Starmer talks energy and Sunak seeks migration cap, as Farage plans ‘revolt’

Sir Keir Starmer will promise to “close the door” on Vladimir Putin with homegrown energy and Rishi Sunak will aim to close the door on migrants with an annual visa cap, as they prepared to go head-to-head in their first televised clash.

The party leaders will also try to close the door on new Reform leader Nigel Farage, who will launch his campaign in Clacton, after a dramatic intervention in the election when he announced not just that he would be standing as a candidate in the Essex constituency, but also that he would be taking over as leader of the party.

Mr Farage said the election needed a bit of “gingering up”, as he described it as “the dullest, most boring election campaign we have ever seen in our lives”.

He added that he wanted to lead a “political revolt”, saying: “Yes, a revolt. A turning of our backs on the political status quo.”

On day 13 of the campaign, the Prime Minister and the Labour leader will go head-to-head in an ITV debate at 9pm.

Sir Keir will say his party would “close the door on” the Russian leader by reducing Britain’s reliance on fossil fuel from overseas.

The Labour leader will claim his party’s plan to set up a publicly owned clean energy company, GB Energy, will help to protect the UK from spikes in the price of fuel like those that followed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

He said: “With Great British Energy, my changed Labour Party will close the door on Putin.

“Energy policy is now a matter of national security. It is a key component of our country’s resilience and capacity to weather future shocks.

“We simply cannot afford to remain as vulnerable to price spikes as we have been in the past.

“Keeping the lights on and heating our homes should not mean leaving our front door open to Russia.”

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer and shadow defence secretary John Healey
Sir Keir Starmer and shadow defence secretary John Healey (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

The party said the firm will be headquartered in Scotland and funded through a windfall tax on big oil and gas firms, with an initial £8.3 billion capitalisation over the course of a parliament.

However, the Scottish Conservatives claimed “reckless plans” from Labour and the SNP on oil and gas mean the “entire economy” in north-east Scotland is “on the line” in the General Election.

Party leader Douglas Ross raised fears that both parties plan to halt new oil and gas developments, saying this would “turn off the taps in the North Sea”.

The Conservatives will propose an annual cap on worker and family visas in their efforts to ensure immigration figures fall year on year in a future parliament.

More than 10,000 migrants have arrived in the UK so far this year after crossing the Channel and immigration has become a key campaign battleground.

The proposed plan would give Parliament a direct role in setting levels of migration, with MPs having a vote on the number.

Mr Sunak said: “We have taken bold action to cut the number of people coming to this country. The plan is working but migration levels are still too high, so we are going further.

“Labour’s migrant amnesty will make the UK a global magnet for illegal immigrants and they have no plan to reduce net migration, while we have a clear plan to stop the boats and put a legal cap on numbers.

“The Conservatives are the only party that is willing take the bold action needed to cut immigration figures.”

The annual cap would be imposed on the number of visas that can be granted to those coming to the UK on work or family routes.

Temporary work routes, such as seasonal agricultural workers, would not fall within the cap.

The Liberal Democrats are promising action on an issue described as “deeply personal” for party Leader Sir Ed Davey, as they say day-to-day care for adults in need, including the elderly and disabled, would be free.

Provision of care should be based on need rather than ability to pay, the party said, as it promised what it described as free personal care for people either at home or in care homes.

This would cover nursing care, help with mobility, hygiene and medication, it said, adding that people in residential care would still have to contribute towards their accommodation.

Sir Ed said: “As a carer for my disabled son, and after caring for my ill mother when I was young, care is deeply personal for me.

“That is why I am putting fixing the care crisis at the heart of the Liberal Democrat offer to the country at this election.”

The party said its plan for England – based on the model introduced by the Lib Dems in government in Scotland in 2002 – would cost £2.7 billion a year by 2028-29 and would be “fully funded” by reversing tax cuts for the big banks since 2016.

The Lib Dems said their plan could also save the NHS up to £3 billion a year through reduced pressure on hospitals and other NHS services.