Suella Braverman says it would be impossible for alternative leader to revive Tory fortunes before general election – UK politics live

Estimated read time 10 min read

Rishi Sunak, says she wants to see Boris Johnson return to frontline politics. That could involve Johnson getting a seat, or just him being at the centre of the election campaign.

Asked if that is realistic, she says that she has not spoken to Johnson but that she’s an optimist.

Asked what else she would like Sunak to do, she says the party should be “really strong” on illegal migration and propose a referendum on withdrawal from the European convention on human rights.

Labour would continue with the Rwanda deportation scheme, if it is up and running at the time of the general election, McFadden says Labour does not want it to continue. He says Labour wants to use the money for other purposes, like cracking down on people smuggling.

Pressed to say if Labour would abandon it “on day one” in government, McFadden does not give that commitment – he says he is not certain what will happen on day one – but he again makes the point that Labour does not want it to continue.

Q: Will Labour bring people back from deportation if they have already been sent there?

McFadden says Labour is not planning that. He says that, under the government’s plans, there are provisions anyway that allow migrants from Rwanda to come to the UK.

Labour has changed, and it has rebuilt trust, he says. But he stresses that not a single vote in the general election has yet been cast.7.55am.)

Asked if he agreed with that Street said, Harper replied:

What he is talking about there is what I just said. He is talking about you focus on the priorities of the British people, that is what you do.

When Trevor Phillips put it to him that Street was going beyond that (Street implied the Tories were already going too far to the right), Harper replied:

We are going to stick to focusing on the priorities that the prime minister set out, which are the government’s priorities, the prime minister’s priorities but they are also the priorities of the British people.

its Commons seat projection, based on what would happen if everyone voted in a general election as they had voted on Thursday. It did so on the basis of its assessment that Labour had 35% of the vote, the Conservatives 26%, and the Lib Dems 16%.

The BBC produces its own version of this figure. Prof Sir John Curtice is the psephologist in charge of the BBC calculation, which is called the projected national share (PNS), and he announced his PNS figures on Friday. He had Labour on 34%, the Conservatives on 25%, and the Lib Dems on 17%.

Prof Michael Thrasher produces the calculation for Sky. His version of the PNS is called the national equivalent vote (NEV) and on Sky News a few minutes ago he produced his final NEV figure. The numbers have changed a bit since Friday, because at that point not all the votes had been counted. The final figures are:

Labour: 34%

Conservatives: 27%

Liberal Democrats: 16%

Others: 23%

It is impossible to say which is “right”, the PNS figure or the NEV figure. They are both estimates of what would have happened if everyone in Britain had voted on Thursday, and they didn’t, because elections only took place in some areas.

8.40am.) He said it showed there was “everything to fight for”.

What that shows for me is very clear. The polls are not correct. There’s everything to fight for. And the Conservative party under the prime minister’s leadership is absolutely up for that fight.

These were disappointing results but the point is what they demonstrate from that scenario is that Labour is not on course for that majority, Keir Starmer hasn’t sealed the deal with the public.

Rishi Sunak would still lose even if he gave everyone in Britain £1m. People have stopped listening to Sunak, Anderson said. Phillips pus it to Harper that Anderson was right.

Harper says he does not agree. He says the elections showed that, when politicians deliver, people do notice.

Q: You are betting everything now on Rwanda.

Harper says what the Irish government is saying shows that the deterrent effect is working.

Q: Isn’t it time to put everyone out of their misery and have an election?

Harper says the PM said his working assumption was that the election would be in the second half of this year. That remains the case.

The PM is focused on delivering, he says.

Rishi Sunak?

Harper says the results are disappointing. Andy Street was doing a fantastic job. It is a testament to him that the result was so close.

He says the party should focus on delivering, particularly on the economy and on illegal migration.

Q: Candidates feel they were let down by the PM? That is what the polls suggest

Harper picks up the point about the polls, and says the analysis by Sky News suggests Labour is not on course to win a majority.

He is referring to this seat projection by Sky’s elections expert, Michael Thrasher. It is based on Thrasher’s estimate of what the result would have been if all parts of Britain had voted in local elections in the same way as the people who voted on Thursday did.

But this seat projection has been criticised as misleading by other political analysts, because it does not make allowance for the fact that in a general election people would vote differently, or for the fact that the electoral situation in Scotland has changed considerably since 2019.

it was “unlikely” Sunak would face a no confidence vote. The other MP on the record as calling for Sunak’s resignation is Sir Simon Clarke, the former levelling up secretary. According to Sam Coates from Sky News, Clarke was telling Tory colleagues on a WhatsApp group last night that the election results should be “a massive wake-up call” for the party.

.@SamCoatesSky live on Sky providing a minute-by-minute readout of the Tory MP WhatsApp group 📺

Simon Clarke: “These results are awful and should be a massive wake up call. If we fight the same campaign in a few months, we will get the same result”

Suella Braverman, the former home secretary, don’t agree on much, but they are both advising against trying to replace Rishi Sunak before the election.

In his Sky News interview after his defeat last night, asked what his message would be to Tory MPs tempted to trigger a vote of no confidence in Sunak, Street replied:

I would not advise that … It’s all about delivery. We don’t need another period where we are debating leadership. [That] could not be clearer in my mind.

And in her Sunday Telegraph article Braverman said:

Let me cut to the chase so no one wastes time overanalysing this: we must not change our leader. Changing leader now won’t work: the time to do so came and went. The hole to dig us out is the PM’s, and it’s time for him to start shovelling.

Braverman’s final sentence does not make sense. The best political advice on this subject comes from Denis Healey, who is credited with the saying: “When you are in a hole, stop digging.”

What Braverman is trying to say is that it is up to Rishi Sunak to sort out the party’s problems. She also advises how it should be done. (See 7.55am.) But she has garbled the metaphor. If you are in a hole, you get out by climbing, not digging.

the national opinion poll figures implied they would be. On the plus side for Sunak, the rebels in his party who were hoping that terrible results would provide the springboard for a no confidence motion seem to have accepted that they don’t have the numbers, and the notional “coup” has been called off. But that won’t stop Tory MPs being pitched into a difficult debate about their future, and last night Andy Street made a defiant intervention, telling his party not to drift to the right.

Street had been expected to hold on as mayor of the West Midlands. He was defeated by Labour by just 1,508 votes, and in an interview with Sky News afterwards he said the message for his party from his campaign was that it should not give up on moderate conservatism. He said:

The thing everyone should take from Birmingham and the West Midlands tonight is this brand of moderative, inclusive, tolerant conservatism, that gets on and delivered, has come within an ace of beating the Labour party in what they considered to be their backyard – that’s the message from here tonight.

Asked if he was worried about the Tories drifting to the right, he replied:

I would definitely not advise that drift.

The psychology here is really very straightforward isn’t it: this is the youngest, most diverse, one of the most urban places in Britain and we’ve done, many would say, extremely well over a consistent period.

The message is clear: winning from that centre ground is what happens.

In an article published in the Sunday Telegraph today, Suella Braverman, the former home secretary, advocotes the opposite approach. She says:

The public are not rushing to vote for Sir Keir, though they feel sorely let down by us. They want a reason to vote Conservative, but we are failing to provide them with one. We need to be frank about this if we are to have any chance of fixing the problem.

On tax, migration, the small boats and law and order, we need to demonstrate strong leadership, not managerialism. Make a big and bold offer on tax cuts, rather than tweaking as we saw in the Budget. Place a cap on legal migration once and for all. Leave the ECHR to stop the boats. Tangible improvement to our NHS and tougher sentences for criminals. Start holding failing police chiefs to account so that antisocial behaviour, shoplifting and knife crime are actually sorted out. Take back control of our streets from the extremists. And instead of paying lip service in guidance on transgender ideology in schools, let’s actually change the law to ban the abuse of our children.

In essence, this is the outline of a debate likely to consume the Conservative party for months and years ahead.

Today I will be covering further reaction to the election results. Mark Harper, the transport secretary, and Pat McFadden, Labour’s national campaign coordinator, are the main voice for the government and the oppostion on the political programmes this morning, but Sky News also has an interview with Dame Andrea Jenkyns, one of the only two Tories MPs on record as saying Sunak should resign. I’ll also be looking at what the Sunday papers are saying.

If you want to contact me, do use the “send us a message” feature. You’ll see it just below the byline – on the left of the screen, if you are reading on a laptop or a desktop. This is for people who want to message me directly. I find it very useful when people message to point out errors (even typos – no mistake is too small to correct). Often I find your questions very interesting, too. I can’t promise to reply to them all, but I will try to reply to as many as I can, either in the comments below the line; privately (if you leave an email address and that seems more appropriate); or in the main blog, if I think it is a topic of wide interest.


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