General election – latest: Young royals would not be exempt from Sunak’s national service scheme

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Labour Party 'leaks Rishi Sunak's campaign diary' in new ad attacking gaffes

Young royals including Prince George and Princess Charlotte would not be exempt from taking part in Rishi Sunak’s plans to bring back national service.

Rishi Sunak has vowed to bring the controversial scheme for 18-year-olds to create a “renewed sense of pride in our country” if he wins the general election.

Under the mandatory scheme, teenagers would be given a choice between a full-time placement in the armed forces for 12 months or spending one weekend a month for a year volunteering in their community.

Labour branded the announcement “another desperate unfunded commitment”, which would cost an estimated £2.5bn each year, while armed forces veteran Justin Crump warned the “ill-thought through” plans would place an “enormous potential burden” on Britain’s military.

It comes as Wes Streeting warned striking doctors he would not meet their huge pay demands, and has vowed he would be “a shop steward for patients” as health secretary.

In an exclusive interview with The Independent, the shadow health secretary spoke of his plan to tackle of record waiting lists and the ongoing pay disputes, stating: “The NHS is not the envy of the world.”

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Rachel Reeves pledges no return to austerity under Labour

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Rachel Reeves pledges no return to austerity under Labour

Rachel Reeves has ruled out increases to income tax or national insurance if Labour are elected in this year's general election. Speaking on BBC One’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg on 26 May, the shadow chancellor pledged that there would not be a "return to austerity" under their government, noting that she would not put forward “unfunded proposals”. Ms Reeves has joined Sir Keir Starmer in his view that taxes on working people should be lower. "I don’t want to make any cuts to public spending which is why we’ve announced the immediate injection of cash into public services," she added.

Holly Evans27 May 2024 07:00

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Lib Dems getting best response ‘for a generation, says leader

Sir Ed Davey has said the Liberal Democrats are getting the best response from voters “for a generation” ahead of the General Election.

The party leader also criticised the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt and other Conservative MPs for taking their constituents “for granted”.

Speaking at the Lib Dems’ campaign launch in Cambridgeshire, Sir Ed told the PA news agency: “I’m not putting a ceiling on our ambitions.

“All I’m doing is talking to voters with my teams across the country, and the Liberal Democrats are getting a great response – a better response than we’ve had for a generation.

“I was elected back in 1997 and this feels to me quite a bit like that. I don’t worry about the other parties, I’m just excited about our job and excited about change.”

Holly Evans27 May 2024 06:00

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Is Sunak’s election campaign the worst in history?

He is soaked in Downing Street on his launch, drowned out by triumphant Blair’s anthem, his MPs are fleeing the battlefield and he visits a Titanic museum. When you think things cannot get worse for Rishi Sunak, they do. Is this the worst start to an election campaign in history?

Those with a distant memory can recall Michael Foot’s 1983 election campaign for Labour with the manifesto described by the late Gerald Kaufman as “the longest suicide note in history”.

But what went down in folklore as the worst ever election campaign – one which nearly saw the destruction of Labour – may have found its match in catastrophic miscalculations and farce.

Read the full analysis from our political editor David Maddox here:

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Is Sunak’s election campaign the worst in history?

Every time you think this election campaign cannot get worse for Rishi Sunak, it somehow does, writes Political Editor David Maddox

Holly Evans27 May 2024 05:30

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Labour and Tories to clash on security after national service announcement

Labour and the Tories will clash over security as campaigning for the General Election enters its first full week after the Conservatives announced plans to introduce national service.

In a keynote speech ahead of polling day, Sir Keir Starmer will say that “economic security, border security, and national security” will form the “bedrock” of the party manifesto.

Meanwhile, Rishi Sunak will be hammering his message that the Conservatives will take “bold action” to deliver “a secure future for the next generation”.

The Tories have announced that all 18-year-olds would be made to undertake a form of “mandatory” national service if they are re-elected on July 4.

Teenagers would choose between taking a 12-month placement in the armed forces or “volunteer” work in their community one weekend a month for a year under the proposals.

Holly Evans27 May 2024 05:00

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Wes Streeting’s three-word formula for how Labour will govern

Wes Streeting has set out a three-word vision of the guiding philosophy of a Labour government if, as expected, it wins power on 4 July.

The shadow health secretary had echoes of Tony Blair’s New Labour when he promised that his party would be “compensatory, not confiscatory”.

Mr Streeting was in discussion with The Independent’s editor-in-chief Geordie Greig in front of an audience at the Hay Festival, discussing the election, politics and his book One Boy, Two Bills and a Fry Up.

Read the full article here from our political editor David Maddox here:

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Wes Streeting’s three-word formula for how Labour will govern

The shadow health secretary has signalled Labour is ready to usher in a new era of Blairism but with an update

Holly Evans27 May 2024 04:30

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Is Labour trying to rig election system with plans for votes at 16?

While much of the election debate is around the personalities of Rishi Sunak versus Keir Starmer or their economic plans or even their proposals to tackle the migration crisis, there are some other serious underlying issues at stake.

One of these is electoral and political reform which is being pushed by Starmer.

The Labour leader has previously spoken of his desire to replace the House of Lords with an elected chamber but rowed back on this. The one policy he has made clear he is committed to as this election gets underway is to give the vote to 16-year-olds. He has also discussed giving it to EU citizens who have not taken British nationality.

Read the full analysis here from our political editor David Maddox:

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Is Labour trying to rig election system with plans for votes at 16?

Keir Starmer says he will allow 16- and 17-year-olds to have the vote, leading to claims by Tory MPs that he wants to ‘rig future elections’. Political editor David Maddox looks into whether the accusation is true or if the Labour leader is just trying to be fair

Holly Evans27 May 2024 04:00

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‘No return to austerity’ under Labour government, Reeves claims

'No return to austerity' under Labour government, Rachel Reeves claims

Holly Evans27 May 2024 03:30

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Minister said there were ‘no plans’ for national service policy three days ago

A Tory minister rejected the prospect of national service just two days before Rishi Sunak announced his party would introduce it for teenagers if they win the general election.

Responding to a written parliamentary question, defence minister Andrew Murrison said there were “no plans” to introduce the controversial policy.

The MP, who represents South West Wiltshire, added that it could damage morale if “potentially unwilling” recruits were forced to serve alongside armed forces personnel.

Read the full article here:

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Minister said there were ‘no plans’ for national service policy three days ago

Defence minister Andrew Murrison said national service could ‘damage morale’ if introduced

Holly Evans27 May 2024 03:00

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Nigel Farage condemned for 'race baiting' after claim Muslims are 'hostile to British values'

Nigel Farage signalled a return to right-wing shock tactics for his Reform UK party, as he used his first election interview to attack Muslims in the UK for “not sharing British values”.

Speaking to Sir Trevor Phillips on Sky News this morning, Mr Farage accused Rishi Sunak of “not being a leader” and instead being “a follower of focus groups” who is “not willing to tackle the real issues in this country”.

He was dismissive of Tory plans to reintroduce compulsory national service for school leavers, describing the policy as “a joke” but then stunned Sir Trevor by launching into an attack on millions of voters.

Read the full article here:

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Nigel Farage condemned for 'race baiting' over attack on British Muslims

Nigel Farage shocked Sky News presenter Trevor Phillips with an attack on British Muslims as he begins campaigning for Reform UK

Holly Evans27 May 2024 02:30

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What is mandatory National Service and how would it work as Rishi Sunak announces scheme

Rishi Sunak has announced that 18-year-olds would be made to do national service if the Tories win the general election.

It is the Conservatives’ first major policy proposal since Mr Sunak hastily announced the general election in the pouring rain on Wednesday afternoon, with his party now scrambling to find some 190 candidates amid a post-war record exodus of Tory MPs.

The prime minister insisted on that his plans for mandatory national service would help unite society in an “increasingly uncertain world” and give young people a “shared sense of purpose”. In an apparent pitch to older voters, Mr Sunak said that volunteering could include helping local fire, police and NHS services, as well as charities tackling loneliness and supporting elderly and isolated people.

Read the full article here:

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What is National Service and how would it work as Sunak announces mandatory scheme

What exactly are the Tories proposing and could teenagers could be arrested for refusing call-up?

Holly Evans27 May 2024 02:00

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