UK election latest: Starmer makes 'hugely important' visit to Scotland as he kicks off first tour of UK (2024)

Top news
  • Starmer kicks off UK tour in Edinburgh
  • PM holds first meeting with Scottish first minister
  • New Northern Ireland secretary rules out border poll
  • Home secretary launches search for border security commander
  • Senior Tories 'likely putting teams together' for leadership bids
  • Analysis:Could Tories take their time to pick new leader?
  • Live reporting by Tim Baker
Election fallout
  • Starmer's challenges:Tackling exhausted NHS|Looming chaos abroad|Defence to dominate early days|Small boats plan?|Rift with scientists needs healing
  • Listen: Politics At Jack And Sam's - what's in Starmer's in-tray?
  • Results in every constituency



That's all for tonight from the Politics Hub.

We'll be back tomorrow for Labour's first full week in power.

Before you go, here were today's main stories:


Starmer and Swinney meet - but prospect of independence talked down

Sir Keir Starmer has met with Scotland's first minister, John Swinney.

Speaking to broadcasters afterwards, both men were asked if Scottish independence had come up in the talks.

After losing the vast majority of their seats last week, the SNP are arguing the Holyrood results in 2021 still give them a mandate to work towards leaving the UK.

Sir Keir - whose party grew sizeably in Scotland - has said he is targeting the next Holyrood election in 2026 to win even more of a mandate.

On the talks today, Sir Keir said he would not go into details of what was discussed - but said that the two "can work constructively together".

He added that he has made a commitment to deliver for Scotland, and that he plans to make good on it.

Sir Keir added that he took the opportunity to "reset relations" with the first and deputy first ministers.

He conceded there were "clearly differences of opinion" between them on constitutional matters, but the meeting was still constructive.

Mr Swinney said he "very much welcomed" the engagement and was committed to improving the relationship between the Scottish and UK administrations.

He said the SNP made clear they have "different views" on the constitution - but also that the SNP is taking time "to reflect and consider" the issues posed by the election.

They lost 39 of their 48 seats on Thursday.

Mr Swinney said the party intends to focus on issues like economic growth, child poverty, public services and net zero ahead of securing independence.


Government to divert tens of millions from Rwanda plan to new Border Security Command

By Tim Baker, political reporter

The government is to divert tens of millions of pounds from the Rwanda scheme to set up a new Border Security Command (BSC), as it announces its plans to tackle illegal migration.

Home Secretary Yvette Cooper has also announced an audit of the monies sent to Kigali as the Labour administration looks to find ways to save or recoup cash committed under the Conservatives.

Ms Cooper plans to raise the issue of illegal migration with her European colleagues at the European Political Community Summit on 18 July.

Before the general election, Sir Keir Starmer said his party wanted to send around £75m a year to their new border scheme, from the scrapped Rwanda deportation programme.

The prime minister described the Conservative-era plans to send asylum seekers to Africa as "dead and buried" earlier this weekend.

However, it is understood Labour has not reached out to Kigali to discuss the way forward, as the previous UK government promised hundreds of millions of pounds for migrants to be sent to Rwanda.

Read more below:


New defence secretary meets Zelenskyy - as government pledges more arms to Ukraine

Defence Secretary John Healey has already met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, with the Labour government making a new pledge on sending arms to Ukraine.

Mr Healey also promised that the equipment Rishi Sunak announced in April will be delivered within the first 100 days of the new government.

He said: "Our commitment to stand with the Ukrainian people is absolute, as is our resolve to confront Russian aggression and pursue Putin for his war crimes.

"This government is steadfast in our commitment to continue supplying military assistance and will stand shoulder to shoulder with our Ukrainian friends for as long as it takes."

The newly promised package of aid includes:

  • A quarter of a million of 50 calibre ammunition;
  • 90 anti-armour Brimstone missiles;
  • 50 small military boats to support river and coastal operations;
  • 40 de-mining vehicles;
  • 10 AS-90 artillery guns;
  • 61 bulldozers to help build defensive positions;
  • Support for previously gifted AS-90s.


Home secretary launches search for leader of new Border Security Command

The new home secretary has wasted little time in getting started in her role - launching the promised Border Security Command (BSC) just days after her appointment.

The BSC was one of the cornerstones of Sir Keir Starmer's manifesto - Labour's solution to the small boats crisis.

The set-up is being at least partly funded by diverting £75m from the now cancelled Rwanda scheme.

Yvette Cooper has set out the first steps for establishing the BSC, which promises to "strengthen Britain's borders security and smash the criminal smuggling gangs making millions out of small boat crossings".

The plan includes the rapid recruitment of an "exceptional leader", which begins tomorrow.

'We can't carry on like this'

The new recruit, who is expected to take up their post in the coming weeks, will report directly to the office of the home secretary.

They will be tasked with providing a "strategic direction" across agencies, including the National Crime Agency, police, immigration enforcement, and the Border Force.

Ms Cooper is also preparing early legislation which will introduce new counter-terror style powers for the BSC, and has commissioned an investigation into the routes and tactics used by smuggling gangs.

She said it would be a "major step change" in the UK's efforts to tackle organised immigration crime, working "across Europe" and co-ordinating with prosecutors on the continent.

"We can't carry on like this," she said, adding the BSC will act as a "major upgrade" on the immigration system Labour have inherited.


Sunday might be a day of rest for many of us, but for prime ministers and political journalists there's no such thing.

Sir Keir Starmer has had a busy day, kicking off a tour of the UK, and there's been plenty else keeping us busy.

Here are the main things you need to know from today:

  • Sir Keir Starmer has headed to Edinburgh for the start of a UK tour, where he'll meet with First Minister John Swinney;
  • Speaking to Scottish Labour supporters beforehand, he promised to "serve every single person in Scotland" no matter who they voted for;
  • The PM hopes his visits to Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland will signal a "reset in relations" between Westminster and the devolved administrations;
  • It comes after Labour enjoyed a revival in Scotland to become the largest party north of the border, and kept that status in Wales too.
  • New government ministers are settling into their roles and were quick to rule out introducing ID cards to tackle illegal immigration this morning;
  • Labour's top team distanced themselves from the suggestion made by former party leader and prime minister Sir Tony Blair;
  • The new Northern Ireland secretary, Hilary Benn, also denied there was a case for a border poll on the island of Ireland after Sinn Fein became the largest Northern Irish party at Westminster.
  • Meanwhile, the Tory leadership race may well be under way after several former ministers refused to rule themselves out;
  • Robert Jenrick and Suella Braverman were among those on the media round this morning who indicated they could be up for replacing Rishi Sunak;
  • But our political correspondent Darren McCaffrey says there are some in the party who want them to take their time before deciding, rather than rushing towards a right-wing candidate looking to stave off the threat from Reform UK.

You can also get the lowdown on the new prime minister's first few days from our Politics At Jack And Sam's podcast below:


Nothing 'inevitable' about election win, Starmer says

Sir Keir Starmer has just spoken alongside the Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar, who introduced the new PM to a rapturous applause of party supporters in Edinburgh.

After a long intro from his Scottish colleague, Sir Keir says it's "hugely important" for him to visit the devolved nations as soon as possible.

"That was an incredible election result, a historic result and a real mandate for change - we start here," he says.

He says there's nothing "inevitable" about an election win, adding "we won because we campaigned as changed Labour".

"We [will] govern in the same spirit… we will serve the entirety of Scotland, we will serve every single person in Scotland because that change matters to everyone."

Our political correspondentAmanda Akasssays the speech was a reminder of the unique opportunity Sir Keir has to unite the UK's devolved administrations.

Scottish Labour "really rose out of the ashes of their previous defeats" in this week's general election, she says, going from one MP to 37.

The PM wants those new MPs "to be a big part of the government in Westminster to deliver for the people of Scotland as part of that mandate for change".

He'll also be meeting First Minister John Swinney, as part of what he hopes will be a "reset" in relations between Westminster and Holyrood.


PM giving speech as he begins UK tour

Sir Keir Starmer is giving a speech following a meeting with Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar in Edinburgh this afternoon.

It comes at the start of the PM's first UK tour - once he's finished north of the border he'll be going to Wales and Northern Ireland.

His Scotland visit will also include a meeting with John Swinney, the first minister and SNP leader.

You can watch his speech in the stream above.


Starmer welcomes Irish Taoiseach's comments in Sky News interview

The prime minister has welcomed comments made by the IrishTaoiseach during an interview with Sky News.

You can see Simon Harris and Sir Keir Starmer's interaction in the embedded X post below…

It comes after Mr Harris promised he and fellow EU leaders would give the new prime minister a "fair hearing" when it comes to possible changes to the post-Brexit trade deal.

Sir Keir has repeatedly described it as "botched" and said during the election campaign he'd look to improve it - but with no return to the single market, customs union, or freedom of movement.

You can read Ireland correspondentStephen Murphy's full interview with Mr Harris here.


Watch: General Election 2024 round-up

It's been a busy week and weekend - so it's easy to miss key moments.

Need a catch-up on the last few days of history-making political drama?

Watch below…

UK election latest: Starmer makes 'hugely important' visit to Scotland as he kicks off first tour of UK (2024)
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