Thursday, July 25, 2024
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LIVE: Seven-Way ITV Election Clash

LIVE: Seven-Way ITV Election Clash

The same roster is back at it again tonight for ITV‘s seven-way debate. The venue is in Salford, Manchester. Julie Etchingham and a live audience will be running affairs. The debate is running for 90 minutes…

Representatives from each party are (like last time):

  • Tory: Penny Mordaunt
  • Labour: Angela Rayner
  • SNP: Stephen Flynn
  • LibDem: Daisy Cooper
  • Green: Carla Denyer
  • Reform: Nigel Farage
  • Plaid: Rhun ap Iorweth

Etchingham and co will be thinking of ways to make this one less sullen than its predecessor. Guido will provide live text-based updates below…

UPDATE: Proceedings have finished. Mordaunt and Rayner were the most combative with each other. This one was a little better than the last…

  • That’s it done.
  • Rhun: We need to do politics in a different. Plaid is here to offer a positive vision of what Wales could be. Our aspirations go unheard. Throughout UK there are communities who feel ignored and overlooked. I will stand up for Wales. Labour needs to be held to account too.
  • Farage: I don’t need a script. Britain is broken. Britain needs Reform. Starmer will win with big majority. Who will lead the opposition? Ed Davey won’t do that because he agrees with Labour, Sunak will be in California by then and Tories are about to implode. I will stand up against open borders, for small businesses. Join the revolt.
  • Flynn: Tories are finished. What comes next? There isn’t hope or optimism on display. Starmer offers status quo and more Brexit. SNP wants to rejoin single market and push forward net zero. Vote for that better future to put Scotland’s interests first.
  • Rayner: More chaos with Tories or change with Labour. Imagine waking up after election to more Tory government for five years. A vote for Labour is a vote to end the chaos. We can’t tax our way to growth. Stability is change. Bring down waiting times, secure streets and borders.
  • Cooper: It feels like we are fighting broken system. LibDems promise fair deal for working people. Tackle cost of living crisis and deal with sewage. Vote for LibDems is vote for strong local champion and for fair deal.
  • Mordaunt: Rayner has proved Labour will put up taxes. Their track record of hardship speaks for itself. Unemployment and tax will rise. They will tax pensions and homes. You need to know that they will push up your bills. These are hard truths – face them now or regret them later. If you value your pension or home don’t give a blank cheque to Labour.
  • Denyer: choice at election is about choosing future for kids. Labour will form government. But do they have real change offer? We deserve better. Who do you want on your side supporting your voice? Green MPs will never stop defending future and pushing Labour to think bigger.
  • Closing statements.
  • Denyer says safe seats mean politicians aren’t held to account. Answerability is needed.
  • Rhun mentions PPE corruption and partygate. Higher standards needed.
  • Mordaunt says if we can’t be honest about what’s in manifestos then there’s no point. Another jab at Rayner, who issues same response and says nations need to work together to get rid of Tories.
  • Cooper says trust in politics has been blown to pieces and names Boris and Sunak. It’s time for change.
  • Flynn and Farage joke at each other about Scottish independence vote.
  • Farage: First past the post has led to mushy SDP parties in the middle. An elected element to the House of Lords. Ability for people to call more referendums.
  • Flynn – if you’re doing well, vote for those who support others. If you’re doing badly, vote for those who support you.
  • Denyer: PR electoral system.
  • Rhun mentions thresholds again to applause. Politicians need to be truthful. Gething accepted £200,000 donation from convicted individual. Would Rayner have taken it?
  • Mordaunt says Tories are the only ones who will lower taxes and points at everyone saying “higher taxes.”
  • Rayner says we need politicians to play by the rules as well – bring back integrity and ethics into politics. People can’t go around breaking the rules as the last two PMs have done. Applause…
  • Cooper says LibDems believe in devolving power and PR.
  • Last question: public doesn’t trust political system. How will you fix this?
  • Rhun asks Rayner: Cuts and child poverty.Rayner says strategic No 10 unit will look at the issue. But multiple levers. Labour will tackle all of the issues that will help – uncosted spending commitments won’t help.
  • Cooper asks Penny: Trust – missed pledges. Why can anybody trust a word the Tories say on the NHS. Penny says many manifesto commitments have been met, healthcare professional numbers going up etc. but integrity is vital. It is not right to say you won’t increase taxes then do it, and attacks Labour on trident as well.
  • Flynn asks Rayner: Gaza, Labour backed a ceasefire late. On day one of Labour government will you end arms sales to Israel? Rayner says Israel had right to defend itself but loss of life since then and everyone has been pushing for a ceasefire. She says they will immediately review the legal advice and comply with international law.
  • Rayner asks Mordaunt: Would you let Farage into the Tory party? Penny says she’s a Brexiteer, that you should leave unreformable institutions, she set up a business, and she believes in personal responsibility. It may seem that she has stuff in common with him but he is helping Labour get in. Labour will raise taxes. They then argue about that point…
  • Back.
  • Another break.
  • Farage asks Mordaunt: Seeing as every manifesto since 2010 has said migration will go down, why should people believe this one. Penny says “because of the record of this PM”, to a lot of laughter. She says the numbers are down and migration cap will be enshrined in law. Numbers are projected to come down – the only alternative is Labour. Nigel is labelled a “Labour enabler.” Farage says Reform is ahead of Tories. Which lets him say “a vote for you is actually a vote for Labour”…
  • Mordaunt asks Rayner: Reeves hasn’t ruled out CGT hike. Will you commit to ruling that out? Rayner swerves by naming the other taxes that won’t be raised and says they don’t need to raise any others. Same line about nothing in the manifesto that needs the hike.
  • Denyer asks Rayner: Which of your u-turns are you most proud of? Rayner says what she’s not proud of is 14 years of Tories but Labour needs credible plan, she knows Labour can do it. Now they argue about funding of manifestos. Penny jumps in as well and is told off by Etchingham. She says “you can see I’m quite agitated”…
  • Participants now ask questions of others.
  • Flynn says Scotland is building more, Tories have cut capital budget for Scotland. SNP have introduced child payment to lift 150,000 out of poverty. Will the Labour party back it?
  • Denyer says Greens have a plan. More homes, 150,000 council homes a year – including councils buying current homes more easily. Plus rent controls.
  • Rayner asked if she’s on board. She says she won’t raise taxes on working people and rattles off some regular lines. Says the people using foodbanks are in work which is a travesty. Rhun attacks her for not supporting lifting it. Rayner says no unfunded spending commitments but brings up breakfast clubs.
  • Farage asked about Suella saying two-child benefit cap should be lifted. He says we should encourage people to have families and says yes, and that we need to encourage marriage tax breaks. New line alert…
  • Farage says we need vision. Increase personal allowance to £20,000 to get people off the benefits trap, and we need to rely less on unskilled foreign labour.
  • Cooper drops stealth tax attack on Mordaunt. Says mini-budget blew hole in public finances. Rhun says Tories missed opportunity to invest, what they chose to do was go for ideological drive to cut public spending. There is no ambition to invest from either major party.
  • Denyer says the simple problem is: money in is lower than money out.
  • Flynn attacks “Westminster Consensus” is the problem.
  • Flynn says public can’t stand single day more of Tory government. To some applause…
  • Mordaunt says we’ve been through tough times. The economy is now turning. Wages are growing. Labour will now raise taxes. People haven’t been told.
  • Etchingham lists some statistics on food parcels given out and poor growth of average incomes.
  • Denyer says get fairness back into the economy. Same with the higher tax line, £15 minimum wage, uplifting Universal Credit and scrapping two-child benefit cap. Labour and Tories won’t do it.
  • Mordaunt says this is the issue of the election. It isn’t true to say that the burden is falling on the poorest. What we need to do is cut tax, Labour will do the opposite. They will put up bills. Rayner says that’s rubbish but is stopped by Etchingham.
  • Rayner says Flynn didn’t supply solution. We need to grow economy and build houses. New deal for working people to make sure they have good jobs as well as Great British Energy.
  • Cooper says cost of living crisis is catastrophe. LibDems were first to call on oil and gas windfall tax, and they still want to close loophole in that tax. Free school meals to every child as well as farming investment and insulation.
  • Flynn says austerity is followed by shrinking of economy then Truss then mismanagement of Scotland’s energy resources pushing up energy bills. Status quo consensus is for cuts, isn’t it Angela?
  • Rhun. Britain is too unequal, that’s why we were so unprepared for cost of living crisis. Cost of inequality crisis, cost of lack of investing crisis, cost of missed opportunities crisis. Blimey…
  • Farage says people are getting poorer. Wealth per capita has fallen for 6 quarters. Big corporates and banks and some people are exponentially richer and rest have fallen behind. We are back to the population explosion and its massive impact. We have to get it to steady and build more houses and take poorer people out of tax and into work.
  • Question: Britain is a rich country. Why am I working with people who are at risk of homelessness?
  • Back.
  • Another break.
  • Will you rejoin the EU and single market? Rayner: No, Cooper: in future, Penny: No, Denyer: When the time is right, Flynn: Yes, Rhun: Yes, Farage: We’re free, we’re governed badly.
  • Rayner says they will stop the small boat gangs then admits she forgot the other half of the question. Nice…
  • Rhun says Brexit is responsible for losing control of borders. What has happened to Labour?  It supported staying in customs union and single market – they won’t talk about it now because they are afraid.
  • Penny asks what Rayner will do with illegal migrants showing up. Rayner swerves and still talks about skills strategy.
  • Farage says neither of them will do anything. “They have lied repeatedly”. Flynn laughs along with some of the audience. Farage hits back: “I have always told the truth”- the panel laughs at him. Etchingham drops her cue cards…
  • Rayner says Labour respects the result of the referendum. But you can’t have an economy that just relies on overseas workers. Penny says she doesn’t have any ideas. Descends into arguing again…
  • Flynn says Rayner is keeping quiet because she secretly agrees with Starmer’s old view – that migrants are a positive. Then he drops the B-word…
  • Penny and Rayner argue over having a plan.
  • Rayner says economy relies on overseas workers and we need a skills strategy. Penny says “you’ve had 14 years to think of a plan”. Opening her up for the easiest of counters from Rayner…
  • Rhun and Farage argue over whether people should be able to bring their mum into the country.
  • Farage says pure facts are required. One new home every two minutes is needed with current levels of migration. 50% of 750,000 coming in are dependants. GDP per capita is actually declining. These are facts.
  • Farage asked to respond on attacks. He says he ignores that nonsense. To laughter…
  • Etchingham says raise your hand if the level of net migration needs to fall. Everyone apart from Denyer, Cooper, and Rhun raise hands. Flynn complains about Westminster as a result.
  • Penny says public spending is going up. Everyone wants to control access of foreign nationals. Touts parliament-set cap on migrants. Labour has no plan.
  • Rhun says public spending cuts are bad. The problem is that Farage has been on a dog-whistle tour and is exploiting anxieties. Farage says “it’s making us poorer.”
  • Daisy Cooper says NHS, care service etc. are all crying out for people with skills they need. Tories pull lever for immigration but don’t invest in domestic workforce. LibDem higher minimum wage for care workers and royal college will give them proper training and retention. A skills lifetime account will help them also. But people should also come in. Having it every way…
  • Flynn says Scotland needs more migrants. Businesses and healthcare workers and schools want more colleagues. The Westminster race to the right is so wrong.
  • Denyer says migration is a positive. It can be unsettling when government doesn’t invest properly in public services. Scapegoating politicians are shameful. The solution is investing in communities.
  • Rayner says industrial and skills strategy will strike balance to train up people in UK. Farage says that Labour’s priorities don’t mention the most important thing – the population explosion. Brexit vote was down to migration reduction aim. And the numbers exploded. 1 in 30 people on the street has come in the last two years. Net migration needs to be net zero.
  • Next question: migration – what will you do?
  • Back.
  • Now a break.
  • Penny says that Rayner and Labour will tax education. Some families won’t be able to send kids to the places they want, and they’ve admitted that class sizes will rise. Rhun says Labour has ruined the situation in Wales and Tory cuts are also bad. Half an extra teacher per school in England as Rayner promises will fix nothing. Government needs to be on their side.
  • Rayner says private school tax rise will fund better and more teachers. Tories were warned about RAAC and they did nothing apart form cutting the capital budget. Farage says is you put tax on private school fees probably 25% of those pupils will be a burden on state schools, and it reduces parental choice.
  • Farage says Scotland has gone right down the rankings on schools. Exploding population means larger class sizes – that’s why teacher numbers rise. The rest don’t want to discuss it.
  • Denyer says investment is needed. They shouldn’t be exam factories.
  • Flynn says biggest difference between Scotland and the rest is that students don’t pay tuition fees. Cooper interrupts and Flynn hits back with a tuition fee jab. Cooper forced to respond on tuition fees. Flynn gets away with abysmal SNP record on education…
  • Penny says it is, to laughter. Says refurbishment and literacy rises have occurred with investment and teacher number increases. Standards going up.
  • Now onto schools. Do you think our education system is still world class?
  • Denyer asks Rayner – why won’t you just raise taxes on the rich? Rayner says she was a home care worker and people are stuck on trolleys. Putting money in right places is needed. A bit of a swerve – does she actually agree with Denyer?
  • Rhun says fat cats are getting rich and all the cream – it”ll be the same under Labour. Rhun justifies saying that taxes are a good thing by saying that fair taxation needs to pay for services. Broadest shoulders need to pay. Farage hits back: spend money wisely instead of pumping in money. Cooper says upstream investment is needed, instead of firefighting.
  • Cooper notes Tories raised tax burden to highest in 80 years.
  • Rayner and Penny exchange interruptions over tax.
  • Rayner says flat growth needs to be fixed with a growth strategy. Penny says they have a black hole of £38.5 billion in a tax gap. The only way to pay for increased public spending is to raise taxes, they’ve only declared a 1/4 of the ones they will put up.
  • Denyer hits back: non-dom rules introduction did not affect who left. Rayner says austerity is damaging. Flynn then attacks her for the cuts – references IFS’ “conspiracy of silence” line on Labour and Tories.
  • Denyer says well-funded NHS is what the public wants, no dogma there. Green big idea is decent investment in public services. Make the millionaires and billionaires pay. Farage notes: They will leave the country, there is a brain drain. Even more will leave. True.
  • Farage gets in a “what about the 40 hospitals” to laughter on Penny.
  • Cooper says where there is capacity in private sector we should use it but it is too limited and is gutting capacity of NHS. Social care hasn’t been fixed, neither primary care. LibDems will fix front and back door. Penny says they have grown care professional numbers. To jibes of “it isn’t working” from C0oper…
  • Rhun says cancer system that Plaid has planned is more important. Penny says public doesn’t care what colour the cab is – they want results. Rattles through Tory record – keep political dogma out of it.
  • Flynn says more migration is needed. Farage says all we need is free at point of delivery – Labour is right to say that private should be brought in. Why not reduce tax on people with private insurance?
  • Flynn says Rayner is refusing to mention “holding the door open to private sector”. Rayner answers: the record high waiting list needs to be brought down with private sector capacity – that’s the right way. It will always be publicly owned.
  • Anything bigger? Rayner says reform and technology needed. We need scanners for best care. Efficiencies will come in. We have to fix social care crisis.
  • Cooper says everything is broken. LibDem manifesto is one to save NHS and social care. Investment upstream promised. Under LibDems, 8,000 more GPs, dental crisis fixed and free personal care.
  • Rayner says that NHS will have to be saved by Labour. Tory and LibDem austerity created workforce crisis. Non-dom tax will boost along with private help to pick up slack. Labour will also fix social care, VAT on private schools will also recruit teachers.
  • Denyer: Tories pouring water into leaking bucket. Labour offers privatisation. More investment will take pressure off. People not profit.
  • Farage mentions caseload up, which is due to population explosion – by 6 million since 2010. More money more money? 7% of national cake has become 11% for no return. Countries like France spend same for better based on insurance. Let’s think more broadly.
  • Rhun says Labour ministers have mismanaged health. Sustainability of funding needed as well as workforce sustainability. So recruit 500 extra GPs. Needs to be kept free and privatisation needs to be kept out. Streeting offers the opposite.
  • Flynn says he has relied on it and Westminster does not offer certainty for the future. Labour government offers £18 billion of public sector cuts. Scotland deserves better.
  • Penny first. The NHS is an act of faith. Since pandemic the caseload has gone up 43%. The only way to reduce the lists is to keep budget strong, which the Tories will continue to do. Welsh Labour is only public to cut it. More staff need to be retained and hired. Taxing pension will push them out.
  • First question: NHS – It’s on its knees. Many public services not working like before. Do you have ideas big enough to make things work again?
  • Questioners are in the audience. Each representative will answer followed by some debate.
  • Farage references the crossover poll in his introduction. A strong position to be in…
  • The leaders are introducing themselves.

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