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Election campaign day 24: Starmer hits out at ‘desperate’ Tory tax attacks

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer and shadow health secretary, Wes Streeting meet patients and staff at Bassetlaw Hospital in Nottinghamshire (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer and shadow health secretary, Wes Streeting meet patients and staff at Bassetlaw Hospital in Nottinghamshire (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Sir Keir Starmer lashed out at the Tories as he denied claims Labour was planning a secret tax raid on families across the country.

Here are the key moments from day 24 of the General Election campaign:

– Starmer finds making gains is taxing

Sir Keir Starmer hit out at “desperate” Tory tactics as he was forced to publicly rule out imposing capital gains tax (CGT) on the sale of family homes.

The Conservatives claimed Labour is plotting a series of tax raids, including making the sale of a primary residence liable for CGT for the first time.

But Sir Keir, on a campaign visit to a hospital in Worksop, said it “was never a policy so it doesn’t need ruling out, but let’s rule it out in case anybody pretends that it was”.

Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner also stressed the importance of economic growth to funding her party’s plans, telling reporters on a visit to West Lothian: ”We can’t tax our way out of this problem, the Tories have shown us what high tax and unfunded commitments have made to our economy, working people have paid the price.”

– The waiting game

Sir Keir was forced to defend Labour’s claim that NHS waiting lists could reach 10 million if the Tories win another term in office.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies has said it is “highly unlikely” that would happen.

But Sir Keir defended the claim: “What we’ve said is if the list was to increase at the same rate as it’s increased since Rishi Sunak has been Prime Minister, we will get – if we had five more years of the Tories – to 10 million on that waiting list.”

A Tory spokesman accused Labour of “scaremongering because they don’t have a plan”.

 – Mercer issues fresh Tory warning to would-be Reform UK voters

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Johnny Mercer (right) during a Q&A event in north west London
Johnny Mercer and Rishi Sunak share a laugh (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Veterans minister Johnny Mercer has become the latest senior Tory to warn would-be Reform UK voters they could end up handing Sir Keir “unchecked” power in a landslide win.

He told Times Radio: “If you vote for Reform, you’re going to get a Labour government, you’ll get unchecked power from a Labour government to come in and change the face of this country into something that I don’t believe it is, I don’t think it is a left-wing country.”

He acknowledged that his seat, which has a notional majority of 13,262 if the 2019 contest was fought on the current boundaries, was at risk.

He said Conservative Campaign HQ (CCHQ) “should be worried about me, it’s very hard out there on the doors and the polling is very much against us”.

Mr Mercer insisted the door-to-door campaign was “great fun” but “it’s when you come home and see the media and all the rest of it that morale plummets”.

– Picture of the day

Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner and Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar at Broxburn Family and Community development centre in Livingston
Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner and Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar at Broxburn Family and Community development centre in Livingston (Andy Buchanan/PA)

– Sunak Trooping on

Rishi Sunak’s prime ministerial responsibilities have again kept him off the campaign trail.

He was at the Trooping the Colour ceremony to celebrate the King’s official birthday and was then flying to Switzerland for a major international summit on Ukraine.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his wife Akshata Murty during the Trooping the Colour ceremony
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his wife Akshata Murty during the Trooping the Colour ceremony (Yui Mok/PA)

Mr Sunak’s absence from the campaign on Saturday follows Thursday and Friday spent in Italy at the G7 summit.

– Farage punches the bruise 

Nigel Farage could not resist highlighting Tory divisions about how to respond to Reform UK’s threat.

Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron used a Times interview to hit out at the Reform leader for wanting to “destroy” the Conservatives.

But former home secretary Suella Braverman – a potential successor to Mr Sunak if the Tories are defeated and she retains her seat – used a Telegraph interview to say “we shouldn’t have this split on the right”.

Mr Farage said the differing positions within the Tory ranks “sums them up”.

– SNP highlights Brexit nightmare for Scottish food and drink

Scotland’s deputy First Minister Kate Forbes said SNP MPs would protect Scottish food industries like salmon producers.

She said neither the Tories nor Labour were “prepared or willing to reverse the damage that Brexit has unleashed”.

She visited DFDS Logistics in Larkhall, South Lanarkshire, which is the largest haulage company for the Scottish salmon and seafood industry, to highlight the “trade nightmare” caused by Brexit.

Ms Forbes said: “Since the moment we left the European Union, from workforce shortages to dodgy international trade deals, Brexit has spelled nothing but disaster for food and drink industries across Scotland, who have paid a hard price for a Brexit we didn’t vote for.”

– At least he could probably organise a party in a brewery….

Chris French behind the bar of The Mitre in Richmond
Chris French behind the bar of The Mitre (Chris French/PA)

Landlord Chris French has registered his pub as a political party in order to stand in the General Election.

The owner of The Mitre pub in Richmond, south-west London, said it was a chance to “get the free advertising on 77,000 ballot papers” in the Richmond Park seat.

And his pitch to his would-be constituents? “I’d rather them come down and start spending some money in the pub than vote for me to be honest.”

– Social media moment

Reform UK’s Nigel Farage was stopped by a group of musicians asking the party’s leader to follow them on social media.

“Do you reckon we could get a video of you shouting out our band?,” one of the young boys asks, while Mr Farage replied: “I don’t know if you’re any good though, do I?”

The band, known as The Sun Rays, proceeds to show a video of their music to Mr Farage, prompting one of the band members to say: “Is that good enough to win your approval and follow us? I think it is, personally.”

Farage replied “You are cocky, aren’t you? Which is a good attribute. You’ll go a long way in life like that,” before agreeing to follow them on social media and take a video with the band in which he describes them as “young, full of enthusiasm and optimistic”.

– What’s happening tomorrow?

The weekly battle for the Sunday morning airwaves will see Transport Secretary Mark Harper and shadow health secretary Wes Streeting deployed for action.

Green party co-leader Adrian Ramsay will also be among the guests on Sky News’ Sunday Morning With Trevor Phillips.

Over on the BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg, Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey and Plaid Cymru’s Rhun ap Iorwerth will join the Tory and Labour frontbenchers.