Starmer: Tory's military service policy is like a 'teenage father's army'

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Lord Zak Goldsmith, who resigned from Rishi Sunak's government last year, accused most Tory MPs of being “complicit” in allowing the party to descend into complete chaos less than a week after the start of the general election.

The Tory peer, a friend and ally of former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, warned that most Conservative MPs would lose their seats but said “it's hard to feel sorry for them”.

This happened as ministers angrily expressed their displeasure at the Prime Minister's calling for new elections without first consulting his Cabinet.

Elsewhere, Sir Keir Starmer said he was “shocked” by the horrific scenes in Rafah overnight and said the Israeli offensive must end.

An Israeli air strike on tents for displaced Palestinians in Rafah has killed at least 50 people and injured dozens more, most of them women and children, according to Gaza health authorities.

When asked what he would say to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu if he were prime minister, the Labour leader replied: “Stop it.

“These scenes, these reports are horrifying, and what makes it even worse is that this was a safe zone with women, children and families who had already fled several times.”

Important points

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John Curtice warns Sunak that his National Service plan will not reduce the gap to Labour in polls

Leading pollsters warn that Rishi Sunak's promise to reinstate conscription will not help him narrow the gap with Labour.

The Conservatives announced the move over the weekend in the hope that it would improve dire poll results that show them more than 20 percentage points behind Labour.

But while the announcement helped distract from the Prime Minister and his inner circle's heavily criticised start to the election campaign, there are serious doubts as to whether it will give the Tories the boost they need in the polls.

Maryam Zakir Hussain27 May 2024 18:30


Tory MP claims she defected to Reform before Conservative Party suspended her

A Tory MP leaving Parliament has claimed she quit the party and supported Reform UK in her vacated Shropshire seat before the Conservatives suspended her.

Outgoing Telford MP Lucy Allan said Reform's Alan Adams offered an alternative to “more of the same politics and more of the same politicians” as she publicly endorsed him as her successor in her constituency rather than her own party's candidate at the upcoming general election.

The Tory party responded by suspending her with immediate effect on Monday, but she herself claimed she had already resigned to support Mr Adams rather than Conservative Hannah Campbell.

Tara Cobham27 May 2024 18:26


Watch: Rishi Sunak says his national service plan will 'foster a culture of service'

Rishi Sunak says his national service plan will ‘foster a culture of service’

Tara Cobham27 May 2024 18:13


Labour accuses Sunak of accepting campaign funds from “Truss fanboy” who supported the mini-budget

Shadow Paymaster General Jon Ashworth warned that Mr Sunak's agreement to a £250,000 donation from controversial Tory peer Lord Michael Spencer raised serious questions about Conservative plans to abolish social security at a cost of £46 billion.

Billionaire entrepreneur Lord Spencer told the Daily Mail: “The economy is like a supertanker. It takes a while to recover, but it is recovering and Rishi deserves credit for that.”

Political Editor David Maddox Reports:

Tara Cobham27 May 2024 18:12


Prime Minister distances himself from Tory attacks on Starmer over his age

Rishi Sunak has distanced himself from the Tories' attacks on Sir Keir Starmer because of his age.

The 44-year-old prime minister said after the comments about his 61-year-old rival: “It's the substance that counts.”

Mr Sunak told reporters: “I am keen to travel around the country.

“We have been at it for a few days now, we have been in the East Midlands, the West Midlands, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and today here in the South East and have talked to people – parents – about the future.

“This election is about substance, it is a decision about the future.”

He added: “When it comes to Keir Starmer, that is the choice that is available – no ideas, no plan and you don't create a better future, you don't create change, without those things.”

Maryam Zakir Hussain27 May 2024 18:00


Sunak denies he plans to move to California after election defeat

Rishi Sunak has rejected jibes that he plans to jet off to California to start a new life after what some consider to be an inevitable election defeat.

Speaking to ITV's Robert Peston, Mr Sunak pledged to stay in Britain whether his party wins or loses the July 4 election.

It had previously been rumored that he had brought forward the elections in order to be able to organize his daughters' schooling in a new home in the USA in time for September.

Political Editor David Maddox Reports:

Tara Cobham27 May 2024 17:43


Sunak defends national service plan despite backlash

Rishi Sunak defended his “bold” plan to reintroduce some form of conscription, despite backlash from ministers and confusion among Tories over the measure.

The Prime Minister said the measure, which will require 18-year-olds to either join the military or cyber defence forces or do volunteer work in the community, will strengthen social cohesion and bolster Britain's defences.

But a serving minister complained he had not been consulted on the £2.5 billion plan, and senior Tories were faced with questions about whether parents would face fines if their adult children refused to take part in the scheme.

During a campaign visit to Buckinghamshire, Mr Sunak told reporters: “This modern form of military service will ensure that young people get the skills and opportunities they need and that will serve them well in life.”

“It will foster a culture of service that will make an incredible contribution to the cohesion of our society and will strengthen our country's security and resilience in a more uncertain and dangerous world.”

“For all of these reasons, I believe this is absolutely the right thing to do. Yes, it's brave, but this is the kind of leadership I offer.”

Maryam Zakir Hussain27 May 2024 17:30


Tory MP Lucy Allan suspended for supporting Reform UK candidate

A Conservative Party spokesman confirmed that Telford MP Lucy Allan had been suspended for supporting a Reform UK candidate.

“Lucy Allan has been suspended from the party with immediate effect,” the spokesman said.

“The people of Telford now have the chance to vote for a committed and hard-working new candidate who will put Telford first.

“A vote for reform is a vote for Keir Starmer.”

Maryam Zakir Hussain27 May 2024 17:00


Sunak visits garden centre in Berkhamstead

In his second campaign appearance of the day, Rishi Sunak paid a brief visit to a garden centre in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire.

There the Prime Minister met with Nigel Gardner, the Conservative candidate for the new constituency of Harpenden and Berkhamsted.

The two of them stacked flowerpots on shelves together while Mr Gardner made comments about the “vast new constituency” he would represent.

Mr Sunak left the garden centre, walked past the tills and out onto the high street, leaving shoppers surprised to see the Prime Minister in their midst.

Some passersby could be heard trying to boo him as he walked down the street outside.

(Aaron Chown/PA Wire)(Aaron Chown/PA Wire)(Aaron Chown/PA Wire)

Maryam Zakir Hussain27 May 2024 16:45


Tory peer says majority of party MPs ‘almost guaranteed’ to lose their seats

Tory peer Zac Goldsmith said it was “virtually certain” that the majority of Tory MPs would “lose their jobs next month”.

Mr Goldsmith is referring to the early elections called by Rishi Sunak without first consulting his Cabinet.

However, the former minister said the Tory majority was equally to blame for what happened in Westminster.

On X he wrote: “I understand the anger at Sunak, who has done almost irreparable damage to the party and virtually guaranteed that the majority of his MPs will lose their jobs next month.

“But it's hard to have much sympathy when you consider that none of this would have happened without the cooperation of the majority of the party and that what is happening now was entirely predictable – even predicted.”

Maryam Zakir Hussain27 May 2024 16:29

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