General election latest: Sunak ‘despondent’ over D-Day blunder as second minister openly criticises PM

General election latest Sunak despondent over D Day blunder as second minister openly criticises PM
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Penny Mordaunt and Angela Rayner clash over defence

Rishi Sunak is claimed to be despondent over the furious backlash to his decision to skip a D-Day memorial attended by other world leaders, as a second cabinet minister openly criticised the decision.

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Transport secretary Mark Harper described Mr Sunak’s decision to miss the 80th anniversary event in Normandy as a “mistake”, after his cabinet colleague Penny Mordaunt condemned it as “completely wrong” in a fiery seven-way BBC debate on Friday night.

Cabinet ministers told Bloomberg his misstep had exacerbated their concerns about his judgement – including one former loyalist said they regretted the Tories had not ousted him as PM earlier this year.

And one insider told The Times they had “never heard it so quiet” at CCHQ after the PM’s decision to skip the international memorial sparked a major backlash.

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Broadcasters were also met with silence on Saturday, as a scheduled media slot with the prime minister was cancelled during a campaign visit to a walled garden at Auckland Castle on Saturday. Voters could be seen gathered at a hillside above the garden to try and catch a glimpse of him within.

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BBC debate watched by 3.2 million people, broadcaster says

The BBC general election debate between seven senior political party figures was watched by more than three million viewers, the broadcaster has said.

An average audience of 3.2 million tuned in across BBC One and the BBC News Channel on Friday evening to watch the politicians clash over D-Day and support for war veterans, immigration and the state of the NHS, according to overnight ratings.

Andy Gregory8 June 2024 15:41

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Reform candidate says airport arrivals lounge made him realise UK had too much immigration

A Reform candidate has claimed they realised Britain had a problem with immigration when he saw the number of people at an airport arrivals lounge.

George Woodward, Reform’s parliamentary candidate for Leigh, told the News Agents podcast he decided to get involved in politics because of migration, citing a moment last year when he was coming through arrivals at an airport.

“I was like, ‘wow, there’s a lot of people coming in here and we need to re-examine this,” he said.

Put to him by a bemused Lewis Goodall that many of those people were presumaby tourists or Britons returning from holidays, he said: “Some of the, absolutely. Some not. You can tell.”

Andy Gregory8 June 2024 15:30

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Sunak ‘despondent’ over backlash to skipping D-Day event

Rishi Sunak was left despondent over the backlash to him skipping the D-Day event with other world leaders, people close to the prime minister have told Bloomberg.

Cabinet ministers told the outlet that his misstep had exacerbated their concerns about his judgement and confidence – including one former loyalist who is reportedly said to regret the Tories had not ousted him as PM earlier this year.

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During a campaign visit to a walled garden at Auckland Castle on Saturday, a scheduled media slot with the prime minister was reportedly cancelled, as residents climbed a hill to peer over the walls for a glimpse of Mr Sunak.

Andy Gregory8 June 2024 15:07

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Lib Dems are not the party of nimbys, Ed Davey insists

Sir Ed Davey has denied that the Liberal Democrats are the party of nimbys – those opposed to local development, often characterised by the acronym of the phrase “not in my back yard” – for focusing on national parks amid a housing crisis and low economic growth.

The Lib Dems vowed to plough £50m a year into maintaining three new national parks in their latest policy offer. He told the PA news agency: “No, far from it. You’ll see when we publish our manifesto we’ve got ambitious plans on housing as well, but the right houses in the right places.

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“But people don’t just want houses, they want to know that there’s the environment there to enjoy. And investing in the environment is right to deal with the nature crisis.”

He accused the Conservatives of being the party of nimbys, “but they’re also the party of developers”, adding: “They have a developer-led approach. We have a community-led approach.”

Andy Gregory8 June 2024 15:02

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Opinion | The Green Party’s stance on childbirth isn’t just tone-deaf – it’s dangerous

Reading the Green Party’s childbirth policy – which has been speedily whipped down from its website, so in order to read it you’ll have to find a screenshot on Twitter – you’d be forgiven for thinking they had never met or conversed with an actual human woman, writes Harriet Toner.

This is surely the only reasonable explanation for the party’s policy on so-called “natural birth”, which describes childbirth as a “normal and non-medical event” – words a woman who has been through such an event would never utter.

It would be a forgivable error if the Greens’ policy had been withdrawn before the publication of the damning Ockenden review, or the release of the report from the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for birth trauma – which highlighted “harrowing” stories of trauma caused by “mistakes and failures” in the system. But the party’s website suggested the page was updated as recently as April – at which point their childbirth “policy” went from being an oversight to being tone deaf, patronising and dangerous. It’s a wonder Green co-leader, Carla Denyer, wasn’t grilled on the issue during last night’s debate.

A senior party official has since said that the policy – which in its most basic form was an aim to reduce the number of medical interventions in childbirth – has been scrapped. But what was it doing there in the first place?

Andy Gregory8 June 2024 14:47

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Liberal Democrat manifesto to pledge under 35s can live, study and work in EU despite Brexit

The Liberal Democrat election manifesto will include a commitment to ensure under 35s can live, study and work in the EU despite Brexit, The Independent can reveal.

The party will also accuse the Conservative government of “abandoning young people and our economy”. It comes as Ed Davey’s party battles to win younger, more Labour-minded voters in key ‘blue wall’ seats in the south of England it believes it can take from the Tories.

Our Whitehall editor Kate Devlin has more in this exclusive report:

Andy Gregory8 June 2024 14:33

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Watch: Rishi Sunak responds after D-Day veteran says he let the country down

Here was Rishi Sunak’s apology yesterday for leaving D-Day commemorations early:

Rishi Sunak responds after D-Day veteran says he let the country down

Andy Gregory8 June 2024 14:19

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Sunak has ‘destroyed’ his credibility by leaving Normandy early

Rishi Sunak has “completely destroyed” his credibility as prime minister by leaving D-Day commemorations early, Scotland’s first minister John Swinney has said.

Speaking to journalists on the campaign trail in Livingston, West Lothian, Mr Swinney said: “I think Rishi Sunak’s credibility is completely destroyed by his departure from D-Day early and the insult he delivered to the veterans who had travelled to Normandy for that solemn occasion.

“It also, frankly, was a desertion of the international responsibilities of the Prime Minister.

“The Prime Minister and especially the Conservative election campaign is now utterly in tatters.”

Andy Gregory8 June 2024 14:04

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Starmer vows no surprises on tax in manifesto

Asked during a brewery visit in Camden whether he would be cutting taxes as part of Labour’s manifesto, Sir Keir Starmer told reporters there “won’t be any surprises on tax”.

The Labour leader said: “All of our plans are fully costed, fully funded, none of them involving tax rises over and above those that we have already set out.”

Andy Gregory8 June 2024 13:51

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Ed Davey tries his hand at crazy golf

After trying his hand at tennis in Newbury, Berkshire, Sir Ed Davey has arrived at an adventure golf course in Wokingham.

Sir Ed is using the weekend to speak to voters in and around London and the Home Counties.

The Liberal Democrat leader was two over par on the first hole, flanked by a triceratops and a tyrannosaurus rex.

(Will Durrant/PA Wire)

Andy Gregory8 June 2024 13:36



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