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Election campaign day 25: Labour warn against complacency as tax clash continues

Wes Streeting urged voters not to ‘give the matches back to the arsonist to finish the job’.

Labour and the Tories argued the election result is not a foregone conclusion and continued to clash over tax and spend.

Here are the key moments from day 25 of the General Election campaign:

– Don’t believe the polls

Wes Streeting, batting for Sir Keir Starmer’s party on the Sunday broadcast round, warned against “breathtaking complacency” over opinion polls predicting a Labour victory.

“I just warn people … do not give the matches back to the arsonist to finish the job,” the shadow health secretary said.

Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg
Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting and Transport Secretary Mark Harper followed each other around the broadcast studios (Jeff Overs/BBC/PA)

Cabinet minister Mark Harper also said it was not “wise” to think the contest is over, insisting the Tories are “fighting to win this election”.

But he echoed the Prime Minister’s warning that a vote for Nigel Farage’s Reform UK would give Labour “a very large majority” and a “blank cheque” in office.

– Taxing times

Labour and the Conservatives continued to trade blows over their tax and spending plans.

Mr Streeting’s suggestion that there could be greater spending increases for the NHS than committed to in the Labour manifesto was seized on by the governing party.

“Labour’s manifesto is just window dressing for the election campaign and they are planning to spend and tax more than they are telling the public,” a Tory spokesman said.

The row came from Mr Streeting responding to analysis by the Nuffield Trust think tank suggesting both Labour and Tory pledges on the NHS would leave the health service with lower annual funding increases – at 1.1% and 0.9% respectively – than during the austerity era.

– Frit or lazy

Mr Streeting criticised as “extremely unfair” a Labour peer’s description of Rosie Duffield as “frit or lazy” after she called off local hustings over safety concerns.

Lord Cashman, a former Labour MEP, has apologised for the comment about Ms Duffield, who said she has experienced “constant trolling” over her views on women’s rights and female-only spaces.

Rosie Duffield
Labour’s Rosie Duffield said she was not attending local hustings due to ‘constant trolling’ (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Women and equalities minister Kemi Badenoch waded into the dispute by accusing Labour of “intimidation and abuse” towards its own.

It came amid a renewed focus on the abuse of politicians on the eight-year anniversary of Jo Cox’s murder.

The Batley and Spen Labour MP was stabbed and shot by a far-right extremist in Birstall, West Yorkshire, on June 16 2016.

Her sister, Kim Leadbeater, described the milkshake attack on Mr Farage “totally and utterly unacceptable”.

– Footie fever

Sir Keir urged England to “make it a summer to remember” ahead of their Euro 2024 opener against Serbia.

Thousands of Three Lions fans have descended on Gelsenkirchen, in western Germany, as they hope to witness Gareth Southgate’s men make a winning start in Group C.

Football fan Sir Keir is expected to watch Sunday evening’s game in a pub with friends.

Mr Streeting earlier argued the Labour leader is more in touch with the concerns of voters than Rishi Sunak, saying he “gets” people “who this weekend are thinking about the Euros, looking up at the sky thinking where’s our summer or looking at their bank balance”.

– Stunts slated

Sir Ed Davey has been accused of “buffoonery” for his stunt-laden election campaign by a former subpostmaster who lost his livelihood in the Horizon scandal.

The Liberal Democrat leader has come under fire for not doing more to help wrongly-convicted branch managers when he served as postal affairs minister between 2010 and 2012.

Lee Castleton, who was made bankrupt after he lost a legal battle with the Post Office, compared Sir Ed’s campaign antics to those of former Tory prime minister Boris Johnson, adding trust is “never going to be built” by “paddleboarding in Cumbria”.

– Star’s push for independence

Actor Brian Cox has said he is worried the Scottish National Party (SNP) “could be backing away from the notion of independence” ahead of its manifesto launch this week.

The Dundee-born 78-year-old Succession star has been very vocal about his support for Scotland breaking off from the UK and in his criticism of Brexit.

Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg
Brian Cox, who plays Succession tyrant Logan Roy, on Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg (Jeff Overs/BBC/PA)

But SNP leader John Swinney has vowed that independence will “proudly sit on page one, line one” of the document.

– Social media moment

Suella Braverman has tried her hand at TikTok, releasing a campaign video to the soundtrack of a viral video on the platform of a small child expressing enthusiasm about staying at a luxury hotel in Orlando.

The clip shows the ex-home secretary, who polling predicts will win in the Fareham and Waterlooville seat, strutting in sunglasses in front of placard-waving Tory activists.

– What’s happening tomorrow?

Mr Sunak, Sir Keir and Sir Ed are expected to return to the campaign trail.

Mr Farage will unveil Reform UK’s manifesto, which the party calls a “contract” with voters.

North of the border, Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar will launch his battle bus, while the Scottish Liberal Democrats set out their manifesto.

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