2021 elections – live: Public ‘warmer’ to Labour under Starmer as SNP rule out ‘wildcat’ independence vote

Starmer says he is fighting for every vote in Hartlepool by-election

The British electorate are “a lot warmer” to Labour under Keir Starmer than it was in 2019, a shadow secretary has suggested.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Jonathan Reynolds, the shadow work and pensions secretary, said things had improved since Jeremy Corbyn’s tenure.

“It’s a lot warmer for Labour than it was in 2019, there’s more willingness to engage with us,” he said, the day before local elections on 6 May.

However, he admitted the party still had some way to go, saying “people might not be totally convinced yet but they want to have that conversation”.

Up in Scotland, the incumbent first minister Nicola Sturgeon has promised not to hold a “wildcat” second independence referendum if the SNP gains a majority at Holyrood.

“I’ve said consistently all along, sometimes to criticism from people in my own side of the argument, I would not countenance an illegal referendum – not least because it would not deliver independence and I want Scotland in the fullness of time and in due course to become an independent country,” she said.

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Why is there a by-election in Hartlepool?

Recent polling shows the Conservatives are favourites to win tomorrow’s election in Hartlepool, a place where Labour has been dominant for decades.

But why was the by-election called in the first place?

Joe Sommerlad has the details:

Rory Sullivan5 May 2021 11:35
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Analysis: Who performed best in the last Scottish elections debate?

The first forty minutes of the final election debate between the leaders of Scotland’s five main political parties was fairly civil.

But things became more heated when the subject turned to a potential second Scottish independence referendum.

Andrew Naughtie has this analysis:

Rory Sullivan5 May 2021 11:15
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Indian foreign minister ‘exposed to possible Covid cases’ after G7 meetings

India’s foreign minister will attend the last day of G7 meetings remotely from London, after it was reported that two members of the Indian delegation tested positive for Covid-19.

Dr. S. Jaishankar tweeted: “Was made aware yesterday evening of exposure to possible Covid positive cases. 

“As a measure of abundant caution and also out of consideration for others, I decided to conduct my engagements in the virtual mode. That will be the case with the G7 Meeting today as well.”

Rory Sullivan5 May 2021 10:55
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Visit bans in care homes breach human rights, MPs say

The government should make it illegal for care homes to issue blanket bans on visits in the name of Covid-19, a parliamentary committee has said.

Harriet Harman, the chair of the human rights committee, said: “For far too many families and their loved ones in residential care homes, the pandemic has been utterly heart-breaking because of the breach of the right to family life.”

Jon Stone has the story:

Rory Sullivan5 May 2021 10:35
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UK ‘warmer’ to Labour than in 2019, shadow secretary says

Voters across the UK are “a lot warmer” towards Labour than they were in 2019, a shadow minister has said.

Speaking ahead of the local elections on Thursday, Jonathan Reynolds, the shadow work and pensions secretary, said: “It’s a lot warmer for Labour than it was in 2019, there’s more willingness to engage with us.

“People might not be totally convinced yet but they want to have that conversation, in a way. To be honest, they just didn’t want to talk to us at times in 2019.”

Rory Sullivan5 May 2021 10:15
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Sturgeon rules out ‘wildcat referendum’ on Scottish independence

Nicola Sturgeon has indicated that the SNP will not hold an “illegal, wildcat referendum” on Scottish independence.

During a debate televised on the BBC, the Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross accused her party of planning to hold one.

“No we won’t. I’ve always said that, Douglas,” Ms Sturgeon responded.

The first minister added: “I’ve said consistently all along, sometimes to criticism from people in my own side of the argument, I would not countenance an illegal referendum – not least because it would not deliver independence and I want Scotland in the fullness of time and due course to become an independent country.”

Rory Sullivan5 May 2021 09:55
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Social care system failures are a ‘stain on our nation’, says former government commissioner

Despite his promise to fix the social care system “once and for all”, Boris Johnson is yet to outline potential reforms.

Sir Andrew Dilmot, who chaired the Commission on Funding Care and Support in 2011, said the failures of successive governments to address the issue are “extremely disappointing”.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he added: “All political parties and all of us have failed to get this done. It is a stain on our nation. We saw through Covid how difficult it could be to be in the social care sector, both as a provider and as a consumer.”

Rory Sullivan5 May 2021 09:35
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Jersey accuses France of ‘disproportionate’ threats amid Brexit fishing dispute

Jersey has accused France of issuing “disproportionate” threats against it, after Paris said it could cut the island’s electricity over a post-Brexit fishing rights.

Annick Girdadin, the French maritime minister, made the threat of “retaliatory measures” on Tuesday, saying that the Channel Island was being slow to issue fishing licences to French boats.

In response, Ian Gorst, the island’s external affairs minister, said the move would be “disproportionate” and added that he was optimistic that “a solution can be found”.

Rory Sullivan5 May 2021 09:15
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Inside Politics

In today’s politics round-up, Adam Forrest looks at local election polling, Boris Johnson’s wallpaper and a Brexit dispute in Jersey:

Rory Sullivan5 May 2021 08:55
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Sadiq Khan set to win London mayoral election, poll shows

Although his lead has narrowed over the past month, Sadiq Khan is likely to be elected to a second term as London mayor, a YouGov survey predicts.

The incumbent London mayor has a 12-point lead over his nearest rival, Shaun Bailey, in the first round of voting, according to the survey.

Rory Sullivan5 May 2021 08:35