Boris Johnson ‘out of touch’ over cost of living crisis, says Keir Starmer
Angela Rayner claims Tory election candidates are ashamed to be linked with the prime minister, by running as “local Conservatives” and pleading with voters not to “punish” them for the Partygate scandal.
“It speaks volumes that Boris Johnson’s own Conservative candidates are ashamed to be associated with him and trying to pull the wool over voters’ eyes,” Labour’s deputy leader said.
The extraordinary attempts by some candidates to distance themselves from Mr Johnson’s troubles are revealed in election leaflets for the nationwide polls on Thursday.
Earlier, she claimed the Conservatives hadn’t “got a clue” about the cost of living crisis after a government minister suggested poorer families buy value brands to save on food bills.
George Eustice, the environment secretary, said: “Generally speaking, what people find is by going for some sort of value brand rather than own branded products they can actually contain and manage their household budget.”
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Cost of living to overshadow Partygate in local elections, survey finds
Local Election Infographic
(Statista/ The Independent)
Emily Atkinson4 May 2022 16:39
Shapps shares Elizabeth Line announcement after accusing Khan of breaching purdah rules
Transport secretary Grant Shapps has posted a message on Twitter stating that the Elizabeth Line will open “thanks to £9bn of government support”.
It comes after Mr Shapps earlier today accused Labour’s London mayor Sadiq Khan of breaking pre-election rules over the announcement of when the new line will open.
Mr Shapps said: “This announcement is an act of breathtaking political cynicism by the mayor, breaking election rules on such announcements in an effort to garner votes the day before the local elections in London.
“I am therefore immediately referring this breach to the Electoral Commission for investigation.
“Londoners reading this unscrupulous headline grab might like to know that the Government has poured billions into Crossrail to solve delays clocked up on the mayor’s watch, while propping up a transport system hobbled financially by his chronic incompetence.”
But just 30 minutes after issuing his statement, Mr Shapps tweeted:
Emily Atkinson4 May 2022 16:24
UK would help Finland if Russia attacked, says defence secretary
The UK would always aid Finland if it were attacked by Russia, regardless of whether the country was a member of Nato, Ben Wallace has said.
Visiting Finland to oversee a military exercise, the defence secretary stressed that alliances between European countries “make us safer”.
Finland and Sweden are expected to make bids to join Nato after public opinion in the two countries swayed towards joining the military alliance since Russia invaded Ukraine.
Mr Wallace told reporters it is “entirely for the freedom of Finland to choose” whether it wants to become a Nato member, and added he is not going to “lobby or direct” what it should do.
He said: “Do I think if Finland didn’t join Nato, Britain wouldn’t come along to help? No. Britain will always be here in the Nordics, to be part of you, to help you, to support you.
“It is inconceivable that Britain would not come to the support of Finland, or Sweden, if it was ever attacked, without any big formal agreement. We are European countries who share the same values, who have deep, long histories.
“A significant number of the British population seem to be descended from Vikings anyhow, so we have that cultural link.
“I cannot conceive a time when we wouldn’t come to support Finland and Sweden no matter where they were with the Nato debate or where they are with agreements.”
He later said: “We are not in the businesses of doing these things to provoke other countries. We are in the business to respond to a much more aggressive current posture from Russia.
“The point about Finland, public opinion changing is directly linked to the predominantly strategic blunders of President Putin and aggression that we have seen.
“It’s about time many parts of Europe woke up to the fact that Putin is not a friend, he is an aggressor, and he has spent a lot of time and money over the last decade or two undermining both our democratic principles, through misinformation, funding political parties of extreme, or indeed through military threats.”
Emily Atkinson4 May 2022 16:20
I’ll lead Tories into next general election, insists PM
Boris Johnson has insisted he will lead the Tories into the next general election as he faces a potentially difficult set of local elections.
The prime minister told reporters that he was “absolutely confident that we have the right agenda for the country”.
“I have a big mandate to deliver,” he said.
Asked whether he would still be there at the next election, due to be held in 2024 at the latest, Mr Johnson said: “Of course. And I’m also very confident we will succeed at the next election.”
Emily Atkinson4 May 2022 16:05
Sinn Fein eyes historic win in Northern Ireland
If opinion polls are right, tomorrow’s local elections will lead to Sinn Fein becoming the largest group in the 90-seat Northern Ireland Assembly, giving the nationalist party the post of first minister for the first time:
Jane Dalton4 May 2022 15:42
Press watchdog rejects complaints over Mail’s Rayner article
The press watchdog has rejected all complaints about an article claiming Angela Rayner crossed and uncrossed her legs in the Commons in a bid to distract Boris Johnson.
The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) received more than 6,000 complaints.
Jane Dalton4 May 2022 15:25
How local elections could make or break Boris Johnson
Hanging on to the keys of Downing Street is not the only political challenge facing the prime minister, writes John Curtice.
Read his full piece here:
Matt Mathers4 May 2022 15:00
Senior Tory: Ukraine policy would get ‘stronger’ if PM replaced
Britain’s support for Ukraine would get even “stronger” if Boris Johnson were to be replaced as prime minister, a senior Tory has claimed.
Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the defence committee, spoke to BBC politics earlier and was asked whether it would be wise to remove Mr Johnson while the war continues in Ukraine.
Mr Ellwood has publicly called for the PM to resign after being found to have broken Covid laws.
Matt Mathers4 May 2022 14:50
Tories ‘ashamed’ of Johnson links
Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner says Conservative candidates in tomorrow’s local elections are ashamed to be connected to Boris Johnson.
Jane Dalton4 May 2022 14:50
‘Beergate’ is Tory mudslinging, Starmer insists
Sir Keir Starmer would not be drawn on providing further details in relation to allegations he broke lockdown rules while out campaigning on the last day before the elections.
The Labour leader has come under pressure since footage emerged of him drinking a beer with colleagues in April 2021 in Durham during campaigning for the Hartlepool by-election.
Sir Keir said he wanted to focus on the cost-of-living crisis and not Conservative “mudslinging”.
Asked if Durham Police have contacted him in recent days, Sir Keir said: “I have not had contact from Durham Police and I think people are just about fed up with the mudslinging that’s going on.
“We know there’s elections coming, we know what the Conservatives are up to. What we need to do, I think, is focus on the issue in hand, which is the cost of living.”
Asked what he was doing at 11pm in Durham on the night in question, and if he went back to work having eaten, he said: “We were working, we stopped, we ate.
“No breach of the rules. No party. And I think that’s enough for the mudslinging from the Tories on this.”
Matt Mathers4 May 2022 14:35