Read the latest General Election news, views and analysis.

Rachel Reeves ‘£4,800’ mortgage claim is a house of cards

Labour’s Rachel Reeves has scored some political points this week by claiming that the Conservatives have made £71 billion of ‘unfunded policy pledges’, and that this will ‘mean £4,800 on your mortgage’. These calculations are simply absurd and easy to knock down. Let us start with the ‘£71 billion’. This figure first appeared in a Labour document, called ‘Conservatives Interest Rate Rise’, published in May. It was claimed then that annual borrowing would be £71 billion higher in the final year of the next parliament (2029-30), based on Labour’s costings of the Conservatives’ alleged plans. However, this analysis unravelled when the Conservatives actually published their manifesto. In particular, Labour’s original costings

‘For the first time ever I might not vote’: East Renfrewshire’s voters are switching off 

The SNP has dominated Scotland since 2015. In an election held just months after the independence referendum, the country turned almost entirely yellow – with the exception of just three seats. Subsequent national polls have resulted in nothing more than modest change. The question this time is whether the SNP’s hold over Scotland is about to break – and nowhere is this issue more pressing than in Scotland’s central belt. The bellwether constituency of East Renfrewshire is facing a unique three-horse race between Scotland’s main parties. But despite the abundance of choice on offer to constituents this time, there’s just one problem: they’ve fallen out of love with politics. ‘I

Cosying up to the EU would do Britain more harm than good

If anyone thought our relations with the EU since the Brexit referendum would be a respectful dialogue of equals, they were quickly disabused. Relations remain, to use an understatement, strained. Three national opposition parties have all chosen to weaponise this unpleasantness, and call for re-engagement with at least some EU institutions. Before you follow them and cast an anti-Sunak vote two weeks on Thursday, you could do worse than read their manifestos. If you like the look of the Greens’ ‘real hope, real change’ motto, do note that they openly want the UK back in the EU as soon as possible. Meanwhile they would sign up immediately again to the

Ross Clark

David Cameron is driving voters into Farage’s arms

Who on earth at Tory campaign HQ thought it was a good idea to send Lord Cameron into battle to attack Nigel Farage and try to head off the gathering threat from Reform UK? In an interview with the Times today, the Foreign Secretary accused Farage of dog-whistling. He may well be right: it doesn’t take too much imagination to see how Farage’s assertion that Rishi Sunak ‘doesn’t understand our culture’ will have gone down with some voters. The trouble is, though, that Lord Cameron reminds many Reform-leaning voters of everything they dislike about the Tories. He represents the privileged, patrician wing of the Conservative party – the toffs and

Natasha Feroze, Robert Ades, Lucasta Miller, Sam McPhail, Toby Young and Catriona Olding

38 min listen

On this week’s Spectator Out Loud: Natasha Feroze reports on the return of ex-Labour MP Keith Vaz (1:10); Robert Ades presents the case against sociology A-level (7:39); Lucasta Miller reviews Katherine Bucknell’s book, Christopher Isherwood Inside Out (15:24); Sam McPhail provides his notes on the lager Madri (23:16); Toby Young explains why he will be voting Reform (26:23); and, Catriona Olding reflects on love and friendship (31:17). Presented by Patrick Gibbons.  

Philip Patrick

Will Gary Lineker be able to keep his election thoughts quiet during the Euros?

It is hard to imagine the European football championship, which kicked off last night, was a big factor in Rishi Sunak’s decision to call a snap general election. But whether the footie was a consideration or not, the possibility that events in Germany might have some bearing on the result on 4 July is something he, and we, might now wish to consider. We may have no choice if the BBC’s X-addicted Gary Lineker, who will have a huge platform during the tournament, chooses to spout off about politics. Footballers, unless they’re called Gary (Neville, Lineker), tend to keep tight-lipped about their politics There is limited data to support a

Isabel Hardman

Starmer will keep shtum til 5 July

Tonight Keir Starmer took another look at Labour’s poll lead, threw caution to the wind, and revealed his radical plans for the government he hopes to lead in a few weeks time. Only kidding. The Labour leader’s interview with the BBC’s Nick Robinson didn’t reveal anything we didn’t know and Starmer won’t be obliging with any more details between now and 5 July. But Robinson did try to give voters as much of an impression as possible of how Starmer as prime minister might behave. He pressed him repeatedly on how he was going to fund the plans in the Labour manifesto: would there be spending cuts or could Starmer


Boris backs Sunak sceptic

At long last, Boris Johnson has joined the campaign trail. With less than three weeks to go until polling day, the former prime minister has today urged voters to back Rishi Sunak’s wounded party – just hours after a YouGov poll revealed that support for Reform has overtaken the Tories for the first time. And no stranger to internal party politics, Johnson raised eyebrows this morning when he publicly backed Sir Simon Clarke in a short video. This is, after all, the MP who was so disillusioned by Sunak’s leadership that at the start of the year he took to the pages of the Telegraph to urge the PM to


Watch: Starmer slams audience for ‘disrespect’ over ‘toolmaker’ jibes

There’s less than three weeks to go until polling day and the TV debates are continuing to roll in. This week, we’ve seen party leaders Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer quizzed by Sky’s political editor Beth Rigby before being turned on by the audience. And while the Prime Minister had a rather more gruelling time in the hands of the crowd, it’s Sir Keir who’s still moaning about it. In an interview with GB News’s political editor Christopher Hope, the Labour leader hit out at audience member who laughed at him when he spoke of his parents’ jobs. The first groan of the night rang through the hall when

Patrick O'Flynn

Reform is rapidly gaining on the Tories

The great British public seems to have got over its feelings of anger and disillusionment towards the Conservative party. It is mainly just laughing at the Tories now. The descent into outright ridiculousness brought about by the centrist ‘sensibles’ who currently run the Tory show came across loud and clear in last night’s seven-way ITV debate. Twice the audience responded with spontaneous giggles at the answers given by Penny Mordaunt. The first burst of titters came when she described our education system as world class. In fact, there is much international data to back this up, at least for England where Conservative reforms have paid dividends in rising standards. But

Isabel Hardman

Who is the real opposition to Labour now?

Nigel Farage tried to claim at the start of Thursday’s TV debate that Reform was the real threat to Keir Starmer, given it has just passed the Conservatives in the polls (more from Katy on that here). Penny Mordaunt, of course, didn’t want to entertain the idea of her party being in opposition, but she did want to accuse Farage of being a ‘Labour enabler’, something he threw right back in her face by claiming that actually voting Tory was a vote for Labour. It was striking that in this debate, Mordaunt was prepared to acknowledge Farage was actually in the room: in the first one, she had pretended he

Katy Balls

Reform overtakes Tories in new poll

Here we go. This evening the Reform party has overtaken the Tories according to a new YouGov poll. The survey for the Times found that support for Nigel Farage’s party has increased by two points in the past few days to 19 per cent, with the Tories one point behind on 18 per cent. The fieldwork took place after Conservative party released its manifesto on Tuesday – therefore suggesting that the launch failed to improve Tory fortunes. The poll puts Labour on 37 per cent, meaning Keir Starmer is on course for a super majority. So, what will this poll mean for Tory morale? As I wrote in Sunday’s Election

The illiberal implications of Labour’s manifesto

Labour’s election manifesto may not have much in terms of extra spending, or any substantial plans. But it sends a green light to activists in government, schools, universities and corporations to carry out their illiberal cultural revolution without restraint.  It promises to introduce ethnicity pay gap reporting requirements for ‘large employers’ and upgrade the focus on hate crime. Compliance departments will emphasise going beyond the letter of the law, leading to discriminatory quotas and speech suppression. The manifesto promises a ban on ‘conversion therapy’ for trans people that will make it risky for adults to question a young person’s decision to change pronouns, take puberty blockers and undergo gender reassignment

Katy Balls

What wasn’t included in Labour’s manifesto

13 min listen

Keir Starmer launched Labour’s manifesto today, but how much did we actually learn about their plans for government? And with no rabbits pulled out of the proverbial hat, how do they plan to achieve growth? Kate Andrews and Starmer’s biographer Tom Baldwin joined Katy Balls to discuss. Tom also provided some insight into Angela Rayner’s election bus, including a surprising admission about a lettuce…  Produced by Patrick Gibbons.

Isabel Hardman

Why Labour’s plans are so vague

Keir Starmer has deliberately pursued a strategy of revealing as little as possible, boasting today that his manifesto didn’t contain any surprises. In between his verbal tic about his father being a toolmaker, Starmer has been least at ease in the TV debates, and it was in the first of these that he said more than he probably intended to. Asked by ITV’s Julie Etchingham whether he had any advice for ‘Gareth on his way to Berlin [for the Euros]’ about leadership, Starmer replied: ‘You need a strategy for winning. So it depends on your opponent and what the issue is.’ It isn’t telling us what it is going to do


Watch: Dawn Butler’s bizarre campaign rap

Today’s a big day in the election calendar. This morning, Labour launched its official manifesto, while campaigners hit the three-week countdown until the big day. As even the Tories seem to have accepted that the 5 July will see a victory for Sir Keir and his Starmtroopers, one Labour candidate seems to be especially enjoying herself on the election trail. Dawn Butler, standing in new constituency Brent East, is ramping up her campaigning as polling day looms ever closer. Taking a leaf out of the SNP’s book – after Falkirk candidate Toni Giugliano created a Spotify song in an attempt to woo voters – Butler has decided that the best

Patrick O'Flynn

Keir Starmer’s manifesto will disappoint Tory spin doctors

Keir Starmer and the Labour party today launched a manifesto that’s good enough to win this election and presented it in a commensurate manner. If that comes across as damning with faint praise then this is what your author intended. After all, there was – as Beth Rigby of Sky News noted in her question to Starmer – no new policy and no discernible retail offer for voters in the entire manifesto. Starmer made a virtue of that, stressing that all Labour’s ambitions to provide better public services and build a fairer society depended on economic growth picking up to provide the funds to make them happen. He even had

Michael Simmons

Does Labour have the stomach to tackle welfare reform?

Regardless of who wins the election, taxes are going up. Spending plans from both Labour and the Tories suggest the tax burden – already at a post-war high – is going to do nothing but rise. During last night’s Sky News debate, Rishi Sunak laid the blame at the two ‘once in a century’ events the country has just emerged from. But the truth is that a huge part of these tax rises is needed to fund an ever-growing welfare bill. Analysis published this morning shows that one in every £44 of state spending will be spent on sickness benefits by the end of the decade. The report, published by the Resolution

Katy Balls

‘Change’: Starmer unveils manifesto

What would Labour do in power? This is the question Sir Keir Starmer tried to answer this morning as he appeared in Manchester for the launch of his party’s manifesto. Given Labour is currently over 20 points ahead in the polls and on course for a super-majority, this 136-page document (with no less than 33 photos of Starmer) is by far the most important of the manifestos to be published this week. Ahead of Starmer’s entrance, a song by Dua Lipa (the pop star is a Labour supporter) played in the background while a string of speakers, from Iceland boss Richard Walker to Nathaniel Dye, who has terminal cancer and


Watch: Sir Keir heckled at Labour manifesto launch

Oh dear. It’s not been the smoothest of starts this morning for Sir Keir Starmer, who is in Manchester launching the Labour manifesto. As the Labour leader was introducing his party’s official election manifesto to swathes of supporters and reporters, he was rather rudely interrupted. A rather young protestor holding a banner emblazoned with the words: ‘Youth Deserves Better’ was the culprit. Slamming Starmer’s ‘change’ agenda, she raged: We have been let down by the Labour Party and this manifesto. You say that you’re offering change but it’s the same old Tory policies. We need better. Ouch… Sir Keir retorted that ‘we gave up being a party of protest five

Isabel Hardman

How will Labour fix a struggling NHS?

The latest NHS waiting figures are without question a problem for Rishi Sunak: they’re going up again for the first time in seven months. The performance data for NHS England shows that 6.33 million patients were waiting for 7.6 million treatments at the end of April, up from 6.29 people and 7.54 million treatments in March. But given where the Tories are in this election campaign, the figures also represent a problem for Labour. Voters already know that the NHS is struggling seriously, and they seem to be using that knowledge to turn to Labour in droves. Keir Starmer is launching his party’s manifesto today, and it will include pledges