Starmer pledges to cut net migration if Labour wins general election – UK politics live

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Conservatives of a “conspiracy of silence” on austerity in Scotland.

Speaking with Sky News’ Sunday Morning With Trevor Phillips, Flynn said there has been £18bn in public sector cuts, with neither party “providing an answer” on the matter.

He said the SNP is the only party who would return the country to a single market, invest in net zero technologies and will not privatise the NHS.

John Swinney, the Scottish first minister, was recently told that he will have to make “significant” public spending cuts by the permanent secretary to the Scottish government, John-Paul Marks. The Scottish government had to plug a £1.5bn black hole in this year’s budget.

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves has said there will be “no return to austerity under a Labour government”.

In a separate part of the interview, Flynn said that a Labour government would be “extremely dangerous” for the country.

He highlighted ongoing speculation that Labour’s approach to its handling of net zero and a greener country would cost the oil and gas industry 100,000 jobs. Flynn said what Labour is proposing is “extremely dangerous” for all of Scotland and not just the north-east of Scotland, where the oil and gas industry is prominent.

Conservatives to build 100 new GP surgeries in England and increase the number of available appointments by allowing more treatment in the community if they stay in power after the general election.

The Tories said they wanted to expand the Pharmacy First scheme, under which patients could seek help from a pharmacist instead of a GP for certain common conditions including earache, sinusitis, a sore throat, infected insect bites and shingles.

Laura Kuenssberg puts it to her that over 450 GPs have been shut since 2013, with funding for pharmacies cut.

Atkins said there are more GPs working in the NHS than there were in 2019, with “record numbers working across primary care”.

The health secretary was also asked about Boris Johnson’s pledge to deliver 40 “new” hospitals, which was one of the major headlines of the former prime minister’s pitch to the electorate in 2019. However, only a fraction have been opened despite the crumbling state of many hospitals around the country. The National Audit Office said the government has used a “broad” definition of “new”, which included refurbishment of existing buildings. Atkins said the Covid pandemic affected construction, adding that the government is aiming for two more hospitals to open by the end of the financial year.

Natalie Elphicke’s controversial defection to the party and the infighting that erupted last week over issues around Diane Abbott’s selection.

Keir Starmer had spent three days insisting Abbott’s candidacy was not in his power, and it was a matter for the party’s ruling national executive committee (NEC), but the row was increasingly distracting from Labour’s election campaign. He then said she was free to stand.

Atkins said she would not comment on individual Tories who have defected to Labour, saying they will have had their “own reasons for going”.

She then told Sunday Morning with Trevor Phillips on Sky News:

It’s a great surprise, I think, to everyone, including possibly to Natalie Elphicke herself, that such a hard-right Conservative politician should choose to join Labour.

But then we see this week from Labour that Sir Keir Starmer can’t work out whether Diane Abbott, one of his longest-standing and trailblazing Members of parliament, should in fact be a Member of parliament. He can’t work it out. So, it shows that there is a bit of an identity crisis within Labour.

We see today that Sir Keir is suggesting giving out peerages to solve the problem and, interestingly, inserting some of his own, his boys’ club, into those very seats from which he’s ejecting women. I have noticed that.

Yvette Cooper is being questioned by Laura Kuenssberg her BBC Sunday politics programme.

The shadow home secretary says that Labour is not setting a target for how many people should be allowed to come to the UK, as numbers vary from year to year depending on circumstances, but wants a “significant” change in net migration.

Echoing Labour leader Keir Starmer’s comments to the Sun on Sunday, she said: “We are going to be clear: net migration must come down.”

The shadow home secretary says sectors including social care and engineering need stronger recruitment, but refuses to be drawn on specific figures.

In terms of illegal migration, Cooper says Labour would not commit to the Rwanda scheme and instead focus on clearing the existing backlog for those who are waiting – often a lengthy amount of time – to have their claims processed.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper has said no party can “make those sorts of commitments” in response to allegations that veteran Labour MPs have been offered peerages to stand down at the election.

As we mentioned in the opening summary, The Sunday Times reported that several left-wing MPs claimed that since the 4 July general election date was announced, they have been told they would be raised to the House of Lords if they pass up their seats to allies of Keir Starmer.

Cooper told Sky News:

No party can do that, it’s not the way the system works. There’s a whole process with the independent committee that will vet nominations, there have to be processes in terms of the numbers of nominations, designated by the prime minister and so on. So, no party can do that or make those sorts of commitments.

Asked if Starmer had promised anyone a seat in the Lords, Cooper added:

That’s not the way the system works. The thing that we do know is we’ve seen a series of quite shocking Conservative resignation honours list from Boris Johnson to Liz Truss, and Keir has already said that he would change the way that he approaches all of those things.

Indeed, he’s said that he wouldn’t have a resignation honours list as well because it’s been so distorted by the way that the Conservatives have done that.

Jon Ungoed-Thomas, here:

Good morning and welcome to our continuing live coverage of the 2024 general election campaign.

Keir Starmer has pledged to cut levels of net migration to the UK if his party wins the general election, in another attempt by Labour to appeal to Conservative voters.

The Labour leader is putting the migration plan in his manifesto, and it will include passing laws to ban law-breaking employers from hiring foreign workers and to train more people from Britain.

Last year’s net migration figure of 685,000 has “got to come down,” he told The Sun on Sunday.

A Labour government would bar bosses who break employment law – for example by failing to pay workers the minimum wage – from hiring foreigners, the newspaper reported.

It would also legislate to link the immigration system to training, with businesses applying for foreign worker visas having to train Britons to do the jobs.

Starmer declined to name the target level for migrant numbers, or a timeline. We will give you all the reaction to the announcement throughout the day.

Health secretary Victoria Atkins, shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson and Green party of England and Wales co-leader Carla Denyer are among those doing the media round this morning.

Here are your other headlines:

  • The latest Opinium poll for the Observer on Sunday gives Labour a 20-point lead – the highest level it has recorded since Liz Truss was briefly running the country. Labour is on 45% – up four points on last weekend, while the Conservatives are down two points on 25%. Reform is up on one on 11%, the Lib Dems down two on 8%, and the Greens down one on 6%.

  • The Conservatives have said that 100 new GP surgeries and 50 community diagnostic centres would be built were they to remain in power, funded by slashing the number of NHS managers. They pledged to expand their Pharmacy First scheme, which allows patients to access some treatments via their pharmacy without having seen a GP first. Rishi Sunak said the proposals would make it “quicker, easier and more convenient for patients to receive the care they need and help to relieve pressure on hospital services”. The shadow health secretary, Wes Streeting, said the public would not believe this “latest empty promise” as people are finding it harder than ever to see a GP.

  • A report in The Sunday Times that a number of left-wing MPs, including Diane Abbott, have been offered peerages in return for quitting. They have been told they would be elevated to the Lords if they made way for allies of the leadership team in their seats, according to the newspaper.

  • SNP leader John Swinney will formally launch the party’s general election campaign at a rally in Glasgow today.

  • The shadow home secretary, Yvette Cooper, and the shadow education secretary, Bridget Phillipson, will be in south west London at midday for a campaign visit focused on Labour’s proposed Growth and Skills Levy.

It is Yohannes Lowe here today. If you want to get my attention then please do email me on [email protected]. Comments on this blog will be open later given weekend staffing levels.


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