General Election LIVE: Sunak RULES OUT 2019-style deal with Reform UK not to stand in certain seats

 Nigel Farage reveals date for Reform return

Nigel Farage reveals date for Reform return

George Bunn

By George Bunn

Published: 29/05/2024

- 07:30

Updated: 30/05/2024

- 07:26

GB News is bringing you the latest update from the General Election campaigns

  • Diane Abbott has been readmitted as a Labour MP but confusion remains over whether she can be an election candidate for the party
  • Junior doctors have been accused of 'partisan politics' after announcing plans to strike just days before July 4
  • Rishi Sunak has vowed to ban 'rip-off' university degrees in his latest pledge
  • Liberal Democrats are launching their Wales campaign in Knighton, Powys

Rishi Sunak has ruled out a 2019-style deal with Reform UK after Nigel Farage suggested he could strike a deal with the Tories.

Sunak said: "There's only going to be one or two people who's going to be Prime Minister on July 5.

“It's either Keir Starmer or me. So the choice for everyone in this election and a vote for anyone who isn't a Conservative candidate, is a vote to put Keir Starmer into No10.

"So if you're someone who believes that we need to tackle illegal migration, then I'm the right person to be your prime minister because I'm the one that's got a clear plan to do.

"We've already got the numbers down last year and we're willing to take the bold action that is necessary to stop the boats and what we're seeing now across Europe."

Farage suggested he would strike a deal if Sunak rewarded him for his political work, excluding a peerage.

He decided to stand down 317 Brexit Party candidates during the 2019 General Election campaign.

Follow all the latest updates from throughout the day below...

Nigel Farage confirms 'venue was booked' to announce plans to run to be Reform MP

Nigel Farage has revealed he was planning to hold an event announcing his candidacy tomorrow but altered his decision as Rishi Sunak scuppered his chances by calling a snap general election.

Farage, 60, who last week confirmed he will campaign for Reform UK without standing in a seat, told The Sun: "I will let you into a little secret, I was going to launch tomorrow.

"I had a venue booked, I was all ready to go but the problem is you can't win a constituency, well, it's very difficult to win without data.

"And it's even harder to win when you're Nigel Farage because the other side will cheat."

The former Ukip leader, who stood unsuccessfully in seven other parliamentary races, also claimed a six week campaign would not have been long enough.

'I will not be intimidated!' Diane Abbott vows to stand as MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington following Labour row

Diane Abbot has vowed to stand as the Labour MP for Hackney South & Stoke Newington yet again as Labour's row about her candidacy continues.

The former Shadow Home Secretary, who became the first black female MP in 1987, joined supporters in her north east London constituency just hours after Labour restored the whip following a lengthy inquiry.

Speaking at the rally, Abbott said: "By any means possible, I will continue to stand as the candidate for Hackney North."

Sunak urged to deselect Truss over interview on 'hateful platform'

Rishi Sunak has been urged to sack his predecessor Liz Truss ahead of the South West Norfolk MP's controversial interview appearance.

Truss, who is facing a challenge an independent challenge from the so-called Turnip Taliban, is appearing on a platform later today founded by Carl Benjamin.

Benjamin sparked controversy in 2019 after tweeting "I wouldn't even rape you" at Labour MP Jess Phillips.

Phillips said: The impact men like Benjamin have on politics cannot be understated.

“Men like Benjamin make female MPs live in fear, while discouraging women from standing in future, weakening our democracy in the process.“

She added: “It is clear that anyone willing to appear on this hateful platform is not suitable to be a candidate for any political party.

"Even Reform UK deselected one of its candidates after his harmful views and work as a content creator for Lotus Eaters was exposed.

“If you have any decency, you will deselect Liz Truss as Conservative candidate for South West Norfolk. Anything less than this will show how weak you are and how far the Conservative Party has sunk.”

Benjamin replied: “I would normally ignore such pettiness on Phillips’ part, but I feel compelled to respond to the flagrant misinformation and outright lies about my character that Phillips tells, as she appears to have built up an absurd boogeyman of me in her head that she seeks to employ as a partisan weapon against conservatives."

Tory chair demands answers from Keir Starmer about Diane Abbott

Tory chairman Richard Holden has written to Sir Keir Starmer demanding answers about the Diane Abbott row.

The MP North West Durham told Sir Keir: "These are serious questions that need answering. The only logical explanation is that you and your team have been lying to the British people.

"You have previously said that ‘honesty and decency matter’. I am sure people would like to know why you did not think these principles mattered in this case."

Nigel Farage asks Conservatives: 'What are they going to do back for me?'

\u200bNigel Farage said he's turned down offers from the Tories

Nigel Farage said he's turned down offers from the Tories


Nigel Farage has said he is open to a deal with the Conservatives under the right conditions.

The former Brexit Party leader said: "Give me something back. We might have a conversation."

Farage said he had done the Tories many "favours" over the years, and asked: "What are they going to do back for me?"

Asked if the Tories had tried tempting him with a seat in the House of Lords, Farage told The Sun: "No, no I’ve turned all that rubbish down in the past."

Momentum says Keir Starmer's actions against Diane Abbott were 'vindictive'

A spokesperson for left-wing campaign group Momentum said: "We are sickened and disgusted by this news - the way Keir Starmer has treated Britain's first Black woman MP is appalling, vindictive and cruel."

Meanwhile six unions - Aslef, the TSSA, Unite, the NUM, the Communication Workers Union and the Fire Brigades Union - have also called for Abbott to be confirmed as the Labour candidate for Hackney North and Stoke Newington.

In a post on X earlier, the former shadow Home Secretary said she was "delighted" to have been readmitted to the parliamentary party.

She said: "I will be campaigning for a Labour victory. But I am very dismayed that numerous reports suggest I have been barred as a candidate."

Scottish First Minister John Swinney slams decision to exclude SNP from TV debates as 'ridiculous'

Scottish First Minister John Swinney

Scottish First Minister John Swinney


The SNP is making "strenuous representations" to try and secure a spot in the television General Election debates, John Swinney has said.

The First Minister said it is "ridiculous" the SNP has been excluded from the first televised clash between party leaders.

It comes after it was confirmed the first debate will be a head-to-head between Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer on ITV on June 4.

Swinney said: "I think it’s ridiculous that the third party in UK politics has been excluded from the debates that are being taken forward. We’re making strenuous representations to the broadcasters about that point and we’ll continue to do so."

Lizzie Cundy says George, Charlotte and Louis taking part in national service would be a 'great thing' for the young Royals

Royal commentator Lizzie Cundy has claimed that Rishi Sunak's plan to bring back national service in the UK could benefit the younger members of the Royal Family.

The plans would mean George, Charlotte and Louis would take part in the service, should the Conservatives come into power.

Cundy said: "It's great that they're going to be out there focusing and getting opportunities. And I think it's wonderful that the Royal Family could be involved with this."

Read the full story here.

Lib Dems promise £1billion extra for agricultural budget at launch event in Knighton

Liberal Democrat Leader Sir Ed Davey,

Liberal Democrat Leader Sir Ed Davey, Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds (left) and local Liberal Democrat candidate David Chadwick (right)


Launching the party's campaign in Wales, Ed Davey said the people of Wales have been "taken for granted" for too long by the Conservative government and the election was a chance for change.

The party is promising £1 billion in extra funding for the agriculture budget, and pledging to re-negotiate overseas trade deals and address worker shortages blighting the sector if it wins the General Election.

The Brecon, Radnor and Cwm Tawe seat, which has been newly created for the 2024 election, covers Knighton, and is a key battleground for the party.

He said: "We’re increasingly feeling confident in this seat... Montgomeryshire and Glyndwr is another rural Mid Wales seat which we have run before and we have got a great young candidate there, so watch this space."

Sir Keir Starmer backs first minister Vaughan Gething

Starmer and Gething

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and Welsh First Minister Vaughan Gething


Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer gave his backing to Vaughan Gething ahead of next week’s confidence motion.

Sir Keir told reporters on the General Election campaign trail in Worcester: "He is doing a good job, he was elected in and I’m looking forward to being with him in this campaign where we will campaign together for, what I hope will be, the next Labour government."

Concerns have been raised after the First Minister accepted a donation from a man convicted of environmental offences during his run to be Welsh Labour leader.

Gething has also refused to show any evidence to explain why he sacked Senedd member Hannah Blythyn from his government, after he accused the her of leaking messages to the media.

BREAKING: Welsh First Minister Vaughan Gething to face vote of no confidence

Vaughan Gething is to face a vote of no confidence next week after less than three months in office

The Welsh Conservatives submitted a motion following months of turmoil around controversial donations during the First Minister’s election campaign.

The vote could cause a fresh headache for Sir Keir Starmer who could be on track to pick up 28 out of 32 seats in Wales at the general election.

Read the full story here.

Former Labour minister says he was asked to dress as a chicken for an election campaign

\u200bFormer Labour minister Stephen Pound

Former Labour minister Stephen Pound

GB News

Stephen Pound has recalled the time that he dressed up as a chicken for a hilarious election gaffe.

The former Labour MP for Ealing North and shadow minister for Northern Ireland called it a "ridiculous idea."

He added that someone was asked to walk around with a top hat and an Old Etonian costume.

Read the full story here.

Diane Abbot NOT barred from standing for Labour 

Diane Abbott has not been barred from standing as a Labour candidate, Sir Keir Starmer has said, adding no decision has been taken.

Abbott initially appeared to confirm she had been blocked from standing, but then said she was upset about "numerous reports" suggesting she had been barred.

She had the Labour whip suspended in April 2023 pending an investigation after she suggested Jewish, Irish and Traveller people experience prejudice, but not racism.

The whip was restored on Tuesday, but the 70-year-old appeared to believe she had been barred from standing in Stoke Newington and Hackney on July 4.

“Although the whip has been restored, I am banned from standing as a Labour candidate,” she told the BBC this morning.

BREAKING: Royal College of Nursing head to stand down to seek Sinn Fein nomination

\u200bFormer General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), Pat Cullen

Former General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), Pat Cullen


Pat Cullen, who led nurses across the country into unprecedented strike action, said she is standing down from her role as chief executive and general secretary of the nursing union.

In a message on social media, she wrote: "I will be seeking nomination to stand for Sinn Fein in Fermanagh/South Tyrone in the Westminster election.

"It has been an honour to champion the rights of nurses as leader of the RCN. I am ready to lead as your MP, working to better the lives of workers, families & communities."

Historically, elected Sinn Fein MPs do not take their seats at Westminster.

BREAKING: Junior doctors set to strike in June with Tory MPs accusing the BMA of 'partisan politics' 

Picket Line

Junior doctors on the picket line outside Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham


The British Medical Association has announced junior doctors in England will strike from 7am on June 27 until 7am on July 2 over their long-running dispute over pay.

BMA junior doctors committee co-chairmen Dr Robert Laurenson and Dr Vivek Trivedi said: "We made clear to the Government that we would strike unless discussions ended in a credible pay offer.

" For more than 18 months we have been asking Rishi Sunak to put forward proposals to restore the pay junior doctors have lost over the past 15 years – equal to more than a quarter in real terms.

"When we entered mediation with Government this month we did so under the impression that we had a functioning government that would soon be making an offer. Clearly no offer is now forthcoming. Junior doctors are fed up and out of patience.

"Even at this late stage Mr (Rishi) Sunak has the opportunity to show that he cares about the NHS and its workers. It is finally time for him to make a concrete commitment to restore doctors’ pay.

"If during this campaign he makes such a public commitment that is acceptable to the BMA’s junior doctors committee, then no strikes need go ahead."

Meanwhile, Conservative MPs have accused the BMA of "partisan politics."

Brendan Clarke-Smith, MP for Bassetlaw said: "The headbangers at the BMA are at it again. Most junior doctors I speak to want to distance themselves from the organisation and their partisan politics.

"Just imagine what it will be like with a Labour government, bringing in French-style trade union laws for their fat cat mates."

Some of UK's poorest areas could lose out on funding following national service scheme, warns think tank

Conservative plans to launch national service for 18-year-olds could deprive some of the UK’s poorest areas of cash for community safety and high street regeneration, a think tank has warned,

According to research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), areas like Merthyr Tydfil in South Wales, Cornwall and the Tees Valley could miss out on essential funding with plans to close the Government’s flagship UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) by 2028.

IFS associate director David Phillips said: "The Conservatives’ plan to wind up the UKSPF and use the resources instead to help pay for a new national service scheme would represent a major shift in how funding is allocated across the country.

"Rather than being targeted at poorer areas and aimed at levelling up, the funding would be spread across the country based on where 18-year-olds are undertaking their military or community service."

The Prime Minister said: "I am absolutely committed to levelling up in Cornwall and you can see our track record."

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey with Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Jane Dodds ahead of the party's campaign launch in Knighton, Wales


Stephen Flynn says the SNP will 'put pressure' on Labour over railway nationalisation

The SNP's Westminster leader told BBC Breakfast "It's important that where we can, we continue to put pressure on the Labour Party to do the right thing."

He added that it was important Network Rail was in public ownership "to improve punctuality."

Shadow Scotland Secretary Ian Murray responded, describing Flynn's comments as an "embarrassing blunder" adding that Labour "has a real plan to nationalise and modernise rail across the UK."

Labour has previously pledged to renationalise nearly all passenger rail services within five years if it wins the next election.

Streeting says he 'respects' Diane Abbot's achievements in politics over suspension row

\u200bWes Streeting speaks to GB News Breakfast

Wes Streeting speaks to GB News Breakfast

GB News

Speaking on GB News, the shadow Health Secretary said: "Firstly, and on that final point, I absolutely acknowledge and respect her achievements in politics and being that trailblazer, I absolutely do.

"The second thing I would say is, and you mentioned the reports this morning, I've only been picking this up as as I've been going along in terms of the reports, I'm not involved in the process.

"I do not know what decision has been made and on what basis. I've been out talking about how we cut NHS waiting lists this morning."

Read the full story here.

Sunak says new regulator would analyse university degrees to determine which ones are underperforming

\u200bPrime Minister Rishi Sunak and Derek Thomas MP

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Derek Thomas MP arrive for their visit to the GWR railway depot in Penzance


Speaking at a train depot in Cornwall, the Prime Minister said: "University is great and it makes a fantastic option for young people, but it’s not the only option.

"I’m not someone who believes that you have to go to university, and all the apprentices I’ve been talking to this morning are proof of that, describing it as the best decision they ever made.

"And what we do know is that there are university degrees that are letting young people down. Independent studies say that around one in five people who are on degrees would have been financially better off not doing them, about one in three graduates are in non-graduate jobs.

"So actually we are better off providing those young people with the opportunity of a high-quality apprenticeship."

Despite being asked to name a specific example of an underperforming degree, the Prime Minister did not do so.

Rishi Sunak calls for Labour to be transparent about Diane Abbott

On a campaign visit to Cornwall, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told reporters: "The Labour Party has been telling everybody this investigation into Diane Abbott is ongoing, it now appears it concluded months ago.

"So really it’s a question for them to clear this all up, what happened when, be transparent about it."

Shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson rejects state system would be 'overwhelmed'

\u200bShadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson with Sir Keir Starmer

Shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson with Sir Keir Starmer


When asked by Sky News whether a city could cope with around 1,000 schoolchildren leaving the independent sector, Phillipson replied: “I don’t accept we will see that kind of change."

She added that the policy was "a straightforward case of political priorities" adding: "Do we choose to give tax breaks to private schools, or do we invest directly into our state schools which have faced really big challenges in recent years?"

Reform UK leader Richard Tice putting together team of lawyers to fight Sir Keir Starmer's private school tax raid

Tice told The Telegraph he would use "every legal avenue" to block Labour’s plans if Sir Keir enters Downing Street in July.

He added: "All charities, of any form, get business rates relief. To target only independent schools on business rates relief and VAT on fees is deeply discriminatory."

Labour said the policy, which would apply VAT at 20 per cent on all independent school fees would be in place "straight away" should they come to power.

Labour in chaos over Diane Abbott suspension

Diane Abbott walking down street

Labour MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington Diane Abbott


The Labour Party has fallen into chaos overnight over the restoration of the whip to veteran MP Diane Abbott.

Sources said the MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington's 37-year career as a Labour MP was over after a drawn-out investigation into allegations of antisemitism meant she would not be able to stand.

However, there have been conflicting reports over how the saga panned out have become a distraction.

Read the full story here.

Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting rules out giving a full pay rise to junior doctors 'on day one' 

Streeting told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: "I want to be really upfront with junior doctors this side of the election – the 35 per cent pay claim they’ve put in, I’m just not going to be able to afford that on day one of a Labour government.

"We’re going to have to work together and negotiate on pay and recognise, as was the case with the last Labour government who inherited a similar mess, getting to fair pay is a journey not an event, and I am willing to negotiate on pay and those wider conditions that junior doctors are working."

SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn says Diane Abbott confusion is 'pretty sorry reflection' of Labour

\u200bSNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn

SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn


SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn hailed Diane Abbott as a “phenomenal individual” as he branded the situation a “pretty sorry state of affairs” for Labour.

The SNP politician said Sir Keir Starmer’s party had welcomed former Conservative MP Natalie Elphicke, whom he described as a "right-wing populist", with "open arms" contrasting that with its treatment of Ms Abbott.

Flynn told Sky News: "I think this is a pretty sorry reflection of the Labour Party and where it stands, what its values are and what its principles are at the moment.”

He said: "Diane Abbott gets her membership back at the very last minute but isn’t allowed to stand. I’d just like to thank Diane for everything she has done, as a trailblazer for women in Parliament, but also as the first black female in Parliament. She’s a phenomenal individual and her legacy is going to be long lasting."

Caroline Lucas MP slams Sir Keir Starmer for saying he would not reverse two-child benefit cap

Caroline Lucas

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas


The departing Green MP for Brighton Pavilion told an audience at the Hay Festival: "Why is a debate about a wealth tax such a taboo in this country? Why is it fine to tax income but not to tax assets?

"We have the Labour party running scared of having even any debate about some kind of tax on the ultra-wealthy.

"This would be just the one percent most wealthy people – most people would not be affected by it. So why can’t we even have the debate about it? Even in Switzerland they have some kind of wealth tax and when I last checked it hadn’t become some kind of hotbed of communist revolt."

Liberal Democrats set to launch election campaign in Wales today

The Liberal Democrats will today launch their general election campaign in Wales with a promise to reverse the Conservatives’ "legacy of failure" and champion British farming.

Leader Ed Davey will set out a rescue plan for farmers, including £1 billion in extra funding for the agriculture budget, re-negotiating botched overseas trade deals and addressing worker shortages blighting the sector.

Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting said a fifth Conservative term would be 'catastrophic' for the NHS

Wes Streeting

Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting


Streeting told Times Radio: "What really matters is the waiting time, because that’s the clinically driven target, because if you’ve got a condition like cancer we know that time matters, and I know that, and from my own experience as a cancer survivor.

"But also if you’re waiting for things like orthopaedics, hip and knee replacements, if you’re waiting more than 18 weeks that has a serious impact on your quality of life.

"Also it has an impact often in terms of your working life and, as Rachel Reeves has argued, the health of the nation and the health of the economy are inextricably linked, so that’s why this is such a big priority for Labour.

"We’ve got the track record. More importantly, we have the plan. I urge people not to give the matches back to the arsonists by electing the Conservatives for an unprecedented fifth term because the NHS is catastrophic."

Greater Manchester Police's statement regarding Angela Rayner in full

A spokesperson said: "Following allegations about Angela Rayner MP, Greater Manchester Police has completed a thorough, carefully considered and proportionate investigation. We have concluded that no further police action will be taken.

"The investigation originated from complaints made by Mr James Daly MP directly to GMP. Subsequent further contact with GMP by members of the public, and claims made by individuals featured in media reporting, indicated a strong public interest in the need for allegations to be investigated.

"Matters involving council tax and personal tax do not fall into the jurisdiction of policing. GMP has liaised with Stockport Council and information about our investigation has been shared with them. Details of our investigation have also been shared with His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC)."

Sunak arrives in Cornwall to resume campaign in the south west

\u200bSunak arrives in Cornwall today

Sunak arrives in Cornwall today


Rishi Sunak has arrived in Cornwall in the latest leg of his General Election campaign tour.

The Prime Minister took the overnight sleeper train from London Paddington on Tuesday to embark on a day of campaigning in the south west of England.

Labour source questions Diane Abbott's claim she has been barred from standing for Labour

A Labour source has questioned Diane Abbott’s claim to have been banned from standing for the party, suggesting it might be an attempt to "bounce" party leaders into a deal.

The source said: "(I’m) not quite sure that’s right, the NEC is due to finalise candidate endorsements on Tuesday.

"I think this may be an attempt to bounce Loto (Leader of the Opposition’s Office) into some sort of deal."

Education minister Damian Hinds said volunteering activities 'contribute to developing character'

\u200bDamian Hinds MP

Damian Hinds MP


The MP for East Hampshire told Times Radio: "The modern form of national service is about giving up 25 days across a year, one weekend a month, doing things which would be a huge benefit to our society, but also actually to the individual.

"All of these things contribute to developing character. They give you transferable skills in life. They bring camaraderie, you meet new people, people you weren’t at school with, from different backgrounds.

"And all of this is good, as I say. It’s good for our society. It’s also good for the individual."

First TV election debate set for June 4

Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer will go head to head in a televised debate on ITV on June 4.

The hour-long debate, Sunak v Starmer: The ITV Debate, will be moderated by Julie Etchingham and will take place live in front of a studio audience.

The Conservatives had been pushing for six TV debates, one each week of the campaign, but Labour officials will only commit to two.

Sir Keir said: "I can do one debate or 100, I know what Sunak is going to say. Of course there will be live TV debates, but I want to talk for as long as I can to voters directly and take my message to them and hear from them. At the end the power is with those voters."

Diane Abbott says she has been barred from standing as a Labour candidate

Diane Abbott

Diane Abbott


Diane Abbott has confirmed she has been barred from standing for Labour, despite having the whip restored last night.

The former shadow Home Secretary and MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington confirmed on BBC's Today programme she has been blocked by the party from standing at the general election.

She said: "Although the whip has been restored, I am banned from standing as a Labour candidate."

Education minister Damien Hinds said it is 'not up to Government ministers' to determine which degrees would be scrapped. 

Hinds told Times Radio: "We’re not directing somebody to scrap one in eight.

"It’s not about taking somebody off a course they’re already on and it’s absolutely not about saying to any individual ‘you can’t go to university’.

"It’s about saying, if there’s a course which isn’t doing what it should do, isn’t providing that opportunity for those young people, then it shouldn’t be able to recruit more people onto that course."

Angela Rayner seemingly mocks MP for Bury North James Daly

Sunak pledges to scrap "rip off degrees"

The Conservatives have pledged to scrap some university degrees to help fund around 100,000 apprenticeships.

Some of the "worst performing" degrees that have high drop out rates and "poor" job prospects would be ditched.

It comes after Labour has slammed the government over a lack of new apprenticeships. Labour said they would prioritise "gearing" apprenticeships towards young people.

Meanwhile the Liberal Democrats accused the government of treating apprentices like "second-class workers".

Sir Keir Starmer says he 'never doubted' Angela Rayner

Sir Keir Starmer and deputy leader Angela Rayner

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer and deputy leader Angela Rayner


Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said Rayner “has been vindicated”.

“I never doubted that Angela hadn’t done anything wrong and now she’s been cleared by the police,” he told reporters on the General Election campaign trail.

A Labour Party spokesman said: “Angela has always been clear that she was not liable for capital gains tax on the sale of the home she owned before she was an MP, that she was properly registered to vote, and paid the appropriate council tax.

"She took expert tax and legal advice which confirms this. This draws a line under the matter."

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