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General Election LIVE: Keir Starmer says ‘new age of insecurity has begun’ at defence speech

3 June 2024, 07:19 | Updated: 3 June 2024, 14:20

LBC's Live Election Coverage
LBC's Live Election Coverage. Picture: LBC

Sir Keir Starmer has pitched Labour as the party of national security in a major election speech today.

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Meanwhile Rishi Sunak was campaigning in the South East, as he announces the "current confusion around definitions of sex and gender" cannot be allowed to persist.

He has vowed to amend the Equality Act to define the protected characteristic of sex as "biological sex".

The Labour leader reaffirmed his commitment to a "nuclear deterrent triple lock" as well as his ambition to increase defence spending to 2.5% of gross domestic product (GDP), a measure of the size of the economy.

Veteran left-winger and former Corbyn ally Diane Abbott announced on Sunday evening that she would be standing as the Labour candidate for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, an announcement Sir Keir will be hoping will put the debate on her status in the party to bed.

The Liberal Democrats are expected to engage in some nautical campaigning, without leader Sir Ed Davey, who grabbed headlines with his activities last week.

Voters across the country will go to the polls on July 4.

Follow the latest developments below

Today's Highlights

Cleverly and Cooper to face off over immigration today

Ben Habib says the UK must turn away small boats back to Calais

Reform UK Deputy leader Ben Habib said the border force is 'acting like a taxi service rather than doing their job.'

He told LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast that the border force needs to turn back small boats and return people to France. 

Nick questioned Mr Habib on how he would get France to accept people turned back. 

Mr Habib said, "We have to have it out with the French."

The Parties policies on immigration

James Cleverly and Yvette Cooper go head-to-head in live debate on LBC’s Nick Ferrari at Breakfast today at 9am.

Here are the parties policies on immigration:

Labour's Immigration Pledges 

  • Cancel Rwanda policy
  • Increase security cooperation with EU
  • Give police more powers to search suspected people smugglers
  • Train more UK workers and ban employers recruiting from overseas asa default
  • Hire 1,000 more caseworkers to return more asylum seekers
  • Abolish non-dom status
  • Immigration Conservative 

Conservative's Immigration Pledges

  • Remove student discount on visa health surcharge 
  • Increase visa fees
  • Legal cap on migration 
  • Rwanda scheme - regular flights
  • Halve migration then reduce every year

What to expect today

A royal welcome

The Prime Minister is unlikely to be campaigning on Tuesday, as he is attending a ceremonial welcome for the Emperor and Empress of Japan, in addition to a state banquet at Buckingham Palace in the evening.

Rishi Sunak will be joined at the Horse Guards Parade this morning by Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron and Home Secretary James Cleverly.

Lord Cameron will then host a business event with Japanese investors, trade partners, and some of the top UK businesses with operations in Japan.

Mr Sunak will attend the banquet alongside Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch and Minister for the Indo-Pacific Anne-Marie Trevelyan.

Cleverly vs Cooper

Home Secretary James Cleverly and his Labour opposite number Yvette Cooper will go head-to-head in a debate on immigration on LBC.

Ahead of the debate, Mr Cleverly claimed that Labour would turn the UK into the “asylum capital of the world” and offer an “amnesty” to people who crossed the Channel in small boats.

Meanwhile, Ms Cooper wrote in the Daily Telegraph that Mr Sunak’s policies “are clearly not working”.

Tackling knife crime

Sir Keir Starmer has pledged to make reducing knife crime a “moral mission” ahead of a visit in central London, where he will meet with families of victims.

The Labour leader said he wants ministers, victims and tech giants to work together to tackle the sale of weapons online and cut crime on the streets.

Sir Keir has pledged to chair an annual summit to track progress in meeting the goal of halving knife crime incidents within a decade.

He said: “For the parents grieving sons and daughters who never came home, action to end this scourge cannot wait.

“Far too often we hear the same stories from grieving families who have been subject to these brutal murders carried out by children.”

Mini-manifesto launch

Liberal Democrat Layla Moran will visit Oxfordshire to launch the party’s six-page mini-manifesto on care, highlighting pledges already made in the party’s main manifesto.

The Lib Dems leader Sir Ed Davey is not expected to be on the campaign trail.

Sir Ed, who was a carer as a teenager for his mother, and more recently for his disabled son, said: “We are putting forward a bold and ambitious plan to make sure everyone can get the support they need – people who need care, the amazing care workers who provide it, and the unpaid family carers who provide it too.”

Shot of stability for businesses

Labour’s shadow chancellor will visit a Scotch whiskey bottling plant where she will pledge to give Scottish businesses stability and “the tools to succeed”.

The shadow chancellor said the party is committed to working in partnership with businesses to break down barriers to growth.

Ms Reeves will be joined by Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar, who said: ““A Labour government will be pro-business and pro-worker, working in partnership with businesses to create wealth and deliver growth.”

Elsewhere in Scotland, the SNP’s deputy First Minister Lyn Jardine will visit a wind farm.

Good morning

Good morning, welcome to LBC's General Election live blog.

Sir Keir Starmer says protecting women's spaces is 'very important'

"Women's spaces must be protected, it's very important", Sir Keir Starmer has said. 

The Labour leader has responded to reports suggesting that a Labour government could make it easier for people to legally transition by removing the need for them to prove they have lived as their preferred gender for two years. 

He added: "We must not go down the route of self-identification but we do need to recognise that the procedure or the process at the moment is not dignified." 

Keir Starmer says dropping private school VAT break was 'tough choice'

Sir Keir has said he has "got nothing against private schools" but by getting rid of their tax break, Labour can use it to fund teachers in state secondary schools. 

He said "we don't have enough teachers in core subjects like maths" and Labour want to change this. 

He believes "every single parent has aspirations for their children across the whole country, including every single parent who sends their children to state school."

But added it was a "tough choice" and he understands the worries of " parents who have worked really hard".

Starmer would not 'jump the queue' in 'shocking' NHS waiting lists

Sir Keir Starmer has said that NHS waiting list numbers are "shocking" but has rejected that this would lead him away from the service. 

When asked whether he would "jump the queue" and seek private health care for the most serious of health issues Sir Keir said: "For life-threatening cases, the NHS is the very best place to be". 

Finnish President: 'I don't agree with many things' Nigel Farage says

Alexander Stubb tells LBC's Tonight with Andrew Marr he does not agree with Reform UK leader Nigel Farage's statement that the West provoked the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

Starmer: 'we've got a very botched' Brexit deal

The Labour leader has said "we've got a very botched deal" from Brexit but his party will not take the UK back into the EU.

"We're not going back into the single market, the customs union, and we're not going back to freedom of movement. 

"That is very, very clear and set out in our manifesto because we did have a referendum, it split us down the middle and we do not want to go through that again."

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