Tony Blair issues warning to Keir Starmer on immigration and 'wokeism'

The new prime minister has been warned by his predecessor that 'if we don’t have rules, we get prejudices'.

Milano, Italia. 01st July, 2024. MiCo. Apertura el GET congress - Global Energy Transition Congress and Exhibition. - Cronaca - Milano, Italia - Lunedì 1 luglio 2024 (Foto Alessandro Cimma/Lapresse) MiCo. Opening of the GET congress - Global Energy Transition Congress and Exhibition. - Chronicle - Milan, Italy - Monday 1 July 2024 (Photo Alessandro Cimma/Lapresse) Tony Blair Credit: LaPresse/Alamy Live News
Tony Blair: 'We should move as the world is moving to digital ID.' (Alamy)

Keir Starmer has been urged by former prime minister Tony Blair to come up with a plan for controlling immigration to turn the tide on populism and combat the political threat posed by Reform.

The former Labour prime minister told the new Labour leader, who entered Downing Street on Friday, to introduce digital identity cards, saying: “If not, new border controls will have to be highly effective."

"Reform has pillaged the Tory vote in this election, true. But it poses a challenge for Labour too," Blair wrote in the Sunday Times. "We need a plan to control immigration... We need a tough new approach to law and order. And the government should avoid any vulnerability on 'wokeism'."

However, the business minister Jonathan Reynolds has ruled out ID cards, telling Times radio they were "not part of our plans".

Sources close to home secretary Yvette Cooper said ID cards were not Labour policy and that has not changed, with Reynolds later publicly ruling them out.

With the UK now led by its first Labour government since 2010, the Mail on Sunday's front page warned a "retreat" on Brexit was already under way, claiming Starmer "wants more relaxed freedom of movement rules" and is willing to "sign the UK back up to some Brussels rules in exchange".

Again, Reynolds batted away this claim, insisting that the government has no plans to revisit freedom of movement or "constitutional questions" regarding the European Union.

However, with the Conservative Party out of Number 10, Irish taoiseach Simon Harris suggested the EU is willing to work with Starmer on a new post-Brexit deal and said there was "space" to work more closely with the UK.

Reynolds was all for improving trading relations with the bloc, telling BBC Radio 4: "Let's sell more salmon and whisky to everyone, I would say."

Starmer has also spoken to Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, Downing Street said. He told president Abbas that recognition of Palestine as part of the peace process was the “undeniable right of Palestinians”.

The Conservatives, meanwhile, begin the challenging task of rebuilding after their catastrophic election. On Sunday, former immigration minister Robert Jenrick and former health secretary Victoria Atkins did not rule out standing to replace Rishi Sunak.

Starmer has also embarked on a tour of the UK to visit the leaders of the four nations, having said he wants a "reset" of the relationship between Westminster and the devolved parliaments.

  • How the voting bloodbath wiped out the safest of Tory seats. "Maidenhead was one of four of the safest true blue seats which fell on the night of 4 July". [Telegraph]

  • Voices: Welcome to a Labour government – it’s time to fix the Brexit mess. "He (Keir Starmer) doesn’t need to be shy about tackling controversial subjects for fear of upsetting potential fence sitters – and yes, that includes the thorny topic of Brexit. [Independent]

  • Who are the pro-Gaza independents who unseated Labour MPs? Among the matters for Labour to ponder when the hangovers have cleared is the loss of four seats to pro-Palestinian candidates amid dissatisfaction over the party’s stance on the Gaza war. [Guardian]

  • Don’t stress Starmergeddon – Labour will usher in a market rise. "I like nothing about anything Labour might do. Despite what the party’s leadership says, they are anti-capitalism, anti-markets, pro-regulation and anti-opportunity." [Telegraph]

  • All the Labour cabinet members who aren’t MPs from Patrick Vallance to James Timpson. "The new cabinet also includes some unexpected appointments, including some who have been given peerages to allow them to sit in the House of Lords and attend cabinet." [Independent]

  • Tory leadership hopefuls jostle for position as party licks its wounds. "Leading contenders in the battle to replace Rishi Sunak and restore the Tories’ fortunes have been making initial pitches to Conservatives for support." [PA]

Yahoo's live coverage of today's political events has updated. Read a summary of the key moments below or go to the Yahoo homepage for the latest news.

  • Johnny Mercer shares 'huge thank you' to supporters after losing seat

    Former veterans minister Johnny Mercer has shared a long thank you message to everyone who supported him over his decade as an MP.

    Mercer lost his seat of Plymouth Moor View on Friday by a margin of 5,604 votes to Labour's Fred Thomas.

    In his post on X, Mercer reflects on his work on veterans’ rights, mental healthcare, rough sleeping, and prosthetics for injured troops, and criticises Sir Keir Starmer for not appointing a veterans minister.

    "I have fought hard for Plymouth, a City that has shaped me since I was a teenager and will always be my ‘home port’. I thank everybody who came out to vote for me last week, sincerely and deeply. I know in the current climate how hard that was," he adds.

  • No 10 posts behind-the-scenes footage of Starmer's first day

    Number 10 has posted a video showing Keir Starmer's busy first few days as the UK's prime minister.

    As he assembles his new cabinet, the PM jokes with Rachel Reeves, telling her: "Let's get down to business. I want to appoint you as chancellor, as I hope you know."

    "Very happy to accept", replies Reeves, who is the first woman to fill the role.

    The PM is also shown being connected to Air Force One for a phone call with Joe Biden, and speaking to a number of other world leaders including Ukraine's Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

    He tells the Ukrainian leader: "The change in government here makes no difference to the support that you will see for Ukraine and making sure that you get the support you need."

  • All the Labour cabinet members who aren’t MPs from Patrick Vallance to James Timpson

    Hay Festival, Hay on Wye, Powys, Wales, UK – Saturday 25th May 2024 –  Sir Patrick Vallance former Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government on stage in a News Review event - Photo Steven May / Alamy Live News
    Former chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance has joined Keir Starmer's Cabinet. (Alamy)

    Sir Keir Starmer has appointed the key figures in his new cabinet following the Labour Party’s landslide victory on Friday.

    He has appointed 22 Labour MPs and peers to key cabinet positions – including a record 11 women. This includes senior ministers from Tony Blair and Gordon Brown’s New Labour governments, in an attempt to bring in outside expertise for his ministerial ranks.

    The new cabinet also includes some unexpected appointments, including some who have been given peerages to allow them to sit in the House of Lords and attend cabinet.

    But who exactly are these new cabinet ministers who are not MPs?

    Read the full story from the Independent here

  • Map shows dramatically shifting political landscape of UK

    Election Maps UK has shared a map showing just how much the political landscape has shifted following this week's election.

  • Keir Starmer to be met with protesters in visit to Edinburgh

    View from the Calton Hill on Princes Street in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
    Keir Starmer will visit Edinburgh today as he seeks to 'reset' relations with the UK's devolved governments. (Getty Images).

    SKeir Starmer will be met with protesters on his visit to Scotland on Sunday.

    The prime minister will meet with John Swinney in Edinburgh.

    The Radical Independence Campaign (RIC) said it would protest the visit, urging supporters to gather outside Bute House on Sunday at 5.30pm

    They said: “Let’s show the new prime minister what we think of him.”

    Read the full story from the National here

  • 100 years of Oxfordshire elections show scale of Tory defeat

    The founder of the Election Maps UK website has shared a series of maps showing the rapidly shifting political landscape of Oxfordshire.

    Between 1922 and 2019, the country remained largely Conservative, with just a few pockets held by Labour and the Liberal Democrats.

    Then, in 2024, the Tories drastically lost every single one of its seats in Oxfordshire, which is now predominately held by the Lib Dems, with some seats going to Labour.

  • 'We will always stand united': Keir Starmer marks 7/7 anniversary

  • Voters in France cast ballots in final round of snap election

    LE PUY-EN-VELAY, FRANCE - JULY 7: Citizens go to polling stations to cast their votes for the second round of elections to elect new members of parliament  in Le Puy-en-Velay, France on July 7, 2024. (Photo by Mathieu Prudhomme/Anadolu via Getty Images)
    Voters in Le Puy-en-Velay cast their ballots in the second round of elections today. (Getty Images)

    As early as midday, the turnout for the second round of France's parliamentary election hit 26.6% – the highest for that time of day since 1981.

    It is a high-stakes election in which Marine Le Pen's far-right National Rally is expected to emerge as the strongest force in France's National Assembly.

    However, the latest opinion polls suggest National Rally could fall short of an absolute majority, meaning France could be heading towards a hung parliament.

    Should the nationalist and eurosceptic National Rally secure a majority, it would usher in France's first far-right government since the Second World War.

    While they have plenty of ideological differences, Labour's Sir Keir Starmer has said his government would be ready to work with a National Rally-led France on Channel Crossings, claiming: "That's what serious government is about."

    Last week, Yahoo News spoke to political scientist Douglas Webber about how a National Rally victory could impact the UK.

  • Tories 'need caretaker leader' as they try to rebuild party

    Outgoing Conservative Prime Minister Rishi Sunak addresses the media outside 10 Downing Street following the Labour Party's victory in the General Election on 5th July 2024 in London, United Kingdom. The Labour Party won the General Election with a landslide, so ending 14 years of Conservative government. (photo by Mark Kerrison/In Pictures via Getty Images)
    Rishi Sunak speaks outside 10 Downing Street after a bruising election result for the Tories. (Getty Images)

    After the Conservative Party suffered its biggest election defeat in its 190-year history, its members will already be contemplating who would be best to take charge.

    Several big Tory names have already been tipped to join the leadership race, some of whom refused to rule out throwing their hat into the ring when asked by journalists this weekend.

    Veteran broadcaster Andrew Neil suggested the Conservatives should take their time. He told BBC Radio 4: "They will need a caretaker leader, they won’t want to rush into a new leadership election.

    "But on the other hand they need to get a new leader basically in place I would have thought by the autumn by the party conferences. They need a new leader in place."

    The direction the Tories go next "all depends on how the Conservatives are going to handle a problem like Nigel Farage, who got over four million votes," said Neil.

    "There is no future on the right until you resolve that one way or the other. They have to resolve that first, and in resolving that the Tory civil war will get deeper and nastier."

  • Keir Starmer 'will not just be Blair 2.0', says Andrew Neil

    Tony Blair addressing the media at a Labour Party press conference during the 1997 General Election campaign, Millbank, London, UK.  18 Mar 1997
    Tony Blair addressing the media at a Labour Party press conference during the 1997 General Election campaign. (Alamy)

    It may be tempting to draw comparisons between Labour's election victory and Tony Blair's landslide of 1997, but Andrew Neil doesn't think it's right to liken Keir Starmer to a carbon copy of his predecessor.

    "Keir Starmer will be his own man, he may well pick some ideas that he likes, he may well call on some expertise from Tony Blair and his merry men and merry women but I think Mr Starmer will put his own stamp on this government which will not be just Blair 2.0," the journalist told BBC Radio 4.

    In May Starmer rejected the suggestion that he is a Blair "copycat" – a claim sometimes made by those on the left of his party.

    He told the Telegraph: "We are now, what, 27 years on from 1997. The challenges we face now are not the same as those faced by Tony Blair.”

  • Support for Keir Starmer 'no deeper than a village pond', Andrew Neil says

    LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 6: New British Prime Minister, Keir Starmer holds a press conference, following his first cabinet meeting at Downing Street on July 6, 2024 in London, England. The Labour Party won the UK general election taking 411 of the 649 seats in Parliament. Starmer has pledged to 'reset' Britain as Labour takes over after 14 years of Conservative rule. (Photo by Claudia Greco-WPA Pool/Getty Images)
    Keir Starmer's Labour only won a third of the popular vote, despite winning nearly two-thirds of seats. (Getty Images)

    Broadcaster Andrew Neil has suggested Labour's election success had much to do with public frustration over the Tories, and that Keir Starmer's support is far more fragile than its seems.

    "The climate is 'Wait and see, give them a chance, let’s see how they do', the climate is ‘Thank God we got rid of that lot, we were fed up with them, they turned out to be pretty useless, we’re not that sure about the new mob coming in, but give them a chance, let’s see how they do.'", he told BBC Radio 4.

    The journalist and chairman of the Spectator added: "Starmer’s support is an ocean wide but it’s no deeper than a village pond.

    "If he can do things well, that ocean wide support will deepen. But if he screws it up, if he does badly, if there’s a sense that he’s no better than the other lot, then that village pond will drain quickly and the support will go quickly away. It’s all to play for but it is on a knife edge."

    While Friday's election result saw Labour's biggest election victory since Tony Blair's 1997 landslide, Keir Starmer's party won a lower popular vote than under Jeremy Corbyn in 2017 and 2019.

    Despite winning 412 seats – nearly two thirds of the seats in the Commons – its share of the vote was only 34%, which according to the Economist, is the lowest level for a governing party since the First World War.

  • Alex Salmond: 'I voted SNP at general election'

    File photo dated 14/01/23 of Alba party leader Alex Salmond, who has declared his Alba Party is now the
    Alba party leader Alex Salmond. (Alamy)

    Former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond said he gave his former party a “saving grace” by voting SNP at the general election.

    The Alba Party leader said his party did not field a candidate in the Aberdeenshire North and Moray East constituency, which Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross lost to the SNP.

    Ross attracted criticism over his decision to stand in place of David Duguid, who was receiving hospital treatment.

    Salmond, whose public dispute with the SNP led to him forming Alba in 2021, claimed Ross "stabbed one of his colleagues in the back, metaphorically", adding that his "shenanigans" had damaged his election chances.

    He told LBC: “Many people here decided that’s not the sort of person they wanted representing the north east of Scotland.

    “So, this was the SNP’s gain of the election and I and Alba supporters contributed to it, so I’m glad to give the SNP their saving grace.”

    Salmond also rejected the idea that the case for Scottish independence had been diminished by the SNP's poor election results, insisting the movement is "alive and kicking".

  • ‘Everyone is fed up’: Reform sets sights on Labour stronghold Barnsley – but Farage still divides opinion

    Reform UK leader Nigel Farage on the Reform UK campaign bus in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, whilst on the General Election campaign trail. Picture date: Tuesday June 11, 2024. (Photo by Danny Lawson/PA Images via Getty Images)
    Reform UK leader Nigel Farage on a campaign bus in Barnsley, South Yorkshire. (Getty Images)

    Patricia Francis loves her view over Barnsley, draped across the Pennine hills. It sparkles in the July sunshine the day after the general election. The 72-year-old has been here for decades and she can tell by people’s accents which village they are from.

    “Barnsley people don’t like a lot of change,” she says, “but they know we’ve got to have it.”

    Plenty has changed here since the mines shut in places like nearby Grimethorpe, best known for its ­colliery and the brass band immortalised in Brassed Off. The park beneath Francis’s home used to be a colliery slag heap. One thing that has not changed is Labour’s grip on Barnsley. Constituency boundaries have moved, but Dan Jarvis has been an MP here since 2011, and Stephanie Peacock since 2017, and many before them.

    But Reform is on their heels – of the 103 constituencies where it came second, its best share was in Barnsley South, with 33.2% of the vote. Reform’s leader and ­majority shareholder, Nigel Farage, made Barnsley a key target during the election.

    Read the full story from the Guardian here

  • How will the Starmers adjust to living at No 10?

    LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 5: Labour leader and incoming Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer and wife Victoria pose for the press as they enter 10 Downing Street following Labour's landslide election victory on July 5, 2024 in London, England. The Labour Party won a landslide victory in the 2024 general election, ending 14 years of Conservative government. (Photo by Alison Jackson/Getty Images)
    Sir Keir Starmer and wife Victoria pose for the press as they enter 10 Downing Street. (Getty Images)

    The move to Downing Street is a symbolic moment for any incoming prime minister, the most obvious proof of your drastically changed situation.

    You do not merely run the shop, as Mrs Thatcher said, you live above it. Downing Street is one of the most prestigious political residences on Earth, perhaps second only to the White House. For five years, barring calamity, it is yours, for you to decorate with all the golden Lulu Lytle wallpaper you like.

    Of all the recent prime ministers, however, Sir Keir Starmer might have the most reason to be wary of the move. For all the benefits of being in the flat above Number 10 Downing St – or the larger flat above Number 11, which recent prime ministers have preferred, starting with Tony Blair – there are also disadvantages.

    Read the full story from the Telegraph here

  • Labour rules out introducing mandatory ID cards

    Less than 24 hours after Sir Keir Starmer's victory, former Labour leader Sir Tony Blair began offering pieces of advice, including the introduction of digital ID cards to help with border control.

    It is a controversial idea, with campaigners raising concerns over civil liberties and unnecessary data collection.

    As he did the morning media rounds, newly appointed business secretary Jonathan Reynolds initially wouldn't rule out the introduction of mandatory ID cards.

    However, he has since told Times Radio: "We can rule out ID cards. That is not part of our plans."

  • EU willing to offer Keir Starmer new deal on Brexit, Irish PM says

    BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - JUNE 27: Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris speaks to press prior to the EU Leaders' Summit in Brussels, Belgium on June 27, 2024. (Photo by Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu via Getty Images)
    Irish Taoiseach Simon Harris has suggested the EU could form closer ties with the new UK government. (Getty Images)

    The European Union is willing to offer Keir Starmer a new deal on post-Brexit issues, the Irish prime minister has indicated.

    Simon Harris said was "space" to work more closely with the UK - and Ireland would be an ally in any negotiations.

    His comments were welcomed by the new business secretary Jonathan Reynolds, who said the UK should explore ways to improve trade relations with the bloc.

    Read the full story from the Independent here,

  • 'Our politics is broken': Ed Davey calls for electoral reform

    LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 05: Leader of the Liberal Democrats Sir Ed Davey speaks to staff, supporters and the media at Liberal Democrat HQ on July 05, 2024 in London, England. As of the morning, the Liberal Democrats have won more than 70 seats in what party leader Ed Davey called their best result in a century. (Photo by Rob Pinney/Getty Images)
    Sir Ed Davey, leader of the Liberal Democrats, celebrating his party's election results. (Getty Images)

    Reform UK won a much larger share of the popular vote but ended up with far fewer seats than the Liberal Democrats in this week's election.

    Asked if he thought that was fair, Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey told the BBC's Laura Kuenssberg his party had "long argued" for proportional representation and will continue to make the case.

    "We want to improve our democracy, our politics is broken," he said.

    "It might mean that there are people who are elected who we don't agree with," Davey said, but said that already happens under the UK's current electoral system of First Past the Post.

    You can read more about proportional representation here.

  • 'We failed to deliver on our promises': Jenrick says

    Former immigration minister Robert Jenrick said the Conservatives lost heavily at the general election because they had “failed to deliver” on their promises, including border security.

    “The reason we lost the trust of millions of people across the country is not because we were too left-wing or right-wing or had this slogan or that slogan, but fundamentally because we failed to deliver on the promises we made to the British public," he told the BBC's Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg.

    “In 2019 we promised we would get Brexit done and that we would deliver a strong economy, a strong NHS and secure borders.

    “And although there are many things that I’ll fiercely defend about the record of our party in government – and we did get Brexit done – we did not deliver the level of growth and taxation that Conservatives expect, the quality of service in the NHS that the public need and, above all, the secure borders and controlled and reduced migration that we promised and that we need to deliver.”

  • Robert Jenrick won't say if he will run for Tory leader

    London, England, UK. 28th Apr, 2024. Former Immigration Minister ROBERT JENRICK is seen walking out of the BBC Studios after his appearance on Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg. (Credit Image: © Thomas Krych/ZUMA Press Wire) EDITORIAL USAGE ONLY! Not for Commercial USAGE! Credit: ZUMA Press, Inc./Alamy Live News
    Former immigration minister Robert Jenrick has not ruled himself out of the Tory leadership race. (Alamy)

    In a similar vein, Robert Jenrick has said he doesn't think it is right to have "self-indulgent conversations" of leadership ambitions three days after the Tories' crushing defeat.

    However, the former immigration minister did not rule himself out of the leadership race when asked on BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg.

    “The reason I came on your programme Laura is because I care about the Conservative Party, I’ve been a member of the party since 1997 when I was 16 years of age, I’ve been with it through thick and thin," he said.

    “I want to ensure it has the right diagnosis of what’s gone wrong and that diagnosis is not about personalities, it’s about principles and ideas not individuals.”

    Jenrick added: “The first step for the party is to have a proper honest diagnosis about what’s gone wrong.”

    Asked if that means a long handover to the next Tory leader, he said he would "support a longer campaign", adding that the party needs to "think very carefully about what's happened".

  • 'We need to show the public we are listening', ex-health secretary says

    July 7, 2024, London, England, United Kingdom: Former Health Secretary VICTORIA ATKINS arrives at BBC before appearing on Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg show. (Credit Image: © Tayfun Salci/ZUMA Press Wire) EDITORIAL USAGE ONLY! Not for Commercial USAGE!
    Former Health Secretary Victoria Atkins. (Alamy)

    Former health secretary Victoria Atkins has not ruled out standing in the Tory leadership race but said it was not time for candidates to launch their campaigns yet.

    She told BBC One’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg: “This weekend is not about leadership. The absolute focus at the moment, and the reason I came on today, was genuinely not to talk about leadership because this is not the moment for this.

    “We need to show the public that we understand they have sent us some very, very loud messages, that we are listening, that we are reflecting and then we as a party need to get together and unite and work out what we want for the future.”

    Former chancellor Jeremy Hunt has ruled himself out of the race, but a number of senior Tory figures have already been tipped to throw their hats into the ring

  • Business secretary dismisses Mail On Sunday front page

    The front page of the Mail on Sunday warns that with a new Labour government, a "retreat" on Brexit is already underway.

    It says prime minister Sir Keir Starmer "wants more relaxed freedom of movement rules and lower trade barriers" and is "willing to sign the UK back up to some Brussels rules in exchange".

    Asked about this on BBC Radio 4, business secretary Jonathan Reynolds said: "We want fewer trade barriers, we want that for all important markets.

    "We've said we will not revisit freedom of movement or constitutional questions. But improving that trade relationship – let's sell more salmon and whisky to everyone I would say."

    Stewart Wood, a Labour member of the House of Lords, described the Mail On Sunday's take as "a worldview clouded in paranoia and isolationism."

  • 'Good people' voted for Reform but 'didn't know their full agenda', Reynolds says

    Reform UK leader Nigel Farage and the new Reform MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, James McMurdock, watch the inaugural match of East Thurrock CFC at Wyldecrest Sports Country Club, Corringham, Essex. Picture date: Saturday July 6, 2024.
    Reform UK leader Nigel Farage and the new Reform MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, James McMurdock. (Alamy)

    Reform UK leader Nigel Farage made it clear after the general election: "We're coming for Labour."

    The populist party took many votes from previous Conservative Party voters this week as it won five seats in the Commons, and now it has its eyes set on winning over more Labour supporters.

    Asked if he was concerned by the rapid rise of Reform, business secretary Jonathan Reynolds told the BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg: "I did meet in this election good people who were telling me they were thinking about voting Reform – that doesn't mean Reform are good people."

    He said that when campaigners told people that Reform "support the economic policies of Liz Truss" and the "foreign policies of Vladimir Putin", they are "horrified".

    Reynolds said that now Reform has members of parliament it will come under increased scrutiny, adding: "They will find that very difficult and we will come for them, we will tell people what their agenda would mean for their economic security, for their national security.

    "I think the people who voted Reform are good people, often didn't know the full agenda of Reform," he said.

  • Labour to seek 'job guarantees' in new Tata Steel deal

    File photo dated 15/09/23 of Tata Steel's Port Talbot steelworks in south Wales. Unite has suspended an overtime ban and a planned all out strike at steel giant Tata over job losses, the union announced. Issue date: Monday July 1, 2024.
    The business secretary has said 'there is a better deal available' regarding the under-threat Port Talbot steelworks. (Alamy)

    “Job guarantees” will be part of the negotiations between the government and steel giant Tata about its Port Talbot site, business secretary Jonathan Reynolds has said.

    Tata has shut down one of two blast furnaces at its biggest plant under its plans to switch to a greener form of production. The second blast furnace is due to be shut down in September.

    Reynolds said “there is a better deal available for Port Talbot and the steel industry as a whole”, telling BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg: “I do want things in exchange for money we’ll co-invest with the private sector around jobs and technology.

    “I think that’s a reasonable way to make sure public money is being well spent and I believe there are things, capacities, the steel industry needs in future that could be part of that conversation and that’s what I’ll be having in the next few days.”

    He added: “I’m going to make sure that job guarantees are part of the negotiation that we’re having.”

  • 'What a hell of a victory': The moment Biden congratulates Starmer on election win

    Sir Keir Starmer has shared the moment president Joe Biden congratulated him on Labour's historic election victory.

    As the prime minister was put through to Air Force One, the US leader said: "Mr Prime Minister, congratulations, what a hell of a victory."

    Starmer replied: "Thank you Mr President, it's been a long night and day, I've been busy appointing my Cabinet during the course of this afternoon."

    The pair, who will meet in Washington DC next week for the Nato leaders summit, discussed the "special relationship" of the US and UK, and working together on issues including "supporting Ukraine and managing the competition in China".

  • Could the UK form closer ties with EU under Labour?

    Business secretary Jonathan Reynolds may have ruled out bringing back freedom of movement, but he says Labour still wants to "explore" ways to improve trade relations with the European Union.

    Following the election result, Irish premier Simon Harris said there could be "space" to work closer with the UK on various post-Brexit issues.

    Reynolds told Sky News: “If we can sell more whisky, more salmon to a market which is so significant to us, of course we should explore an opportunity like that.

    “I think moving forward to, to be frank, a relationship to Europe that is not determined by the internal politics of the Conservative Party is very much in the national interest in the UK.

    “So we’re not going to revisit those constitutional arguments, but of course where it’s in the mutual interest of both the European Union and the UK to work together that good faith relationship has got to make sense.”

  • Freedom of movement with EU not on the table, business secretary says

    July 7, 2024, London, England, United Kingdom: JONATHAN REYNOLDS, Secretary of State for Business and Trade, arrives at BBC before appearing on Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg show. (Credit Image: © Tayfun Salci/ZUMA Press Wire) EDITORIAL USAGE ONLY! Not for Commercial USAGE!
    The UK's new business secretary, Jonathan Reynolds. (Alamy)

    Newly-appointed business secretary Jonathan Reynolds has said Labour has no plans to bring back freedom of movement with the EU.

    He told Sky News that “removing some of those barriers to trade makes sense”, adding: “We’ve talked about recognising each others’ professional qualifications, again completely sensible, pragmatic.

    “If you are in the creative industries you’ve really suffered in your ability to move around the European Union in terms of the restrictions on that. These are practical things.”

    Pressed on free movement of people, Reynolds said: “We’re not open to the free movement of people, that is something that is part of membership of the European Union and, as I said, we’re not revisiting that.”

  • Next Tory leader 'has to unite divided party', Nadhim Zahawi says

    File photo dated 22/06/23 of Nadhim Zahawi, who has been appointed chair of online retailer Very Group, which owns Very and Littlewoods. The Conservative MP will replace interim chair Aidan Barclay at the company, which is part of the Barclay family's business empire. Issue date: Monday May 13, 2024.
    Nadhim Zahawi. (Alamy)

    Former chancellor Nadhim Zahawi remained tight lipped when asked who he would want to lead the Conservative Party after a bruising election defeat.

    He told Sky News' Trevor Phillips that potential frontrunners will already be putting their teams together over the weekend as they prepare for the contest.

    "I think the most important thing, whoever comes forward, is they come forward with a plan on how to unit the party and bring us all back together," Zahawi said.

    The former minister said one of Rishi Sunak's biggest problems was people within his own party "coming out against him", both before and during the election campaign.

  • Big brains and glittering careers: five fresh Labour MPs to watch

    Glasgow, Scotland, UK. 5th July 2024. New Labour MPs representing Scotland are elected.  Images of new MPs at Labour Party event in Glasgow following the election results.  Photo ;  Kirsty McNeill, Midlothian Credit: Iain Masterton/Alamy Live News
    Kirsty McNeill is part of a newly enhanced cadre of Scottish Labour MPs who have made it to Westminster, with the party recovering from its return of one Scottish MP at the 2019 election. (Alamy)

    Labour’s new brood includes an economist whose family fled from Liberia, Westminster insiders and a former soldier.

    Read The Guardian's breakdown of the rising stars in Keir Starmer's new administration.

  • London, England, UK. 6th July, 2024. JONATHAN REYNOLDS, Secretary of State for Business and Trade and President of the Board of Trade arrives at 10 Downing Street as first cabinet meeting of Labour government in the UK takes place. (Credit Image: © Tayfun Salci/ZUMA Press Wire) EDITORIAL USAGE ONLY! Not for Commercial USAGE!
    Cabinet minister Jonathan Reynolds (ZUMA Press Wire)

    A cabinet minister has declined to rule out the introduction of digital ID cards after Siry Tony Blair called for the documents.

    The former prime minister said “we need a plan to control immigration” and “we should move as the world is moving to digital ID” to help keep track of who is in the country.

    Business secretary Jonathan Reynolds told Sky News’s Sunday Morning With Trevor Phillips: “The new home secretary [Yvette Cooper

    ] will be looking at all sources of advice when it comes to that.

    “But I would just say we have backed the points-based immigration system, we made difficult decisions, particularly when we thought legal migration was too high and it has to come down.”

    Pressed again on ID cards he said: “Well look, my colleague Yvette Cooper and the rest of the home affairs team will be looking at all sorts of things.

    “I’m not going to pre-empt things they may or may not want to do.”

  • Blair's advice to Starmer to combat Reform

    Former British prime minister Tony Blair gestures as he speaks during a press conference with Kosovo President following their meeting in Pristina on June 10, 2024. KFOR deployed into Kosovo on June 12, 1999, in the wake of a 78-day air campaign. This air campaign was launched by NATO in March 1999 to halt and reverse the humanitarian catastrophe that was then unfolding. Blair is considered as one of the most prominent lobbyist for the campaign. (Photo by AFP) (Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images)
    Tony Blair said the Labour government must 'avoid any vulnerability on 'wokeism'. (Getty)

    Sir Tony Blair has urged Sir Keir Starmer to introduce digital identity cards and “avoid any vulnerability on wokeism”.

    In an early intervention little more than 24 hours after the prime minister entered Downing Street, his predecessor has publicly offered advice on how to approach his time in office.

    Blair, whose attempt to roll out ID cards while in power was killed off by the following coalition government, called for a new digital system to help with border control.

    Writing in the Sunday Times, he said: “Reform has pillaged the Tory vote in this election, true. But it poses a challenge for Labour too.

    "We need a plan to control immigration. If we don’t have rules, we get prejudices. In office, I believed the best solution was a system of identity, so that we know precisely who has a right to be here. With, again, technology, we should move as the world is moving to digital ID. If not, new border controls will have to be highly effective.

    "We need a tough new approach to law and order. At present, criminal elements are modernising faster than law enforcement.

    "And the government should avoid any vulnerability on “wokeism”.

  • Starmer seeks 'co-operation' with Scotland

    Starmer's whistlestop tour of the four nations comes ahead of a packed first week in office, with little time to settle in at Number 10 as he prepares to head to the Nato summit in Washington on Tuesday.

    Ahead of travelling north of the border, where he is expected to meet Scottish first minister John Swinney for talks, he said: “Our UK government will place Scotland back at the beating heart of everything we do.

    “To the people of Scotland, my message is simple and clear: You are at the heart of how we unleash prosperity across the country. We will rebuild a strong Scotland at the forefront of our decade of national renewal.

    “My offer to the Scottish government is the same. We can turn disagreement into co-operation and, through meaningful co-operation and a genuine seat at the table, deliver change for a generation.”

  • New PM Keir Starmer to tour UK

    Good morning and welcome to Yahoo News live coverage of Sir Keir Starmer's first weekend as prime minister.

    The PM said he was seeking an “immediate reset” of the relationship between the Westminster government and devolved nations as he embarks on a tour of all four corners of n.

    Starmer insisted “respect” would be the key ingredient in the bond between the new UK administration and its Irish, Scottish and Welsh counterparts.

    His first visit will be to Edinburgh on Sunday, where the PM will say he wants to “turn disagreement into co-operation” with the SNP north of the border.