Election latest: Nigel Farage criticised for 'disgraceful' comments on Ukraine war - as analysis shows high earners benefit most from Reform plans (2024)

Key points
  • Farage under fire for 'disgraceful' comments on Ukraine war
  • Sunak says Reform UK leader's comments 'completely wrong'
  • Labour:'Shocking' to see Farage 'get down on his knees and kiss Putin's boots'
  • Jon Craig:Has the Reform UK leader made his first mistake of the election campaign?
  • Reform UK's tax plans disproportionately benefit high earners, analysis shows
  • Labour defends Starmer after Rowling accused him of 'abandoning' women
  • Live reporting by Ben Bloch
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  • Trackers:Who's leading polls?|Is PM keeping promises?
  • Campaign Heritage:Memorable moments from elections gone by
  • Follow Sky's politics podcasts:Electoral Dysfunction|Politics At Jack And Sam's
  • Read more:Who is standing down?|Key seats to watch|What counts as voter ID?|Check if your constituency is changing|Guide to election lingo|Sky's election night plans


'Completely wrong': Sunak condemns Farage's comments about Ukraine invasion

We've just heard from Rishi Sunak, who was asked about Nigel Farage's assertion that the West "provoked" Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The PM told broadcasters: "What he said was completely wrong and only plays into [Vladimir] Putin's hands.

"This is a man who deployed nerve agents on the streets of Britain, who's doing deals with countries like North Korea.

"And this kind of appeasem*nt is dangerous for Britain's security, the security of our allies that rely on us, and only emboldens Putin further."


Sunak: 'Don't let Labour sleepwalk into No 10'

As the polls show Labour still comfortably ahead of the Conservative Party, Rishi Sunak was asked by broadcasters if he is "deluded" for still talking about winning the election as his colleagues talk about preventing a Labour "supermajority".

The PM replied: "Of course I'm going to fight hard until the last day of this election because there is a choice for the country.

"Continue having your taxes cut with the Conservatives, providing you with that financial security, protecting your pension, getting down immigration.

"The alternative is handing a blank cheque to the Labour Party."

He warned voters not to "let Labour sleepwalk into Number 10", saying they should "scrutinise their plans, ask what it means for you and your family".

"Can you really afford Labour's thousands of pounds of tax rises?

"I want to keep cutting your taxes. That's the choice that everyone has in front of them in a couple of weeks' time."


Windrush: Sunak defends Home Office amid critcism from campaigners

Campaigners are saying that there are still thousands of victims of the Windrush scandal who have not received proper compensation, nor been given citizenship.

Many say it is because they don't trust the Home Office, and Rishi Sunak was asked by broadcasters why this has not been resolved.

The PM replied that "so many people suffered an injustice under successive governments over a long time" and "the Home Office has been working hard to rectify things".

"I think over 16,000 people now have been given the appropriate documentation that they deserve, and tens of millions of pounds in compensation has been paid out and something like 200 different community and outreach events have also been organised.

"But of course the Home Office is always reflecting, taking on feedback and seeing how it can improve and make sure that we right the wrongs of the past."


Sunak responds after Farage claimed he doesn't understand 'our culture'

Nigel Farage's comments about Russia's invasion of Ukraine are not the only ones to have caused controversy in recent days.

The Reform UK leader has also accused Rishi Sunak of not understanding "our culture", in what has been criticised as a dog whistle.

Asked by broadcasters how Mr Farage's comments make him feel, the Southampton-born PM said: "I love this country deeply for what it has done for my family.

"My grandparents emigrated here with very little, and two generations later I have the enormous privilege of being our prime minister.

"And that's why I will work my hardest to repay this country for everything that it has done for my family."

Mr Sunak is the first British-Asian prime minister. He was born in Southampton to East African-born Hindu parents of Indian Punjabi descent.


Reform UK chairman: 'One of our candidates farted yesterday'

As we've been reporting, Reform UK leader and candidate, Nigel Farage, is under fire from across the political spectrum for saying that the West and the expansion of the EU "provoked" Russia's invasion of Ukraine (more here).

The party chairman, Richard Tice, has put out a tweet this morning, seemingly in response to the furore.

He wrote: "An apology. One of our candidates farted yesterday.

"The ever windy Daily Mail and Tory party want him to resign. We will not be launching an investigation."

It is unclear if the social media post is about Mr Farage, or another of his party's candidates who have been criticised for previous comments.

But the Daily Mail is the only newspaper to have put the controversy as the main story on the front page.


The seats where polling results have got worse despite leader visits

We're now more than four weeks into the campaign and can see how the parties are faring in seats they have been targeting, for better or worse.

Watch where the party leaders have visited on our animated map below.

Using the two YouGov MRP polls conducted for Sky News since the election was called, we can examine whether visits from the party leaders have improved their fortunes - or made them worse.

Read the full analysis from our elections analyst, Dr Hannah Bunting, and data journalistJoely Santa Cruzhere:


'Sex and gender are different': Labour defends Starmer after attack from Rowling

JK Rowling has said she will "struggle to support" Labour if Sir Keir Starmer keeps his current stance on gender recognition, saying that he has effectively abandoned women concerned about the effect of transgender rights on women (more here).

Labour's Steve Reed said in response that the party has "the proudest track record of any political party when it comes to defending the rights of women".

He pointed to the Equal Pay Act, for example, and said Labour wants to go further in closing the gender pay gap, if elected to government.

The Harry Potter author was formerly a party member and donor, but has not continued due to her dissatisfaction with his stance.

But Mr Reed said she's "wrong", telling Sky News: "The Labour Party has always stood up for the rights of women. We will stand up for the rights of women into the future as well."

He said it was "very wrong that trans people were being used at one point as a political football", and that they "experience huge difficulties and challenges in their lives".

"I think we should offer them whatever support we can. That has no bearing whatsoever on our intention and the necessity to support women in their fight, continuing fight for equality."

A Labour spokesperson said in a statement that the Equality Act 2010, passed by the last Labour government, makes clear that "sex and gender are different".

"That’s why we have consistently said that we will not introduce self ID and that we will protect single sex spaces for biological women."

They added: "Keir was right to say that the discussion around these issues can become too polarised.

"After years of division under the Conservatives, Labour will bring the country together and ensure that everyone is treated with dignity and respect."


'Shocking' to see Farage 'get down on his knees and kiss Putin's boots', says Labour frontbencher

We spoke a short while ago with Labour's shadow environment secretary, and we started by asking for his reaction to Nigel Farage's comments that theWest "provoked" Russia's invasion of Ukraine (more here).

Steve Reed replied that it was "absolutely shocking to hear those kind of comments coming from a high profile British politician".

He said the West needs to "stand up" to Russia, but "instead of that, we see Nigel Farage get down on his knees and kiss Vladimir Putin's boots".

A Labour government, he said, would "continue very, very strong support for Ukraine".

Mr Reed went on to say that he is "absolutely" confident that no such sentiment exists in the Labour Party, noting that when pro-Russian material was shared by a candidate recently, there was "very swift action" taken.

"I'm very, very sorry indeed to see Nigel Farage backing a brutal, murderous dictator like Vladimir Putin rather than standing up to that kind of bullying," he added.

The senior Labour frontbencher also said it is "absolute nonsense" that the expansion of the EU in any way contributed to the war starting.


Tories to focus on nighttime economy 'in first 100 days of government'

Slashing red tape for Britain's pubs, restaurants and music venues would be the focus of a review launched within the first 100 days of a Tory government, the party has said.

Ministers would look into ways to "crack down" on councils imposing "disproportionate conditions" and restrictions on licences as part of a bid to boost the UK nighttime economy, the Conservatives say.

It comes as Rishi Sunak seeks to shift the focus of the campaign away from the betting scandal that has thrown his party into fresh turmoil in recent days.

The Tories used the announcement to attack Labour's record on nightlife in London and Wales, as polls continue to put the opposition party on course for a historic victory on 4 July.

Business minister Kevin Hollinrake said: "The nighttime economy is a vibrant sector that's vital to our economy and our society as a whole.

"We've always supported our nighttime economy, with business rates reliefs, economic support during the pandemic - but wherever Labour have been responsible for the sector, it's suffered.

"We'll continue to back our nighttime economy - Labour would cripple it further with higher taxes and more burdensome regulation."


Betting scandal: A lot of winnings needed for Labour tax rises, Tory candidate says

A betting scandal has engulfed the Tory party in recent days, and Rishi Sunak has been under fire for refusing to suspend candidates under investigation over alleged wagers placed on the date of the 4 July contest.

We asked Tory candidate David Simmonds if he is comfortable with the decision not to suspend these candidates, and he replied that "we need to see the outcome of those investigations".

"If it turns out that they've broken the law, that's a different matter. But at the moment it's speculation."

He said the party needs to know "the facts about any individual before making a decision".

Asked how he felt when he heard about the bets, Mr Simmonds pivoted to attacking Labour, saying: "The key message from this is if you're going to win quite a lot at the bookies as a result of this, you're going to need it if there's a Labour government, because you're going to have to pay for their tax rises."

When pushed by Sky's Anna Jones, he admitted the allegations are "uncomfortable".

Election latest: Nigel Farage criticised for 'disgraceful' comments on Ukraine war - as analysis shows high earners benefit most from Reform plans (2024)
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