Election latest: Farage challenged over spending plans in Reform's 'contract' (2024)

Key points
  • 'Our contract with you': Reform unveils policy document
  • Farage challenged on spending|How would pledges be paid for?
  • Reform candidate resigns over previous support for BNP
  • Minister admits Tory election win 'not the most likely outcome'
  • Live reporting by Samuel Osborne and (earlier) Faith Ridlerand Bhvishya Patel
Expert analysis
  • Ed Conway:Do Reform's numbers add up?
  • Sam Coates:Farage knows this is no blueprint for government
  • Serena Barker-Singh:Labour's chaotic approach to tax pledges
Election essentials
  • Check parties' manifesto pledges:Conservatives|Greens|Labour|Lib Dems|Plaid Cymru|Reform
  • 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|How to register to vote|What counts as voter ID?|Check if your constituency is changing|Your essential guide to election lingo|Sky's election night plans

16:39:28

PM still 'fighting hard for every vote'

Rishi Sunak has said he is "fighting hard for every vote", despite his defence secretary, Grant Shapps, admitting earlier today he does not think the Tories will win the election.

Speaking from Centrica's Rough 47-3B gas rig in the North Sea, the prime minister said: "There's still two and a half weeks to go in this election. I'm fighting hard for every vote because I believe we can win."

He said with the Labour and Tory manifestos now out, "everyone's cards are on the table" and repeated the "clear choice" he thinks voters have.

"With the Conservatives we will cut your taxes at every stage of your life and in contrast with Labour the tax burden is going up to the highest we have seen in our country's history," he said.

16:17:06

Do Reform UK's numbers add up?

Reform UK unveiled its sort-of manifesto today (they're calling it a "contract" with the British people) and it was chock-full of spending commitments and tax cuts.

The party said the policies - including abolishing business rates for some high street firms and reducing corporation tax - would be paid for by things like abandoning the push to net zero and cutting foreign aid.

But do their numbers really add up? Who better than oureconomics and data editor Ed Conway to check.

15:55:52

Lib Dems 'don't share any values with Reform'

A key question in this election is where Tory voters looking for a new political home might go.

Labour, Reform UK and the Lib Dems are all vying for their votes in different parts of the country - but Sir Ed Davey has said Nigel Farage's party aren't making things harder for him.

"We don't share any values with Reform," he said.

"I think people know that."

Sir Ed said Reform are unlikely to win many seats in parliament, whereas his party has a track record of doing so - pointing to "historic" by-election wins over recent years.

Speaking from Broadsands Beach, Paignton, Sir Ed said he was confident the Lib Dems would attract a good number of the people who have become "pretty angry" with the Tories.

"It's quite difficult for some people to do that (vote for someone else), but they really want to do it this time because they can't bear the lack of integrity, the lack of competence," he added.

"Rishi Sunak's Conservatives are just out of touch."

15:30:18

Manifesto checker: What are Reform UK's key pledges?

Reform UK have released their election policy document - and we've scoured their policy pledges so you don't have to.

Scroll to the right in the interactive tool below to find out what the party has promised to do if they win the election.

We will produce a breakdown of all the other parties' manifestos here when they are announced - you can find the ones we've done so far in the key points above.

15:11:16

'Election is between Tories and Labour': Starmer dismisses 'noise' from Farage

Heading off concerns Reform UK could target Labour heartlands in Wales (where Nigel Farage launched his party's sort-of manifesto today), Sir Keir Starmer has said the general election is "a straight choice between Conservatives and Labour".

Asked what his message to voters in Wales who are thinking of voting for Reform would be, the Labour leader told Sky News: "The election on 4 July is a straight choice between Conservatives and Labour, and a straight choice between carrying on with the chaos, the division, and the failure of the last 14 years, or turning a page and rebuilding the country with a Labour government."

Asked if he agreed with Foreign Secretary David Cameron's criticism of Mr Farage's use of inflammatory language, Sir Keir said: "You certainly get a lot of noise from Nigel Farage."

But he went on to reiterate his point about the choice being between the Tories and Labour.

14:46:10

Conservatives 'on the right track', says Sunak

Rishi Sunak has insisted the Conservatives are "on the right track", despite Defence Secretary Grant Shapps admitting earlier today a Tory victory at the general election is unlikely.

Speaking from Centrica's Rough 47-3B gas rig in the North Sea, the prime minister said: "There's still two-and-a-half weeks to go in this election, I'm fighting hard for every vote because I believe we can win.

"And there's a very clear choice at this election: it's having your taxes cut by the Conservatives or facing significant tax rises with the Labour Party."

He said he understands people's "frustrations" with his party and said while he has "made progress [...] there is more to go".

"But the point now is we are on the right track and this election is about the future.

"The choice is clear: if you want your border secure and migration down, if you want your taxes cut, your pension protected, it's only the Conservatives that are going to deliver that for you."

14:18:09

Analysis: This is no blueprint for government - and Farage knows it

Nigel Farage is "very clear this is about a five-year programme to challenge both the Labour Party and the Conservatives", our deputy political editorSam Coatessays.

He says there are a couple of unusual features from this event - the first and probably the most important is we have a party leader telling his party they will not win this election.

"He is quite candid about it," he says.

"They might pick up a handful of seats, but this is not a manifesto-like document that is going to deliver anything like heading to power.

"He is very clear, this is about a five-year programme to challenge both the Labour Party and the Conservatives."

Sam notes "this is not a blueprint for government".

"It is a campaigning document designed to show a direction of travel from a party that wants to shake up the other two big parties in this election," he adds.

14:05:12

How would Reform UK find £50bn in wasted spending?

Our political correspondent Gurpreet Narwan is next up, and she asks where £50bn of public sector wasted spending would come from.

Nigel Farage says this would be simple as civil servants mostly work from home.

"If you're running a company and things are tight, you say to your managers and middle managers - right, I'm sorry, this is the way it is, you've got to cut £5 in £100," he adds.

Mr Farage says this is "not unrealistic in any way at all".

"The sheer bloating of the civil service that has taken place... since 2019 is just astonishing."

The Reform UK leader goes on to say of the UK: "We're skint.

"Who else would say that in this campaign?

"We're skint, we're in real trouble."

14:02:19

Could Farage really lead the opposition?

The next question asks Nigel Farage what he would say to those who might like him but don't believe he has the skill to be an actual opposition leader.

"We all have our personalities and yes, of course, I'm fairly decisive," he responds.

"I have an opinion, but it doesn't mean I don't listen and doesn't mean I don't change my mind.

"It doesn't mean I don't respect others and I can't work as part of a team."

He says he "understands the point about compromise" but "equally you have to have a goal".

"I am very confident in what I say and what I believe in," he adds.

"But I think to give leadership you need to have that."

13:54:38

'The scale of this is deeply unserious, isn't it?'

Next up is a question from our deputy political editor Sam Coates, who asks about a proposed additional £141bn of spending every year.

This is far higher than even promised by Liz Truss.

"The scale of this is deeply unserious, isn't it?"

Nigel Farage agrees, saying the Reform UK plan is "radical, it's fresh thinking - it's outside the box".

He goes on to claim that the Tories and Labour Party are "indistinguishable from each other".

Mr Farage stresses again that his fight is about "who the opposition is going to be", as he believes Labour will be in Number 10 in July.

Election latest: Farage challenged over spending plans in Reform's 'contract' (2024)
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