Election latest: Campaign focuses on veterans on Armed Forces Day - as PM hails 'dedication' of servicepeople (2024)

Key points
  • Campaign to focus on support for veterans on Armed Forces Day
  • Reform canvasser in PM racism row says he was 'a total fool'
  • Faultlines:Eight-hour school runs and kids too hungry to sleep - the families caught up in housing 'social cleansing'
  • Politics at Jack and Sam's: The last weekend
  • Live reporting by Faith Ridler
Election essentials
  • Manifesto pledges:Conservatives|Greens|Labour|Lib Dems|Plaid|Reform|SNP
  • Trackers:Who's leading polls?|Is PM keeping promises?
  • Campaign Heritage:Memorable moments from elections gone by
  • Follow Sky's politics podcasts:Electoral Dysfunction|Politics At Jack And Sam's
  • Read more:Who is standing down?|Key seats to watch|What counts as voter ID?|Check if your constituency is changing|Guide to election lingo
  • How to watch election on Sky News

07:50:01

Eight-hour school runs and kids too hungry to sleep - the families caught up in housing 'social cleansing'

By Adele Robinson, news correspondent

It's an icy cold December morning outside a Travelodge in Enfield, north London, when we first meet Nedret Batir.

She's wearing a T-shirt, but seems oblivious to the temperature - only consumed with her obvious and immediate distress.

Everything she owns, along with her two daughters' possessions, are packed up into suitcases in the corridor of the hotel.

She has just been evicted from her room and is now officially homeless.

There are dark circles under her eyes, and she looks pale, as she calls the council's housing department.

07:29:03

Minister condemns 'extraordinary and unpleasant views' in Reform UK

Tom Tugendhat, the security minister, has criticised those "in Nigel Farage's company" who have "rather extraordinary and unpleasant views".

It comes as a Reform UK canvasser who used a racial slur against Rishi Sunak has called himself a "total fool" and said he has learned his lesson.

Footage from an undercover Channel 4 reporter showed Reform campaigner Andrew Parker using a discriminatory term about the prime minister, as well as saying the army should "just shoot" migrants crossing the Channel.

Police are now assessing the comments to establish if an offence has been committed, while Mr Sunaksaid the insult directed at him "hurts and it makes me angry".

Asked about this, Mr Tugendhat said: "While there are many people who are voting for Reform UK in order to protest, this isn't simply a party of protest.

"And what he's drawing attention to is the reality that sadly too many people in Nigel Farage's company are people who have rather extraordinary and unpleasant views."

The minister went on to condemn this "hateful language".

He said: "The prime minister quite rightly spoke not just as prime minister about this hateful language, but as a father of two young girls who frankly should not have to put up with this horrific language being used against their father."

Mr Tugendhat added that, additionally, there is a "pattern" of antisemitism and misogyny.

07:15:01

Analysis: Wheels may not have come off Reform UK leader's bandwagon yet - but it's more shaky and wobbly

Was this the day the wheels began to come off for Nigel Farage's Reform UK bandwagon? Quite possibly.

It was a day that began with terrible newspaper headlines and ended with a clash about racism in his party with a hostile TV audience.

It may be, of course, that this ugly racism row has come too late to slam the brakes on the Farage juggernaut threatening to crush the Tories.

That's because, firstly, it's estimated that one in four of us will cast a postal vote in this election and many voters will have returned theirs already.

Secondly, Mr Farage relishes controversy and revels in the role of the insurgent battling against the establishment and political convention.

But even by his standards of notoriety the day got off to a bad start, when The Daily Telegraph's front-page headline declared: "Farage is a Putin appeaser, says Sunak".

07:00:01

Electoral Dysfunction: Rylan would 'love' to get into politics

TV presenter Rylan Clark has said he would "love" to become a politician - and replace the party system with a "Power Rangers of government" model.

The TV personality, 35, joined political editor Beth Rigby and former Scottish Conservative leader Baroness Ruth Davidson for this week's Sky News Electoral Dysfunction podcast.

Asked if he would ever consider the career change, he said: "If I wasn't in the job that I was in, I would love nothing more."

Rylan, who won Celebrity Big Brother and also appeared on the X Factor, appeared on the podcast in place of Labour candidate Jess Phillips after tweeting his praise for Rigby on the day Rishi Sunak announced the general election.

Sharing a clip of her and Sky presenter Sophy Ridge outside a rainy Downing Street waiting for Mr Sunak to appear at the lectern, he said: "Obsessed with the Rigby."

Speaking to her and Davidson, he said his "obsession" with politics began with Brexit - "as we've seen so many promises which weren't fulfilled" since then.

He added: "I lie there at night sometimes, and I think about [Volodymyr] Zelenskyy. He hosted one of the same shows I've hosted in Ukraine."

The TV presenter also shared his idea of abandoning political parties altogether.

Read the full story here:

06:45:01

Poll tracker: Where do the parties stand today?

Our live poll tracker collates the results of opinion surveys carried out by all the main polling organisations - and allows you to see how the political parties are performing in the run-up to the general election.

With under a week to go, the Tories and Labour have taken a drop, while support for Reform UK and the Liberal Democrats is on the rise.

Read more about the trackerhere.

06:28:21

Reform canvasser in PM racism row says he was 'a total fool'

By Faye Brown, political reporter

A Reform UK canvasser who used a racial slur against Rishi Sunak has called himself a "total fool" and said he has learned his lesson.

Footage from an undercover Channel 4 reporter showed Reform campaigner Andrew Parker using a discriminatory term about the prime minister, as well as saying the army should "just shoot" migrants crossing the Channel.

Police are now assessing the comments to establish if an offence has been committed, while Mr Sunak said the insult directed at him "hurts and it makes me angry".

Mr Parker, who was canvassing in Clacton, where Reform leader Nigel Farage is standing, told Sky News the sting operation had "proper taught me a lesson".

06:26:32

Campaign focusing on support for veterans on Armed Forces Day

Party leaders will be on the election campaign trail on Armed Forces Day discussing defence and support for veterans.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will hail the "duty, dedication and selfless personal sacrifice" of servicemen and women and claim his is the only party to meet the Help for Heroes Veterans' Pledge.

The pledge requires parties to commit to keeping the Office for Veterans' Affairs, commissioning an independent review of the medical discharge process and ensuring veterans get the benefits and compensations they deserve.

Mr Sunak said: "It should be the first responsibility of any government to support those who defend us.

"It's why it's so important that we get defence spending to 2.5% of GDP by 2030, and also why we must continue our mission to make the UK the best country in the world to be a veteran."

Meanwhile, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer will pledge to introduce a new armed forces commissioner and lead a "government of service" if Labour is elected.

The commissioner role will aim to champion those who serve by investigating issues such as substandard housing, faulty kit and poor discharge support, the party said.

Sir Keir said: "Labour is deeply proud of our armed forces personnel, veterans, and their families for the contribution they make to our country.

"Theirs is the ultimate public service - and their professionalism and bravery is rightly respected across the world."

And Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey has reiterated their manifesto pledge to reverse cuts to numbers in the armed forces and their "ambition" to increase defence spending to 2.5% of GDP.

06:18:29

Good morning!

Welcome back to the Politics Hub for the last Saturday of the general election campaign.

There is less than a week to go until polls open across the country for voters to select the next government on 4 July.

There's still plenty that could happen between now and next Thursday, however.

Here's what you need to know today:

  • Party leaders will be on the election campaign trail on Armed Forces Day discussing defence and support for veterans;

  • Rishi Sunak will hail the "duty, dedication and selfless personal sacrifice" of servicemen and women and claim his is the only party to meet the Help for Heroes Veterans' Pledge;

  • Meanwhile, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer will pledge to introduce a new armed forces commissioner and lead a "government of service" if Labour is elected;

  • AndLiberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey has reiterated their manifesto pledge to reverse cuts to numbers in the armed forces and their "ambition" to increase defence spending to 2.5% of GDP;

  • And fallout is expected to continue from comments made by campaigners for Reform UK, as party leader Nigel Farage declined to apologise for their actions;

  • Despite this, a Reform UK canvasser who used a racial slur against Mr Sunak has called himself a "total fool" and said he has learned his lesson.

We'll be discussing all of that and more with:

  • Security minister Tom Tugendhat at 7.15am;
  • John Healey, shadow defence secretary, at 8.15am.

Follow along for the very latest in the general election campaign.

23:00:01

That's all for tonight

Thank you for joining us in the Politics Hub for live coverage of today's events in the general election campaign.

Polls open in 5 days and 8 hours - and the politicians will be spending every last moment fighting for your vote.

Scroll down for all of today's developments - and join us from 6am for live coverage of the last weekend of the campaign.

22:45:01

Education secretary jokes about needing new job next week

By Faye Brown, political reporter

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan has joked about needing a new job next week as she faces being one of the Tories' most high-profile election casualties.

The cabinet minister is projected to lose her Chichester seat in West Sussex to the Lib Dems, who are aiming to smash the so-called "blue wall" in southern England.

During a visit to a school in her constituency, Ms Keegan was asked by pupils what job she would do if she was not an MP.

"I might have to answer that question next Friday", she said.

Ms Keegan later told the PA news agency that the polls were "all over the place" and "I have never taken anything in my whole life for granted".

But her initial answer reflects the defeatist mood of some Tories as multiple polls suggest Britain's political landscape is about to be fundamentally re-drawn, with Labouron course for a historic majority.

Ms Keegan is one of more than a dozen senior figures at risk of having a so-called "Portillo moment" - a reference to Michael Portillo, the Conservative minister who was famously unseated as Tony Blair swept to power in 1997.

Read more here:

Election latest: Campaign focuses on veterans on Armed Forces Day - as PM hails 'dedication' of servicepeople (2024)
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