Boris Johnson ‘out of touch’ over cost of living crisis, says Keir Starmer
Party leaders are due to visit key battlegrounds today on the last day of political campaigning before voters go to the polls for the local elections on Thursday.
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.
Speaking ahead of his Wakefield visit, Sir Keir accused the Conservatives of “doing nothing” to help with rising energy and food costs.
Nicola Sturgeon also slammed the Tories over the cost-of-living crisis, saying they have “run out of excuses for their negligent inaction”.
Sir Ed said the elections are a “chance to send a shockwave from communities around the country to the heart of the Conservative Party”, adding that the prime minister is “not fit to lead the country and he needs to go”.
Meanwhile, Mr Johnson admitted that families “are feeling the pinch as the cost of living rises”.
But writing in the Express, he accused Labour and Lib Dem councils of being focused on “woke crusades to change street names and tear down statues”.
All Covid fines should be overturned after PM defended breaching lockdown rules, argues lawyer
Every Covid fine issued should be overturned after prime minister Boris Johnson defended his attendance at a lockdown-busting Downing Street party, a lawyer has argued.
Penalties written up for more than 20 businesses in the gym sector have been waived in recent months.
Lucinda Nicholls, who successfully represented the 23 firms and is still fighting on behalf of seven more, said evidence presented against her clients was seriously deficient.
The validity of the penalties – issued to at least 100,000 individuals and about 900 businesses – has also been called into question after Mr Johnson claimed in his Partygate defence that he was confused by his own government’s rules, she added.
My colleague Lamiat Sabin reporting the details.
Namita Singh4 May 2022 07:01
Energy suppliers given three weeks to explain ‘excessive direct debit hikes’
Some energy suppliers have excessively hiked customers’ direct debit payments beyond what is required, the business secretary has said as he gave them a three-week deadline to explain themselves or face “substantial fines”.
Household energy bills have soared in the UK after the regulator Ofgem raised its price cap by 54 per cent in April in response to a record rise in wholesale gas prices – bringing an average increase of £693.
But the regulator warned a fortnight later that it had seen “troubling signs” of “bad practices” by some suppliers, including potentially “increasing direct debit payments by more than is necessary”, amid reports that some customers have seen their payments double – or even triple.
Namita Singh4 May 2022 07:00
People should win positions on merit, says Johnson
Boris Johnson said that parliamentarians should be selected “on their merits” as he refused to back all-female shortlists ahead of the by-election in Tiverton and Honiton.
Speaking on Times Radio, the prime minister said that selection processes would be left to local associations, adding that Conservatives should be “incredibly proud” of promoting women in politics.
It comes after Neil Parish stepped down after being named as the MP caught watching porn in the House of Commons.
Namita Singh4 May 2022 06:58
77-year-old Elsie ‘disappointed with PM’s response’
ITV presenter Susanna Reid says that 77-year-old Elsie was “disappointed” with Boris Johnson’s response, after he was informed on Good Morning Britain that the Londoner was forced to cut down to one meal a day and travel around on buses to keep her bills down.
Former London mayor Mr Johnson said: “The 24-hour Freedom bus pass was something that I actually introduced.”
He said there are “plenty of things that… more that we are doing”, adding: “What we want to do is make sure that we have people who are in particular hardship looked after by their councils, so we are putting much more money into local councils.
“We have the particular payments to help elderly people in particular with the cost of heating.”
Read more about what Elsie told Reid following her interview with the prime minister in this report:
Namita Singh4 May 2022 06:36
Johnson admits families ‘feeling the pinch’
Prime minister Boris Johnson, who is expected to visit Hampshire later today, has admitted that “families across the country are feeling the pinch” of the rising cost of living.
“That’s why we’re focused on growing the economy to address the cost of living, and it’s why keeping bills down and cutting council waste is more important than ever,” he wrote in the Express.
“It’s why we gave more than 20 million households a non-repayable £150 council tax rebate this month, paid straight into people’s bank accounts.”
He accused Labour and Lib Dem councils of being focused on “woke crusades to change street names and tear down statues”.
“It’s Conservative councils and councillors across the country who deliver better local services while managing your money wisely,” he said.
Namita Singh4 May 2022 06:08
‘Johnson not fit to lead the country’
Ahead of a last day campaigning in the south east of England, Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey said that prime minister Boris Johnson “is not fit to lead the country and he needs to go”.
The elections are “chance to send a shockwave from communities around the country to the heart of the Conservative Party,” Sir Ed added.
Namita Singh4 May 2022 05:51
Conservative ‘doing nothing’ to help with rising energy and food costs, says Sir Keir
Sir Keir Starmer accused the Conservatives of “doing nothing” to help with rising energy and food costs.
Ahead of his Wednesday visit to Hampshire, Sir Keir said: “The Conservatives are doing nothing to help people now. Instead, they’ve made it worse by imposing 15 Tory tax rises – including this month’s national insurance rise on business and working people.
“Labour’s plan to tackle the cost-of-living crisis puts money back in your pocket. Our call for an emergency budget would mean action now.
“We wouldn’t go ahead with this unfair Conservative tax hike on working people which is the wrong tax at the wrong time.”
He repeated Labour’s call for an emergency budget and a windfall tax on oil and gas producers.
“On Thursday you can send a message to the Tories that they can’t ignore. Britain deserves better,” he said.
Namita Singh4 May 2022 05:47
Sturgeon says Tories have ‘run out of excuses’ over cost-of-living crisis
The Conservatives have “run out of excuses for their negligent inaction” on the cost-of-living crisis that is “hammering families across Scotland”, Nicola Sturgeon has said.
Speaking ahead of Thursday’s local elections, the first minister also claimed that voting for the SNP would “put Boris Johnson under real pressure to act now and help families out” as the crisis continues to spiral.
Ms Sturgeon made the comments from the party’s campaign bus which was set to arrive in Edinburgh on Wednesday, the final day of campaigning.
My colleague Tom Ambrose reports.
Namita Singh4 May 2022 05:20
Welcome to The Independent’s live blog on UK politics for 4 May 2022, bringing you all the latest updates on the final day of campaigning before the local elections on Thursday.
Namita Singh4 May 2022 04:51