Politics latest: Starmer issues 'very clear' message for Putin; poll reveals Tory leadership favourite (2024)

Key points
  • Starmer has 'very clear' message for Putin
  • Beth Rigby:PM will ask allies for extra defence spending - but accused of 'playing with fire' for delaying UK's decision
  • Mark Stone: Lucky Starmer looks a lot stronger than other leaders at NATO summit
  • Tory leadership contest: Who has the members' support?
  • Listen to Politics at Jack and Sam'sabove as you scroll - andtap hereto follow
  • Live reporting by Ben Bloch


Shadow minister: We should take our time to choose our next leader

After the Tories' devastating election loss, eyes are turning towards the leadership contest to elect Rishi Sunak's successor.

We asked shadow defence secretary James Cartlidge for his view on how quickly a new leader should be chosen.

He replied: "I think the view of colleagues is that we, within reason, we want to take our time, make sure we make the right decision."

The "millions" who usually vote Conservative but chose not to last Thursday "will expect us to reflect, to look at what happened".

He went on: "People were exasperated. But they want to see us take the time to make the right decisions so that our new leader has a positive alternative to Labour come the next general election."

Mr Cartlidge did not want to say who he will support as the next leader, saying there are "several colleagues who've got a very good background".

He added: "It's not just about the people, it's about, you know, what are the policies? Because I think the big thing is we've got to reconnect with the British public."


Tories: Not raising defence spending immediately is 'damaging for the armed forces'

We've just heard from the shadow defence secretary, James Cartlidge, and he said that Sir Keir Starmer not setting a date for reaching defence spending of 2.5% of GDP will be "damaging for the armed forces".

He lamented that the new PM "had an amazing opportunity" to announce that he was raising defence spending at the NATO summit in Washington DC that kicks off today.

"I think this would have been a really powerful signal to send. Instead, it's created delay, and I think that it could be damaging."

Challenged on the fact that the Tories did not raise defence spending to 2.5% of GDP when in office, he said they went in to the election with a "clear, funded plan" to do so.

Back in 2010, the Conservatives actually cut defence spending, and Mr Cartlidge said that at the time, "there was a letter left that there's no money left", and so they"had to prioritise sorting out the public finances".

He went on to say that when Rishi Sunak was chancellor, they announced the biggest uplift in spending since the Cold War.

But pushed by Sky's Kay Burley on the fact that the Tory government chose not to raise spending to 2.5% of GDP, he pointed to the sharp rise in inflation, driven by the war in Ukraine, which pushed up equipment prices.

He went on to say that there is "pressure on the current equipment planning" due to those inflated prices, and so the new PM's decision not raise defence spending immediately will leave "some really difficult decisions" around defence procurement.


Tory leadership: Badenoch has double the support of Braverman among members

By Tim Baker, political reporter

Kemi Badenoch has twice as much support among Conservative members to be the next party leader as the next candidate, new polling suggests.

A survey from the Party Members Project run out of Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) and Sussex University, carried out by YouGov, asked 725 members for their views.

Once the "none" and "don't know" responses were removed, Ms Badenoch had the support of 31% of those questioned.

She was followed by Suella Braverman on 16% and Tom Tugendhat on 15%.

Reports suggest support for Ms Braverman among Tory MPs is waning, while Ms Badenoch is said to have dressed down Rishi Sunak and his general election strategy in the first Conservative shadow cabinet meeting.

The full list of results is as follows:

  • Kemi Badenoch: 31%
  • Suella Braverman: 16%
  • Tom Tugendat: 15%
  • Jeremy Hunt: 12%
  • James Cleverly: 10%
  • Robert Jenrick: 7%
  • Priti Patel: 6%
  • Victoria Atkins: 2%

It is worth noting Jeremy Hunt has already ruled himself out of the race.

Read the full details from the poll here:


UK 'expects' all allies to continue supporting Ukraine

Donald Trump could be elected as US president in November, and he has previously cast doubt over whether the country should provide funding for Ukraine's defence.

As Sir Keir Starmer and NATO allies head to Washington for a key summit today, we asked armed forces minister Luke Pollard if he was concerned about a drop in support for Ukraine if Trump wins the US presidential election.

He replied: "We want all our allies to be supporting Ukraine. That's our expectation.

"And we'll work with every single one of them, regardless of political stripe, to make sure they do so, because Ukraine's security is all our security.

"It's important for the United Kingdom, as indeed it is for the United States, that Russia does not win in Ukraine, because if they do win in Ukraine, they won't stop with Ukraine."

He added that keeping the world safe means every country and NATO "supporting that effort".

"They are, and I expect them to continue to do so," he said.


When will the UK raise defence spending to 2.5% of GDP?

Sir Keir Starmer has refused to say when the UK will raise defence spending to 2.5% of GDP as he heads to NATO to urge other allies to raise their own spending.

We've just been speaking to armed forces minister Luke Pollard, and we asked for a bit more clarity.

He told us: "We've committed to increase defence spending to 2.5%, and the first step in that is a strategic defence review that will look at the capabilities that we need to deter the aggression that the UK and our allies are facing.

"That strategic defence review will be launched next week.

"We need that review to set out, importantly, what we want to spend that increased defence spending on, and in what sequence that will be spent."

Mr Pollard said the review would conclude "within the next year".

"We need it to be as urgent as we can. That's why we will be delivering this at pace, as fast as we can," he added.

He agreed with Sky's Kay Burley that the money to improve our defence capabilities is needed now - but explained that the defence review was needed to decide where that new money should be best spent.

Burley then put to him that the Labour Party didn't do any homework before arriving in office, which is why another year was needed.

He rejected that, saying: "In opposition, you don't get access to the classified briefings or the intelligence that would be required to set out what size and shape our armed forces should be."

On a more immediate basis, the minister said the government was addressing the "retention and recruitment crisis" to ensure joining the armed forces was easier, and their housing was improved.


Politics at Jack and Sam's: Keir meets Joe

Sky News' deputy political editor Sam Coates and Politico's Jack Blanchard are back in your podcast feeds with their guide to the day ahead in politics.

They discuss what's on the table at the prime minister's first NATO meeting and dinner with Joe Biden, whether the rumours are true that Labour could introduce digital ID cards, and what is really the new government's number one priority. Plus, who is leading in the ongoing Tory leadership race.

👉Tap here to follow Politics at Jack and Sam's wherever you get your podcasts👈

Email Jack and Sam:jackandsam@sky.uk


Mark Stone analysis: Lucky Starmer looks a lot stronger than other leaders at NATO summit

The UK is in a relatively unusual position as Sir Keir Starmer jets off for his first NATO summit as prime minister.

Given the struggles of Joe Biden, Emmanuel Macron, and some other Western leaders, ourUS correspondent Mark Stonesays the prime minister comes to Washington DC looking relatively strong given his enormous election win.

"Politically he is in a much stronger position than many colleagues he will meet," says Stone, who'll be at the summit.

Sir Keir will be among the leaders of the 31 other NATO members for a summit being described "as the biggest event of its kind for three decades" given the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Stone says that sometimes in politics "timing is luck" - "and it's certainly luck for Starmer that so soon after he took office, he is in Washington".

He'll also meet Joe Biden at the White House while he's in town.


PM to ask allies for extra defence spending - but accused of 'playing with fire' over UK's decision

Sir Keir Starmer will tell NATO allies that the UK has a "cast iron commitment" to lifting the UK's defence spending to 2.5% of GDP, but is refusing to honour that commitment in his first term in government.

On a flight over to Washington, where NATO allies are gathering for thealliance's 75th anniversary, the prime minister insisted that hitting the 2.5% was "subject to our fiscal rules".

He refused repeatedly to commit to delivering on the commitment in his first term or offer a timeline for delivery ahead of the strategic defence review, which could take up to a year to conclude.

Sir Keir told Sky News: "We are committed to the 2.5% as I have said before the election and I say again after the election. That is subject to our fiscal rules but the commitment is there.

"The strategic review will take place - that will happen next week and we will set out the details of that. The manifesto commitment was that it would take place within a year.

"I would like it to happen quicker than that if I'm honest and we'll set out details about how we are going to do it."

However, Sir Keir was accused by a former colonel in British military intelligence of "playing with fire" for delaying the decision on defence spending until after the review.

Philip Ingram said "it will take years to fix the army, our ammunition stocks, get the RAF and navy ready".

Lord West of Spithead, a former head of the navy who was a security minister under a previous Labour government, said Labour should outline a timeline during the summit to "set an example to all European countries".

Read Beth's full report here:


Starmer has 'very clear' message for Putin

Prime Minister Keir Starmer arrived in the early hours of the morning (UK time), where he will attend his first NATO summit just days after taking over the top job.

On the flight over, he was asked about a Russian strike on a children's hospital in Ukraine - and what his message is to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Sir Keir said this attack was "appalling", adding that his message is "very, very clear".

"This NATO summit is an opportunity for allies to stand together to strengthen their resolve, particularly in light of that appalling attack against Russian aggression," he added.

When will UK boost defence spending?

Sir Keir was also asked about a comment from General Sir Patrick Sanders, who has warned the world is facing "as dangerous a moment as any time that we've had since 1945".

With this in mind, can Sir Keir put a timeline on spending 2.5% of GDP on defence?

"I'm committed to that 2.5% within our fiscal rule," he said.

Sir Keir said, for now, it's about "discussing practically how we provide further support for Ukraine and send a very, very clear message to Putin that we will stand against Russian aggression wherever it is in the world".


Good morning!

Welcome back to the Politics Hub on this Wednesday, 10 July.

Here's what's happening in politics today:

  • Sir Keir Starmer arrived at the NATO summit in Washington DC in the early hours of the morning (UK time);
  • Just days after being elected prime minister, he will meet with the leaders of the UK's closest allies and push them to raise spending on defence;
  • He said on the flight over that the UK has a "cast-iron commitment" to raising defence spending to 2.5% of GDP - but refused to say when that would happen when asked by journalists, including Sky's Beth Rigby;
  • He is announcing that the planned strategic defence review will start next week to understand the UK's defensive and military status, and said he hopes it will take less than a year;
  • The PM will meet with a series of world leaders today, and also attend a meeting of the North Atlantic Council - before he plans to keep half an eye on England's crucial Euros game against the Netherlands this evening;
  • Back in Westminster, MPs will continue to be sworn in by the Speaker as they start the new parliamentary term;
  • And rumblings around the Tory leadership race will continue after the (somewhat chaotic) election of Bob Blackman as chair of the powerful 1922 committee, which decides how and when such contests are conducted.

We'll discuss all of that and more with:

  • Luke Pollard, armed forces minister, at 7.15am;
  • James Cartlidge, shadow defence secretary, at 8.15am.

Follow along for the latest political news.

Politics latest: Starmer issues 'very clear' message for Putin; poll reveals Tory leadership favourite (2024)
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