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Sunday shows round-up: Farage brands national service plan ‘a joke’

Today saw the first set of Sunday shows since the election was called on Wednesday. Rachel Reeves was interviewed by Laura Kuenssberg about Labour’s fiscal plans if they win power on 4 July. The Shadow Chancellor said ‘We won’t increase income tax or National Insurance’ but refused to rule out some public spending cuts as she vowed that there ‘will not be a return to austerity’ under a Labour government. Reeves also refused to put a timetable on raising defence spending to 2.5 per cent of GDP by 2030, though she said the party supported getting there eventually.

Cleverly rules out jail for national service refuseniks

The big announcement of the day is the Conservatives’ plan to introduce a new form of national service. The Home Secretary James Cleverly confirmed that no-one who refused the scheme would go to jail in his interview with Sky. He said that those taking part in the military option will be remunerated – but those who do weekend volunteering will not get any payment.

Farage: national service announcement is ‘a joke’

Two days after ruling out a return as a Reform candidate, Nigel Farage was up on Camilla Tominey’s show to criticise the Tories’ announcement. While supporting the principle of a return to national service, the former MEP said that the scheme was unworkable, given the hollowed-out state of the British Armed Forces. Describing the policy as a ‘joke’, Farage attacked the Tories’ record on defence.

Tobias Ellwood: ‘1930s feel to the world’ means we need national service

Speaking to LBC, the former chairman of the Defence Select Committee welcomed his party’s plans today for national service. Ellwood claimed that in these uncertain times, such a scheme is ‘a sober recognition, indeed a powerful reminder of the increasingly grim chapter in our history that we’ve entered, that it is not dissimilar to the late 1930s.’ He added that it is ‘simply not possible to retain our standing armed force at such high readiness, so there must be an all society approach.’

Michael Portillo: MPs quitting are ‘discourteous’ to avoid their own ‘Portillo moment’

Portillo criticised ‘ungrateful’ Michael Gove and other Tories who have stood down at the last minute for using their constituencies ‘like a public convenience.’ He said: ‘Members of Parliament got elected because they have constituency associations that work very hard for them… it is the most profound discourtesy to give up your seat when the election’s announced. If you want to leave, you should give six months or 12 months notice.’

Liz Kendall ducks question on private school closures

Liz Kendall was asked on GB News about her party’s plans to put VAT on private school fees. Host Camilla Tominey pointed to a story in today’s Sunday Telegraph which claims that one school has already closed down ahead of Labour’s likely election and enactment of this policy. Tominey cited the IFS whose analysis suggests that 40,000 children could now leave their independent schools and move into the ‘overstretched’ state state as a consequence of VAT on fees. Kendall suggested that parents would be able to absorb the costs, as they have done on recent fee hikes.