Boris Johnson ‘out of touch’ over cost of living crisis, says Keir Starmer
A Conservative minister has told struggling families that they can cut their household budget and save money by choosing “value brands” over “branded products”.
Environment secretary George Eustice said prices would continue to rise at the supermarket and will “undoubtedly put pressure” on household budgets amid the cost of living crisis.
He said: “Generally speaking, what people find is by going for some sort of value brand rather than own branded products they can actually contain and manage their household budget.”
Speaking to Sky News, the Tory minister also said that household spending on food in the UK is the “lowest in Europe” despite many families having to choose between food and rent.
He insisted that “the price of food doesn’t necessarily cause poverty, but what does is if you have very sharp rises in people’s energy costs”.
His comments come ahead of local elections on Thursday as party leaders are due to visit key battlegrounds today on the last day of political campaigning.
Boris Johnson is expected to visit Hampshire on Wednesday, while Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer will campaign in Wakefield and the Lib Dems’ Sir Ed Davey will visit electorates across the south east.
Boris Johnson put Michael Gove’s ‘embracing male chauvinism’ article on front cover
Michael Gove wrote an article arguing British men had been subject to a “collective cuckolding” and should learn to embrace male chauvinism in a story headlined ‘The male eunuch’.
Mr Gove’s 2001 piece was published by then-Spectator editor Boris Johnson, who gave it front-cover billing under the title: “The male eunuch – what the wimpy British can learn from the chauvinism of the French”.
Our policy correspondent Jon Stone reports:
Matt Mathers4 May 2022 10:10
Keir Starmer says police have not contacted him and insists team were ‘getting on with work’
Sir Keir Starmer has said police in Durham have not contacted him again after closing an investigation into an alleged breach of lockdown rules.
The Labour leader has been under pressure from Tory MPs over the beer and takeaway meal he and his team consumed during a campaign meeting last April in a Durham constituency office.
Our politics reporter Adam Forrest has more details:
Matt Mathers4 May 2022 09:55
Tory candidate pleads with voters not to ‘punish’ him for Partygate scandal
A Tory council candidate has pleaded with voters not to “punish” him for the Partygate scandal.
James Brewer, who is running in Hartlepool’s Burn Valley ward, wrote in campaign literature: “This Thursday, please don’t punish local Conservatives for the mistakes made in Westminster.
“We are local and proud of where we live, and like you, we want the best for Hartlepool.”
Matt Mathers4 May 2022 09:53
Sinn Fein ‘extends lead over DUP’
Nationalist party Sinn Fein has extended its lead over the Democratic Unionist Party, according to a poll.
The survey, published in the Irish News yesterday, puts Sinn Fein on 26.6 per cent against 18.2 per cent for the DUP.
The DUP is now neck and neck with the Alliance Party, also on 18.2 per cent.
Matt Mathers4 May 2022 09:38
Cabinet minister: PM will be ‘conscious of mood’ among MPs after Thursday
Boris Johnson will be “conscious of the mood” among Tory MPs following Thursday’s elections, a cabinet minister has conceded.
George Eustice, the environment secretary, reminded the prime minister “no government can get anything done unless it enjoys the support of the parliamentary party as a whole.”
Speaking to ITV GMB earlier, he added: “Of course the prime minister will be thinking about these things. “But for now, he’s also making sure that we deal with some of the international challenges like the problems in Ukraine, that we give them the support they need, that we help steer our economy through this period where we’re getting some inflationary pressures.
“And up and down the country we’ve got councillors fighting elections on local issues, things like planning, things like local council tax, and we’re doing our part and the Prime Minister is playing his part to support our councillors in those campaigns for tomorrow’s elections.”
Watch Mr Eustice’s interview below:
Matt Mathers4 May 2022 09:21
Reeves: Durham Police ‘has been clear’ no case for Starmer to answer on ‘beergate’
Durham Police has been “clear” that there is no case for Keir Starmer to answer over alleged claims he broke lockdown rules last year, Rachel Reeves has said.
The shadow chancellor spoke to BBC Breakfast earlier ahead of tomorrow’s local elections.
She said: “The prime minister and the chancellor have been fined by the Metropolitan Police whereas Durham police – where this alleged incident took place – said there’s no case to answer.
“The police have been very clear that in 10 Downing Street rule-breaking did happen and in Durham, Keir Starmer did not break the rules.”
Ms Reeves added: “Boris Johnson has lied and lied again, and then covered up the lies to Parliament about what happened at number 10. There is a world of difference between the rule-breaking and the fines that the Prime Minister and his office have received – compared to what Keir did – which is basically working all day in an office and stopping to have some food and a drink.
“Durham has been clear, there’s no case to answer. It didn’t break the rules and the Tory mudslinging is to try and distract from the rule-breaking at Number 10 but also from the cost-of-living crisis.”
Matt Mathers4 May 2022 09:02
Starmer: No pact with Lib Dems
Keir Starmer has again rejected claims that his party has entered into a pact with the Liberal Democrats for Thursday’s elections.
The allegation was made by Oliver Dowden, the Tory Party chairman.
The Liberal Democrats are expected to make gains in traditional Conservative heartlands in the south of England.
Speaking to GMB earlier, Labour leader Mr Starmer said: “No, we haven’t and we are actually standing more candidates in this election than any other party… more than we’ve stood for many years. We haven’t got a pact with the Lib Dems.”
He went on to say: “Firstly, I’m afraid I don’t take what Oliver Dowden says very seriously these days, but the fact that a few days before the local elections the only thing he wants to talk about is a Lib Dem/Labour pact rather than the issue which is the cost of living tells you everything about a government that’s absolutely out of ideas and is completely out of touch.”
Matt Mathers4 May 2022 08:46
Labour leader says he has not been contacted again by the police over alleged lockdown breach
Sir Keir Starmer has said police have not contacted him again after closing an investigation into an alleged breach of lockdown rules.
The Labour leader was asked if he had been questioned by officers since an initial probe after photos showed him having a beer and a takeaway with others last year.
Speaking to Good Morning Britain today, he said of the police: “I think they put out a statement last week saying they’re not reinvestigating and they haven’t spoken to me.”
Describing the incident, he said: “We’re on the road at the end of the day, we’re in the office preparing. Now, that evening, from memory, we were doing an online event for members because we had this get out the vote thing.”
He added: “At some point, this was in the evening, everybody’s hungry and then that takeaway was ordered.
“Restaurants and pubs were closed, so takeaways were really the only way you could eat.
“So, this was brought in and at various points people went through the kitchen, got a plate, had some food to eat and got on with their work.”
Maryam Zakir-Hussain4 May 2022 08:33
Minister tells struggling families to use ‘value brands’ – but insists oil and gas firms pay enough tax
Cabinet minister George Eustice has suggested that struggling families use value brands to save money, but ruled out a windfall levy on oil and gas firms by arguing that fossil fuel giants pay enough tax already.
The environment secretary said prices would continue to rise at the supermarket and will “undoubtedly put pressure” on household budgets amid the cost of living crisis.
Asked what hard-pressed families could do, he told Sky News: “Generally what people find is going for some of the value brands, rather than own-branded products they can actually contain and manage their household budget.”
My colleague Adam Forrest reports:
Maryam Zakir-Hussain4 May 2022 08:25
Shop prices soar to highest in 11 years due to rising energy costs and Ukraine conflict
Shop prices are up 2.7% on last year marking their highest rate of inflation since September 2011, figures show.
The impact of rising energy prices and the conflict in Ukraine continued to feed through into April’s retail prices, with no sign of them abating, according to the BRC-NielsenIQ Shop Price Index.
British Retail Consortium chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “Retailers will continue to do all they can to keep prices down and deliver value for their customers by limiting price rises and expanding their value ranges, but this will put pressure on them to find cost-savings elsewhere.
“Unfortunately, customers should brace themselves for further price rises and a bumpy road ahead.”
Maryam Zakir-Hussain4 May 2022 08:20