Election live: Second Reform candidate defects to Tories amid postal vote delay probe

Election live: Second Reform candidate defects to Tories amid postal vote delay probe
Sunak on Farage

Parties have begun a 48-hour blitz in constituencies across the country as they make their final appeals to voters ahead of polling day.

Rishi Sunak began Tuesday visiting businesses in Oxfordshire, insisting predictions of a heavy Tory defeat were not going to stop him from continuing his fight to remain in No 10.

Meanwhile, Sir Keir Starmer is campaigning across the Midlands. The Labour leader argued a big majority for Labour predicted by many polls would be “better for the country”, after the prime minister repeatedly warned voters against giving the party a “supermajority” in recent days.

Reform UK’s has been struck by yet more accusations of racism and misogyny, as a second candidate announced she is defecting to the Tories.

Georgie David, who was due to stand for the party in West Ham and Beckton, claimed the “vast majority” of Reform candidates are “racist, misogynistic and bigoted”.

With only two days to go until polling day, an investigation has also been launched into reports of delays in the delivery of thousands of postal ballots.


Politics Explained | Is there real reason to fear a Labour ‘supermajority’?

As election day approaches and the Tories look set for a defeat of historic proportions, Sean O’Grady busts some myths about what Labour might do in the event of a landslide.

He writes: “Wisely or not, the Conservatives have tacitly concedednot just defeat but an appalling humiliation on polling day, and are now begging for mercy. Somewhat unconvincingly.

The home secretary, James Cleverly, agrees and says that Labour would ‘distort’ the constitution.” But not all such fears are fully justified. 

Salma Ouaguira2 July 2024 11:40


Royal Mail blames ‘stakeholders’ for delays in postal votes

After reports emerged that postal votes have not yet been delivered to homes, the Post Office minister launched an investigation “urgently” looking into it.

But Royal Mail officials have now said they “remain confident” that ballot papers were received on time and delivered before polling day.

Instead, it has suggested that “stakeholders” involved in “printing and administering” the postal votes could be responsible for the delay.

Royal Mail said: “Where specific concerns have been raised, we have investigated, and confirmed ballot packs are being delivered as soon as they arrive in our network.

“We would welcome a review into the timetable for future elections with all stakeholders to ensure that the system for printing and administering postal votes before they are handed to Royal Mail works as smoothly as possible.”

Salma Ouaguira2 July 2024 11:32


Join today’s Q&A with Labour candidate Stella Creasy

The Independent is giving readers the chance to chat directly with candidates from some of the major political parties in a special general election series of Ask Me Anything events.

The Q&A today starts at 12pm and is with Labour candidate Stella Creasy.

If you have a question about Labour’s manifesto, pledges or policies submit it now.

Salma Ouaguira2 July 2024 11:30


Starmer hits back at Tories’ attack spending Friday evenings with family

Sir Keir Starmer has said Tory attacks on his desire to spend Friday evenings with his family were a sign of “increasing desperation bordering on hysterical”.

Speaking at Hucknall Town FC’s ground in Nottingham, the Labour leader said: “Look, this is just increasingly desperate stuff.

“I actually can hardly believe that 48 hours before an election, the Conservative Party has got nothing possible positive to say as they go into it.

“I’ve been arguing throughout this campaign, you’ll have heard me many times saying they haven’t changed. They’re just the same. Nothing’s going to change. But they’re proving it.

“Because they’re not saying ‘look, if you vote Tory, vote Conservative on Thursday, these things will happen’. They’re just in this negative desperate loop.

“I just think it’s increasing desperation bordering on hysterical now.”

(Getty Images)
Salma Ouaguira2 July 2024 11:28


Sunak warns voters have ‘48 hours to put the brakes’ on Labour

Salma Ouaguira2 July 2024 11:26


Watch: Sunak reveals ‘worst moment’ of his time as prime minister as Tories face election wipeout

Salma Ouaguira2 July 2024 11:20


In full: Backlash as Tories attack Starmer for saying he wants to spend time with his family after 6pm on Fridays

Salma Ouaguira2 July 2024 11:17


Antisemitism tsar condemns ‘dangerous’ Tory attack on Starmer’s Friday family time

The Government’s antisemitism adviser has condemned “dangerous” attacks on Sir Keir Starmer over his desire to keep Friday nights free from work.

The Labour leader, whose wife is Jewish, has come under fire from senior Tories after saying he wanted to avoid work after 6pm on a Friday to spend time with his family – although he acknowledged that would not always be possible.

The Tories said that would make him a “part-time” prime minister while Cabinet ministers mocked him, suggesting he would refuse to go to work if there was an international crisis on a Friday evening.

Friday night Shabbat dinners are important in the Jewish faith and Sir Keir has talked about making sure his children are aware of their heritage.

Lord Mann, a Labour peer who was appointed as antisemitism adviser by Theresa May, said: “The attack on Keir Starmer for asserting his right to family time on a Friday night, as he has done for many, many years, is so dangerous.”

Salma Ouaguira2 July 2024 11:14


Sunak warns tax on businesses and families at risk if not re-elected

Rishi Sunak has claimed tax cuts for businesses and families will be put at risk if he is no longer Prime Minister.

Asked how he would restore economic growth, Mr Sunak told an event at a business in Banbury: “Tax cuts, because I believe if we have a lower tax economy, that is a higher growth economy.”

Mr Sunak highlighted cutting taxes for businesses which are investing and expanding, citing the full expensing policy.

He added tax cuts for people are also important, noting: “When people are working hard, if we can cut their taxes and they’ve got more money of their own, they’re going to spend it, and they’re going to spend it on things you supply, and that’s how we can also grow our economy.

“So, tax cuts for businesses that are investing and doing the right thing, and tax cuts for every family at every stage of their life so they can spend more of their money on the things they want – that ultimately also helps.

“So, those two things are really important and again there’s a choice for you in this election. If I’m not standing here next week, you won’t get those tax cuts. And not only that, (Labour deputy leader) Angela Rayner is going to introduce French-style union laws into this country.”

(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Salma Ouaguira2 July 2024 11:09


Starmer reveals the first thing he would do as prime minister

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has revealed the first thing he would do as prime minister.

He told a campaign event in Nottinghamshire: “The very first thing I do is change the mindset of politics, and the mindset needs to be politics of service.

“We’ve had 14 years of self-entitlement under the Tories, 14 years of seeing ‘partygate’, the breaking of the rules that everybody else was following, the PPE contracts in Covid, the gambling that we’ve seen in this campaign.

“Politics needs to be returned to service and that is the first thing we have to do on day one.

“We’ve got our first steps – we will start our work on the waiting lists, on the police we need, on the teachers we need, on the border security we desperately need, but returning politics to service where we can – as we’ve campaigned – say it is always country first, party second.”

Salma Ouaguira2 July 2024 11:08

Source: independent.co.uk