Politics latest: First major speech from chancellor - as Tories begin leadership contest talks' (2024)

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  • Chancellor to unveil 'immediate interventions' to trigger growth in first major speech - watch and follow live from 10.30am
  • Starmer to meet leaders of Wales and Northern Ireland as UK tour continues
  • His administration is announcing a policy blitz as the first full week kicks off
  • Tory party board to meet this afternoon to discuss leadership contest
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  • Starmer's challenges:Tackling exhausted NHS|Looming chaos abroad|Defence to dominate early days|Small boats plan?|Rift with scientists needs healing
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Ukraine visit highlights tough decisions for new defence secretary amid growing global conflicts

By Deborah Haynes, security and defence editor

A trip to Ukraine by the UK's new defence secretary within 48 hours of taking office underlines the importance attached by the new government to helping Ukrainian forces in their war with Russia.

But, despite positive-sounding statements about new military assistance, John Healey does not have a magic tap that he can instantly turn on to offer the volume of weapons and ammunition - in particular artillery shells - that Kyiv most urgently needs.

Instead, he is taking charge of military matters at a time when UK defence is in crisis after months of drift under the Conservatives and decades of demise.

Rishi Sunak, the previous prime minister, only appeared to grasp the vital importance of defence a few weeks before he called the general election.

He declared in April that he was putting the British defence industry on a "war footing" and promised to spend 2.5% of national income on the armed forces by the end of the decade, up from just over 2% now.

Sir Keir Starmer has made a point of emphasising that defence and national security are the first duty of his government.

However, a detailed focus on fixing the hollowed-out military has been notably absent from his initial public statements even though the world is increasingly dangerous, given Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the threat of a widening conflict in the Middle East and tensions with China over Taiwan.

Read the full analysis here:


What we can expect from the new government's first 100 days

By Faye Brown, political reporter

Sir Keir Starmer has vowed to "hit the ground running" with a focus on delivery from day one after returning his party to government for the first time in 14 years.

Already he hasassembled his cabinet, scrapped the Rwanda scheme, announced mission delivery boards and embarked ona whistle-stop tour of the devolved nations.

That's all before parliament has even reconvened, with MPs due to be sworn in from Tuesday to officially kick off the first 100 days of a Labour government.

Below, Sky News takes a look at what we can expect to happen over the next few months:


Voters 'wanted to teach us a lesson' by voting Reform - minister

Tory MP and former minister Kevin Hollinrake has insisted to Sky News that they did not "underestimate" Reform UK at all.

That is despite the insurgent right-wing party coming in second place in 98 seats across the country, picking up 15% of the vote.

He said: "We knew they'd be a political force to be reckoned with."

But he went on to say that they do not offer any policies to tackle challenges like migration, for example, that are different to what the Tory party offers.

Looking to the future, he said: "I think people will trust us again and realise, actually, that a vote for Reform delivered a Labour government.

"We kept saying that's what would happen, and that's exactly what did happen."

Voters "wanted to teach us a lesson", and "we've got to accept that", he said.


Former minister says Tories lost election because they 'didn't deliver on promises'

We asked Tory MP and former minister Kevin Hollinrake how the election went so disastrously wrong for the party, and he said they "didn't deliver on our promises".

He said they were "knocked off course" by things like COVID, the cost of living crisis, and their "internal difficulties".

"We've got to accept we made mistakes in those things. But when you keep saying to people you're going to control migration and then you don't, people after a while stop listening."

"We had the levers at our disposal, we didn't use them as effectively as we could have done and should have done, and that's what we've to learn from and explain how we're going to do that in the future."

Asked if the election was called too soon, Mr Hollinrake said it's "easy to make decisions from the sidelines".

"Rishi [Sunak] decided that was the right time to go, and I respect his decision.

"I think given the scale of the defeat, I don't think it would have made that much difference when he'd chosen to go."

The low vote share Labour achieved, he added, shows that they "can win in 2029" if they present a solid case to the public, he argued.


Tory MP calls for 'much slower' leadership contest

We've just been speaking with Tory MP and former minister, Kevin Hollinrake.

He said he is hoping to be appointed a shadow business minister going forward.

But the major question, beyond shadow frontbench appointments, facing the Conservative Party is who the next leader will be.

He said he has not made his mind up who to support, but added: "I think we should have a much slower process than we've done in the past. So, we've got some months to pick the right person.

"I think we should start that contest probably in Autumn, September time, and conclude it by the end of the year, and give the people who step forward the right chance to make their case about why they should lead the Conservative Party."

Mr Hollinrake added that the country is "in dire need of the Conservative Party, whatever the electors decided last week".


Politics at Jack and Sam's: Starmer tackles the s*** list

Sky News' deputy political editor Sam Coates and Politico's Jack Blanchard are back in your podcast feeds with their guide to the day ahead in politics.

They discuss how the prime minister is tackling his first full week and talk about his government’s approach to home and foreign affairs, kicking off with the chancellor's first big speech.

And how will the Conservative Party choose a new leader?

Listen below:

👉Tap here to follow Politics at Jack and Sam's wherever you get your podcasts👈

Email Jack and Sam: jackandsam@sky.uk


PM arrives at Stormont to meet NI leaders

The prime minister has arrived at Stormont Castle as his UK tour continues.

Sir Keir Starmer will meet first minister Michelle O'Neill and deputy first minister Emma Little-Pengelly (pictured greeting him below) as he tries to "reset" relations between the UK government and the devolved nations.

The PM is also joined by his Northern Ireland secretary, Hilary Benn.

He will travel to Wales to meet Labour's only first minister Vaughan Gething later today.

Watch the PM's arrival below:


No tax rises on working people is 'a promise we intend to keep', minister says

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) and the Resolution Foundation have both said that a rise in taxation early in the new Labour administration may be needed to fund their promises to the electorate.

But chief secretary to the Treasury Darren Jones said the Labour Party has been "very clear" that it would not raise "income tax, national insurance, or VAT in this parliament".

"It's a promise we're going to keep," he added.

He confirmed that Labour's first budget would be in the Autumn, where "all the relevant detail" on tax and spend would be set out.


Minister won't rule out reinstating HS2 - but says they 'won't be able to do everything'

One of the previous PM's most significant, yet controversial, moves was to scrap HS2, which was the planned high-speed rail line between Birmingham and Manchester.

It triggered outrage from regional mayors, including Greater Manchester's Labour mayor Andy Burnham, who has called on the new government to reinstate it.

Asked if they will do that, the chief secretary to the Treasury, Darren Jones, replied: "I'm sure that Andy Burnham will have lots of things on his agenda."

They will "talk" to Mr Burnham about it, he said, refusing to rule out reinstating HS2.

"We're not going to be able to do everything, and there's going to be difficult trade-offs, and we inherited a very difficult fiscal situation," he added.

"But we can do things to start with, and then, of course, if there are medium and long-term aspirations, we'll work with partners to deliver them."


Chancellor to unveil 'immediate interventions' to trigger growth in major speech

We've just been speaking to the new chief secretary to the Treasury, Darren Jones...

He said it was "slightly surreal" to be in government, but he's "delighted" and ministers were "very excited" to implement their policies.

He told Sky News Breakfast that ministers have been "starting straight away", with Chancellor Rachel Reeves giving her first speech on the government's "mission for growth in the economy" later today.

Giving some information about what we should expect from her speech, Mr Jones said she will be "setting out quite a lot of detail about some of the immediate interventions" that will "try to stimulate growth across the economy".

Asked how the new government will stimulate growth, the minister said the chancellor would set that out later, but the plans include "a number of initial interventions across different departments around government" and in combination with the devolved nations and mayors.

This will be the first step of many, he added.

Asked how long these interventions would take to work, he could not put a timeframe on it, saying: "Different interventions take different amounts of time to stimulate the rewards that you want."

Politics latest: First major speech from chancellor - as Tories begin leadership contest talks' (2024)
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