Election campaign day 22: Starmer lays out his blueprint for power

Election campaign day 22: Starmer lays out his blueprint for power

Sir Keir Starmer has set out his plan to turn round the country after 14 years of Tory “chaos” but warned there are no “quick fixes”.

Here are the key moments from day 22 of the General Election campaign:

– Starmer’s power play

Sir Keir Starmer had promised there would be no surprises when Labour unvelied its election manifesto – and he certainly proved as good as his word.

The lavishly illustrated 136-page document came with a black and white cover photo of the Labour leader, sleeves rolled up, looking serious, and a one word title “Change”.

Inside, however, there was little by way of new policy, prompting one journalist to ask if he was “Captain Caution” in contrast to Rishi Sunak who had “thrown the kitchen sink” at his party’s blueprint for government.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies said the the tax and spending changes it set out were “trivial”.

In his address, Sir Keir – who is sitting on a 20-point opinion poll lead – acknowledged there was no “magic wand” he could wave to solve the country’s many problems but insisted that the manifesto represented “a credible long-term plan”.

Sir Keir Starmer and deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner watched by Labour supporters standing on a spiral staircase
Sir Keir Starmer and deputy leader Angela Rayner at Labour’s manifesto launch at Co-op HQ in Manchester (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

The one unscripted moment at the Co-op headquarters in Manchester came when he was briefly heckled by a climate change protester, a cue for the Labour leader to remind listeners of one his favourite themes.

“We gave up on being a party of protest five years ago,” he said to cheers from the Labour faithful. “We want to be a party in power.”

– Quote of the day

– Taking a punt

Mr Sunak’s decision to call the election for July 4 caught most of Westminster – not to say the rest of the country – on the hop.

So, it should perhaps come as no surprise that the Gambling Commission is now taking an interest into how one of his closest aides came to place a £100 bet that there would be a July election just three days before the Prime Minister’s big announcement.

Craig Williams, who was MP for Montgomery and Mr Sunak’s parliamentary private secretary in the last parliament, acknowledged he had made a “huge error of judgment” and said he would “fully co-operate” with the commission’s inquiry.

“I will not be expanding on that statement because it’s an independent process,” he said.

With Mr Williams now the Tory candidate for the new seat of Montgomeryshire and Glyndwr, Plaid Cymru have questioned the “propriety” of him continuing to run.

Foreign Secretary David Cameron said he would have to face the consequences of his “very foolish decision”, but with nominations having closed last week, he suggested it was too late to stop him standing for the Conservatives.

– Picture of the day

Rishi Sunak is welcomed to the G7 summit by Italian prime minister Giorgia Meloni as they both smile at each other
Rishi Sunak is welcomed to the G7 summit by Italian prime minister Giorgia Meloni (Christopher Furlong/PA)

– Foreign relations

While Sir Keir was making his pitch, Mr Sunak was taking the opportunity of an enforced break from campaigning to look prime ministerial strutting the international stage.

Having been panned for missing the international leaders gathering at the D-Day commemorations in Normandy, Mr Sunak headed to Italy for what he is hoping will not be his final G7 summit.

While he preferred last week to spend his time being interviewed by ITV, it was possibly a last chance to rub shoulders with the likes of presidents Joe Biden and Emmanuel Macron.

He was warmly welcomed to Puglia by Italian prime minister Georgia Meloni.

The two leaders have previously found common ground on migration and Mr Sunak was expected to use the occasion to press his fellow leaders to take collective action “across the route” to address the issue.

– Intergalatic challenge

Sir Keir may be harbouring hopes of taking power at Westminster, but that it is nothing on the ambitions of another Mr Sunak’s challengers.

Count Binface, who is standing against the Prime Minister in the North Yorkshire constituency of Richmond and Northallerton, said his aim is nothing less than to “conquer the entire omniverse”.

A man standing in fancy dress dressed as an alien called Count Binface outside the Houses of Parliament
Count Binface is standing against Rishi Sunak in Richmond and Northallerton (Aaron Chown/PA)

While Mr Sunak may not exactly be quaking in his boots, the self-styled “intergalatic space warrior” from the planet Recyclon – otherwise known as the comedian Jonathan David Harvey – cautioned he had a record in taking on Tory leaders.

“I’ve taken on Mrs May in electoral combat and what happened to her? I took on Mr Johnson, what happened to him? I’m still standing,” he said.

– Plaid Swifties

Plaid Cymru leader Rhun ap Iorwerth may not not look like an obvious Taylor Swift fan, but the US singing megastar is apparently providing the soundtrack to his election campaign.

Rhun ap Iorwerth standing in front of a green Plaid Cymru backdrop
Plaid Cymru leader Rhun ap Iorwerth at the launch of his party’s election manifesto (Ben Birchall/PA)

“I think Taylor Swift has got to be the background to this election. She is taking the world by storm,” the 51-year-old father of three said following his party’s manifesto launch in Cardiff.

He even revealed that he has a favourite track – Anti-Hero – in which the singer admits she may be getting older but “never wiser”.

– Social media moment

Labour candidate for Brent East Dawn Butler marked the halfway point of the election campaign through song, opting to rap her own version of So Solid Crew’s 21 Seconds To Go, changing the words to “21 days to go”.

Filmed in her constituency, the Labour candidate raps: “Rishi at D-Day, where did he go? Like don’t let a liar run the show.”

– What the polls are saying

Two nationwide opinion polls have been published in the past 24 hours, both of which show Labour maintaining a large lead over the Conservatives.

A line chart showing the seven-day rolling average for political parties in opinion polls from February 13 to June 13, with the final point showing Labour on 43%, Conservatives 22%, Reform 14%, Lib Dems 10% and Green 6%. Source: PA graphic
(PA Graphics)

Verian gives Labour a lead of 21 percentage points while Norstat puts Labour 20 points ahead.

An average of all polls that were carried out wholly or partly during the seven days to June 13 puts Labour on 43%, 21 points ahead of the Conservatives on 22%, followed by Reform on 14%, the Lib Dems on 10% and the Greens on 6%.

– What’s happening tomorrow

Mr Sunak is in Italy for day two of the G7 leaders summit.

Sir Keir is interviewed by the BBC.