oh. Back to Scotland where, for once, the chaos doesn’t concern the country’s biggest nationalist party. This time Alex Salmond’s pro-independence group, Alba, is in the spotlight over a rather public debacle with Scottish broadcasters STV. Salmond has taken issue with STV’s decision to move his party’s election broadcast slot from this Friday – the same day Scotland will play Germany in the Euros – to next week. The broadcaster changed the timings over concerns that the party would have an ‘unfair advantage’ if the screening went out before or after the game – to which Alba have responded by sending out a number of fiery press releases that

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Watch: Farage’s plans to reunite the right

There may only be three weeks of election season left but there’s still a new development every day. Now Nigel Farage has made waves on the airwaves this morning in conversation with LBC’s Nick Ferrari. Quizzed about what the future if the opposition could look like, the Reform party leader hinted he was open to a new kind of cross-party working… ‘I’ve intervened,’ he told Ferrari, ‘because we need a coherent voice of opposition in parliament and in the country. Do you know what, Nick? I believe I can do that better than the current Conservative party.’ His interviewer pressed him again: Ferrari: Can you tell me that one day

Gareth Roberts

The staggering dullness of Sunak and Starmer

We’re now about halfway through the election campaign. I don’t know how we’re going to keep our excitement from bubbling over if this level of stimulation keeps up in the second half. The staggering mediocrity and dullness of Sunak and Starmer has lent this contest – despite its inevitably very different final outcome – the air of a no-score draw played between non-league Tier 11 teams. What terrible cosmic sin did the British public commit that we are lumbered with this pair of tailors’ dummies? This was made even more apparent by last night’s Sky interviews. Sunak and Starmer shied from confronting one another head-on – perhaps mindful of anaesthetising

Ross Clark

Starmer wants to go for growth – but will he end up like Liz Truss?

Keir Starmer, it turns out, was a secret Liz Truss fan all along. Launching his party’s manifesto this morning he is going to tell us that growth will be the overriding preoccupation of his government. That, if you remember, is what the Truss premiership was going to be all about: ‘growth, growth, growth.’ How is he going to generate growth, and in a way that doesn’t have him landing flat on his face like Truss herself? Starmer has decided that he is going to take the levellers and the greens head-on. ‘Some people say that how you grow the economy is not a central question – that it’s not about

Kate Andrews

Keir Starmer needs a better answer to the Jeremy Corbyn question

Keir Starmer looked baffled by tonight’s questions. Rishi Sunak looked resigned. Separating the two candidates – having them face Beth Rigby and the audience, rather than each other – led to far more defensive performances: Starmer on tax, and Sunak on the Tory record. Both spent the majority of the time looking deeply uncomfortable.  Sunak did not have an easy ride. The audience, all warmed up by the Labour leader’s interview, was more likely to jump in and heckle. Asked questions about his ‘five promises’ made in January 2023 – only one of which he has made good on – Sunak tried to move the goalposts, insisting that those promises

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Sunak’s aide under investigation after betting on election date

Oh dear. Now it has transpired that the Prime Minister’s closest parliamentary aide, Craig Williams, placed a £100 bet on there being a July election — just three days before a rain-drenched Rishi Sunak announced the date to the public. The Guardian has tonight revealed that the Gambling Commission has launched an inquiry into the PM’s private secretary after Williams placed a bet with Ladbrokes on Sunday 19 May. With odds of 5/1, Williams was set to receive £500. After the bet was placed, it is understood that a red flag was raised by the gambling company, as Williams’ was flagged as a ‘politically exposed person’ and the bookmaker was