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UK politics: Labour’s Khan has 22-point lead over Tory rival in London mayoral race, poll suggests – as it happened

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Labour’s Sadiq Khan has 22-point lead over Tories’ Susan Hall in London mayoral contest, poll suggests

Sadiq Khan, the Labour mayor of London who is running for this third term in office on Thursday, has been arguing that he is at risk of losing to his Conservative opponent, the low-profile rightwinger Susan Hall. Last week he claimed the contest would be “a close two-horse race”. There are good reasons why he’s saying this; if voters think their candidate is going to win, they are less likely to turn out, and since 2021 the government has changed electoral rules in two ways (requiring photo ID for voting, and making the mayoral election a first past the post contest, not a supplementary vote one) that may disadvantage Labour. But that does not mean Khan is right.

According to the latest poll from YouGov, he isn’t. It’s not close at all. Khan is on course to win by a margin of more than 20 points, the poll suggests.

Polling for London Photograph: YouGov

In his write-up for YouGov, Matthew Smith says Khan is on course to win handsomely even though almost half of Londoners think he is doing a bad job. Smith says:

While Sadiq Khan’s victory looks assured, he is nevertheless unpopular overall, with 46% having an unfavourable view of the mayor versus 38% a favourable one. Londoners are divided on his record to date, with 41% saying he has done a good job and 45% saying he has done a bad job.

Polling on Sadiq Khan
Polling on Sadiq Khan Photograph: YouGov

Key events

We are closing this blog now, thanks for following today’s developments. You can read all our UK politics coverage here.

Afternoon summary

  • Sadiq Khan is on course to win the London mayoral election with a 22-point lead, a poll suggests. (See 4.53pm.)

  • John Swinney and Kate Forbes have both confirmed that they are seriously considering standing for the SNP leadership, but without yet committing themselves to being candidates. Swinney remains the clear favourite, but Forbes has denied claims she is coming under pressure not to stand so that Swinney can take the post as a unity candidate. (See 3.56pm.) Swinney has the support of senior figures in the party including Westminster leader Stephen Flynn, health secretary Neil Gray and education secretary Jenny Gilruth.

Keir Starmer addressing the Usdaw conference at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool. Photograph: Anthony Devlin/Getty Images
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Number of asylum seekers needing help for homelessness has quadrupled year on year, figures show

The number of asylum seekers needing help for homelessness in England after having been in supported accommodation has more than quadrupled in a year, PA Media reports. PA says:

Official figures published today showed the number owed what is known as a relief duty to be 4,150 as of the end of December 2023 – almost five times the 900 figure from the same point a year before.

The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents local councils, said the government’s plans to continue to close asylum hotels meant people were having to turn to councils for support instead.

Statistics on homelessness, published by the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, showed that the figure had more than doubled between the third and fourth quarters of last year.

There were 1,870 households in the period from July to September who were owed a relief duty from local authorities for help as they faced homelessness.

This rose to 4,150 for the period October to December.

A spokesperson for the LGA said a “better system for supporting asylum seekers to find permanent homes” was needed.

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Lucy Frazer, the culture secretary, seems to have voted with Labour by mistake in a division on the digital markets, competition and consumers bill. Labour’s Chris Bryant says she was backing a Labour move to crack down on ticket touts. She was the only Tory voting with Labour on this. The Conservatives voted against.

Brilliant, @lucyfrazermp just walked through the division lobby with Labour to support action on ticket touts against her whip. #SurelySomeMistake

The division list shows that Frazer also voted with the Conservatives. MPs can vote aye and no in a division. Normally they do this as a means of recording an abstention, but if Frazer voted the wrong way by mistake, she may have headed for the other lobby to compensate.

A reader asks:

The table you should show from More in Common is where has the 2019 conservative voters have gone. Not many to Labour, most to reform but a huge chunk, more than other parties to don’t know. Are they going to just sit at home or what?

Luckily, More in Common has a chart for that too. This is from its briefing for journalists ahead of the local elections. It suggests that, although don’t knows lean to the Tories a bit more than to Labour, mostly they probably won’t vote at all.

Polling on how don’t knows might vote Photograph: More in Common

Watchdog tells Home Office not to ignore court ruling protecting EU citizens with post-Brexit right to stay in UK

Lisa O'Carroll

Lisa O’Carroll

A statutory body set up to guarantee EU citizens rights after Brexit has sharply criticised the Home Office for not fully implementing a ruling by the high court in 2022 designed to protect millions of people whose jobs and homes could be put at risk.

The court ruled that the Home Office was wrong to force people who had been in the country for fewer than five years before Brexit, with pre-settled status under the EU-UK withdrawal agreement, to apply again for full settled status once their current status expired.

The court ruled this was “wrong in law” and now the Independent Monitoring Authority says the Home Office is still not implementing the rule, but merely giving someone with pre-settled status an automatic extension of two years.

The IMA said the Home Office move “does not go for enough” and it is concerned that EU citizens with pre-settled status visible on their documents could risk their job or home.

In a statement Miranda Biddle, the IMA’s chief executive said:

It is crucial that in implementing the judgment the uncertainties being faced in relation to citizens’ ability to live, work and raise their families in the UK are addressed and concluded.

Labour’s Sadiq Khan has 22-point lead over Tories’ Susan Hall in London mayoral contest, poll suggests

Sadiq Khan, the Labour mayor of London who is running for this third term in office on Thursday, has been arguing that he is at risk of losing to his Conservative opponent, the low-profile rightwinger Susan Hall. Last week he claimed the contest would be “a close two-horse race”. There are good reasons why he’s saying this; if voters think their candidate is going to win, they are less likely to turn out, and since 2021 the government has changed electoral rules in two ways (requiring photo ID for voting, and making the mayoral election a first past the post contest, not a supplementary vote one) that may disadvantage Labour. But that does not mean Khan is right.

According to the latest poll from YouGov, he isn’t. It’s not close at all. Khan is on course to win by a margin of more than 20 points, the poll suggests.

Polling for London Photograph: YouGov

In his write-up for YouGov, Matthew Smith says Khan is on course to win handsomely even though almost half of Londoners think he is doing a bad job. Smith says:

While Sadiq Khan’s victory looks assured, he is nevertheless unpopular overall, with 46% having an unfavourable view of the mayor versus 38% a favourable one. Londoners are divided on his record to date, with 41% saying he has done a good job and 45% saying he has done a bad job.

Polling on Sadiq Khan Photograph: YouGov

John Swinney suggests plight of SNP, worse than in 2023, is leading him to revise his view he’s too old to be leader

John Swinney, who is the favourite to be next SNP leader, has also been talking to the media at Holyrood today.

In terms of what he said about standing in the contest, he did not go much beyond what he said yesterday. He said that he was giving the question a great deal of thought, that he was considering what was best for his family, his party and his country, and that he was being urged to stand by people in the party.

But he did sound like someone who has already crafted an argument as to why he should be leader. When it was put to him that only last year he was saying the SNP needed a fresh face as leader (when he decided not to run in the contest to succeed Nicola Strugeon), Swinney replied:

Well, events change, don’t they? Nothing ever remains the same.

What’s changed is that my party finds itself in a very different and more difficult situation than it found itself in 12 months ago.

And I would not be doing a service to the many, many, many people who have contacted me asking me to stand up if I don’t think about this properly.

It wouldn’t be it wouldn’t be my style to ignore the representations that made to me. I’m someone who listens, who listens and addresses the points that are put to me, and that’s exactly what I’m doing just now.

The reporters who were listening told Swinney that it sounded as if he were running.

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More in Common released some polling yesterday showing the Conservative party at just 24%, the lowest level it’s been for a year. It has Labour on 43%.

🚨Our latest @Moreincommon_ voting intention in today’s Playbook finds the lowest Conservative share we’ve recorded at just 24% and the Labour lead at 19pts.

🌹 Labour 43% (-)
🌳Conservatives 24% (-2)
🔶Lib Dem 11% (+1)
🟣Reform UK 11% (-)
💚Greens 6% (-1)

N: 2053
26-28/4

— Luke Tryl (@LukeTryl) April 30, 2024

Forbes rejects claims she is being encouraged by SNP figures not to stand for leadership

Kate Forbes has also recorded a clip for broadcasters repeating the message that she gave the Daily Record – that she is considering standing for the party leadership, and that she has a groundswell of support amongst party members. (See 2.19pm.) This is from Kathryn Samson from Channel 4 News.

Watch:
Kate Forbes is considering running for leader and claims she has a groundswell of support.
She tells me nobody in the SNP has tried to persuade her not to run. pic.twitter.com/xJ21QRBU2a

— kathryn samson (@KathrynSamsonC4) April 30, 2024

In the clip Forbes starts by saying she is “definitely weighing things up” (ie, deciding whether or not to run), and there is a pronounced emphasis on “definitely”.

Asked if she is coming under pressure not to run (from SNP figures who want John Swinney installed as a unity candidate), Forbes replies:

Not at all, no, I think, quite the contrary.

I’m very conscious that across the country, and in branches across Scotland, there are clearly people who have supported me last time and that would support me again.

Kevin Schofield from Huffpost UK claims that Forbes was telling people yesterday that she would not stand if John Swinney decides to put his name forward (which he has not done yet). Schofield thinks there has been a change of heart.

Kate Forbes was telling people yesterday that she would not go up against John Swinney in an SNP leadership contest.

This sounds like she may possibly have had a change of heart. https://t.co/JiWy6TCUmU

— Kevin Schofield (@KevinASchofield) April 30, 2024

Kate Forbes was telling people yesterday that she would not go up against John Swinney in an SNP leadership contest.

This sounds like she may possibly have had a change of heart.

Record 145,800 children living in temporary accommodation, up 15% year on year, figures show

The number of children living in temporary accommodation has reached another record high, while people needing help for homelessness due to no-fault evictions has also reached a new peak, PA Media reports. PA says:

A major housing charity warned that a generation of young people are having their lives “blighted by homelessness”, while campaigners have repeated calls for long-promised rental reforms going through parliament to be strengthened in the face of a “spiralling crisis”.

There were 145,800 children in temporary accommodation as of the end of December last year, up by a fifth on 20 years ago when records for this measure began.

The figure is up 15% from 126,340 on the same period in 2022, the figures published by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) showed.

On December 31 last year, there were a total of 112,660 households in temporary accommodation in England, of which 71,280 were households with children.

The number of overall households in temporary accommodation rose by 12% from 100,510 at the same time in 2022, while the number of households with children increased by 15% from 61,980.

The total number of children living in temporary accommodation was 145,800 as of December 31, a rise of 15% from 126,340 on the same period in 2022.

A total of 317,430 households were assessed as being owed a prevention or relief duty in 2023, a rise of almost 9% on the previous year.

A prevention duty places a duty on housing authorities to work with people who are threatened with homelessness within 56 days to help prevent them from becoming homelessness, while a relief duty requires housing authorities to help people who are homeless to secure accommodation.

Last year, 25,910 people were assessed as needing help for homelessness due to having had a section 21 notice served on them – otherwise known as a no-fault eviction.

This is the highest number in the six years for which statistics are published on this measure in the data tables, and has led campaigners who have long pushed for a ban on such evictions to describe the government’s approach as “maddening”.

Commenting on the figures, Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, the housing charity, said:

The government cannot stand idly by while a generation of children have their lives blighted by homelessness.

Decades of failure to build enough genuinely affordable social homes has left families struggling to cobble together extortionate sums every month to keep a roof over their heads. Those who can’t afford private rents are being thrown into homelessness and then left for months and even years in damaging temporary accommodation because there is nowhere else.

With a general election approaching, it’s time for all politicians to show voters they are serious about ending the housing emergency. To dramatically reduce homelessness, we need every party to commit to building 90,000 social homes a year for ten years, and an overhaul of the renters (reform) bill so that it delivers genuine safety and security for private renters.

Starmer says Labour would scrap Tory ‘shoplifter’s charter’ sentencing rules he claims are driving up crime

Keir Starmer has said that Labour would scrap Tory sentencing rules that he claims amount to a “shoplifter’s charter”.

He is making the pledge in a speech to a conference held by Usdaw, the union representing shopworkers.

Labour says Home Office figures show that almost 250,000 shoplifting cases were closed last year without a prosecution. It says that means shoplifters ‘got away scot-free’.

In extracts from the speech released in advance, Starmer says shoplifting is at “epidemic” levels and that it is wrong to dismiss it as petty crime.

Today I am putting shoplifters on notice. You might get away with this under a weak Tory government.

But if Labour takes power, we won’t stand by while crime takes over our streets ….

We’ll put 13,000 extra neighbourhood police on the beat, tackling crime on your streets.

We’ll scrap the shoplifter’s charter – the £200 rule that stops the police investigating theft in your workplace.

And we will legislate to make sure assaulting and abusing shopworkers is a standalone criminal offence.

Labour says it is entitled to accuse the government of introducing a shoplifter’s charter because the Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 said that shoplifting offences involving goods worth less than £200 had to be tried as ‘summary only’ offences. That meant defendants could plead guilty by post, avoid a court appearance, and get away with a small fine, Labour says.

It says this rule led to the police deprioritising these offences.

In a briefing note, Labour says, by removing the £200 limit set by the 2014 Act, it will “make it easier to prioritise repeat and organised shoplifting whatever the level of any individual theft so it can be properly dealt with – while ensuring that non-court sanctions including pleading guilty by post are reserved for first-time offenders, rather than serious repeat criminals”.

Keir Starmer speaking at the Usdaw conference in Blackpool this afternoon. Photograph: Owen Humphreys/PA
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Kate Forbes says she has ‘groundswell of support’ from SNP members who want her to stand for leader

Kate Forbes, who was runner-up in the SNP leadership contest last year, dodged questions from reporters about her intentions when she went past them in the lobby at the Scottish parliament a few minutes ago. Kathryn Samson from Channel 4 News has a clip.

But Forbes has spoken to the Daily Record. She told that that, while she was still considering whether or not to stand, she did think there was “a groundswell of support” for her amongst members.

I am obviously still weighing up all my options. I know there is a groundswell of support for me amongst the members. That was quite clear in the last contest, which I know you followed very closely.

Clearly I’ll be taking that into account and also trying to evaluate what is best for the country, for the party and for my family.

Asked when she would decide, she said it was “still early days”.

John Swinney, the former deputy first minister, is seen as the current favourite. He has not said he will stand, but many senior figures in the party are urging him to do so.

Aged 60, Swinney is an SNP veteran who led the party 20 years ago for a brief spell and who has served in the Scottish parliament since it was established in 1999. He served as Nicola Sturgeon’s deputy first minister, and as seen as the continuity/establishment candidate. He is also firmly on the centre left.

Forbes is 34. A former finance secretary, she is socially and economically more conservative. She was first elected to the Scottish parliament in 2016.

Kate Forbes arriving at the Scottish parliament today. Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
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MSPs to debate Labour’s no confidence motion in Scottish government tomorrow

The Scottish parliament has confirmed that Labour’s motion of no confidence in the Scottish government will be debated by MSPs tomorrow. But, even though the SNP does not have a majority, the Labour motion is not expected to pass. It does not have the support of the two pro-independence opposition parties, the Scottish Greens and Alba.

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