General election latest: Major Tory policy has likely been 'under wraps for some time'; PM to shun Saints to campaign (2024)

General election called for 4 July
  • PM vows to introduce National Service| But no threat of jail time| Pledge 'start of election campaign proper'
  • Labour pledges to reignite Sunak's proposed smoking ban
  • Sunak not going to Southampton's playoff final
  • Farage challenged on 'offensive' comments about British Muslims
  • Starmer confirms support for extending voting age to 16
  • PM agrees to take part in Sky News leaders' event on one condition
  • Live reporting by Tim Baker andBrad Young
Expert analysis
  • Tamara Cohen:Farage's incendiary claims a question for Reform
  • Adam Boulton:Why PM's big bet on security likely won't pay off
  • Deborah Haynes:Next PM will have no time to play politics with defence
  • Sam Coates:Gove stepping down shows political winds are shifting
Election essentials
  • Trackers:Who's leading polls?|Is PM keeping promises?
  • Subscribe to Sky's politics podcasts:Electoral Dysfunction|Politics At Jack And Sam's
  • Read more:What happens next?|Which MPs are standing down?|Key seats to watch|How to register to vote|What counts as voter ID?|Check if your constituency's changing|Sky's coverage plans


National Service pledge 'start of election campaign proper'

Sky News has been speaking to people from across the political spectrum about the announcement today on National Service plans being proposed by the Conservatives.

Paul Goodman, the former editor of the Conservative Home website, says: "Well, this is the start of the election campaign proper.

"I think we're now getting to the point where the two parties will begin to unveil their policies - and I would expect more from the Conservatives this week."

On the policy itself, Mr Goodman suggests there is a lot of support for some form of National Service, and this was researched by a former thinktank director who is now in government.

This suggests it has been "under wraps for some time" as a plan.

Meanwhile, Tom Belger, the editor of Labour List, says the plan is an "unfunded gimmick".

He adds that the government has had 14 years to come up with ideas.

But he conceded that Labour should not be ruling out a version of the pledge "per se" - but maybe should be "pushing back" on the "fixation of the armed forces".


Prime minister not attending team's play-off final as he's campaigning

Rishi Sunak grew up in Southampton and supports the city's football team.

He went to his team's play-off semi-final as they fight for promotion from the Championship.

But he will not be at Wembley today as the Saints take on Leeds United, with the final slot in the Premier League next season up for grabs.

Instead, it is understood that he will be meeting voters in the South East, the PA news agency has been told.

Sources close to the prime minister said he will still be paying attention to the score of the match, which kicks off at 3pm.

Pictures showed Mr Sunak was campaigning in North West London, within a few miles of Wembley Stadium, on the Sunday.


Sunak's 'policy surprise' doesn't change the fact next PM will have no time to play politics with defence

By Deborah Haynes, security and defence editor

The prime minister appears to have had a belated epiphany about the critical importance of defence - and now even National Service.

It was just four months ago that Rishi Sunak's spokesperson slapped down the outgoing head of the army for advocating the need for civilians to be trained to fight given the dangers of living in what the defence secretary has called "a pre-war world".

General Sir Patrick Sanders had simply been using a speech to state a blunt reality - war and preparing for war is a whole-nation effort as demonstrated daily by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, where Ukrainian citizen soldiers are fighting and dying on the frontline.

Rather than support him, a Downing Street spokesperson at the time said that "hypothetical scenarios" involving possible wars were "not helpful" and ruled out any move towards a conscription model for the military.

Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, the chief of the defence staff, and David Williams, the top civil servant at the Ministry of Defence (MoD), apparently even summoned General Sanders for a dressing down over the remarks.

But the army chief had not been suggesting conscription then - just as the prime minister is not doing so now.

He had simply been talking about the need for civilians to be ready to serve.

Given that context, Mr Sunak's sudden announcement that he would introduce a new form of National Service for 18-year-olds, including the chance to spend 12 months serving in the armed forces, sent eyebrows within the MoD soaring skyward.

"Deeply cynical," was the verdict of one insider.

Another told Sky News: "This is a policy surprise to me. I haven't seen it discussed in the Ministry of Defence."

Read more from Deborah here:


Former Conservative strategy chief condemns National Service policy as 'sop'

As every, people from across the spectrum are commenting on the most recent announcements in the general election.

One interesting take comes from Chris Wilkins, who was a strategy director and speechwriter for Theresa May when she was in Downing Street.

Writing on X, he panned the National Service plan - saying that "the cynicism of selling a sop to older voters as some kind of pro young person policy is simply breathtaking".


Another gaffe will hand election to Starmer, senior Tory tells Sunak

A former Tory cabinet minister has warned Rishi Sunak he will hand the election to Labour if he makes "any more gaffes".

The senior Conservative told the Telegraph the prime minister needed to sharpen up and show "humility, not arrogance" on the campaign trail.

"We can't afford any more gaffes like the ones he's had, standing in the rain and getting in a muddle with the football," they told the newspaper.

"He's just got to sharpen up, his team has got to sharpen up."

The prime minister launched his campaign by calling an election in the pouring rain on Wednesday, leading him to joke he hadn't caught pneumonia and did not know what state his suit was in.

To make matters worse, protestors disrupted the announcement by blaring the D:Ream's hit single Things Can Only Get Better, widely associated with Labour's 1997 landslide victory.

The next day, Mr Sunak asked workers at a Welsh brewery if they were looking forward to "the football" - even though their team had not qualified for the European Championships.

A visit to the Titanic Quarter in Belfast invited a "sinking ship" comparison with his party's fortunes from a reporter.

And an image taken of him standing beneath his campaign plane's exit sign also drew derision from some commentators.

"We can't afford any more slip-ups, that's just handing it to Starmer," the Conservative minister told the Telegraph.

"He really needs to get out there, all guns blazing, very professionally but also get out and talk to real people, and not staged events. I want humility, not arrogance, and a sense that we're moving forward."


Poll suggests Britons would be more unhappy with Sunak victory than if Corbyn won in 2019

Since Rishi Sunak called the election on Wednesday, pollsters and surveyors have been taking the temperature of public opinion.

One example of this is by YouGov, who asked 2,072 people on Thursday and Friday for their thoughts on the upcoming vote.

They discovered that a greater proportion of people would be "disappointed" or "dismayed" with the prospect of a Conservative victory under Rishi Sunak than a Labour victory under Jeremy Corbyn in 2019.

Some 59% of those quizzed said they would be unhappy with Mr Sunak winning.

In 2019, 52% felt similarly about Mr Corbyn.

And in further bad news for the current prime minister, only 38% of people who voted Tory in 2019 would be happy to see them reelected.


More small boats arrive as Rwanda scheme draws dividing line

Once again, immigration was the subject of election debate this morning, with James Cleverly claiming Labour plans to scrap the Rwanda scheme were "reckless".

Millions of pounds has been spent on the Rwanda deal without any deportation flights getting off the ground – and Mr Sunak has admitted they won't before the election.

We've since had updated figures on people arriving on small boats, after they surpassed 10,000 this year on Friday.

Another 227 arrived yesterday on four boats, government data shows, bringing the total to 10,397.

Shadowimmigrationminister Stephen Kinnock has said ifLabourwas elected the party would "take the action required to tackle this chaos".

Amnesty International warned the figures were a "stark reminder that the government's flagrant attack on the rights to refugees is not only unlawful and immoral, it is ineffective even on its own terms", demanding the prime minister make safe routes available to tackle crossings.


Shadow chancellor rules out income tax and National Insurance rises under Labour

Rachel Reeves, who is Labour's shadow chancellor, has ruled out increasing the two main levies on income.

Speaking to the BBC, she says that everything in her party's manifesto will have an explanation for where the money to pay for it will come from.

Ms Reeves added: "What I want and Keir [Starmer] wants is taxes on working people to be lower and we certainly won't be increasing income tax or national insurance if we win at the election."

The Labour Party has said it will raise some tariffs, with Ms Reeves saying: "We've made those commitments so VAT and business rates on private schools, private equity bosses being taxed properly on their bonuses, an extension of the windfall tax so the energy profits are properly taxed, ensuring non-doms pay their fair share of tax in the country they live in, and also cracking down on tax avoidance – which is costing our economy billions of pounds every year."


Analysis: Farage's incendiary claims now a question for Reform leadership

Our political correspondent Tamara Cohenhas been giving her reaction to Nigel Farage's appearance on Sunday Morning With Trevor Phillips.

He was challenged by Trevor about his comments about British Muslims, having suggested there's a "growing number" of young people in the UK who don't subscribe to British values.

He pointed to pro-Palestine protests as an example.

You can read more of the pair's exchange in our 9.42 post.

Tamara says there will be "a lot of pushback" against Mr Farage's "highly incendiary claims" this morning.

But she says it's also a question for the leadership of his party, Reform.

Mr Farage isn't standing in the general election but has said he will campaign for the party, led by Richard Tice.

Sky News will be asking the leadership if Mr Farage's position is one it agrees with.


How are the smaller parties faring? Latest polling from Sky News tracker

With the general election campaign officially under way, what better time to keep a close eye on the latest polling?

Trevor ends his show with his panel by discussing how parties like the Greens and Reform are faring.

As you can see, Reform is currently polling higher than the Liberal Democrats.

Meanwhile, the Greens have stayed pretty much level for the past view years.

Of course, it is hard to use these headline figures to projects seats won due to the quirks of our first past the post system - but it does help paint a broader picture.

The Sky News live poll tracker - collated and updated by our Data and Forensics team - aggregates various surveys to indicate how voters feel about the different political parties.

See the latest update below - and you can read more about the methodology behind the trackerhere.

General election latest: Major Tory policy has likely been 'under wraps for some time'; PM to shun Saints to campaign (2024)


What does Tory stand for? ›

Tory has become shorthand for a member of the Conservative Party or for the party in general in Canada and the UK, and can be used interchangeably with the word Conservative.

What is the difference between Tory and Conservative? ›

The Conservative and Unionist Party, commonly the Conservative Party and colloquially known as the Tories, is one of the two main political parties in the United Kingdom, along with the Labour Party.

Why are Tories called Tories? ›

As a political term, Tory was an insult (derived from the Middle Irish word tóraidhe, modern Irish tóraí, meaning "outlaw", "robber", from the Irish word tóir, meaning "pursuit" since outlaws were "pursued men") that entered English politics during the Exclusion Bill crisis of 1678–1681.

What do Tories believe? ›

Their policies usually promote conservatism. They are the currently the largest party in the House of Commons after the 2019 United Kingdom general election, with 344 out of a possible 650 seats. The party has generally had liberal economic policies that favour free market economics.

What is the name Tory short for? ›

Tory is a gender-neutral name of Latin origin. It's a shortened form of the Latin name Victoria, which means “victory,” famously borne by Queen Victoria of Britain.

What is the difference between Whigs and Tories? ›

In the beginning, the Whig Party generally tended to support the aristocratic families, the continued disenfranchisem*nt of Catholics and toleration of nonconformist Protestants (dissenters such as the Presbyterians), while the Tories generally favoured the minor gentry and people who were (relatively speaking) ...

Why were British soldiers called Tories? ›

The terms Tory, Loyalist, Royalist, or King's men were used by Patriots to label those who remained loyal to the mother country Britain. The word Tory comes from several Middle Irish words meaning robbers, outlaws or pursued men.

What is a Tory in the American Revolution? ›

Loyalists were colonists in the Thirteen Colonies who remained loyal to the British Crown during the American Revolutionary War, often referred to as Tories, Royalists or King's Men at the time.

Are Whigs liberal or Conservative? ›

The Whigs themselves adopted the word "conservative", which they associated with "'law and order', social caution, and moral restraint".

What do liberal Democrats stand for in the UK? ›

Emphasising stronger protections for civil liberties, the party promotes social-liberal approaches to issues like LGBT rights, drug liberalisation, education policy and criminal justice. It favours a market-based economy supplemented with social welfare spending.

What are conservative values in the US? ›

7 Core Principles of Conservatism
  • Individual Freedom. The birth of our great nation was inspired by the bold declaration that our individual,God-given liberties should be preserved against government intrusion. ...
  • Limited Government. ...
  • The Rule of Law. ...
  • Peace through Strength. ...
  • Fiscal Responsibility. ...
  • Free Markets. ...
  • Human Dignity.

What do liberals believe? ›

believing in equality and individual liberty. supporting private property and individual rights. supporting the idea of limited constitutional government. recognising the importance of related values such as pluralism, toleration, autonomy, bodily integrity, and consent.

What does the suffix "tory" mean? ›

-tory. 2. a suffix occurring in loanwords from Latin, usually derivatives from agent nouns ending in -tor or directly from verbs, denoting a place or object appropriate for the activity of the verb: dormitory; repository .

What is a Tories in the American Revolution? ›

The terms Tory, Loyalist, Royalist, or King's men were used by Patriots to label those who remained loyal to the mother country Britain. The word Tory comes from several Middle Irish words meaning robbers, outlaws or pursued men.

What do conservatives believe? ›

They often advocate for a strong national defense, gun rights, capital punishment, and a defense of Western culture from perceived threats posed by communism and moral relativism. American conservatives tend to question epidemiology, climate change, and evolution more frequently than moderates or liberals.

What are the five main political parties in the UK? ›

Parties with representation in the House of Commons
PartyFoundedPolitical position
Conservative and Unionist Party1834Centre-right to right-wing
Labour Party Co-operative Party1900 1917 (Co-op)Centre-left
Scottish National Party (SNP)1934Centre-left
Liberal Democrats1988Centre to centre-left
9 more rows

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