Rishi Sunak warns of nuclear war as Shapps calls Labour a danger to defence – live

Rishi Sunak warns of nuclear war as Shapps calls Labour a danger to defence – live

World closest to nuclear armageddon since Cuban missile crisis, Sunak claims

Grant Shapps has accused the Labour Party of being a danger to UK defence. The Defence Secretary branded Sir Keir Starmer unserious for not committing to a spending target to match the Tories.

Speaking to Sky News today, he has revealed the creation of six new ships to support the Royal Marines in a bid to fulfill the government pledge to raise defence spending to 2.5% of GDP by 2030.

It comes as Rishi Sunak delivered a pre-election speech in a move to pitch to voters after this month’s local election blow.

In a speech on Monday, the prime minister told voters the world is ‘closer to nuclear war since the Cuban missile crisis’.

While continuing to refuse to commit to a general election date beyond ‘the second half of this year’ Mr Sunak pledged that “more will change in the next five years than in the last thirty” if the Conservatives get re-elected.

Mr Sunak, who has branded Sir Keir Starmer “unprincipled” over former Torty MP Natalie Elphicke’s defection to Labour, said voters face a stark choice between the future and the past. He also claimed the country would be “less safe” under a Labour government.


Good morning and welcome to our politics live blog

Here are the top stories from today:

  • Shapps has unveiled six new warships to support the Royal Marines.
  • Sir Keir Starmer is due to meet trade union boss later today as he tries to water down his workers’ rights pledge.
Defence Secretary Grant Shapps has unveiled six new warships (PA) (PA Wire)

Salma Ouaguira14 May 2024 08:23


Tories referred to watchdog over ‘data breach’

The Conservatives’ registration team allegedly copied over 300 email addresses to sign up users for its annual party conference.

After apologising for the breach, the party announced it had referred itself to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

Slamming the incident, a Labour source said: “On the day Rishi Sunak proclaims the Tories as the great protectors of our national security, it turns out they can’t even protect a database of contacts. You couldn’t make it up.

“The country can’t risk another five years of the Conservatives, who have hollowed out our armed forces and turned Britain’s borders into a sieve.”

The alleged breach emerged the same day Prime Minister Rishi Sunak gave a speech on national security (PA Wire)

Salma Ouaguira14 May 2024 09:01


‘Labour is a danger to UK defence,’ slams Grant Shapps

The Defence Secretary has accused the Labour Party of failing to match the Conservatives’ defence spending pledge.

Rishi Sunak previously promised his government will increase support to 2.5 per cent of GDP by 2030.

Although Labour said it will attempt to hit the same target if it gets elected, it doesn’t seem to satisfy the Tories.

Mr Shapps told Sky News this morning: “You can’t wish your way to more defence spending. You have to set out the plans and do it and that is why our plans now are fundamentally different to Labour.

“And I have to say as Defence Secretary with everything that I know in this role that I think that the Labour position presents a danger to this country because it will send a signal to our adversaries that we are not serious about our defence, if we won’t set out that timetable.”

Salma Ouaguira14 May 2024 08:50


Shapps not strong-arming Ukraine into accepting Russia peace deal

Defence secretary Grant Shapps has announced the UK would not try to strong-arm Ukraine into accepting a peace deal with Russia.

Speaking toTimes Radio, he said: “There is no sense at all in which Britain would try to persuade, strong-arm or otherwise, Ukraine into accepting giving up some of their territory – that’s a decision entirely for Ukraine.

“I don’t think it’s plausible at all for Putin to win this war.

“If you give a bully like Putin an inch they’ll take a mile, and in this case they will take, probably would take quite a lot of not just Ukraine, but I’m not sure he would stop there either.

“What Ukraine does and how it decides to bring this to an end is their business. What I can confirm is that the UK will back Ukraine all the way.”

Salma Ouaguira14 May 2024 08:10


Breaking: UK’s unemployment rate rises to highest level in nearly a year

Britain’s unemployment rate has risen to its highest level for nearly a year as further cracks show in the jobs market, according to official figures.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the rate of UK unemployment rose to 4.3% in the three months to March, which is the highest since May to July last year and up from 4.2% in the previous three months.

The figures also showed regular average earnings growth remaining unchanged at 6% in the three months to March.

Joe Middleton14 May 2024 07:37


Sunak makes bid to win back farmers

Meanwhile, Mr Sunak will make a bid to win back the farming vote amid concerns that they are abandoning the Tories in key rural seats.

The push by the government follows an alarming survey by the NFU which revealed confidence in the farming sector is at an all-time low with 7,000 agricultural businesses shutting following 2019 and Brexit.

Along with 18 months of unprecedented wet weather post-Brexit measures including trade deals with Australia and New Zealand as well as the phasing out of the EU subsidy system have hit the sector, according to the NFU.

The prime minister will tomorrow tell the second Farm to Fork Summit at Downing Street tomorrow that the UK needs to reduce its reliance on overseas fruit and vegetables and back British producers.

It comes as the first UK Food Security Index published to ensure the government and sector is resilient to unexpected shocks to the market and extreme weather

This follows a major package of support announced by the prime minister at the National Farmers Union annual conference to increase innovation and automation in farming.

David Maddox14 May 2024 07:00


Sunak urged to use desperate measures as party flags in polls

But with many polls still putting Labour more than 20 points ahead of the Conservatives, Mr Sunak has been urged to use desperate measures to turn his party’s fortunes around.

The speech appeared to be an attempt to change the narrative and focus the minds of the general public on the threats the country is facing.

The prime minister framed the next five years as “more important than the last 30” and hinted at his own anxiety, saying he felt “a sense of urgency”.

He said: “At some point, in the second half of this year, we will all go to the polls and make a choice. Not just about Conservatives vs Labour. Or Sunak vs Starmer. It will be a choice between the future and the past. I remain confident that my party can prevail.

“Not because of our record alone, but because we will be the only party really talking about the future and not with vague, lofty platitudes. But with bold ideas and a clear plan that can change our society for the better and restore people’s confidence and pride in our country. I feel a profound sense of urgency.

“Because more will change in the next five years than in the last 30. I’m convinced that the next few years will be some of the most dangerous yet the most transformational our country has ever known. So the question we face today is this: Who has the clear plan and bold ideas to deliver a secure future for you and your family?”

Sam Rkaina14 May 2024 06:10


Rishi Sunak pushes the nuclear general election button as he bets on national security for survival

Rishi Sunak framed himself as the only man who can lead Britain through the “most dangerous period” for the world since the end of the Cold War as he made a desperate plea to voters to get behind his plan.

In what was in effect the opening salvo for a long general election campaign, the prime minister’s major speech in central London laid out his preferred battleground of defence and national security.

Citing the danger facing the UK, Mr Sunak said: “Putin’s recklessness has taken us closer to a dangerous nuclear escalation than at any point since the Cuban missile crisis.”

But his keynote speech left many Tory MPs feeling flat because of a lack of new initiatives to tackle the major threats posed by China, Iran, Russia and North Korea – whom he described as the “axis of authoritarian states” undermining freedoms and security.

Meanwhile, Labour were bemused by the Tories relying on defence and national security after 14 years which have seen cuts to the army and the Royal Navy.

Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting told The Independent that Labour is “happy” for the election to be fought on national security grounds. Sir Keir Starmer underlined his party’s election fighting machine by holding a summit with the 11 regional mayors who won in the local elections.

David Maddox14 May 2024 05:10


Dangerous criminals being freed from jail early to cut overcrowding – watchdog

Dangerous criminals including a domestic abuser who posed a risk to children have been freed from jail early as part of a Government bid to cut overcrowding, a watchdog has warned.

Chief inspector of prisons Charlie Taylor raised “serious concerns” about the policy as he highlighted examples of high-risk inmates selected for early release.

First announced last year, the Government insisted the measure would be temporary and would only allow “low-level offenders” out of prison up to 18 days early under strict supervision.

But earlier this month Mr Taylor described the prison system as “creaking at every level” as it emerged ministers were preparing to extend the scheme for a second time so some criminals could be freed from jail up to 70 days before their release date.

In a report published on Tuesday, Mr Taylor said a “high-risk” inmate at HMP Lewes, who posed a danger to children, had his release date brought forward despite “having a history of stalking, domestic abuse and being subject to a restraining order”.

Another inmate who had been released early was recalled to custody before the watchdog’s inspection had ended. According to the findings, he had a “significant” drug problem and a record of self-harm as well as experiencing suicidal thoughts, but was freed despite “appeals for the decision to be reversed and staff having serious concerns for his and the public’s safety”.

He was homeless on release, according to the findings.

Sam Rkaina14 May 2024 04:10


Government to announce £40m package for brain tumour research

A £40 million Government package to help develop new life-saving brain tumour research is due to be announced.

The funding, which was first committed to by the Government in 2018, will be announced at a Parliamentary roundtable co-chaired by Health Minister Andrew Stephenson and chief executive of the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Lucy Chappell.

The investment will be used to help develop new treatments for brain tumours, as well as improve patient care, support and rehabilitation.

It comes amid a collaboration between the Government, NIHR, the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission (TJBCM), research funders and other charities.

Brain tumours remain one of the hardest to treat cancers, with just 12% adults surviving beyond five years after a diagnosis of a brain tumour.

In 2018, the late Dame Tessa Jowell led calls on behalf of all patients to tackle brain tumours.

A new national strategy was designed in response and the Government committed £40 million for new research.

The roundtable comes during the week of the sixth anniversary of Dame Tessa’s death in May 2018.

Jess Mills, daughter of Dame Tessa and chief executive of the Tessa Jowell Foundation, welcomed the announcement but stressed the need for “no more delays”.

Sam Rkaina14 May 2024 03:10

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