Starmer accused of ‘playing with fire’ with defence spending as he arrives for Nato summit – live

Rishi Sunak’s first speech as leader of opposition in House of Commons

Sir Keir Starmer has been accused by former colonel in British military intelligence Philip Ingram of “playing with fire” for delaying a decision on defence spending until the review.

It comes as the prime minister said he is committed to spending 2.5% of GDP on defence “within our fiscal rules” ahead of the Nato summit in Washington DC.

But he cautioned that he needed to carry out a review before setting a timeline to reach that goal.

Sir Keir is attending the 75th summit of the Nato defence alliance in the US, where he will meet president Biden at the White House in their first face-to-face meeting.

In the Commons, hundreds of MPs are continue to be sworn in after Diane Abbott was praised by the PM on Tuesday during his first speech as prime minister following tension between the two early in the campaign trail.

Rishi Sunak addressed the chamber for the first time as leader of the opposition and congratulated the new prime minister on his role, saying “he and his family deserve the good wishes of all of us in this House”.


Keir Starmer warns Putin ‘we stand with Ukraine’

Sir Keir Starmer has sent a message to president Vladimir Putin after the “shocking and appalling” attack on a children’s hospital in Kyiv on Monday.

Asked by reporters what is his message to Putin, he said this summit “should be seen as a clear and united resolve by Nato allies to stand with Ukraine and stand up to Russian aggression”.

He added: “The attack strengthens the resolve and that is a very important if tragic backdrop to this summit.”

British Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer talks to journalists as he travels onboard a plane to Washington DC to attend a NATO summit
British Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer talks to journalists as he travels onboard a plane to Washington DC to attend a NATO summit (Getty Images)

Salma Ouaguira10 July 2024 07:42


Prime minister accused of ‘playing with fire’ for delaying defence spending decision

During a flight to Washington, Sir Keir Starmer told reporters he is committed to the 2.5% increase on defence spending.

But the prime minister has been accused by a former colonel in British military intelligence of “playing with fire” for delaying the decision on defence spending until after the review.

Philip Ingram said: “It will take years to fix the army, our ammunition stocks, get the RAF and navy ready”.

F ormer head of the navy Lord West of Spithead, who was a security minister under a previous Labour government, said the party should confirm a timeline during the summit to “set an example to all European countries”.

Salma Ouaguira10 July 2024 07:30


Starmer says defence spending commitment ‘cast iron’ but refuses to set timeline

Sir Keir Starmer has refused to guarantee that he will meet his flagship commitment on defence spending within his first term in office, despite a “cast iron” promise to get there.

The prime minister, who is meeting US President Joe Biden and other Nato leaders today at a summit to mark the alliance’s 75th anniversary, is pressing for European nations to increase defence spending.

But decisions on reaching the UK’s goal of spending 2.5% of gross domestic product (GDP) will follow a wholesale defence review being launched next week and must comply with the Government’s strict “fiscal rules” on spending and borrowing.

Speaking to reporters, Sir Keir was repeatedly pressed on whether the goal of spending 2.5% of GDP would be reached within his first term.

He said: “We are committed to the 2.5%, as I have said before the election and I say again after the election. That is obviously subject to our fiscal rules, but the commitment is there.

“The strategic review will take place, that will happen next week, and we will set out the details of that.

“The manifesto commitment was that it would take place within a year, I would like it to be quicker than that if I’m honest and we’ll set out the details about how we are going to do it.”

Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer and his wife Victoria (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer and his wife Victoria (Stefan Rousseau/PA) (PA Wire)

Salma Ouaguira10 July 2024 07:17


Mapped: Reform won five seats, but made gains in hundreds

Reform made gains in hundreds of seats across the country at last week’s general election, voting data shows.

Though Nigel Farage’s right-wing challenger party only won five seats in parliament, Reform took 14 per cent of the national vote – exceeding the Lib Dems at 12 per cent.

Reform made significant headway in over 100 seats, despite problems that arose with several candidates, many of whom were chosen in a scramble before the deadline.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain10 July 2024 07:00


Labour voters want Starmer to ditch his Brexit red lines and rejoin single market

Just 14 per cent thought they should not alter their Brexit red line stance, with only 2 per cent saying “definitely not”.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain10 July 2024 06:00


Watch: Rishi Sunak gives gracious first speech as leader of opposition in Commons

Rishi Sunak gave a gracious first speech to parliament as the leader of the opposition in the House of Commons on Tuesday (9 July). Mr Sunak started his speech by congratulating Sir Keir Starmer on his general election victory. The Conservative leader said: “In our politics, we can argue vigorously, as the prime minister and I did over the past six weeks, but still respect each other, and whatever disputes we have in this parliament, I know that everyone in this house will not lose sight of the fact that we are all motivated by our desire to serve our constituents, our country, and advance the principles that we honourably believe in.” Mr Sunak also described being an MP as the “greatest honour, privilege and responsibility”.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain10 July 2024 05:00


Outrage as Suella Braverman brands Pride flag flying ‘a horrible political campaign’

And, in the incendiary speech, she said the flag symbolised support for “the mutilation of children in our hospitals”, something which she said “physically repulsed” her.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain10 July 2024 04:00


Will Rishi Sunak stick around to take on Keir Starmer at PMQs?

Maryam Zakir-Hussain10 July 2024 03:00


Why is Starmer sticking two fingers up at Blair’s advice?

It’s a fair tactic – after all, the former leader was the most successful in Labour’s history. His 179-seat majority in 1997 was the high watermark that Starmer aimed for and, to his credit, came within a whisker of hitting.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain10 July 2024 02:00


Jeremy Corbyn caught on Commons mic before being sworn in as MP

Jeremy Corbyn was caught on a House of Commons microphone as MPs were sworn in to serve after the 2024 general election. The independent member for Islington North approached Marie Rimmer MP, jokingly instructing her to read her lines correctly. He then uttered, “What a load of nonsense this is.” The Commons welcomed 335 new members today (9 July) in a major shakeup for UK politics, featuring a majority of Labour MPs, as well as Lib Dem, Green and Reform UK members.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain10 July 2024 01:00