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Home > General Election 2024: I’d Send Small Boats Back To France If Macron Doesn’t Play Ball, Says Farage

General Election 2024: I’d Send Small Boats Back To France If Macron Doesn’t Play Ball, Says Farage

28 May 2024 • 9:18am


Sir Ed Davey is off paddleboarding in Lake Windermere Sir Ed Davey and Tim Farron will take to Lake Windermere for a spot of campaign paddleboarding later this morning, my colleague Tim Sigsworth reports.

The senior Lib Dem politicians are heading to England’s largest lake on day two of the party’s battle bus tour of key seats it wants to defend and win on July 4.

But in the last few months, Sir Ed and Mr Farron have both campaigned strongly against sewage spills in England’s rivers, lakes and seas — including Lake Windermere.

The Lib Dems have even called for prosecutions against water company bosses responsible for sewage overflows.

But it appears Sir Ed and Mr Farron are willing to take the plunge themselves, suggesting the water quality in Windermere is not as unhealthy as their campaigns would suggest.


‘If the French won’t play ball, then the Royal Marines will have to take people back to France’ Nigel Farage has said he would send small boats back to France unless Emmanuel Macron’s country “plays ball”.

Mr Farage said he would “make clear that nobody that comes via this route will ever be granted settled status in our country”.

He told Good Morning Britain: “I’d say to the French navy: ‘We will not accept your navy escorting dinghies to our 12-mile line and then handing them over to our authorities’.”

Asked how this would be enforced, Mr Farage replied: “Well, if the French won’t play ball, then the Royal Marines will have to take people back to France. It’s just as simple as that.”


What’s on the agenda today? Nigel Farage will be making a speech as he galvanises public support for Reform UKRachel Reeves, Labour’s shadow chancellor, will be speaking at the same time (10am)Rishi Sunak is set to campaign late morning at a question-and-answer event with workersSir Keir Starmer will also deliver remarks, although we can expect to hear from him later this afternoon 8:58AM

Tories channel Trump in Starmer attack: ‘Sad!’ Two years of pricey “prawn cocktail’ buttering up and they release a letter of mostly former business people with *NO* current CEOs of FTSE 100 companies… sad!

Keep fishing Keir 🎣🎣🎣

— CCHQ Press (@CCHQPress) May 28, 2024 8:53AM

Leaked Tory memo names and shames MPs shirking campaign duties Tory bosses have accused their own MPs of failing to pull their weight on the campaign trail.

A leaked memo, which was accidentally sent to some MPs as an attachment to a general campaign email, named and shamed those who were refusing to knock on doors or had taken time off to attend family events.

It prompted fury amongst MPs, many of whom are already incensed that Rishi Sunak called a snap election despite trailing in the polls.

In response, the Prime Minister said he took personal responsibility for his party’s lacklustre opening to the campaign, which has been criticised.

The memo, which was leaked to The Times, listed a number of Tory candidates by name and identified their failure to “get behind” the party’s re-election efforts as a “key theme”.

Nick Gutteridge, our Chief Political Correspondent, has more here


Here’s Nigel Nigel Farage arrives at Dover ahead of his first press conference of the election campaign Credit: Steve Finn 8:44AM

How the ‘Triple Lock Plus’ would affect your pension Pensioners would be protected from paying income tax on the state pension under the Conservatives’ “Triple Lock Plus” policy.

This would bring the personal allowance – the level at which tax starts being payable – to just above the state pension and would rise alongside it.

For non-pensioners, the tax threshold, which has been frozen since 2021, would stay the same.

The number of pensioners liable for tax has doubled since 2010, rising to more than nine million.

Madeline Ross, our Money Reporter, has more here


Stride: Triple lock-plus ‘is a tax cut’ Mel Stride, the Work and Pensions Secretary, said the Government had to “freeze some thresholds” on pensions to cover the cost of energy bill support.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It is a tax cut because in the absence of doing this, people will be paying more tax so we will be cutting their tax. We have an existing set of tax arrangements, that’s not unusual, it happens through time.

“Because we’ve got the economy going, because we’ve got growth going, because we’ve got inflation down, because we’ve taken the bold and difficult decisions to achieve those things, we are now able to cut taxes.”


Labour frontbencher refuses to say whether Diane Abbott will be party candidate Challenged on whether Diane Abbott would stand as a Labour candidate, the shadow business secretary said: “We’ve had a general election that only the Prime Minister seemed to know about, we are almost completing our candidate selection. I can’t talk about specific cases.”

Asked again, Jonathan Reynolds told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The process we have in the Labour Party is frankly not one that any politician in the Labour Party decides. So I can’t give you an answer on that.

“We want that situation resolved, we all want to see that resolved. I genuinely don’t know the circumstances that you’re describing. I think in any disciplinary matter you need both sides to engage in it, I genuinely have no additional information other than that but we are all keen to see every situation like this resolved as soon as possible.”


‘Capitalist-flavoured socialism’ On the difference between Jeremy Corbyn and Sir Keir Starmer, Jonathan Reynolds, the shadow business secretary, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “They will want to know how people describe their own politics, the values they have got, but they’ll also want to know what they want to do, that’s what people judge any politician on.

“And when it comes to the economy, if you look at who’s offering the stability economic growth comes from, the industrial strategy we need, ambition on net zero, making the Brexit relationship work better with the European Union, doing planning reform to get things built in the UK, the apprenticeship levy, that is what Labour is offering.

“That is why Labour has changed to offer a platform like that and that is why business is endorsing Labour today… It is testament to our plans for the future.”

Mr Reynolds said BBC Radio 4’s description of “capitalist-flavoured socialism” sounded like “a university seminar”.

“I would call myself a Christian socialist, a progressive. I think the best traditions of government delivered in the UK, whether it’s the National Parks or the NHS, have come from a similar background to mine, but I could also point to the fact that the economy has tended to grow more strongly under those kinds of politicians because people have been at the heart of their plans, good jobs, good work, the kind of jobs you can raise your families around… That’s the kind of the economy that I want and that’s the kind of economy a lot of people want.”


Shadow business secretary: I am a Christian socialist Asked if he was a socialist, Jonathan Reynolds, the shadow business secretary, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Yes, I would describe myself as a Christian socialist in the best traditions of that because that’s about putting people first. And of course to do that you’ve got to have a set of proposals, a set of policy that will deliver for people.

“And if you look at what the UK needs right now it is an economy that grows more strongly, that gives people higher living standards… I want a better society, a fairer society, but that requires working in partnership with business, with unions, to give the UK the kind of economy it needs.”

Challenged on how Sir Keir Starmer describing himself as a socialist differed from Jeremy Corbyn being a socialist, Mr Reynolds replied: “That feels a bit academic as a debate.”

When it was put to him Sir Keir was Mr Corbyn’s “right-hand man”, Mr Reynolds said: “Well I don’t think that is correct but look sometimes in a political party you’ve got to serve. I did a job as shadow economic secretary which was about the City and finances, we were facing a no-deal Brexit, we needed people in Parliament to make sure we had the right thing in place. Sometimes in politics you’ve got to serve and you don’t get to pick exactly how you’d like that configuration to be but that’s about public service.”


Reynolds: Labour would get investment and growth up Jonathan Reynolds, the shadow business secretary, welcomed the endorsement of 120 business leaders for Sir Keir Starmer’s plans.

Asked whether he was now “hand in glove” with business, he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It’s absolutely what is required for the economy to grow more strongly than it has done for the last 14 years.

“If you look at what business figures are saying, it’s that it’s time for change and only Labour has a plan to grow the economy… This is about what will benefit working people and a big part of our package is our proposals to make work pay.

“Unless any future government gets business investment up because it’s the lowest in the G7, gets better productivity, gets better growth… Stagnation will only continue and that’s what we’ve got to break out of.”


Mel Stride: I wouldn’t call Keir Starmer ‘Sir Sleepy’ On what role Boris Johnson would play in the general election, Mel Stride, the Work and Pensions Secretary, said: “I have no idea but I know that he’s a very solid, vigorous Conservative and I would expect him to be fully supportive of a Conservative victory on July 4.

“I don’t know what his plans are, sorry… I have no idea. I don’t know. This isn’t about one particular former prime minister. These are big issues that we’re looking at in this election, we are looking at a party that has brought us through some of the most difficult times for this country since the Second World War, has reached a turning point for the economy, has got real wages growing, has got growth going.

“We have some time to go before the general election. But that is why we are fighting so hard to make this point and that’s why Keir Starmer should step up to those debates and tell us what he really stands for.”

Asked about ‘Sir Sleepy’ briefings by Tory Party sources, Mr Stride replied: “It’s not a term that I have used or would use. I think whatever age you are in life, I think people have a huge amount to contribute. I’m in the same bracket so I should declare an interest. But equally what does matter is what you stand for.

“He’s trying to keep as low a profile as possible, not telling us what [Labour] stands for, having no plan and expecting to just drift over the line and that is not good enough and that is why Sir Keir Starmer should step up to the plate and debate with our Prime Minister every week. Every week we should be applying that scrutiny so we can actually find out what No Idea Keir is all about.”


Stride hails ‘triple lock plus’ Mel Stride said millions of pensioners would receive a tax cut over time through the party’s new plan.

Mr Stride told Sky News: “On the basic state pension, if that is your form of income, then under our plans we will make sure that you are covered by the personal allowance, in other words you’re in that no-tax band.

“By 2027 if you don’t do that, as Labour propose, you will see millions of pensioners paying tax for the first time with all of the red tape, all of the paperwork that goes with it.”

He added: “Clearly if you’re earning hundreds of thousands of pounds for example elsewhere, you’re going to pay tax on it. But if you’re on the basic state pension and that is your income, then you will be protected from paying tax because we will make sure that the personal tax allowance rises by the triple lock uprating, which is why we call it the triple lock plus.”


We are fighting for absolutely every vote, says Mel Stride Mel Stride said the Government was making “huge progress” on the economy.

“The polls are where the polls are at the moment. The only poll that matters is the one on election day… It may make you chuckle. We’ve got a long way to go,” he told Sky News.

On Steve Baker campaigning from his holiday in Greece, Mr Stride added: “I can’t comment on what Steve [Baker] is doing or where he is or what he’s up to, he may be designing his literature, he may be making telephone calls.

“We are fighting for absolutely vote. Now I know we’re behind in the polls and that is why we are working so hard now to try and get across the line because it really matters to the future of our country and I’ve described the progress that we’ve made. We’ve come through a really tough time where we had Covid, we had the war in Ukraine…

“We are at an inflection point, we have turned the corner. And my message would be let’s not blow that to a party under Keir Starmer where we don’t even know what he stands for. We have a clear plan that’s working.”


Stride: ‘It says they’ve got a letter together with 200 names on it’ Mel Stride dismissed a letter to The Times by 120 business leaders endorsing Labour’s plan for the economy.

Asked what it said about the Conservatives, the Work and Pensions Secretary told Sky News: “It says they’ve got a letter together with 200 names on it. There are no names on it I think in the FTSE 100, one of the biggest businesses in the country.”

Mr Stride recalled support from 200 business leaders for the Tory policy of ‘full expensing’.

“What really matters here is who’s going to be the party who’s got the right plan and can get growth going… [Inflation] very much has a Government component because you have to get your spending right in order to control inflation, what they call the right fiscal policy, so resisting pay demands and things like that….

“We are turning a corner now. We are at an inflection point for the UK economy and things are going to improve going forward, we don’t want to go back to square one.”

Asked whether business leaders endorsing Labour was “inconsequential”, he replied: “I didn’t say inconsequential… There are not the kind of businesses that supported the biggest tax cut for business, full expensing, in modern times.”


State pension will never be taxed, vows Sunak The state pension will never be taxed under the Conservatives, Rishi Sunak will declare today.

The Prime Minister will announce plans to give retirees “peace of mind and security” by automatically raising the threshold at which they start paying income tax each year so that it stays ahead of the state pension.

Labour failed to match the pledge – dubbed the quadruple lock – on Monday with the Tories warning that Sir Keir Starmer was lining up a huge tax raid on the elderly.

It comes after criticism of the Tories for freezing income tax thresholds, which pulled people into higher tax bands, or into paying income tax for the first time through fiscal drag.

Downing Street said its proposals would mean eight million pensioners would save £100 in tax from next year and almost £300 a year by the end of the decade.

Nick Gutteridge, our Chief Political Correspondent, has this front page story


Private school parents warned state places are scarce Private school parents looking to escape Labour’s VAT raid have been warned there are very few state school places available, Hayley Dixon reports.

One mother who contacted her local council about the possibility of moving her child from private to state education ahead of Sir Keir Starmer’s proposed 20 per cent hike in fees was told that secondary schools are so oversubscribed that students are on a waiting list and if “any” places become available they will be “extremely limited”.

The message from officials at Newcastle city council is echoed across the country, with at least eight authorities warning that there are few to no places available and one stating that there is “no guarantee” of an immediate space.

It comes amid fears of a pupil exodus from private to state schools after Sir Keir promised that he would initiate the tax raid on “day one” of a Labour government.

Those seeking to escape Labour raid told few to no spaces available


Labour’s internal investigation into Diane Abbott concluded at the end of last year Labour’s internal investigation into Diane Abbott concluded at the end of last year, it has emerged.

The panel of Labour’s national executive committee (NEC) completed its work in December following Ms Abbott’s suspension from the party eight months previously, BBC Newsnight reported.

At this point, Ms Abbott was asked to complete a two hour online anti-Semitism awareness training course, which she did in February.

Diane Abbott, the former shadow home secretary, was suspended from Labour in April Credit: Henry Nicholls/Reuters The matter was subsequently passed to Sir Alan Campbell, the opposition chief whip, but Ms Abbott has not heard anything since a meeting with Sir Alan.

Ms Abbott, who was in Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet, was stripped of the whip last year and has been subject to an internal investigation. She was kicked out as a Labour MP after penning a letter to the Observer that suggested Jewish people did not experience racism “all their lives”.


Sir Keir: Scotland can play its part in ‘stopping the chaos’ Scotland has a chance to “stop the chaos”, Sir Keir Starmer has said as he attempts to gain support north of the border.

Writing for the Daily Record, the Labour leader accused both the SNP and the Conservatives of “playing on the fears of working people”. The first Scottish poll of the election campaign showed his party five points ahead of the SNP.

Sir Keir said: “The government I lead will be dedicated to restoring the ordinary hope important to working Scots.

“That means smashing the class ceiling. Creating opportunities for all. Delivering the high-skill, high-pay jobs of the future that Scotland needs.

“Because after 17 years of SNP failure and 14 years of Tory chaos, Scotland is crying out for change.”


Don’t overlook ‘shy Tories’ says expert pollster Support for Sir Keir Starmer is overestimated and it is possible for the Conservatives to overturn Labour’s lead, a leading pollster has suggested.

Lord Hayward, who coined the term “shy Tories” in 1992 after his party’s unexpected general election victory, said he was worried fellow election experts were “getting it wrong” in trying to project the result on July 4.

Rishi Sunak on the campaign trail in Amersham, which forms part of a constituency currently held by the Liberal Democrats Credit: Andy Rain The Telegraph’s poll of polls shows Labour has an average lead of around 20 percentage points across major pollsters, suggesting Rishi Sunak has a mountain to climb if his party is to secure a historic fifth term in Downing Street.

But speaking to the Guardian, Lord Hayward said: “About 33 years on, I am yet again convinced that a statistical bias exists in the polls.”

Read the full story here


Even as she departs, May remains tight-lipped Does Theresa May get PTSD whenever an election is called? writes Jasper Rees.

Seven confusing and largely horrible years ago she went out on the stump with a lordly lead in the polls and returned to a hung parliament. “I made some mistakes during the election campaign,” she forced herself to concede in Theresa May: The Accidental Prime Minister (ITV1).

Theresa May, who has represented Maidenhead for the past 27 years, is standing down at the election Credit: Frank Augstein What those mistakes were, and how they might have been avoided, are not things she was forced to contemplate in this profile, rushed into the schedule before May leaves the House of Commons for the last time. We do know that Chris Wilkins, her head of strategy, is “still angry” at the tone-deafness of her U-turn over the policy dubbed the dementia tax.

“I think that drove a coach and horses through her brand,” he simmered. It’s never quite clear from this portrait what May’s brand is or was, beyond a belief in probity and a commitment to service, plus a large collection of cookbooks.

Review: ITV draws May on the naughtiest thing she’s ever done


Keir Starmer: I am a socialist who will put country before party Sir Keir Starmer has described himself as a socialist who “always puts the country first and party second”.

Asked if he would use that word to describe himself, Sir Keir told the BBC: “Yes, I would describe myself as a socialist. I describe myself as a progressive. I’d describe myself as somebody who always puts the country first and party second.”

Sir Keir, widely viewed as a centrist, joined the Labour Party Young Socialists in East Surrey when he was a teenager and helped found the radical magazine Socialist Alternatives after graduating from Leeds University.

Sir Keir Starmer at the Oak Caffe in Barnet with Dan Tomlinson, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Chipping Barnet Credit: Stefan Rousseau He went on to describe himself as a socialist during the 2020 leadership campaign.

However, the Labour leader has since been accused of a purge of the Labour Left, including figures such as his Left-wing predecessor, Jeremy Corbyn, who is now planning to run against his old party as an independent on July 4.

Amy Gibbons, our Political Correspondent, has more here


Labour: Sunak ‘splurging’ billions on unfunded promises Labour has said Rishi Sunak is “splurging” billions of pounds on new spending commitments without any plan of how to fund them if he wins the election, writes our Chief Political Correspondent Nick Gutteridge.

Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow paymaster general, warned voters would “pay the price in the end” as he branded the Tories’ election campaign “desperate”.

He attacked the Prime Minister’s proposals to bring back national service, costing £2.5bn, and to permanently exempt the state pension from tax at a cost of £2.4bn a year.

Jonathan Ashworth, Labour’s shadow paymaster general Credit: Jeff Overs Speaking at the launch of Labour’s election battle bus, he said: “Day after day the Tories are making billions of pounds worth of commitments out of desperation.

“They are splurging out desperate commitments with no explanation of where the money is coming from. This is typical Tories – chaotic with the public finances and it is the British people who pay the price in the end.”

The Tories have said the national service plan would be funded with cash previously earmarked for levelling up, whilst the pensions play would be paid for with the proceeds from a £6bn crackdown on tax avoidance.


Good morning Dominic Penna here, The Telegraph’s Political Correspondent, guiding you through day six of the general election campaign along with my colleagues in the Telegraph Lobby team.

Nigel Farage has declared July 4 represents the “immigration election” ahead of his first major campaign intervention.

The Reform honorary life president will make a speech in Dover this morning after announcing he would not stand as an MP for Richard Tice’s party but instead appear around the country to boost support for Reform.