Politics latest: Starmer jets off for first NATO summit - and in 'stronger position' than many allies (2024)

Key points
  • PM jets off for NATO summit
  • Mark Stone analysis:Starmer in much stronger position than allies
  • Health secretary 'optimistic' after junior doctor talks
  • Committee key to Tory leadership race elects new chair
  • Tory mayor attacks 'cack-handed' Braverman after Pride comments
  • Highlights from parliament's return:Starmer speaks in Commons for first time as PM|Sunak vows 'effective' opposition|Farage makes debut with dig over Brexit|Commons Speaker re-elected
  • Sam Coates analysis:A spirit of unity - but still moments of politics
  • Live reporting by Faith Ridler


That's all for the Politics Hub tonight

Thanks for joining us for a very busy day for the new Labour government - and there's plenty more to come this week.

You can scroll through the page for today's updates, or check our 10pm post for a round-up of Tuesday's most significant news.

We'll be back at 6am with all the latest from Westminster.


Reeves launches national wealth fund to boost private investment

The chancellor has revealed plans for a new national wealth fund designed to attract billions in private sector investment.

The new Labour government said it has allocated £7.3bn in additional state funding to support the plan.

The proposals include reforms to the state-owned British Business Bank.

Rachel Reeves met with a nine-strong National Wealth Fund Taskforce at Number 11 Downing Street in order to launch the plans.

The taskforce includes former Bank of England governor Mark Carney, Barclays chief executive officer CS Venkatakrishnan and Aviva chief executive Amanda Blanc.

'Further, faster'

Ms Reeves said the funding will be used to target green and high-growth British industries, stressing there is "no time to waste".

The chancellor added: "We need to go further and faster if we are to fix the foundations of our economy to rebuild Britain and make every part of our country better off."


It's the end of the day - which means it's time for a round-up of the main things you need to know from the Politics Hub.

  • Sir Keir Starmer is en route to Washington DC as you read this for his first NATO summit, where he'll meet world leaders including Joe Biden;
  • Our US correspondent Mark Stoke says he goes on the trip in a "much stronger position" than many of his allies, given his massive election win - we'll have live updates and analysis from the trip starting tomorrow.
  • Back in the UK, parliament has returned and the Speaker re-elected, with the cabinet and shadow cabinet having been sworn in;
  • Sir Keir Starmerwelcomed the diversity of the new parliament in his first Commons speech as PM, whileRishi Sunakvowed the Tories would be an "effective and professional" opposition;
  • The return of parliament allowed the Tories to elect the chair of their backbench 1922 Committee, which runs the party's leadership contests;
  • But our political correspondent Darren McCaffrey is getting the sense from Conservatives that the contest may not happen for several months, as the battle for the soul of the party commences.
  • Elsewhere, Health Secretary Wes Streeting says he's "optimistic" after his first meeting with representatives of junior doctors, as he seeks an end to the pay dispute that has caused industrial action;
  • Our political correspondent Tamara Cohen said there may only be "a matter of weeks" to find an agreement before the BMA union holds a vote on holding more strikes.

That's it for our final bulletin of the day - stay with us for more news and analysis through the evening.


Ex-army chief issues WW3 warning and brands 'new axis powers' more dangerous than the Nazis

A former army chief has warned members of NATO the world is facing "as dangerous a moment as any time that we've had since 1945" as he called on members to invest more into their arms.

General Sir Patrick Sanders, who served as chief of the general staff until last month, told The Times that Russia, China and Iran were the "new axis powers", and a third world war could break out within the next five years if action was not taken.

Arguing the countries posed even more of a threat than the Nazis in 1939, he said: "They are more interdependent and more aligned than the original axis powers were."

But the military expert said the conflict was not a foregone conclusion if NATO members, including the UK, significantly improved their arms.

You can read more from Sky News:


'Like the first day at school': How parliament has prepared 300 rookie MPs for the job

The UK's newest MPs might have spent the last six weeks fighting for a place in parliament - but it can still be a shock to the system once they enter it, according to those familiar with the process.

That's why House of Commons staff have spent months preparing for their arrival, working on everything from buddy schemes to starter packs and photobooks to help them get to grips with the job.

This secret team of helpers is not messing about. In fact, the first contact parliament has with newly elected representatives is at the election count itself.

Read all about how new MPs are prepared for the job here:


How could the Tory leadership race unfold?

After the Conservative Party lost the general election, Rishi Sunak announced he would resign as leader "once the formal arrangements for selecting my successor are in place".

So how could the next leader be selected?

1922 committee

The body that governs Tory party leadership races is their backbench committee of MPs, the 1922 Committee.

Today, Tory MPs elected a new chair - Bob Blackman.

Decisions can now be taken about the timeframe and process of the leadership contest - although it is unclear when that will happen.

Rishi Sunak's role

As it stands, the former PM remains leader of the party and leader of the opposition. He has appointed a shadow cabinet and will fulfil the constitutional requirements of the role - for now.

Mr Sunak could agree to stay as party leader until a permanent successor is selected - in which case he will continue to carry out the opposition leader role, including facing Sir Keir Starmer at PMQs.

But he could choose to step down before the contest is concluded, which he seemed to suggest in his resignation speech, which would mean an interim leader would have to be chosen (that would likely fall to Oliver Dowden, who is the interim deputy leader).

Will the party members have a say?

There appears to be broad consensus among Tory MPs that members should get a vote on who the new party leader should be.

Short vs long

Some Tories have proposed the contest should be short, so the new leader can be in place to challenge the Labour government as soon as possible - particularly when they present their first budget in the autumn.

However, a consensus appears to be emerging that a long leadership contest is the right thing to do to ensure there is full debate on which direction the party should take.

It could mean that nominations for the new leader don't even open for a number of weeks, and then MPs could whittle down the number of candidates - or not, and members could choose between multiple people.

There have been suggestions that the contest should not conclude until after the party's conference in early October, like when David Cameron won back in 2005.


Hakluyt chief Chandra lined up for top Labour business role

By Mark Kleinman, City editor

The boss of Hakluyt, the corporate intelligence firm, is being lined up for a top business role in Sir Keir Starmer's fledgling Labour administration.

Sky News has learnt that Varun Chandra, who has been Hakluyt's managing partner since 2019, is in advanced talks to join the government.

Sources said on Tuesday that he was likely to take on a senior business liaison role in 10 Downing Street - a role occupied by Lord Petitgas, the former Morgan Stanley banker, in Rishi Sunak's administration.

Like Lord Petitgas, Mr Chandra is an ex-Lehman Brothers banker who went on to establish the regulated business operations of Tony Blair, the former prime minister.

You can read more from Sky News here:


Mark Stone analysis: Lucky Starmer looks a lot stronger than other leaders at NATO summit

The UK is in a relatively unusual position as Sir Keir Starmer jets off for his first NATO summit as prime minister.

Given the struggles of Joe Biden, Emmanuel Macron, and some other Western leaders, ourUS correspondentMark Stonesays the prime minister comes to Washington DC looking relatively strong given his enormous election win.

"Politically he is in a much stronger position than many colleagues he will meet," says Mark, who'll be at the summit.

Sir Keir will be among the leaders of the 31 other NATO members for a summit being described "as the biggest event of its kind for three decades" given the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Mark says that sometimes in politics "timing is luck" - "and it's certainly luck for Starmer that so soon after he took office, he is in Washington".

He'll also meet Joe Biden at the White House while he's in town.

That concludes our coverage of tonight's Politics Hub programme - it will be back again from 7pm tomorrow. Stay with us here for more news and analysis through the evening.


How long could the Tory leadership contest last?

Our political correspondent Darren McCaffrey is outside The Spectator's depressingly rainy summer party in London - and it doesn't get more "establishment" than this, he says.

Plenty of senior Tories are there, and so is Nigel Farage.

Darren notes that although the new chairman of the 1922 Committee was confirmed as Bob Blackman tonight - the timing of a Tory leadership contest remains unclear.

"The conversation is not tonight about who should take over the Conservative Party, it's much more about this process," Darren says.

"Whether this leadership contest needs to be sorted as soon as possible - ahead of the party conference - or whether the Conservative Party should do what they decided back in 2005."

That was a really long campaign, one which ended with David Cameron taking the reins.

Darren says the consensus at the party seems to be the Conservatives need to have a think - and they need a long time, certainly until the summer has been and gone.

It means Rishi Sunak could still be leader for months to come.


Minister dismisses Johnson's 'nonsense' levelling-up claim

Housing minister Matthew Pennycook is now asked about Labour's decision to take "Levelling Up" out of his department's name.

It is now the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

Boris Johnson didn't take well to this decision, accusing the new government of a lack of ambition.

Mr Pennycook says this is "nonsense", adding: "I'd expect nothing less from the former prime minister."

He said the way the Tory government had approached levelling up was a "gimmick", with communities "held back" and "forced to bid" for "small pots of money" from Whitehall.

"We are taking a whole government approach to regional inequality," says the minister.

"It's got to run through everything we do, so the ambition remains the problem, if you like. The diagnosis was right.

"We want to get back to basics."

Politics latest: Starmer jets off for first NATO summit - and in 'stronger position' than many allies (2024)


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