Tories split over whether they should seek post-election merger with Reform UK – UK politics live | Politics

Pippa Crerar and Kiran Stacey are discussing the week ahead in the Guardian’s latest Politics Weekly podcast, which you can listen to here.


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Tories split over whether they should seek post-election merger with Reform UK

Good morning. It’s manifesto week, and this morning Ed Davey, the Lib Dem leader, will be publishing the Liberal Democrats’ policies for government. The Conservatives, the Green party of England and Wales and Labour are all due to follow later this week. As Jessica Elgot reports, the Liberal Democrat document will include plans to overhaul capital gains tax to raise £5bn for the NHS.

Speaking on the Today programme this morning, Daisy Cooper, the Lib Dems’ deputy leader, said:

Our manifesto is a manifesto to save the NHS and social care.

We want to boost GP numbers, we want to improve cancer survival rates, we want to end the access crisis in terms of people trying to reach their NHS dentists, we want to improve waiting lists for cancer treatment and mental health as well. And we have a bold plan to do that.

We believe that that plan is going to require an additional £9bn per year and we’re going to get that money by taxing the big banks and billionaires.

Manifestos are all about what parties would do in government. But in the Conservative party, where the polls make it impossible for any sane Tory to believe for a moment they have any chance of staying in power after 4 July, the debate is focused on where they go in opposition, and Suella Braverman, the former home secretary, has kicked off a row by suggesting the party should work with Nigel Farage and his Reform UK. In an interview with the Times, “she said that the Tories should find a way to merge with Reform UK because ‘we shouldn’t be divided on this side of the political spectrum’,” Matt Dathan and Chris Smyth report in their story. Braverman told the paper:

We need to, in the future, to find some way to work together because there shouldn’t be big differences between us. I would welcome Nigel into the Conservative party. There’s not much difference really between him and many of the policies that we stand for.

We are a broad church, we should be a welcoming party and an inclusive party and if someone is supportive of the party, that’s a precondition and they want Conservatives to get elected then they should be welcomed.

But on Radio 4’s Westminster Hour last night, Robert Buckland, the former justice secretary, said he was strongly opposed to the idea. Buckland

Nigel Farage wants to see the destruction of the Conservative party. He has said that very often. He’s not a Conservative.

In fact, he’s a very European-style of politician. He’s not a very British politician at all. It’s a one-man band, this Reform outfit, and he fits much more, I think, the populist mould of politicians in other countries not too far away. He’s much more of a Poujadist than a Conservative. We are a broad church, but we’re not an Amazon warehouse.

I’ll post more on this as the day goes on. Here is what is coming up.

Morning: Keir Starmer and Bridget Phillispon, the shadow education secretary, are on a visit in the West Midlands as Labour say they plan to create more than 100,000 new nursery places.

10am: Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater, co-leaders of the Scottish Green party, speak at a campaign launch in Stirling.

Morning: Rishi Sunak is on a vist in West Sussex where he is due to speak to reporters.

11am: Ed Davey, the Lib Dem leader, launches his party’s manifesto at an event in London.

12pm: Nigel Farage, the Reform UK leader, holds a press conference.

Afternoon: John Swinney, the SNP leader and Scottish first minister, is on a campaign visit in Glasgow.

8pm: The BBC broadcasts an interview with Rishi Sunak conducted by Nick Robinson.

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