General election latest: Abbott tells rally she won't be 'intimidated' - as minister defends Truss over far-right podcast (2024)

Election news
  • 'I will not be intimidated': Abbott vows to stand at election
  • Labour MP suspended after complaint
  • Rayner cleared by HMRC, Sky News understands
  • PM 'not worried' about polls showing Labour lead
  • Minister defends Truss over far-right podcast appearance
  • Live reporting by Faith Ridler
Expert analysis
  • Matthew Thompson:Why polls don't tell full story for Lib Dems
  • Ashish Joshi:Labour's key advantage in NHS battleground
  • Tamara Cohen:Starmer allowing Abbott confusion to rumble on
Election essentials
  • 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: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|Your essential guide to election lingo|Sky's election night plans


'I won't be intimidated': Abbott speaks at rally calling for Labour to let her stand

There's been plenty of back and forth this week about Diane Abbott, who had the Labour whip restored yesterday.

Despite this, questions remain over whether she will be able to stand for the party - with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer insisting she is not barred.

Speaking at a rally in her Hackney North and Stoke Newington constituency, she said: "By any means possible I will continue to stand as the candidate for Hackney North."

"I'm not going to allow myself to be intimidated or frightened by forces beyond all of our control," she added.

The rally was only organised last night when reports first emerged that she might be barred from standing.

Ms Abbott said she was "shocked" to hear the reports.

She didn't make clear during her speech at the rally whether she'd be prepared to run as an independent.


That's all for the Politics Hub tonight

Thanks for following along on the seventh day of election campaigning - ahead of polling day on 4 July.

Parliament will be dissolved on Thursday, at which point the race for the keys to Number 10 will be in full swing.

You can catch up with all the latest in our 10pm round-up - or click here!


Corbyn launches campaign for re-election as independent MP

Former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has launched his campaign to be re-elected as the independent MP for Islington North tonight.

The candidate, who is independent after losing the party whip, said he is "disturbed" by the way Labour MP Diane Abbott "has been treated".

The party whip was restored to her yesterday, but she has claimed that she has been barred from standing for Labour in her Hackney North constituency.

Sir Keir Starmer denies this is the case.

Mr Corbyn told Sky News: "Whenever I read the feeds to her social media, my stomach churns with the abuse that she puts up.

"It's a threat she's suffered, the indignity that's been thrown at her. And she's come through it all so strong.

"The last rally she went to: fantastic.

"There were thousands of people there, particularly black women, who knew what it was like to suffer racism and weren't going to let it happen to Diane."

In a speech, Mr Corbyn promised to stand up for those "who aren't being served by our political system...who aren't being heard" and whose "demands fall on deaf ears".

The demands include an end to the occupation of Palestine, a fully public NHS, the abolition of the two-child benefit cap, public ownership of water and energy, and rent controls, according to his campaign.

"When I vote in parliament, I don't vote alone," Mr Corbyn concluded.

"I vote with my community - and our campaign will bring people of all ages, backgrounds and faiths together for a fairer society."


Sunak has been 'bad prime minister' , exclusive polling shows

Rishi Sunak has been "a bad prime minister" since he took office two years ago, according to exclusive polling for Sky News.

The Great Britain poll - conducted on Monday and Tuesday this week by YouGov - put the Conservative Party 27 points behind Labour as the general election nears.

But the survey also showed discontent with the Conservative leader.

Sir Keir Starmer didn't fare much better, according to the statistics, with 47% saying he would be "a bad prime minister" if he won the vote on 4 July.

But in another blow for Mr Sunak, 19% of people who voted Conservative in 2019 said they would instead back Reform this time round, while 14% would go for Labour.

The polling also found 42% of the public felt worse off than they did six months ago, despite the prime minister and has team repeatedly saying the economy had "turned a corner".

And 14% of those asked said they felt better off.

Speaking in a Q&A earlier today, Mr Sunak said he was "not worried about the polls" after a stream of bad looking numbers for the Tories.

"The only poll that matters is the one on 4 July, when all of you get to choose our future, that's the one I am focused on," he said.

"And as you can see, I hope, I am working my socks off to talk to as many people as I can over the next five weeks."


Trebling social media tax could fund mental health care in schools, claim Lib Dems

Trebling taxes for search engine and social media firms could fund a mental health professional in every primary and secondary school, the Liberal Democrats have said.

Party leader Sir Ed Davey said children are "being left in limbo" when they seek mental health care.

The Lib Dems have unveiled plans to employ mental health professionals in schools if they make it into government, which they claim could be funded through an increase to the Digital Services Tax - currently 2% on search engine, social media and online market place companies' revenues.

Sir Ed said: "Thousands of children are being left in limbo, forced to suffer intolerably long waits for mental health treatment.

"They are being failed by this Conservative government who have neglected the NHS and abandoned parents and children.

"Liberal Democrats would put a dedicated, qualified mental health professional in every school both primary and secondary, funded by a tax on the social media giants that are such a big part of the problem.

"Every vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote to get rid of this appalling Conservative government and fix the health and care crisis."


Who will win the next election? 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?

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.


What have we learnt about the election so far today? Here's your rundown this evening

It's 10pm - here's your evening rundown.

We're still in the early days of the election campaign, but there's been plenty of divisive policy announcements and rows making headlines.

Let us get you up to speed on everything you may have missed so far today - or you can listen to the latest episode of Electoral Dysfunctionwhile you wind down.

  • Sir Keir Starmerwas out and about in the West Midlands to promote his pledge to clear the backlog of patients waiting more than 18 weeks for NHS treatment within five years of government;
  • His shadow health secretary, Wes Streeting, told our political correspondent Tamara Cohen the NHS was "over-reliant" on overseas workers;
  • But their message on the health service has been completely smothered by a lack of clarity on whether the veteran MP Diane Abbott will be able to stand for Labour at the general election;
  • In short - Ms Abbott was suspended over a year ago due to comments suggesting Jewish people do not face racism, and that instead they suffer prejudice similar to "redheads";
  • The party whip was restored yesterday - but she told Sky News that she has been barred from standing for the party at the election;
  • The Labour leader said it in not the case, but "no decision has been taken";
  • But at a rally in Hackney, Ms Abbott vowed to whatever it takes to stand for election and said: "I'm not going to allow myself to be intimidated or frightened by forces beyond all of our control";
  • And Angela Rayner, the deputy leader of the Labour Party, has been cleared by HMRC over the tax on the sale of her former home, Sky News understands.
  • Rishi Sunakwas in the South West of England promoting his promise to replace "rip-off degrees" with 100,000 apprenticeships each year by the end of the next parliament;
  • Mr Sunak has lots of work to do to make up ground against Labour - an exclusive Sky News / YouGov poll reveals the opposition is a whopping 27 points ahead;
  • But the PM insisted he was "not worried", telling a Q&A in Devon the only one that matters is on 4 July;
  • The Tories also accused Labour of "scrambling to distract" from Labour's Diane Abbott row, after the party claimed Conservative pledges will leave people worse off;
  • And the Home Office has been accused of having "little to show" for the money it has used on the Rwanda scheme, with a group of MPs claiming there is "not a credible plan";
  • Elsewhere, Scotland's former health secretary Michael Matheson has been handed the most severe sanctions in Holyrood's history after racking up £11,000 roaming charges on his work iPad during a holiday in Morocco;
  • The senior SNP MSP has been banned from the Scottish parliament for 27 days. He will also have his pay docked for 54 days;
  • In Wales, theLib Demshave been launching their campaign with a pledge to provide £1bn of extra funding for agriculture;
  • AndWelsh first minister and Labour leader could be facing a vote of no confidence after the Welsh Tories tabled a motion.

Here are a couple of other stories that may interest you tonight:

Stick with us for all the latest.


Key pledges: What we know so far

We're still very much in the early days of the election campaign - but policy announcements are coming in thick and fast from the main two parties.

Here's a breakdown of what we've heard so far...

The Conservative Party

National service - The Conservatives have vowed to bring back a "modern" form of national service for 18-year-olds in the UK, which could involve military service of volunteer work.

'Triple lock plus' -The party has promised to cut taxes for pensioners by creating a new "age-related" tax-free allowance - dubbed "triple lock plus". In short, a pensioner's allowance would rise in line with either average earnings, inflation or by 2.5% - whichever is higher - from next April.

Education - The Tories have promised to create a new qualification framework called the Advanced British Standard for those aged 16 to 18. The party also proposed making "some form" of maths and English compulsory up to the end of school.

Environment - Rishi Sunak has said he remains committed to plans to reach net zero by 2050, a goal adopted under Theresa May in 2019.

Apprenticeships - The prime minister wants to replace "rip-off" university degrees with 100,000 new apprentices a year, which he thinks will leave young people better off and with greater opportunities.

The Labour Party

Taxation - Labour has pledged not reverse the two recent cuts to national insurance - and not to increase income tax.

Economy - Two flagship economic pledges from Labour are the abolition of the non-dom tax status held by some wealthy foreign nationals, and the introduction of VAT to private school fees.

Waiting lists - The party has said it will get the NHS "back on its feet" by delivering 40,000 more evening and weekend appointments per week, helped by "crack teams" to help staff clinics at those times.

Environment - A major policy pushed by Labour is the formation of Great British Energy, which would be publicly owned. The party claims this would reduce household energy bills and create jobs.

Education - Also a headline policy from Labour is a plan to recruit around 6,500 new teachers in key subjects - and create a "national excellence programme" to support professional development.


Tories accuse Labour of 'scrambling to distract' from Abbott row

Earlier today, Darren Jones, Labour's shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, accused the Tories of launching a "severe" threat to family finances with their campaign pledges so far.

He claimed that the policy proposals - such as national service and a "triple-lock plus" for pensioners - could cost as much as £350 a month to mortgage holders.

Responding to this, a Conservative Party spokesman claimed "their own promises would come to a staggering £196.4bn of unfunded annual borrowing" under the same analysis.

The Tories claim this is "whacking Brits with a 6.9% interest-rate rise".

The spokesman said: "Really this is pathetic, desperate stuff from the Labour Party as they scramble to distract from the fact it has been proven Keir Starmer lied on multiple occasions about the Diane Abbott investigation.

"Now the Labour leader is embroiled in a ‘he said, she said’ with the veteran Labour MP, sending their limp campaign into even more of a tailspin.

"Instead of sticking out shoddy documents with made-up figures, Keir Starmer needs to explain why he repeatedly lied about the status of the Diane Abbott investigation, and when he plans to apologise to the British people."


Electoral Dysfunction: Will Diane Abbott stand for Labour? And pets named after politicians

This week, Beth gets Ruth and Jess'stake on what'shappening now that Diane Abbott has had the Labour whip restored. The WhatsAppsfrom Beth’s sources keep coming as they'rerecording.

They discuss the strategies behind the Sunak and Starmer campaigns– with one going for headline-grabbing pledges and the other spending the first week focusing on the personal rather than policy.

There's news from Jess on her plans for the campaign – and she met a dog named after Ted Heath when she was out door-knocking, so that takes us in only one direction.

👉Click here to follow Electoral Dysfunction wherever you get your podcasts👈

Email Beth, Jess, and Ruth at, post on X to @BethRigby, or send a WhatsApp voice note on 07934 200 444.


New DUP leader ratified as campaign launched

The Democratic Unionist Party has just launched its general election campaign, and with it ratified Gavin Robinson as the new leader.

This comes afters meeting of the party's ruling executive on Wednesday.

Mr Robinson has been serving as interim leader since early April, when Jeffrey Donaldson resigned from the DUP and was suspended from the party after being charged with historical sexual offences.

"It is with honour, humility and commitment that I look forward to leading our party into the future," the new leader said.

General election latest: Abbott tells rally she won't be 'intimidated' - as minister defends Truss over far-right podcast (2024)
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