General election 2024 latest: Tories pledge immigration cap as Sunak and Starmer gear up for first TV debate


Rishi Sunak has promised to reduce immigration as he unveiled a new visa cap pledge, while Sir Keir Starmer vowed that Labour’s proposed GB Energy company would “close the door” on Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

Both Labour and the Tories made their latest election announcements late on Monday night, after a major YouGov poll suggested Sir Keir was on course to win more seats than Tony Blair’s 1997 landslide victory.

Hours after Nigel Farage announced his intention to stand as Reform UK’s candidate in Clacton, in a major blow to the Conservatives, Mr Sunak unveiled a pledge – long called for by Tory hardliners – to set an annual cap on visas, voted for by parliament.

And Sir Keir accused the Tories of leaving the nation exposed by failing on energy security, as he insisted Labour’s plan to set up GB Energy – a publicly owned clean energy company – would help to protect the UK from spikes in the price of fuel like those that followed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Tonight, Mr Sunak will be hoping that the TV head-to-head debate can turn his party’s fortunes around. But with four weeks to go the debate on ITV may represent a last chance for Sunak and the Tories.

Key Points

  • What is happening today?

  • Tories vow annual cap on visas in general election pledge to reduce immigration

  • The biggest talking points from Monday

  • What to expect on the General Election campaign trail on Tuesday

  • James Cleverly: ‘Voters totally unconvinced by Keir Starmer’

What is happening today?

07:48 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

9am

10.30am

  • Home Secretary James Cleverly campaigning in the South East.

  • Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey campaign visits to Cheadle this morning and North Shropshire this afternoon.

  • Rachel Reeves and Anas Sarwar will hold a Q&A in Edinburgh with staff working in financial services.

11.45am

9pm

  • Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer in ITV General Election debate.

  • The debate will be followed by interviews with leaders of other parties with the Liberal Democrats, SNP, Reform UK and the Greens invited.

Starmer dodges question on seven Slough councillors who resigned over leader’s handling of Abbott and Shaheen

10:28 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Asked about the resignation from Labour of seven councillors in Slough over the handling of Diane Abbott and Faiza Shaheen’s candidacies, Sir Keir Starmer told broadcasters: “Across the country we’ve got brilliant Labour teams out in every constituency, fighting for votes in this general election.

“We’re in good form, we’re making a positive argument about the choice before the country.

“I’m really pleased that the prime minister has called an election because we’ve been waiting for this, we’ve been working for this for a very, very long time.

“It’s our chance to get out, to take our argument to the country and to every single voter about the choice at this election, about more of the same or turning the page and rebuilding with Labour.”

Former Labour candidate Faiza Shaheen addresses supporters at a rally (PA Wire)Former Labour candidate Faiza Shaheen addresses supporters at a rally (PA Wire)

Former Labour candidate Faiza Shaheen addresses supporters at a rally (PA Wire)

Starmer: ‘Sunak is the most liberal PM with immigration’

10:26 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

When questioned on bringing down net migration, Sir Keir Starmer told Sky News: “Net migration is far too high. This government has lost control. It is almost twice as high as when we were in the EU. That’s the irony of it.”

He added: “This prime minister, for all his tough talk, is actually the most liberal prime minister when it comes to immigration. Those numbers have gone through the roof.

“They need to come down, we have a plan to bring them down.”

 (PA Wire) (PA Wire)

(PA Wire)

Starmer has not spoken to Diane Abbott since her candidacy row

10:20 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Sir Keir Starmer said he has not spoken to Diane Abbott since the row over her selection as a candidate, but added his team had been in touch with her.

He told broadcasters at the Bridge Cafe in Bolton: “I have spoken to Diane two or three months ago, my team have obviously been speaking to her, but that decision is taken, that’s clear.

“The question now before the country is about the decision, the choice, that will fall to be made on July 4, which is continuing with this chaos and division or turning the page and starting to rebuild the country with Labour.”

Tory campaign gaffe as video shows Union Jack flag flying upside down

10:18 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Rishi Sunak has suffered his latest campaign gaffe after his party’s first election broadcast depicted the Union Jack flying upside down.

The prime minister’s video pointed to uncertain times fuelled by “pandemic, war in Europe and the Middle East, a reckless dictator in Russia… China”.

“We face unprecedented challenges here at home because of global insecurity, but by sticking with the plan Rishi Sunak is steadying the ship and making progress,” a deep-voiced narrator says over footage of the PM working.

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Tory campaign gaffe as video shows Union Jack flag flying upside down

Businesses warn Starmer UK needs foreign workers after Labour pledge to cut immigration

09:50 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Business groups, food producers and a Labour-supporting union have warned Sir Keir Starmer that the UK needs foreign workers to help ease labour shortages, after he vowed to cut immigration.

The Labour leader said the net migration figure of 685,000 has “got to come down” and hit out at Rishi Sunak’s Conservative for failing to cut the numbers.

He said that businesses had become too reliant on workers from overseas and said Labour would train more Britons to do jobs in areas where there were labour shortages.

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Businesses warn Starmer UK needs foreign workers after Labour vow to cut immigration

Angela Rayner said she wants to scrap nuclear weapons hours after Starmer said shadow cabinet backs him

09:41 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Angela Rayner has said she still wants to rid the world of nuclear weapons – just hours after Sir Keir Starmer said his whole shadow cabinet was right behind his position on the UK’s nuclear deterrent.

On Monday Sir Keir said he was prepared to deploy weapons to protect Britain and announced a “triple lock” commitment for maintaining the Trident system.

In 2016 some of his shadow cabinet members voted against renewing the Trident deterrent, including deputy leader Angela Rayner and shadow foreign secretary David Lammy.

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Angela Rayner said she wants to scrap nuclear weapons

‘The Thick of It’ vs the General Election

09:15 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Lib Dem leader ‘rules out’ coalition with Tories

09:07 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The Liberal Democrat leader has said he has “ruled out” working with the Tories if there is a hung parliament.

“The Conservatives has frankly ruined this country,” Sir Ed Davey said. “They have taken so many people for granted, including their own voters.”

 (PA Wire) (PA Wire)

(PA Wire)

Cleverly lists ‘three ways Labour screwed up immigration’ in new video

09:04 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The Conservative Party has released a video starring home secretary James Cleverly, listing “three ways Labour screwed up immigration”.

Tory chairman’s last minute bid for seat as party scrambles to find up to 141 candidates

08:51 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The Tories are desperately scrambling to get up to 141 candidates in place ahead of the deadline at 4pm on Friday.

Among the last ditch selections will be party members in Central Suffolk and North Ipswich tonight making a decision on whether to adopt party chairman Richard Holden amid a row that he is being “parachuted” into the constituency after “going on a chicken run” from the north east of England.

The seat was left open as a result of Dr Dan Poulter defecting to Labour from the Conservatives a few weeks before the election was called.

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Tory chairman’s last minute bid for seat as party rushes to find up to 141 candidates

Cleverly tells colleagues not to panic following disastrous poll results

08:27 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The home secretary was asked if his message to colleagues is “do not panic” following Monday’s disastrous polling results for Tories.

James Cleverly told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “My message to my colleagues is: knock on doors, talk to voters, listen to what they say and explain our position right up until 10am on 4 July.”

Cleverly: ‘Labour’s big reveal – border command – already exists’

08:19 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Home Secretary James Cleverly said Labour’s new “border command” that would work with other countries to co-ordinate in tackling people-smuggling gangs “already exists”.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, he said: “The other thing which I think is really quite remarkable, and under-commented upon if you don’t mind me saying, is that Labour’s big reveal, this border command, already exists.

“It’s called the Small Boats Operational Command, it’s commanded by a British Army General, it already liaises with domestic and international law enforcement and intelligence services.

“Now, either Yvette Cooper does not know this organisation exists, which is pretty embarrassing for the shadow home secretary, or she does know it exists and she’s pretending it doesn’t.”

 (PA Wire) (PA Wire)

(PA Wire)

Home sec says Conservative’s will ‘balance the benefits and costs of migration’

08:05 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Home Secretary James Cleverly said the Tory Party’s commitment to capping the number of visas will balance “the benefits and the cost” of migration.

Asked on BBC Breakfast why they are not putting a number on the annual cap in visas, he said: “Well, we know that immigration, legal migration, has been too high over the last couple of years.

“We’ve taken measures already which, as your report said, has now started to bring those figures down, measures that were opposed at the time by the Labour Party.

“But we also recognise, as your report said, there are benefits to migration. My mother came here as a migrant, as did many other people in the UK who have contributed enormously to our society and to our economy.

“But migration – just as with every other public policy – comes at a cost and balancing the benefits and cost is what our new policy is going to do.

“So, for the first time, we’re going to get the Migration Advisory Committee to crunch the numbers to look at both the benefit and the costs of migration levels. The Government will then set a cap on the number of visas it will issue in that year, something that will then be voted on by Parliament.

“This will make sure we properly balance both the numbers of people coming here and the benefit they bring, but also the cost, whether it’s school places, housing demand, health places, etc.”

Watch: Conservative party’s first election broadcast

08:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Fact check: Doctored audio added to clip of Wes Streeting

07:52 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

A video was shared on social media claiming to show Labour’s shadow health secretary Wes Streeting call Labour parliamentary candidate Diane Abbott a “silly woman” on a BBC TV show.

A user who posted it said: “Wes Streeting calls Diane Abbott a ‘silly woman’ on Politics Live.”

Evaluation

This is a doctored video. In the original, which is on BBC iPlayer, there is no one saying “silly woman” – that audio has been added to the video.

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Fact check: Doctored audio added to clip of Wes Streeting

James Cleverly: ‘Voters totally unconvinced by Keir Starmer’

07:30 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

James Cleverly has claimed voters are “totally unconvinced” by Labour and Sir Keir Starmer despite the party being on course for a bigger majority than Tony Blair in 1997, Archie Mitchell reports.

The home secretary said the Conservatives are focusing exclusively on “the one poll that matters” on 4 July – when the public cast their votes.

But, pressed by Sky News over the poll, which suggested the Tories could win just 140 seats, Mr Cleverly said the public are not convinced by Keir Starmer’s “flip-flopping”.

He said: “When I’ve spoken to people, they want to hear what our plan is for the future… and when I say, are you thinking about voting Labour, people scrunch up their faces and they go, ‘no’, they’re not convinced by Keir Starmer.”

 (PA Wire) (PA Wire)

(PA Wire)

What to expect on the General Election campaign trail on Tuesday

07:27 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Ahead of the Tory and Labour leaders going head-to-head in a TV debate, here is your guide to the main developments in the General Election campaign on Tuesday:

  • Reform re-enters

  • Sir Keir closes the door on Putin

  • Sunak promises to stop the boats

  • Sir Ed promises to care for carers

  • PMQs but on TV

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What to expect on the General Election campaign trail on Tuesday

Here is the latest from Monday night

07:20 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Last night the Conservative chairman Richard Holden abandoned an attempt to be selected for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich and instead headed to the Essex seaside village of Frinton in the Clacton constituency, David Maddox reports.

Mr Holden met Tory MP Giles Watling in a pub and held court there in what turned into an emergency meeting after Nigel Farage announced yesterday that he will contest the seat.

With two major polls from Yougov (12,000 voters) and Redfield and Wilton (10,000 voters) both suggesting the Tories are on course for the worst defeat in their 346-year history there was much to discuss.

Last night the Tories unveiled a policy to cap legal immigration as a response to Farage and Reform and tonight Rishi Sunak will be hoping that the TV head-to-head debate can turn his party’s fortunes around.

But with four weeks to go the debate on ITV may represent a last chance for Sunak and the Tories.

06:05 , Adam Withnall

Good morning, and thank you for joining us on The Independent’s politics blog, where we’ll be bringing you live updates on the general election campaign.

Keir Starmer vows to ‘close door on Putin’ with GB Energy

Monday 3 June 2024 22:59 , Andy Gregory

Labour would “close the door on Putin” by reducing Britain’s reliance on fossil fuel from overseas, Sir Keir Starmer has said, as he accused the Tories of leaving the nation exposed by failing on energy security, reports Nina Lloyd.

The party leader claimed Rishi Sunak’s “political collapse” on net zero commitments risks leaving the UK “over a barrel” as he linked the green power transition to issues of national security.

On Tuesday, he will say the party’s plan to set up GB Energy – a publicly owned clean energy company – will help to protect the UK from spikes in the price of fuel like those that followed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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Keir Starmer vows to ‘close door on Putin’ with GB Energy

Tories vow annual cap on visas in general election pledge to reduce immigration

Monday 3 June 2024 22:58 , Andy Gregory

The Conservative Party has unveiled a new general election pledge to cut immigration by creating a new annual cap on visas – as Rishi Sunak faces an intensified challenge from Nigel Farage’s right-wing party Reform UK.

In a new policy announced hours after Mr Farage stated his intention to stand as the MP for Clacton, the Tories vowed to put a yearly limit on the number of UK visas issued, a move long demanded by Tory hardliners including ex-home secretary Suella Braverman.

You can read more details here:

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Tories vow annual cap on visas in general election pledge to cut immigration





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