Sunak and Starmer TEAM UP to slam Farage as Reform leader hit by backlash

​Nigel Farage

Nigel Farage sparked anger with his comments on the Ukraine invasion

Dan Falvey

By Dan Falvey

Published: 22/06/2024

- 07:54

Updated: 25/06/2024

- 15:34

With the campaign now in its final two weeks, GB News will keep you up to date on all the biggest developments of the General Election.

  • Politicians from across the political spectrum have criticised Nigel Farage for his comments on the Ukraine war
  • Reform UK has overtaken the Conservatives in a fourth poll since the start of the election campaign
  • Labour is focusing the campaign today on its pledge to provide a “fundamental reset to respect and dignity” for the Windrush generation
  • The Lib Dems are drawing attention to the state of the UK's waters, claiming 48,626 hours' worth of sewage was discharged into chalk streams in 2023

Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer have teamed up to criticise Nigel Farage for his views on Russia's war on Ukraine.

The Leader of Reform UK last night said that the West has "provoked this war" as he blamed Nato and EU expansion for Putin's invasion.

“I said I disliked him as a person, but I admired him as a political operator because he’s managed to take control of running Russia," he told the BBC when quizzed on his past opinions of the Russia President.

He added: "It was obvious to me that the ever-eastward expansion of Nato and the European Union was giving this man a reason to his Russian people to say, ‘they’re coming for us again’ and to go to war."

His remarks have sparked a backlash from politicians in other parties.

Sunak said his views was akin to "appeasement" of Putin, adding: He added: "This is a man who deployed nerve agent on the streets of Britain, who is doing deals with countries like North Korea, and this kind of appeasement is dangerous for Britain’s security, the security of our allies that rely on us, and only emboldens Putin further."

Meanwhile, Labour's leader said Farage's comments were "disgraceful".

He continued: “Anyone who is standing for Parliament ought to be really clear that Russia is the aggressor, Putin bears responsibility, and that we stand with Ukraine, as we have done from the beginning of this conflict, and Parliament has spoken with one voice on this since the beginning of the conflict.”

Follow below for live updates from GB News

Farage doubles down on Ukraine claims following criticism


Farage doubles down on Ukraine claims following criticism


Nigel Farage has doubled down on his claims that the West provoked Vladimir Putin into invading Ukraine, following criticism from Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer.

The Reform UK leader has insisted he will not apologise for his remarks during a BBC Panorama interview, and said he was not an “apologist or supporter of Putin”.

Farage claimed “we provoked this war” in the BBC interview, while drawing a link between Nato and European Union expansion in recent decades and the conflict in eastern Europe.

Writing in The Telegraph, in an article entitled “the West’s errors in Ukraine have been catastrophic. I won’t apologise for telling the truth”, Farage said the “political establishment” had been echoing a “slur” about him.

He added: “I am not and never have been an apologist or supporter of Putin. His invasion of Ukraine was immoral, outrageous and indefensible. As a champion of national sovereignty, I believe that Putin was entirely wrong to invade the sovereign nation of Ukraine.

“Nobody can fairly accuse me of being an appeaser. I have never sought to justify Putin’s invasion in any way and I’m not now.”

Sunak defends Home Office on Windrush as Starmer pledges to change department

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said the Home Office is “working hard” on the compensation scheme for the Windrush scandal, as Sir Keir Starmer called for reform to the department to ensure “injustices are put right”.

The Conservative and Labour leaders were both asked about the delayed compensation scheme for victims of the scandal as Saturday marked 76 years since the HMT Empire Windrush arrived in England.

The ship brought people from the Caribbean who answered Britain’s call to help fill post-war labour shortages.

The Windrush scandal erupted in 2018 when British citizens were wrongly detained, deported or threatened with deportation despite having the right to live in Britain. Many lost homes and jobs and were denied access to healthcare and benefits.

Latest figures show that nearly £90.6 million had been paid out for 2,519 claims as of the end of May, an average of about £35,960 per claim.

On Saturday Sir Keir met people who came to Britain during that time, and their family members, at the Lilian Baylis Technology school in Vauxhall, south London.

He said: “Today is Windrush day so it’s a day about telling the history of Windrush, the great contribution that’s been made to this country and the change that brought about, but it also needs to be a reset day.

“The Windrush unit needs to be re-established in the Home Office and we will set up a permanent commissioner to be a champion and an advocate for the Windrush generation to make sure that these injustices are put right.”

Sunak meanwhile defended the Home Office amid claims from Windrush campaigners that thousands of people still have not been granted citizenship.

The Prime Minister told broadcasters: “So many people suffered an injustice under successive governments over a long time. And since all this came to light a while ago, the Home Office has been working hard to rectify things.

“I think over 16,000 people now have been given the appropriate documentation that they deserve and tens of millions of pounds in compensation has been paid out and something like 200 different community and outreach events have also been organised.

“But of course the Home Office is always reflecting, taking on feedback and seeing how it can improve and make sure that we right the wrongs of the past.”

John Swinney slams Farage as a 'traitor' for his comments on Ukraine

Scottish First Minister John Swinney has described Nigel Farage as a “traitor to the interests of the people of these islands” following his comments about the war in Ukraine.

In an interview with the BBC, Mr Farage said “we provoked this war” and drew a link between the war and the expansion of Nato and the European Union.

But responding to the Reform UK leader, Mr Swinney told journalists on a campaign stop in Edinburgh: “I this these are some of the most appalling remarks I’ve heard, literally in my life, and they’re of an extraordinary degree of absurdity and danger.

“Vladimir Putin has voluntarily invaded a sovereign country and nobody provoked him to, nobody was a threat to Vladimir Putin.

“Nigel Farage has confirmed what all of us have suspected of him – that he is a dangerous man.

“And that he is a traitor to the interests of the people of these islands, and the people of Ukraine.”

Ed Davey blasts 'Tories are the joke' after claims Lib Dems 'not serious enough'

Tom Harwood sat down with Ed Davey on the election campaign trail


Liberal Democrats leader Ed Davey has addressed claims that his campaign is "not serious enough" after clips have emerged of him falling off a paddle board and sliding down water slides.

The politician claimed that even though the actions seemed light-hearted they addressed serious issues such as mental health.

He also added that "the Conservative Party are the joke."

Watch the full interview HERE.

Ann Widdercombe takes aim at the Tories

"Starmer never had to win the election- it was gifted to him by the failing Conservatives", Reform UK's Ann Widdercombe has said.

The former Conservative minister, who joined the Brexit Party in 2019 before becoming part of the top team of Reform, warned that the Tories will be "pulverised" come July 4.

She claims only Reform UK can now be an effective opposition to Labour.
Read her full opinion in our GB News Members comment piece.

Click HERE to read more.

Farage defended by ex-Ukip MP

While politicians from the biggest parties in the last Parliament have all criticised Nigel Farage for his Putin comments, there are those who have defended him.

Former Ukip MP Douglas Carswell, who was well known for his frequent clashes with Farage, said: "Trump and Farage are both being demonized by the old media. But it doesn’t work anymore.

"In fact, they’re thriving precisely because folk have had enough being sold false news, fictional narratives and manufactured media outrage."

Starmer rejects claims of plot to overturn Brexit

Labour has no plans to rejoin the EU, Sir Keir Starmer has said, after Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch claimed Brexit would be at risk if he became Prime Minister.

She described Brexit as a “10 or 20-year project” in an interview with the Telegraph newspaper, and claimed any benefits would disappear under a Labour government.

But Starmer ruled out re-joining the EU while speaking to reporters during a campaign visit in south London.

“We are not re-joining the EU, we are not re-joining the single market or the customs union,” the Labour leader said.

"It isn’t our plan, it never has been, I’ve never said that as leader of the Labour Party and it is not in our manifesto."

He added: "But I do think we can get a better deal with the EU, and if we are elected to government that is what we will endeavour to do."

Ed Davey says there is Farage 'not on the wide of freedom'

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey has become the latest politician to take aim at Nigel Farage.

With all of the largest political parties having now criticised the Reform UK leader, Davey said: "Apologists for Putin should have no place in British politics."

He added: “When I travel around our country in cities, towns and villages, British people fly the Ukrainian flag as a symbol of solidarity and hope for their future.

“Nigel Farage has proved he is on the side of Putin, not the side of freedom.”

Starmer forced to defend record on women's rights

Sir Keir Starmer has defended Labour’s track record on women’s rights

Sir Keir Starmer has defended Labour’s track record on women’s rights, after writer JK Rowling claimed the party had “abandoned women”.

He told reporters in south London: “I’m really proud of the long history of the Labour Party in making real progress on women’s rights, passing landmark legislation that has changed millions of lives.

“Now that battle is never over and we need to make further progress, which we will hope to do if we earn the trust and confidence of the voters at the General Election.

“As we do so, I’m also determined that one of the changes that we will bring about if we win the election is a reset of politics, to make sure that as we make progress, we do it in a context that brings people together, and all dialogue, all debate, is always done with respect for the views of everybody involved in those progress and in that discussion.”

Sunak accuses Farage of 'appeasement' of Putin

Rishi Sunak said Nigel Farage's comments play 'into Putin's hands'

Rishi Sunak has accused Nigel Farage of "appeasement" of Vladimir Putin after the Reform UK leader's criticism of the West's actions ahead of Russia's Ukraine invasion.

Speaking to broadcasters this morning, the Prime Minister said "What he said was completely wrong and only plays into Putin’s hands."

He added: "This is a man who deployed nerve agent on the streets of Britain, who is doing deals with countries like North Korea, and this kind of appeasement is dangerous for Britain’s security, the security of our allies that rely on us, and only emboldens Putin further."

Watch the full remarks HERE

Labour's tax raid plans briefed by party insider

Rachel ReevesShadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves has promised not to raise income tax, VAT or National Insurance POOL

Inheritance tax (IHT) reform and increases to the capital gains tax (CGT) rate in the Labour Party's sights if Sir Keir Starmer wins the upcoming General Election, it has been claimed.

Proposals are said to be being drawn up to raise wealth taxes on Britons in what would be a HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) raid worth an estimated £10billion.

Among the policies being floated within Labour include hikes to CGT, which would raise around £8billion, and making it more difficult for taxpayers to "gift" assets when attempting to avoid paying IHT.

Read the full story HERE

JR Rowling blasts Labour in trans rights row

Harry Potter author JK Rowling has admitted she will "struggle to support" Labour on polling day as she criticised the party's failure to stand up to the trans lobby.

She criticised frontbenchers for a "dismissive and often offensive" approach to women.

She criticised Labour's frontbenchers for failing to protest women in debates around transgender rights.

"As long as Labour remains dismissive and often offensive towards women fighting to retain the rights their foremothers thought were won for all time, I’ll struggle to support them," she wrote in The Times.

"The women who wouldn’t wheesht didn’t leave Labour. Labour abandoned them."

She added she had "been a Labour voter, a member (no longer), donor (not recently) and campaigner (ditto) all my adult life".

Ben Wallace brand Farage a 'pub bore' as Tories ramp up attacks

\u200bBen Wallace

Ben Wallace is the latest politician to criticise Nigel Farage


Ben Wallace, the Conservative former defence secretary, is the latest senior political figure to have criticised Nigel Farage’s comments.

“I think Nigel Farage is a bit like that pub bore we have all met at the end of the bar who often says if ‘I was running the country’ and presents very simplistic answers to actually I am afraid in the 21st century complex problems,” Wallace told the BBC.

“It is not that easy to govern a country but also to find international solutions to problems.”

He added: “If he became prime minister tomorrow morning, what is his solution to dealing with a President Putin that he alleges he admires?

“A man who remember was involved in the murder of a British citizen Dawn Sturgess with deployment of nerve agent in Salisbury.

“Is his answer to that we provoked him? He is going to have to deal with the real world.”

Celebs demand green issues be centre of campaigns

A host of celebrities including Dame Judi Dench and Dame Emma Thompson have urged all nature lovers to join the action, which aims to send a message to politicians to prioritise nature and climate in the General Election campaign and the next parliament.

Charlie Gardner, an associate senior lecturer at the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology, said: “Nature has been in decline all around the world incessantly for decades.

“This is happening in real time – real, visible changes in the natural world around me and it’s devastating.

“It’s also very scary. I live in fear of what the future is going to be like.”

Brace for 'sharp cuts' after the election warns influential think tank

Several public services are at risk of suffering “sharp cuts” under either a future Labour or Conservative government, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS).

The IFS said the manifestos of the major parties provided little information about the funding outlook for individual services, which makes it easier for them to stay silent on the cuts to unprotected budgets.

The IFS said it did not expect the parties to conduct comprehensive spending reviews for a potential five-year Parliament in their manifestos.

In a new briefing note, the IFS said: “At the time of the March 2024 Budget, the baseline day-to-day resource spending envelope for all Government departments was growing at 1 per cent in real terms per year after this year.

“Neither main party has changed overall resource spending plans in significant ways with their manifestos: Labour’s £5billion top-up in 2028–29 means real-terms resource spending will now grow at 1.2 per cent, rather than 1 per cent, on average per year.

“The Conservatives left total spending plans virtually unchanged, topping up total departmental spending in 2029–30 by around £500million."

More Tories slam Nigel Farage's comments

\u200bNigel FarageNigel Farage sparked anger with his comments on the Ukraine invasionBBC

Conservatives have seized upon Nigel Farage's remarks about Ukraine to lambast the Reform UK leader.

Amid numerous polls pointing to Reform overtaking the Tories in voting intention, high profile candidates and former ministers have taken to social media to criticise his comments.

Former defence secretary Sir Liam Fox said: "The West did not 'provoke this war' in Ukraine and it is shocking that Nigel Farage should say so.

"Sovereign nations have a right to defend themselves and organise their security in a way that they choose and not be dictated to or bullied by Putin’s brutal state."

Alicia Kearns added: "Farage’s historical revisionism is an insult to all Ukrainian soldiers, and innocent men, women and children murdered by the Putin regime.

"It’s not a war, it’s a renewed illegal invasion. Ukraine and the West did nothing to provoke the autocrat and mass-murderer Putin."

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