Election latest: Tory minister defiant over election - and wants a former PM to campaign (2024)

Election news
  • 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
  • Home secretary wants Johnson on campaign trail
  • Minister condemns Reform candidate's 'shameful' post
  • Sunak 'not thought about quitting' despite D-Day fallout
  • Battle For No 10:PM and Starmer taking part in Sky News special
  • Live reporting by Jennifer Scott and (earlier)Tim Baker
Expert analysis
  • Gurpreet Narwan:Echoes of Truss in Reform's economic plans
  • Tamara Cohen:Labour takes on enormous childcare challenge
  • Sky News Daily:Do the Lib Dem manifesto's sums add up?
Election essentials
  • Manifesto checker:Lib Dems
  • 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


What you need to know from the campaign trail

Welcome to our final rundown for today of the main things you need to know from the campaign trail.

We've had a manifesto launch, a Reform policy event, and seen a grilling of the prime minister, amongst other things.

So, if you are settling down with your cocoa before bed, here's what you need to know before you start counting sheep:

  • The Liberal Democrats have launched the first manifesto of the election, vowing to "save the NHS";
  • Leader Sir Ed Davey saidfixing social care would be key, while other pledges included stopping raw sewage being dumped into Britain's waterways and improving ties with the EU;
  • But the party leader (who enjoyed a trip to Thorpe Park this afternoon) refused to say austerity - enforced by the Tory-Lib Dem coalition - was a mistake during an interview with our deputy political editor Sam Coates;
  • You can flick through the party's manifesto pledges in our snazzy tool below:
  • Rishi Sunak continued to bat away questions over his early exit from D-Day commemorations last week, insisting rumours he considered quitting over the row were untrue;
  • However, another significant figure from the Conservatives, Scottish leader Douglas Ross, did quit following a furore about his candidacy at the election;
  • Home Secretary James Cleverly admitted he had heard some "concerns" on the campaign trail about his party's performance, but insisted he remained positive about the Tories' chances at the ballot box;
  • And the PM faced a 30-minute grilling from the BBC over tax, immigration and the NHS.
  • Reform's tax-cutting agenda has been outlined by the party leadership today, with ambitions 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 pursuing a strategy of "Trussonomics on steroids";
  • Nigel Farage also used the event to double down on his criticism of the prime minister for leaving last week's D-Day commemorations;
  • But his party came in for some extra scrutiny today after it was revealed one of Reform's candidates had said Britain should have "taken Hitler up on his offer of neutrality" instead of fighting the Nazis in an old social media post.
  • Elsewhere, Labour 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, and claimed the Tories' spending pledges "do not add up";
  • And in a late announcement tonight, the party pledged to ban the sale of high caffeine energy drinks to under 16s.

That's all your bulletins for this evening, but we'll have a few more bits of news coming your way so do stay with us.


Labour to ban high caffeine energy drinks for under 16s

Labour has made a late policy announcement tonight, promising to ban high caffeine energy drinks for under 16-year-olds.

Sky News' political correspondent Tamara Cohen first reported the party were considering the move in February.

But now Labour has officially adopted the idea, saying it will apply to all drinks containing over 150mg of caffeine per litre.

Making the announcement, Sir Keir Starmer said: "The sale of dangerously high caffeine energy drinks to children under the age of 16 is not justifiable or acceptable and we'll stop it. I will always take the tough decisions necessary to keep our children healthy.

"No more dither and delay, the time has come for change with Labour."


SNP leader accuses Tory rival of 'appalling behaviour' towards colleague

By Jenness Mitchell, Scotland reporter

First Minister John Swinney has said he is "not surprised" Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross has announced he is stepping down.

Speaking to Sky News at Pollok United's after-school activity club in Glasgow, the SNP leader said his rival's position was "beyond credibility" - having replaced David Duguid as a candidate, despite Mr Duguid wanting to campaign.

"He's treated David Duguid absolutely abominably," added Mr Swinney.

"David is ill. He's a respected member of parliament. Everybody accepts the fact he's not well, and he was selected by his local association.

"But that's not good enough for Douglas Ross. I think it's just an absolutely appalling way to behave towards a colleague."

If re-elected to Westminster as an MP, Mr Ross has pledged to resign as an MSP.

But Mr Swinney said "picking and choosing" parliamentary representation "trivialises it".

He added: "Representing our community in parliament is a deadly serious responsibility. Not one that you just pick and choose about."


Sunak pressed on NHS, immigration, tax and housing

Sticking with his BBC interview, Rishi Sunak is pressed on the NHS and, after a lot of pushing, admits it had "undeniably been under pressure for a while" before any strikes or the pandemic.

But he insists his government is now bringing down waiting lists and putting in "record" funding.

'Airfield on standby' for Rwanda flights

On immigration, the prime minister is pushed on the rise in small boats crossing the Channel this year.

He insists Rwanda flights will take off after the election if the Tories win, saying: "We've got a plan, the airfield is on standby, the planes are booked, migrants have been detained, the caseworkers are working."

PM teases tax cuts

And ahead of the party's manifesto launch tomorrow, Mr Sunak reveals there will be more tax cuts - though he is challenged over frozen tax thresholds - saying: "I believe in a country where people's hard work is rewarded and there's a clear choice and contrast at this election."

'It's got harder to buy a first home'

But he repeats his much maligned figure of Labour introducing £2,000 of taxes per family over the next parliament - despite multiple experts and the chief civil servant at the Treasury saying it is wrong.

Finally, the interview comes to housing, and the prime minister appears to accept it is harder to buy a first home under the Conservatives, saying: "It has got harder, and I want to make sure that it's easier."


'Not good for our politics': PM won't be drawn on Farage criticism

Rishi Sunak is sitting down for his first long interview of the election campaign with the BBC's Nick Robinson.

And perhaps unsurprisingly, one of the first things brought up is D-Day - namely his decision to leave commemorations early.

"The last thing that I wanted to do was cause anyone any hurt or offence or upset, which is why I apologised unreservedly for the mistake that I made," he says.

"And I can only ask that I hope people can find it within their hearts to forgive me."

The prime minister is asked about one of his political rivals, Nigel Farage, who has been accused of "dog whistle" politics after claiming the PM does not understand "our culture" following his early exit.

"I'm not going to get involved in that, because I don't think it's good for our country or good for our politics," the PM says.

"Now, obviously, I disagree with him. And when it comes specifically to our armed forces, again, people can judge me by my actions."


Until voters go to the polls on 4 July, the Politics Hub will be looking back at some memorable moments from previous general election campaigns.

Never mind his slightly sloppy bacon sandwich eating technique, it was the entirely deliberate decision to unveil Labour's 2015 election pledges inscribed on an enormous slab of limestone that really got voters wondering what Ed Miliband was up to that year.

The then party leader thought the stunt, known as the Ed Stone, would persuade the public he was serious about delivering on his promises.

They included "a strong economic foundation", "controls on immigration", and "homes to buy and action on rents" (these sound familiar, no?).

Worse still, Labour even committed to putting it up in the Downing Street garden should they win power.

But it was immediately ridiculed upon its unveiling in Hastings, and the party ended up performing so disappointingly at the election that the now shadow energy secretary resigned as leader.

Sir Keir Starmer was probably right to stick to a pledge card this time.

Previous entry: Bigotgate


Far right 'a threat we ignore at our peril', says ex-Greens leader

To round off the show, we are talking about the freshest election on the block - the one over in the European Union.

Sophy Ridgeasks our panellists what they think of the success of parties on the far right in the parliamentary polls - notably France, where the results saw President Emmanuel Macron call a snap election.

Former Green Party leaderCaroline Lucas says she is "deeply concerned" about the "wave" of this sort of politics in the US, Europe and at home - accusing Nigel Farage of falling into that category.

And she says it is a "real threat that we ignore at our peril".

'Easy to be an armchair critic'

Sophy asks ex-Tory party communications directorGiles Kenninghamwhether there is any mirroring of what is happening in the EU with Reform UK - Mr Farage's party.

He says there are a lot of people "lobbing bricks from the side lines" as it is "very easy to be an armchair critic".

But he questions what the party leader would do in power, and says French President Emmanuel Macron would pose the same question if his right-wing rival wins, saying "politics is not all milk and honey".

That concludes our coverage of tonight's Politics Hub With Sophy Ridge, but stick with us for more news and analysis throughout the evening.


Will the Lib Dems level with public over 'difficult decisions'?

Next up withSophy Ridge is the Lib Dems' Helen Morgan.

The party has promised more money for the NHS, care and schools, as well as building more homes and increasing income tax thresholds - but what are its unpopular policies?

Ms Morgan says the Lib Dems have focused on the issues "that people raised with us on the doorsteps" - adding that she hopes there isn't "anything particularly unpopular" in the manifesto.

She's pressed on this - asked by Sophy if her party will "level" with the public about the "difficult decisions" that will need to be made after the election.

Ms Morgan says the Lib Dems are focusing on taxing "big banks and looking at the wealthiest people" in order to avoid raising taxes on working people and pensioners.

Its capital gains tax plan would see the top 0.1% of people paying more of the levy, she adds.


Manifesto checker: What are the Lib Dems' key pledges?

The Liberal Democrats have released their manifesto - the first party to do so during the 2024 general election campaign.

Sky News has scoured their policy pledges so you don't have to.

Scroll to the right in the interactive tool below to find out what Sir Ed Davey's party has promised to do if they win the election.

We will produce a breakdown of all the other parties' manifestos here when they are announced.


Target Towns voters on why details and decency matter

Ahead of Wednesday night's The Battle For Number 10 on Sky News, we have been speaking to a number of voters in one of our Target Towns.

Reporting from Grimsby and Cleethorpes for tonight's show is our national correspondent Tom Parmenter,to gauge how the Tory and Labour leaders are fairing among the public.

You can read Tom's report below:

The Battle For Number 10 Leaders Special Event, Wednesday 12 June 7pm-10pm on Sky News - free wherever you get your news.

Freeview channel 233, Sky 501, Virgin 603, BT 313 and streaming on the Sky News website, app and across social channels. It is also available to watch on Sky Showcase.

Election latest: Tory minister defiant over election - and wants a former PM to campaign (2024)
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