Labour targets remaining Tory vote as Conservatives face electoral wipe-out

Labour is targeting the core remaining Conservative vote with announcements on defence and immigration as Sir Keir Starmer looks to press home his party’s advantage in the polls.

Today the Labour leader will unveil a “nuclear deterrent triple lock” as well as a commitment to increase defence spending to 2.5 per cent of GDP.

He will pitch Labour as the “party of national security” as part of a meeting with forces veterans and party candidates in the North West of England.

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It comes following a series of announcements from the party on pledging to reduce immigration and safeguard jobs for British workers.

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer, at the launch event for Labour's campaign bus at Uxbridge College.Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer, at the launch event for Labour's campaign bus at Uxbridge College.
Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer, at the launch event for Labour's campaign bus at Uxbridge College.

The party said its nuclear deterrent policy will involve construction of four new nuclear submarines in Barrow-in-Furness; maintaining Britain’s continuous at-sea deterrent; and the delivery of all future upgrades needed for the submarines to patrol the waters.

The move is set up in stark contrast to Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the party, with the then-Leader a long-standing opponent of both Nato and the UK’s Trident nuclear deterrent.

Sir Keir said: “My message to [the British people] is clear: Labour has changed. No longer the party of protest, Labour is the party of national security.

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“The excellent former service personnel that are standing as Labour candidates are a testament to that change.”

Grant Shapps, the Defence Secretary said: “Twelve members of Starmer’s front bench team, including Angela Rayner and David Lammy voted against Trident.

"We know Rayner is now making the decisions in Labour, so Starmer’s supposed backing for Trident is meaningless.

“Labour’s refusal to commit to 2.5 per cent defence spending by 2030 shows that they are a danger to our national security. Uncertain times call for a clear plan and bold action to chart a course to a secure future only the Conservatives offer that.”

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Over the weekend the Labour leader also pledged to reduce net migration if his party wins the general election next month.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said the party wants to see “significant changes” and is clear that net migration “must come down”.

But she stopped short of setting a target, saying the Conservatives have failed when they have done so and arguing that “variations” each year – such as the war in Ukraine – must also be considered.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer’s migration plan will include passing laws to ban law-breaking employers from hiring foreign workers and to train more Britons.

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Last year’s net migration figure of 685,000 has “got to come down”, he told The Sun on Sunday, as he vowed to “control our borders and make sure British businesses are helped to hire Brits first”.

It comes as the first MRP poll since the election was called, which provides projections of which seats may be won by each party, suggesting that Labour is set to win a majority of between 336 and 302 seats, depending on tactical voting.

Nationwide this would see the Conservatives reduced to as few as 66 seats. In Yorkshire the party would retain as few as three seats including Brigg and Immingham, and Wetherby and Easingwold.

The poll by Electoral Calculus suggested that Rishi Sunak only has a lead of around four points in his seat of Richmond and Northallerton.

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Martin Baxter, founder of Electoral Calculus, said "Our survey shows that Labour's poll lead, which is larger than Tony Blair's in 1997, would mean an even bigger Labour landslide.

“With less than five weeks to go, Rishi Sunak has to hope that all the polls are overstating Labour's strength, that Labour weakens under the scrutiny of the campaign, and that he can re-attract former supporters who have gone to Reform or plan not to vote."

"Conservative MPs up for re-election might wonder if things would be better for them if they hadn't got rid of Boris Johnson.”