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UK election campaign gets more chaotic ahead of debate

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Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and opposition Labour Party leader Keir Starmer will debate the first of Britain’s general elections on Tuesday evening, but a third candidate, Nigel Farage, has taken the spotlight in a campaign that has so far been dominated by a fading incumbent and a rising rival.

Mr Farage, a gleeful insurgent who has long roamed the right-wing fringes of British politics, said he would Reform UK CandidateThis has disrupted the campaign and threatens to take votes away from Sunak’s Conservative Party, which he co-founded, given his strong anti-immigration stance on Reform Britain.

Mr Farage’s candidacy will not in itself bring about change. He has run for a seat in the British Parliament seven times — and lost each time. But his return could inject momentum into other reformist British candidates and create another hurdle in Mr Sunak’s path between now and the July 4 vote.

The prime minister is fighting to avoid a landslide defeat by Labour, which has led the Conservatives in the polls for more than a year. Although the debate between the prime minister and Starmer has only just begun, it has become key to changing a fast-solidifying narrative.

“The election is over, it’s over, Labour won the election,” Farage said in a surprise announcement on Monday as he announced his candidacy. Calling it “the dullest, most boring general election campaign we’ve ever seen in our lifetimes,” Farage, 60, said the campaign needed “a little more kick” and billed himself as a “tonic.”

Sunak called the election on May 22, months earlier than expected, in part to capitalize on some good news on the economy. He has moved aggressively to appeal to voters who might be attracted to far-right Reform Britain, proposing a national service requirement for 18-year-olds and a new law to ban transgender women from women’s toilets and women-only prisons.

But the Conservatives fumbled early on immigration, with Sunak saying his government’s flagship plan would send asylum seekers on one-way flights to Rwanda Won’t start Before the election, Labor vowed to shelve the policy if it came to power, suggesting the flights might never take place.

There is no evidence that Sunak’s decision to consult voters early has changed the Conservative Party’s bleak electoral prospects. A poll of nearly 60,000 adults by market research firm YouGov published on Monday showed The party will lose 225 seats And Labour will gain 220 votes.

although Bullish side According to projections for Labour, the figures would give the party a larger majority than former Prime Minister Tony Blair won in a landslide victory in 1997. Although the poll was conducted before Farage’s announcement, it did not predict Reform UK would win any seats, demonstrating the obstacles small parties face in winning seats under Britain’s first-past-the-post electoral system.

Analysts say that for Farage, the decision to run for a parliamentary seat could be part of his grand strategy to take over the Conservative Party after it is expected to lose. But they say running now is not without risks and that he could lose for the eighth time in a row himself.

“On the one hand, this is headline news and will almost certainly be another killer blow to the government,” said Tim Bale, a professor of politics at Queen Mary University of London. “On the other hand, if he does too much damage to the Conservative Party, those Conservative MPs who remain in Parliament, and even some grassroots Conservative activists who claim to like him, will not be too fond of him.”

“But,” Professor Bell added, “a hostile takeover is still a takeover.”

Whether Farage wins or not, he will have breathed new life into a campaign that has had a slow start, dating back to Sunak’s announcement in a pouring rain outside 10 Downing Street.

As Sunak pulled out of Rwanda, Starmer’s Labour Party lost days to an internal dispute over Diane Abbott, a black MP who He was suspended from the Labour Party last year Because the Irish, Jews, and Travellers did not face the same racism as black people.Traveler China’s most Britain at a disadvantage.

Abbott, a respected figure on the Labour left, had been expected to withdraw from the election in exchange for a lifting of her suspension order and a peerage in the House of Lords. But after she hesitated and Labour’s progressive wing came to her defense, Starmer said she was “not aFree to stand as a Labour candidate“”.

Abbott, 70, confirmed she plans to run to retake the north London seat, ending a streak of Labour moving away from its theme of “change” after 14 years of Conservative rule.

Starmer tried to revive Britain’s military in a speech on Monday promising to increase military spending and modernize its nuclear arsenal. He said he would not hesitate to use nuclear weapons to defend Britain, a statement aimed at rebutting Conservative criticism that Labour was soft on national security.

Conservative officials noted that the last time the country renewed its contract for the Trident nuclear weapons system was in 2016, senior Labour figures including David Lammy, the shadow foreign secretary, and Angela Rayner, the deputy leader, voted against it. (Mr Starmer voted in favour of the renewal.)

“This is a changed Labour Party and, most importantly, I voted for the nuclear deterrent,” Starmer said. “I led by example; I always have led by example.”

Given Labour’s lead over the Conservatives, analysts say Starmer’s biggest danger is problems of his own making, which could cause voters to doubt the party. That’s why the battle over Abbott’s status has frustrated some Labour supporters.

But Starmer’s challenge pales in comparison to that of Sunak, who is trying to pull Fianna Fáil back from decline, having run a spirited but mixed campaign and was mocked for his witticisms during his debut in the rain and for bravely accepting an umbrella.

The prime minister is not a natural politician and has occasionally backfired through campaign events and photo opportunities. Last week, a young man asked him about the party’s compulsory military service proposal: “Why do you hate young people so much?”

On Sunday, Sunak posted a TikTok video mocking Labour’s lack of a plan. He flipped open the cover of a flipchart to reveal a blank page. Within minutes, Labour staff had Adjusted the video The next day, Sunak was photographed chatting with residents of Henley-on-Thames, England, as a boat filled with Liberal Democrat supporters cheered and waved signs.

Sunak, who has long ruled out a Conservative-Reform UK alliance, on Monday ignored a threat from Farage, who is running for a seat in the seaside constituency of Clacton.

“By the end of July 5, one of two people is going to be prime minister, it’s either me or Keir Starmer,” Sunak told the broadcaster. “A vote for any non-Tory candidate is simply a vote for Keir Starmer to be number 10.”

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