General election: Nigel Farage says aim should be ‘zero’ net migration – UK politics live

From 13m ago

Opening summary

Good morning, and welcome to our continued coverage of the 2024 general election campaign.

Rishi Sunak is poised to propose an annual visa cap to try to reduce immigration ahead of his debate with Keir Starmer, the Labour party leader, on ITV tonight.

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

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

The already under pressure prime minister, who, according to most polls, is on course to lose the 4 July general election many are now saying he called prematurely, is focusing on immigration as this is an area the Conservatives feel particularly vulnerable to Reform on.

On BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Farage said the UK should aim for “zero” net migration – the difference between numbers of people arriving and leaving. We will have more for you on this shortly.

Nigel Farage speaks during a campaign event ahead of the UK general election on 4 July.
Nigel Farage speaks during a campaign event ahead of the UK general election on 4 July. Photograph: Henry Nicholls/AFP/Getty Images

Suank’s campaign suffered a damaging blow yesterday after Farage, the former Ukip and Brexit party leader, called a surprise press conference in London to announce he intended to stand as an MP in Clacton, Essex and lead the Reform party for the next five years.

In a further blow to Sunak, YouGov’s first MRP constituency projection, before Farage’s announcement, showed Keir Starmer could win a 194 majority, bigger even than Tony Blair’s 179 majority in 1997.

It put Labour on 422 seats (+222 from the 2019 election, based on new constituency boundaries), the Tories on 140 (-232), the Lib Dems on 48 (+40) and the SNP on 17 (-31). One senior Tory described Farage’s return as an “existential” risk.

Farage has suggested his long-term aim was to effectively take over the Conservative party, which has been in damage limitation mode since the announcement.

He told ITV’s Good Morning Britain on Tuesday that he could not stand for or seek to lead the Conservative party “as they currently are”.

But he added:

You can speculate as to what’ll happen in three or four years’ time, all I will tell you is if Reform succeed in the way that I think they can, then a chunk of the Conservative party will join us – it’s the other way around.

Here is a list of what is on today’s agenda:

  • Keir Starmer is to make energy policy announcement (around 9am) on campaign visit to North West

  • Labour’s ruling body, the National Executive Committee, is expected to meet to endorse the party’s candidates for the general election.

  • James Cleverley and Nigel Farage are answering broadcast questions on the morning rounds.

  • Nigel Farage to launch general election campaign in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex.

  • Lib Dem leader Ed Davey campaign visits to Cheadle this morning and North Shropshire this afternoon.

  • Rachel Reeves and Anas Sarwar will hold a Q&A in Edinburgh with staff working in financial services.

  • Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer in ITV general election debate at 9pm. The debate will be followed at 2210 by interviews with leaders of other parties with the Liberal Democrats, SNP, Reform UK and the Greens invited.

It is Yohannes Lowe here for the next couple of hours. I will try to look at as many comments as possible but if you want to get my attention then please do email me on yohannes.lowe@theguardian.com.

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Updated at 08.51 BST

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Good morning, and welcome to our continued coverage of the 2024 general election campaign.

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Farage speaks during a campaign event ahead of the UK general election on 4 July.","caption":"Nigel Farage speaks during a campaign event ahead of the UK general election on 4 July.","credit":"Photograph: Henry Nicholls/AFP/Getty Images"}},{"_type":"model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement","html":"

Suank’s campaign suffered a damaging blow yesterday after Farage, the former Ukip and Brexit party leader, called a surprise press conference in London to announce he intended to stand as an MP in Clacton, Essex and lead the Reform party for the next five years.

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In a further blow to Sunak, YouGov’s first MRP constituency projection, before Farage’s announcement, showed Keir Starmer could win a 194 majority, bigger even than Tony Blair’s 179 majority in 1997.

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It put Labour on 422 seats (+222 from the 2019 election, based on new constituency boundaries), the Tories on 140 (-232), the Lib Dems on 48 (+40) and the SNP on 17 (-31). One senior Tory described Farage’s return as an “existential” risk.

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Farage has suggested his long-term aim was to effectively take over the Conservative party, which has been in damage limitation mode since the announcement.

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He told ITV’s Good Morning Britain on Tuesday that he could not stand for or seek to lead the Conservative party “as they currently are”.

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But he added:

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\n

You can speculate as to what’ll happen in three or four years’ time, all I will tell you is if Reform succeed in the way that I think they can, then a chunk of the Conservative party will join us – it’s the other way around.

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Here is a list of what is on today’s agenda:

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  • Keir Starmer is to make energy policy announcement (around 9am) on campaign visit to North West

  • \n

  • Labour’s ruling body, the National Executive Committee, is expected to meet to endorse the party’s candidates for the general election.

  • \n

  • James Cleverley and Nigel Farage are answering broadcast questions on the morning rounds.

  • \n

  • Nigel Farage to launch general election campaign in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex.

  • \n

  • Lib Dem leader Ed Davey campaign visits to Cheadle this morning and North Shropshire this afternoon.

  • \n

  • Rachel Reeves and Anas Sarwar will hold a Q&amp;A in Edinburgh with staff working in financial services.

  • \n

  • Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer in ITV general election debate at 9pm. The debate will be followed at 2210 by interviews with leaders of other parties with the Liberal Democrats, SNP, Reform UK and the Greens invited.

  • \n

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It is Yohannes Lowe here for the next couple of hours. I will try to look at as many comments as possible but if you want to get my attention then please do email me on yohannes.lowe@theguardian.com.

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Key events

The home secretary, James Cleverly, has been asked about the Conservative’s commitment to capping the number of visas.

Asked on BBC Breakfast why they are not putting a number on the annual cap in visas, he said:

Well, we know that immigration, legal migration, has been too high over the last couple of years.

We’ve taken measures already which, as your report said, has now started to bring those figures down, measures that were opposed at the time by the Labour party.

But we also recognise, as your report said, there are benefits to migration. My mother came here as a migrant, as did many other people in the UK who have contributed enormously to our society and to our economy.

But migration – just as with every other public policy – comes at a cost and balancing the benefits and cost is what our new policy is going to do.

So, for the first time, we’re going to get the Migration Advisory Committee to crunch the numbers to look at both the benefit and the costs of migration levels. The Government will then set a cap on the number of visas it will issue in that year, something that will then be voted on by parliament.

This will make sure we properly balance both the numbers of people coming here and the benefit they bring, but also the cost, whether it’s school places, housing demand, health places, etc.

Last month, figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that overall migration into the UK for 2022 was 606,000, which represented a 24% increase on the previous high of 488,000 last year.

Rishi Sunak was forced to concede this figure was too high as he was accused by right wing MPs of abandoning control of UK borders after net migration and the backlog of asylum claims reached record highs.

Opening summary

Good morning, and welcome to our continued coverage of the 2024 general election campaign.

Rishi Sunak is poised to propose an annual visa cap to try to reduce immigration ahead of his debate with Keir Starmer, the Labour party leader, on ITV tonight.

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

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

The already under pressure prime minister, who, according to most polls, is on course to lose the 4 July general election many are now saying he called prematurely, is focusing on immigration as this is an area the Conservatives feel particularly vulnerable to Reform on.

On BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Farage said the UK should aim for “zero” net migration – the difference between numbers of people arriving and leaving. We will have more for you on this shortly.

Nigel Farage speaks during a campaign event ahead of the UK general election on 4 July. Photograph: Henry Nicholls/AFP/Getty Images

Suank’s campaign suffered a damaging blow yesterday after Farage, the former Ukip and Brexit party leader, called a surprise press conference in London to announce he intended to stand as an MP in Clacton, Essex and lead the Reform party for the next five years.

In a further blow to Sunak, YouGov’s first MRP constituency projection, before Farage’s announcement, showed Keir Starmer could win a 194 majority, bigger even than Tony Blair’s 179 majority in 1997.

It put Labour on 422 seats (+222 from the 2019 election, based on new constituency boundaries), the Tories on 140 (-232), the Lib Dems on 48 (+40) and the SNP on 17 (-31). One senior Tory described Farage’s return as an “existential” risk.

Farage has suggested his long-term aim was to effectively take over the Conservative party, which has been in damage limitation mode since the announcement.

He told ITV’s Good Morning Britain on Tuesday that he could not stand for or seek to lead the Conservative party “as they currently are”.

But he added:

You can speculate as to what’ll happen in three or four years’ time, all I will tell you is if Reform succeed in the way that I think they can, then a chunk of the Conservative party will join us – it’s the other way around.

Here is a list of what is on today’s agenda:

  • Keir Starmer is to make energy policy announcement (around 9am) on campaign visit to North West

  • Labour’s ruling body, the National Executive Committee, is expected to meet to endorse the party’s candidates for the general election.

  • James Cleverley and Nigel Farage are answering broadcast questions on the morning rounds.

  • Nigel Farage to launch general election campaign in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex.

  • Lib Dem leader Ed Davey campaign visits to Cheadle this morning and North Shropshire this afternoon.

  • Rachel Reeves and Anas Sarwar will hold a Q&A in Edinburgh with staff working in financial services.

  • Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer in ITV general election debate at 9pm. The debate will be followed at 2210 by interviews with leaders of other parties with the Liberal Democrats, SNP, Reform UK and the Greens invited.

It is Yohannes Lowe here for the next couple of hours. I will try to look at as many comments as possible but if you want to get my attention then please do email me on yohannes.lowe@theguardian.com.

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Updated at 08.51 BST

The Guardian