BBC 2024-07-06 08:07:08


Biden vows to stay in race and beat Trump in defiant speech

By Mike Wendling in Madison, Wisconsin & Max MatzaBBC News
‘I am running and I’m going to win again,’ Biden says

US President Joe Biden vowed to stay the course in his re-election bid and defeat Donald Trump in a defiant speech on Friday, as questions continue to swirl over whether he will drop out of the race.

At a rally in Madison, Wisconsin, the 81-year-old acknowledged his disastrous performance in last week’s CNN debate. “Ever since then, there’s been a lot of speculation. What’s Joe going to do?” he told the crowd.

“Here’s my answer. I am running and going to win again,” Mr Biden said, as supporters in the crucial battleground state cheered his name. It marked his latest commitment to staying in the race as he seeks to defuse a political crisis that has snowballed in recent days.

The 17-minute speech, which was more energetic than his widely-panned performance on the debate stage, comes at a critical moment for his campaign, with donors and Democratic allies considering whether to stick with him.

The campaign is aware that the next few days could make or break his re-election bid, according to various reports in US media, as Mr Biden seeks to regain ground that he lost to his Republican rival Donald Trump following the debate.

After his speech in Madison, a rare sit-down interview will air on ABC News at 20:00 EDT which will also be closely watched by those questioning his commitment and fitness.

As he took the stage at the rally, Mr Biden passed one voter who was holding a sign reading “Pass the torch, Joe”. Another voter who stood outside the venue held a sign that read “Save your legacy, drop out!”.

“I see all these stories that say I’m too old,” Mr Biden said at the rally, before triumphing his record in the White House. “Was I too old to create 15 million jobs?” he said. “Was I too old to erase student debt for five million Americans?”

“Do you think I’m too old to beat Donald Trump?” he asked, as the crowd responded “no”.

Referencing Trump’s criminal conviction in New York, and the other charges he is facing in separate cases, he called his rival a “one-man crime wave”.

Pressure on Mr Biden to step aside has only grown following the debate which was marked by several instances where he lost his train of thought, raising concerns about his age and mental fitness.

Some major Democratic donors have begun to push for Mr Biden to step down as the party’s nominee, publicly warning they will withhold funds unless he is replaced.

His campaign is planning an aggressive come-back. His wife, Jill Biden, as well as Vice-President Kamala Harris, are planning a campaign blitz to travel to every battleground swing state this month.

Mr Biden, who is due to speak at another rally in Pennsylvania on Sunday, thanked the vice-president for her support. She has emerged as the most likely candidate to replace him on the Democratic ticket if he were to step down.

On Thursday, Mr Biden acknowledged that he “screwed up” in the debate. He has blamed jet lag for his poor performance, saying that his busy travel schedule prevented him from getting sufficient rest before the debate. “I didn’t listen to my staff… and then I nearly fell asleep on stage,” he said.

In a preview of the president’s Friday evening interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, Mr Biden again blamed his failings last week on exhaustion and a “bad cold”.

“I was sick. I was feeling terrible,” Mr Biden says in the clip, adding he was asked to take a Covid-19 test before the debate.

“It was a bad episode,” he said. “No indication of any serious condition.”

The Washington Post has reported that Mr Biden’s senior team is aware of the pressure coming from within the Democratic Party to make a decision on the future of his candidacy within the next week.

Four Democrats in the House of Representatives in Congress have now called for him to withdraw from the race – Lloyd Doggett of Texas, Raúl Grijalva of Arizona, Seth Boulton of Massachusetts and Mike Quigley of Illinois.

“President Biden has done enormous service to our country, but now is the time for him to follow in one of our founding father, George Washington’s footsteps and step aside to let new leaders rise up and run against Donald Trump,” Mr Moulton told radio station WBUR on Thursday.

However, no senior Democrats have called on him to quit, as his campaign has pointed out to reporters.

On Friday, reports emerged that Senator Mark Warner was attempting to form a group of fellow Democratic senators to ask Mr Biden to drop out of the race. The reports, including one in the Washington Post, suggested Mr Warner had deep concerns following the CNN debate.

Speaking to reporters later on Friday, Mr Biden said he understood that Mr Warner “is the only one considering that” and that no one else had called for him to step down.

The same day, Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey, a Democrat and ally of Mr Biden, issued a statement urging the president to “carefully evaluate” whether he remains the Democratic nominee.

“Whatever President Biden decides, I am committed to doing everything in my power to defeat Donald Trump,” she said.

More on election

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  • What Moscow, Delhi and Beijing make of rematch
  • Who will be Trump’s vice-president?

Some Democratic voters, too, have lost faith in Mr Biden’s capacity to run. In a Wall Street Journal poll released on Friday, 86% of Democrats said they would support Mr Biden, down from 93% in February.

At the rally in Madison, multiple Biden supporters told BBC News that they supported his bid for re-election and were not concerned about the debate debacle.

“I’m not worried about his health. I think he can go all the way to the election and beyond,” said primary school teacher Susan Shotliff, 56.

Some said that while Mr Biden struggled for words, more focus should be on his Republican rival. “During the debate, [Trump] told a bunch of lies. How is that any worse than what Biden did?” said Greg Hovel, 67.

Others expressed more concern. “I wanted to have a first hand look at how he’s like, his mannerisms, his energy,” said Thomas Leffler, a health researcher from Madison. “I’m worried about his capacity to beat Trump.”

“As he gets older, I think it’s going to increasingly be an issue. But I’ll vote blue no matter what,” he said.

Starmer names first cabinet after landslide win

By Sam Francis@DavidSamFrancisPolitical reporter

Sir Keir Starmer has appointed his cabinet after Labour’s landslide election win, making Rachel Reeves the UK’s first female chancellor.

Deputy Prime Minister Angela Rayner is also among a record 11 women in the team of 25.

In his first speech as prime minister at Downing Street on Friday Sir Keir promised to restore trust in politics with a “government of service”.

His new cabinet will meet for the first time on Saturday morning, with Sir Keir vowing to start Labour’s “urgent” work immediately.

In a largely unchanged Labour frontbench line-up, David Lammy has become the foreign secretary.

Yvette Cooper, one of three members of the last Labour cabinet under Gordon Brown, is home secretary.

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Speaking outside 10 Downing Street after being appointed PM by the King at Buckingham Palace, Sir Keir pledged: “My government will serve you, politics can be a force for good.

“The work of change begins immediately, but have no doubt, we will rebuild Britain.”

In his farewell speech outside No 10, Rishi Sunak apologised to unsuccessful Tory candidates and told the public: “I have heard your anger, your disappointment.”

Labour won 412 seats – giving the party a majority of 174 in the new House of Commons. The Conservatives were reduced to a record low for them of 121 MPs, a net fall of 251.

The Liberal Democrats made 63 gains, giving them 71 seats. The SNP suffered a severe defeat, losing 38 seats to stand on nine with one constituency still to declare.

Reform UK won five seats, include leader Nigel Farage’s in Clacton, with the Greens increasing their number of MPs from one to four. Plaid Cymru doubled its number of MPs from two to four.

Before polling day, Sir Keir repeatedly refused to confirm the details of his top team.

But within hours of becoming prime minister on Friday, his appointments came thick and fast – suggesting plans had been in place for a long time.

Alongside her role as Sir Keir’s deputy, Ms Rayner will also take control of the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

A significant majority of the cabinet were state educated – with only three attending private schools.

The other two veterans of the last Labour government are Energy Security and Net Zero Secretary Ed Miliband, and Northern Ireland Secretary Hilary Benn.

Mr Lammy also served as a minister in the last Labour government alongside Pat McFadden, who takes over the Cabinet Office, and Defence Secretary John Healey.

All cabinet members supported Remain in the 2016 EU referendum. Ahead of the election, Sir Keir ruled out the UK rejoining the EU single market in his lifetime.

Sir Keir also spent his first few hours as PM receiving calls of congratulations from world leaders.

US President Joe Biden told Sir Keir he looked forward to “further strengthening the special relationship” with the UK, according to statements from both the White House and Downing Street

Both leaders “reaffirmed the special relationship between our nations and the importance of working together in support of freedom and democracy around the world”, the statements said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also congratulated Sir Keir on his election victory.

In a social media post, Mr Zelensky said: “I am grateful to Prime Minister Starmer for reaffirming the UK’s principled and unwavering support for Ukraine.”

Meanwhile, Sir Keir and Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris committed themselves “to reset and strengthen” Anglo-Irish relations “with urgency and ambition”, the Irish government said.

Though mostly a continuation of Sir Keir’s opposition team, the new cabinet includes some unexpected appointments.

The PM has chosen Richard Hermer as attorney general, rather than Emily Thornberry who had shadowed the role.

Mr Hermer, a friend of Sir Keir’s from when he was a barrister, will receive a life peerage to allow him to sit in the House of Lords and attend cabinet.

Some members of Sir Keir’s shadow cabinet have not yet been given new positions – including Ms Thornberry, shadow women and equalities secretary and party chairwoman Anneliese Dodds, and shadow minister without portfolio Nick Thomas-Symonds.

A peerage has been given to former government chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance to become a science minister in the new government.

James Timpson has also received a peerage and appointed prisons minister.

He is current CEO of the Timpson Group, which has a policy of employing ex-offenders across its UK watch and shoe repair chain.

Neither Lord Vallance nor Lord Timpson will attend cabinet, the BBC understands.

Ms Reeves is the first woman to hold the second most important role in government in the office’s 708-year history.

She said: “To every young girl and woman reading this, let today show that there should be no limits on your ambitions.”

Ms Reeves told her new team of Treasury officials she was “under no illusions of the scale of challenges we face”.

In a speech she said she could not promise it would be easy and “it’s a long road ahead”.

“We’re a new team, it’s a new start so let’s get to work,” she added.

Mr Lammy posted on social media that being appointed foreign secretary was “the honour of my life”.

The world “faces huge challenges”, but Mr Lammy said he would “navigate them with the UK’s enormous strengths”.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Lammy said his first priorities were “a reset on Europe, a reset on our relationships with the global south and a reset on climate”.

Asked if previous comments describing ex-US President Donald Trump as “a woman-hating, neo-Nazi-sympathizing sociopath” would hurt Labour’s relationship with a potential future Trump presidency, Mr Lammy said: “I will work closely with whoever is in the White House.”

Despite a winning a 174-seat majority, Sir Keir has been forced to fill unexpected holes in his team after key allies lost their seats, defying the night’s trend.

In one of the biggest shocks, shadow minister Jonathan Ashworth lost his Leicester South seat, which had a majority of more than 22,000, to independent candidate Shockat Adam, who campaigned against Mr Ashworth’s stance on the war in Gaza. .

Former shadow culture secretary Thangam Debbonaire lost to Green Party co-leader Carla Denyer in Bristol Central

After surviving a challenge from a pro-Gaza independent in Birmingham Ladywood, Shabana Mahmood, a key ally of Sir Keir, has been appointed justice secretary.

The Cabinet team announced are:

  • Sir Keir Starmer – Prime Minister
  • Angela Rayner – Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities
  • Rachel Reeves – Chancellor of the Exchequer
  • Pat McFadden – Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
  • David Lammy – Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs
  • Yvette Cooper – Secretary of State for the Home Department
  • John Healey – Secretary of State for Defence
  • Shabana Mahmood – Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
  • Wes Streeting – Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
  • Bridget Phillipson – Secretary of State for Education
  • Ed Miliband – Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
  • Liz Kendall – Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
  • Jonathan Reynolds – Secretary of State for Business and Trade
  • Peter Kyle – Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
  • Louise Haigh – Secretary of State for Transport
  • Steve Reed – Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
  • Lisa Nandy – Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
  • Hilary Benn – Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
  • Ian Murray – Secretary of State for Scotland
  • Jo Stevens – Secretary of State for Wales
  • Lucy Powell – Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
  • Baroness Smith – Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Lords
  • Alan Campbell – Chief Whip in the House of Commons
  • Darren Jones – Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
  • Richard Hermer – Attorney General

One of the big questions arising from the election result is what type of Conservative Party will emerge from the worst result in its modern history.

Mr Sunak pledged to remain party leader until formal arrangements for selecting his successor were in place.

Several potential leadership candidates were felled during a disastrous night for the Tories.

Penny Mordaunt – the former leader of the Commons and twice a candidate to be prime minister – lost her Portsmouth North seat, as did ex-cabinet minister Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg.

One key reason for the Conservatives grim results was the increased support for Reform UK – who won 14.3% of the vote, propelling party leader Nigel Farage into Parliament for the first time, alongside four other Reform MPs.

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey’s decision to bungee jump, log flume and paddleboard his way through the campaign appeared to have paid of as his party became the third largest in the Commons.

The Greens recorded their best general election performance yet with 6.8% of the vote across Great Britain.

‘Breakthrough’ heightens hopes of Gaza ceasefire deal

By Sebastian UsherBBC Middle East analyst

The head of Israel’s spy agency Mossad, David Barnea, is reported to have travelled alone to Doha to meet Qatar’s Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani as momentum is again building over a possible ceasefire and hostage deal between Israel and Hamas.

This appears to be very much a preliminary move in what could once again be a complicated series of discussions aimed at finally bridging the gap between the Israeli government and Hamas over what each defines as its bottom line in what any potential deal would comprise.

After Mr Barnea left Doha, the office of Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said gaps still remained between the two sides. Israeli officials had already said that expectations need to be lowered.

The latest rekindling of hope for a deal came after Hamas delivered its response to the three-phase proposal that President Biden set out several weeks ago.

The key to that formulation was to put off what has long appeared to be the main obstacle in either side accepting a deal – the demand by Hamas that there must be a permanent ceasefire and the counter-demand by Israel that it must have the freedom to resume fighting in Gaza if necessary.

Exactly what Hamas has presented has not yet been made public. But the Israeli response appears far more positive than in other instances in the past seven months when the process has regained momentum. A source in Israel’s negotiating team said that the proposal put forward by Hamas included a “very significant breakthrough”.

There are indications that this could be that Hamas has accepted the key point of the proposal announced by President Biden – that it would allow negotiations to achieve its goal of a permanent end to the war through the first six-week phase of the ceasefire, rather than demanding it as the starting point.

Hamas has throughout bridled at its portrayal by the US in particular as the main stumbling block in agreeing a deal. Should it become clear that it has indeed made this concession, then the ball would be firmly back in the court of the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

At no time has he personally yielded an inch in his public commitment to the complete eradication of Hamas – and Israel’s right to continue fighting in Gaza after any ceasefire. He has resisted all pressure from inside and outside Israel to modify that stance. But the pressure has been building on him from all sides, inexorably.

The latest push seems to have come from within his own military. A recent article in the New York Times, citing unnamed current and former security officials, said that Israel’s top generals “want to begin a ceasefire in Gaza even if it keeps Hamas in power for the time being”.

Mr Netanyahu dismissed this as defeatist. But he may not be able to resist such pressure forever – nor the ever growing anger on the streets of Israel from those who want the remaining hostages in Gaza to be brought home now.

For Hamas, there are also some signs of growing despair over the continuing war by those who suffer from it every day, the civilian population of Gaza. And internationally, the patience of mediators, like Egypt and Qatar, may be running out.

Regional countries that wholeheartedly support the Palestinian cause have also been reported to be putting increasing pressure on Hamas to accept a deal. Its leadership may feel that the group’s apparent survival, even if severely degraded both politically and militarily, may be victory enough.

And for the international community, the need to find some end to the war has grown even more urgent with the spectre of the confrontation between Israel and Hezbollah potentially erupting into all-out war. A ceasefire in Gaza could potentially ease those tensions.

And for the Biden administration – still reeling in the aftermath of last week’s debate between the president and Donald Trump – a diplomatic success here would be a much-needed boost.

All these elements suggest that the hopes that have once again been raised may this time finally prove more resilient to the negative factors that have seen them dashed before.

Keir Starmer: From indie kid to prime minister

By Nick Eardley@nickeardleybbcPolitical correspondent

Three years ago Sir Keir Starmer seriously considered quitting as Labour leader.

It was 2021 and his party had just lost the Hartlepool by-election to Boris Johnson’s Conservatives.

It was the first time Labour had ever lost the seat. Three short years feel like a political lifetime ago now.

Sir Keir has become only the fifth person in British history to take Labour from opposition to power.

His party has gone from a historic thumping at the general election in 2019 – to victory in 2024.

The Hartlepool result though, is a reminder that Sir Keir’s journey to Downing Street was far from straightforward. In fact, for a long time his life and career were on a very different path.

Keir Starmer, one of four children, was brought up in the town of Oxted on the Kent-Surrey border.

He was raised by his toolmaker father and nurse mother, who suffered from a debilitating form of arthritis known as Still’s disease.

Sir Keir has spoken about the challenges of growing up at a time of high inflation in the 1970s.

“If you’re working class, you’re scared of debt,” he said during the election campaign.

“My mum and dad were scared of debt, so they would choose the bill that they wouldn’t pay.” The choice was the phone bill.

Sir Keir had a lot going on in his younger years.

He was obsessed with football (on the centre-left of midfield, of course). He was a talented musician and learnt violin with Norman Cook, who went on to become chart-topping DJ Fatboy Slim.

Sir Keir also had a rebellious streak. He and his friends were once caught by police illegally selling ice-cream on a French beach to raise cash.

But what about politics? There were always clues, including his name which was given to him as a tribute to the first leader of the Labour Party, Keir Hardie.

Sir Keir dabbled in left-wing politics over the course of his pre-parliamentary life.

That started at school, when he joined the Young Socialists, Labour’s youth movement.

After school, Sir Keir became the first person in his family to go to university, studying law at Leeds University and later at Oxford.

At Leeds, he was influenced by the indie music of the 1980s, from The Smiths and The Wedding Present to Orange Juice and Aztec Camera.

His biographer, Tom Baldwin, notes his favourite drink as a student was a mix of beer and cider – or Snakebite – and he had a taste for curry and chips.

For a while after graduating, Sir Keir lived above a brothel in north London.

More importantly, he was building a reputation as a workaholic that would see him go on to become a successful and prominent human rights lawyer.

At the same time, Sir Keir continued his left-wing activism, as a prominent contributor to the magazine Socialist Lawyer.

But politics was a side interest and, for much of the next 20 years, his legal career was his focus.

In 2008, he became Director of Public Prosecutions, the chief prosecutor for England and Wales.

Sir Keir likes to talk about this period in life as an example of his dedication to public service, and often recalls his role in prosecuting terrorist gangs. But what else?

Under the 2010-15 coalition government, he had to implement significant cuts, with the Crown Prosecution Service’s budget reduced by more than a quarter.

He also oversaw high-profile decisions including the prosecution of MPs over their parliamentary expenses following the 2009 scandal and prosecuting the then Lib Dem cabinet minister Chris Huhne for asking his wife to take speeding points for him.

Sir Keir’s legal work was rewarded with a knighthood in 2014. But how successful was his leadership?

Towards the end of his tenure, Sir Keir admitted in a BBC interview that vulnerable victims were still being let down by the justice system.

A late career change

It wasn’t until the age of 52 that the career change came.

Sir Keir was selected for a safe Labour seat in north London, winning comfortably. He and his predecessor Rishi Sunak became MPs on the same day.

But it wasn’t a happy time for the Labour Party.

The Conservatives had just won the general election and a bitter factional battle loomed after Jeremy Corbyn became leader.

Much has been said and written about Sir Keir’s journey from backbencher to the Labour leadership – and now to Downing Street. But some things are worth highlighting.

When he became leader, Jeremy Corbyn made Sir Keir shadow immigration minister but it didn’t last long.

He resigned after less than a year, one of dozens of frontbenchers who quit after the Brexit referendum in an attempt to force Mr Corbyn out.

When that failed, and Mr Corbyn saw off a leadership challenge, Sir Keir returned to the fold as shadow Brexit secretary.

Labour in the doldrums

Sir Keir’s position on Mr Corbyn has evolved over time.

In 2019, he was asked on BBC Breakfast to repeat the sentence “Jeremy Corbyn would make a great prime minister”. He did.

A few months later, he would tell the BBC he was “100%” behind Mr Corbyn and working with him to win a general election.

While others refused to serve under Mr Corbyn, Sir Keir stayed in the tent and helped persuade the leader to back a second Brexit referendum at the 2019 election.

That election was a disaster for Labour. Mr Corbyn quit and Sir Keir won the race to replace him.

But when he took over, a lot of people thought Boris Johnson was destined to govern for some time.

Many saw Sir Keir as a leader who could help rebuild – but few thought he was the man who would take them back to power.

When did that change? The polls give us a good indication.

Sir Keir’s Labour trailed Mr Johnson’s Conservatives in the polls for much of 2020 and 2021 when the Hartlepool by-election was held.

But that started to change after the first reports of Downing Street parties during the pandemic, when strict restrictions were in place around social gatherings.

There is a clear point in the polls where Labour overtakes the Conservatives in November 2021.

Its lead increased significantly after the Liz Truss mini budget and has been consistent and significant ever since.

A ‘ruthless’ leader

Sir Keir’s allies argue that wouldn’t have happened without big changes in the Labour Party. Sir Keir has sometimes been ruthless.

Jeremy Corbyn was thrown out of the parliamentary party and ultimately barred from standing as a Labour candidate.

Economic policy was tightened; meaning policies were junked if they weren’t seen as affordable.

Sir Keir embraced British patriotism, using the union jack as a backdrop for speeches and getting his conference to sing God Save the King.

All of that has contributed to Sir Keir’s message of change. He spent the campaign arguing he had changed Labour and could change the country too.

The election result will also mean change for the Starmer family.

Sir Keir, now 61, married his wife Victoria in 2007. Her intention is to keep working for the NHS in occupational health as he serves as prime minister.

Lady Starmer has been seen at some high-profile events like conference speeches, a rally last week – and at a Taylor Swift gig. But she is unlikely to play as prominent a role in public life as some partners have in the past.

Sir Keir though has been candid about the impact high office could have, particularly on his teenage son and daughter.

He told the BBC in 2021: “I am worried about my children. That is probably the single thing that does keep me awake – as to how we will protect them through this.”

It’s a challenge the Starmers will now face as they move into Downing Street at the end of a testing, far from straightforward, journey.

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France ends ugly campaign and draws breath before historic vote

By Paul KirbyBBC News in Paris

France’s rushed and sometimes violent election campaign is over, brought to an end with stark appeals from political leaders ahead of Sunday’s pivotal vote.

Centrist Prime Minister Gabriel Attal said on Friday night that a far-right government would “unleash hatred and violence”.

But the leader of the National Rally, Jordan Bardella, accused his rivals of immoral, anti-democratic behaviour, and he urged voters to mobilise and give him an outright majority.

One in three French voters backed National Rally (RN) last Sunday, in the first round of parliamentary elections.

The choice a week on is between France’s first far-right government of modern times or political deadlock, and voters fear there is turmoil ahead whoever wins.

The climate is so fraught that 30,000 extra police are being deployed.

Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said 51 candidates, or their deputies or party activists, had been physically attacked by people of varying backgrounds, including some who were “spontaneously angry”.

In one incident, an extremist network published a list of almost 100 lawyers “for eliminating”, after they signed an open letter against National Rally.

President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to call it less than a month ago came as a shock, but the consequences are unknown.

When voters speak about the election, the tension is often palpable.

Kaltoun’s hair is covered and says in her town on the border with Belgium, where RN won the first round, she and her daughter have felt increasingly uncomfortable. “It’s a remark or a look; each election it’s got worse.”

In nearby Tourcoing, Gérald Darmanin is facing a strong challenge to hold his seat from the far-right candidate who was just 800 votes behind him last Sunday.

That is why left-wing candidate Leslie Mortreux decided to pull out of the second round to give him a better chance of defeating RN.

In the 500 seats being decided by run-off votes, 217 candidates from the left-wing New Popular Front and the Macron Ensemble alliance have withdrawn to block the RN from winning. Although dozens of three-way races are still going ahead, 409 seats will now be decided by one-on-one contests.

After the first round, some opinion polls gave RN a chance of winning an outright majority in the National Assembly.

The final polls of the campaign suggest that is no longer on the cards. Even if RN boss Marine Le Pen believes they still have a “serious chance” of winning the 289 seats they need to control the Assembly, the pollsters say about 200 is a more realistic figure.

One major poll that came out hours before the end of the campaign suggested that the awkward series of withdrawals by third-placed left-wing and centrist candidates had succeeded in scuppering the hopes of National Rally boss Marine Le Pen’s protege of becoming prime minister aged 28.

“We are presiding over the birth of a single Mélenchon-Macron party,” Jordan Bardella complained. “And this dishonorable alliance has been formed with the single goal of keeping us from winning.”

The Popular Front is made up of Socialists, Greens and Communists, but its biggest party is France Unbowed, led by radical firebrand Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

He is widely condemned by his rivals as an extremist, and he is certainly no ally of President Emmanuel Macron.

Despite their agreement to keep out the far right, there is no love lost between the two camps.

“You don’t beat the far right with the far left,” the interior minister said, even though a France Unbowed candidate had pulled out to help him win.

The Macron centrists are third in the polls, well behind the Popular Front as well as the National Rally.

“In France we’re fed up with Macron, and I’m more in the centre” said Marc in Tourcoing. “The cost of living is bad, and the rich have become richer and the poor are poorer.”

National Rally has focused its campaign on media appearances by Mr Bardella and Marine Le Pen, and there have been claims of “phantom candidates” barely showing up in some areas.

When one candidate in the city of Orléans, Élodie Babin, qualified for the second round with little attempt at campaigning she later insisted she had been ill for 10 days.

RN is especially popular in rural areas.

In Mennecy, a sleepy town in the Essonne area south of Paris, Mathieu Hillaire was holding his final campaign event as Popular Front candidate. He is in a duel with RN candidate Nathalie Da Conceicao Carvalho, after the pro-Macron candidate pulled out to give her left-wing rival a better chance of blocking the far right.

Mr Hillaire said while the climate was less tense locally than elsewhere some people were still worried: “Of the voters that I’ve met, there are many who are scared of Jordan Bardella.”

Many of RN’s policies focus on cutting the cost of living and tackling law and order, but their anti-immigration plans have raised particular concerns.

RN aims to give French citizens “national preference” over immigrants for jobs and housing, and wants to abolish the right to automatic French citizenship for children of foreign parents, if those children have spent five years in France from the age of 11 to 18.

Dual citizens would also be barred from dozens of sensitive jobs.

Prime Minister Gabriel Attal spoke of an “uncertainty and worry” among the French people.

He said in the first round his party had averted the risk of Jean-Luc Mélenchon winning a majority. Now the risk came from a far right whose policies would “unleash hatred and violence with a plan to stigmatise some of our fellow citizens” and be catastrophic for the French economy.

But what happens on Sunday night if there is deadlock, and no obvious way forward towards forming a government?

The Olympic Games are now only 20 days away, and there is a suggestion that France might have no government or prime minister when it hosts such a high-profile global event.

Mr Attal, who had earlier suggested his minority government might stay in place “as long as necessary”, was far more vague on Friday night.

“Next week I don’t know what I’ll be doing, where’ll I’ll be doing it,” he said. “But I know who I’ll be doing it for: the people of France, that’s all that counts for me.”

Hungary’s Russia-friendly PM meets Putin in Moscow

By Jaroslav Lukiv and Nick ThorpeBBC News, London and Hungary

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban has met Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, in a visit that has been heavily criticised by EU leaders and Ukraine’s government.

Friday’s meeting was part of what Mr Orban called a “peace mission”, coming three days after a visit to Kyiv where he met Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Hungary has just taken over the presidency of the Council of the European Union, but EU leaders have stressed that Mr Orban is not acting on behalf of the bloc.

Mr Orban is the EU’s only head of government to have kept close ties to the Kremlin following its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

After the meeting, which lasted several hours, Hungary’s PM said Russia and Ukraine were still “far apart” in their views on achieving peace.

“Many steps are needed to end the war, but we took the first step to restore dialogue,” he said.

The Russian leader called it a “frank and useful” conversation. He also repeated a previously rejected proposal for Ukraine to withdraw from regions in the south and east of the country which Russia claims to have annexed – an area that includes territory Russia does not currently occupy.

Volodymyr Zelensky has long said Ukraine will not negotiate with Moscow until Russian forces leave all Ukrainian territory, including Crimea.

Earlier, Mr Putin said Mr Orban was visiting “not just as a long-time partner” but as a European Union representative.

However, European leaders openly condemned the Moscow trip and emphasised he was not representing the EU.

“The EU rotating presidency has no mandate to engage with Russia on behalf of the EU,” Charles Michel, President of the European Council, wrote on X.

“The European Council is clear: Russia is the aggressor, Ukraine is the victim. No discussions about Ukraine can take place without Ukraine.”

“Appeasement will not stop Putin,” European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen wrote on X.

Ukraine also condemned the visit: “For our country, the principle of ‘no agreements on Ukraine without Ukraine’ remains inviolable and we call on all states to strictly adhere to it,” the foreign ministry said a statement.

Earlier this week, Mr Orban visited Kyiv, saying “a quick ceasefire could be used to speed up peace negotiations”.

President Zelensky – who has had frosty relations with Mr Orban – did not publicly respond to the proposal.

Ahead of Ukraine’s offensive last summer, Mr Orban warned that Ukraine cannot win on the battlefield.

Since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022, the Hungarian prime minister has underlined that Russia’s advantage in resources and men makes Putin’s country unbeatable.

However, many Ukrainians believe any ceasefire would simply cement Russia’s hold over territory it has seized from Ukraine and, if negotiations were to take place, they would prefer them to be conducted from a position of strength rather than on the back foot.

Mr Orban has been a vocal critic of Western support for Ukraine. He previously slowed agreement on a €50bn ($54bn; £42bn) EU aid package designed to support Ukraine in its defence against Russia.

Tuesday’s visit to Kyiv was his first in 12 years, while he met Mr Putin repeatedly during that time.

During Mr Orban’s joint appearance with Mr Zelensky, the body language between them was not warm, and neither took questions from the media after they gave their statements.

But for the next six months Mr Orban’s position as head of the Council of the European Union means he has an influential role as a figurehead for Europe.

His visit to Kyiv came on his second day in that role, saying there was a need to solve previous disagreements and focus on the future.

‘We’ve learnt to do surgery without electricity’: Ukraine’s power cuts worsen

By Vitaly ShevchenkoBBC Monitoring

Power supply is a matter of life and death for Tetiana’s son.

He was born with disabilities, and needs electricity-powered equipment to be able to breathe, to eat, and to receive medication.

“We are very dependent on electricity. If it wasn’t for this bloody war, life would be difficult, but we’d be able to cope,” Tetiana tells the BBC.

Ukrainians are learning to live with extended blackouts as Russia continues to pummel its energy facilities across the country.

Persistent Russian air strikes mean even previously unaffected parts of Ukraine have to go without electricity for hours on end, practically every day.

Tetiana, who lives in the southern port city of Odesa, says that the endless power cuts make life extremely difficult because she needs to make sure the supply of electricity is constant.

She has a generator which runs on petrol and needs to be topped up all the time, but it has to be stopped every six hours to cool down.

Power cuts also affect mobile phone coverage, so getting through to the ambulance service for her son can be a struggle too.

“Sometimes it takes half an hour, sometimes it’s an hour before the ambulance arrives when my child goes into convulsions and turns blue,” she says. “My son can die if he doesn’t get oxygen. I’m lost for words.”

Recent blackouts have lasted as long as 12 hours a day in Tetiana’s neighbourhood.

For millions of Ukrainians, the absence of power can mean no running water, air conditioning, lifts or access to life-saving equipment.

Over the past three months alone, Ukraine has lost nine gigawatts of generating capacity, the national energy company Ukrenergo says. This is more than a third of the capacity Ukraine had before the full-scale invasion in February 2022. It is enough to power the whole of the Netherlands during peak hours of consumption – or Slovakia, Lavtia, Lithuania and Estonia combined, Ukrenergo says.

“All state-owned thermal power plants are destroyed. All hydropower plants in our country are damaged by Russian missiles or drones,” Ukrenergo spokeswoman Maria Tsaturian tells the BBC.

The lack of generated electricity is made worse by rising temperatures in the summer, when Ukrainians turn on power-hungry air conditioning systems.

To cope with the shortfall, Ukrenergo has had to implement a policy of sweeping power cuts across the country, which last for many hours a day every day.

As a result, millions of Ukrainians have become increasingly reliant on fuel-powered generators or big power banks.

The Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, has been experiencing lengthy power cuts.

Roksolana was elected by residents of her 24-storey apartment block to help run the building’s facilities.

She says living in tower blocks is not easy because power cuts also mean no running water on the upper floors.

“The lifts are not working either, so mothers with children and disabled people have to wait. They plan their trips outside depending on when there is electricity,” she adds. “They’ve got to stay indoors for six hours on end, our elderly ladies can’t pop out to the shops to get their bread.”

Such residents in tall buildings are stuck inside their sweltering apartments because air conditioning isn’t working.

They are also more exposed to Russian air strikes because they are unable to go to the safety of the bomb shelters, which are typically located underground.

In Zaporizhzhia, dentist Volodymyr Stefaniv says appointments have to be rescheduled at the last moment, and there’ve been occasions when electricity disappeared during complicated surgery.

“If this happens, we start our generators so we can finish what we have started. There’s no other way – we can’t tell the patient to come back tomorrow,” he says. “Literally a couple of weeks ago power cuts became particularly frequent. Of course they’re very disruptive.”

To perform urgent or less complicated operations during blackouts, Mr Stefaniv uses a head torch. This is a skill he acquired and perfected while treating soldiers on the front line, and his firm still provides free or heavily discounted services for members of the Ukrainian army.

“I can treat toothache or swelling without electricity. We’ve learnt to perform surgery without electricity,” he says.

Maria Tsaturian from Ukrenergo is aware that a lot of anger is directed at her company for cutting electricity so often, for so long and for so many customers. But, she says, there’s no other option.

“We are at war. The energy sector is one of the goals for the Russian terrorists. And it’s obvious why: all our life, all our civilization, is built on electricity. You just have to destroy your enemy’s power grid, and they will have no economy, and they will have no life,” she says.

“This is the price we pay for freedom.”

Pope Francis critic excommunicated by the Vatican

By Ian AikmanBBC News

An Italian archbishop and staunch critic of Pope Francis has been excommunicated by the Vatican, its doctrinal office has said.

Carlo Maria Vigano was found guilty of schism – meaning he has split from the Catholic Church – after years of fierce disagreement with the pontiff.

The 83-year-old ultra-conservative has previously called on the Pope to resign, accusing him of heresy and criticising his stances on immigration, climate change and same-sex couples.

Archbishop Vigano was a senior figure in the Church, serving as papal envoy to Washington from 2011 to 2016.

In 2018 he went into hiding after alleging that the Pope had known about sexual abuse by an American cardinal and failed to act. The Vatican rejected the accusation.

Over time, the archbishop became associated with US conspiracy theorists, criticising Covid vaccines and alleging a “globalist” and “anti-Christian” project by the UN and other groups – both familiar conspiratorial themes.

On Friday the Vatican’s doctrinal office said his refusal to submit to Pope Francis was clear from his public statements.

“The Most Reverend Carlo Maria Vigano was found guilty of the reserved delict [violation of the law] of schism,” the statement said, adding that he had been excommunicated – or banished from the church.

Responding by a post on X, the archbishop linked to the decree that was emailed to him and said:

“What was attributed to me as guilt for my conviction is now put on record, confirming the Catholic Faith that I fully profess.”

Archbishop Vigano was charged with schism and denying the pope’s legitimacy last month. At the time, he write on X that he regarded the accusations against him as “an honour”.

“I repudiate, reject, and condemn the scandals, errors, and heresies of Jorge Mario Bergoglio,” he said, using Argentine Pope’s given name.

Pope Francis has put himself at odds with traditionalist Catholics by making overtures towards the LGBTQ+ community, championing migrant rights and condemning the excesses of capitalism.

Last year, he took action against another ultra-conservative critic, dismissing Bishop Joseph E Strickland of Texas when he refused to resign after an investigation.

Shania Twain surprises superfan, 81, at show

Ken Northall has spent the last 25 years travelling the world to see Twain play live

An 81-year-old Shania Twain superfan has told his hero that meeting her was a “dream” after she called him up on stage at a show in his hometown.

The Canadian superstar, who recently lit up Glastonbury’s legends slot with a set of her greatest hits, asked Ken Northall to join her during her show at Lytham Festival in Lancashire on Thursday night.

She even changed the lyrics to That Don’t Impress Me Much in honour of him, swapping film star Brad Pitt’s name for Ken’s.

Thanking her as he left the stage, he told her it had been “a dream”.

Andrew Tate free to leave Romania but not the EU

By Ruth ComerfordBBC News

Controversial influencer Andrew Tate and his brother Tristan are free to leave Romania but not the EU, a Bucharest court has ruled.

They had previously been banned from leaving the country where they are awaiting trial, indicted on charges of human trafficking, rape and forming a criminal gang to sexually exploit women. They deny all allegations against them.

The decision to allow freedom of movement in the EU is not final and can be appealed.

The brothers said the move represented a “significant victory and major step forward” in their ongoing case.

The brothers’ lawyer, Eugene Vidineac, called the ruling a “reflection of the exemplary behaviour and assistance of my clients.

“Andrew and Tristan are still determined to clear their name and reputation; however, they are grateful to the courts for placing this trust in them.”

Posting on X, a platform from which he was previously banned, Andrew Tate said: “The sham case is falling apart.”

The Tate brothers, former kickboxers who are dual UK-US nationals, are accused of exploiting women via an adult content business, which prosecutors allege operated as a criminal group.

Two female Romanian associates were also named alongside the brothers in an indictment published in June last year, and seven alleged victims were identified.

Andrew Tate is a self-described misogynist and was previously banned from social media platforms for expressing misogynistic views.

He has repeatedly claimed Romanian prosecutors have no evidence against him and there is a conspiracy to silence him.

The internet personalities are also wanted in the UK over sexual offences allegedly committed there.

The brothers have had restrictions on their movement for the past two years.

They were held in police custody during the criminal investigation from late December 2022 until April 2023, before being placed under house arrest until August, when courts put them under judicial control.

Hardliner faces reformist in Iran presidential run-off

By Kasra NajiSpecial Correspondent, BBC Persian • Tom BennettBBC News

Voting has closed in Iran’s presidential election, with hardline conservative Saeed Jalili going head-to-head with reformist Massoud Pezeshkian.

The run-off comes after no candidate secured a majority in the first round of the election on 28 June, which saw a historically low voter turnout of 40%.

The first official results from vote counting have put Dr Pezeshkian slightly ahead of his rival. The full results are expected in the coming hours.

The election was called after Iran’s previous president Ebrahim Raisi was killed in a helicopter crash in May, in which seven others died.

Dr Pezeshkian, a former heart surgeon, is critical of Iran’s notorious morality police and caused a stir after promising “unity and cohesion”, as well as an end to Iran’s “isolation” from the world.

He has also called for “constructive negotiations” with Western powers over a renewal of the faltering 2015 nuclear deal in which Iran agreed to curb its nuclear programme in return for an easing of Western sanctions.

His rival, Saeed Jalili, favours the status quo. The former nuclear negotiator enjoys strong support amongst Iran’s most religious communities.

Mr Jalili is known for his hardline anti-Western stance and opposition to restoring the nuclear deal, which he says crossed Iran’s “red lines”.

Early reports also suggest that more people came out to vote on Friday, compared to the first round last week, when the turnout was the lowest since the Islamic revolution in 1979 amid widespread discontent.

Some people who did not vote in the first round have been persuaded to cast their ballot for Dr Pezeshkian this time round to prevent Mr Jalili from becoming the president.

They fear that with the victory of Mr Jalili, Iran will be heading for more confrontation with the outside world and that he will bring Iran nothing but more sanctions and more isolation.

In order to stand, both candidates had to make it through a vetting process run by the Guardian Council, a body made up of 12 clerics and jurists that hold significant power in Iran.

That process saw 74 other candidates removed from the race, including several women.

The Guardian Council has previously been criticised by human rights groups for disqualifying candidates who are not loyal enough to the regime.

After years of civil unrest – culminating in anti-regime protests that shook the country in 2022-23 – many young and middle-class Iranians deeply mistrust the establishment and have previously refused to vote.

On Iranian social media, the Persian hashtag “traitorous minority” has gone viral, urging people not to vote for either of the candidates and calling anyone who does so a “traitor”.

But Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has rejected suggestions that the low turnout represents a rejection of his rule.

“There are reasons [behind the low turnout] and politicians and sociologists will examine them, but if anyone thinks that those who did not vote are against the establishment, they are plainly wrong,” he said.

In a rare move, he acknowledged that some Iranians do not accept the current regime. “We listen to them and we know what they are saying and it is not like they are hidden and not seen,” Mr Khamenei said.

Within Iran, local media has encouraged people to cast ballots.

Reformist daily newspaper Sazandegi said “the future is tied to your votes” while the Hammihan newspaper said “now it’s your turn”.

Tehran municipality-run daily newspaper Hamshahri published a piece entitled “100 reasons for voting”, while the state broadcaster-run daily newspaper Jaam-e Jam said Iran was “awaiting the people”.

More on this story

Mexico’s coast battered by Hurricane Beryl

By Ian AikmanBBC News
Hurricane Beryl due to strengthen again after making landfall in Yucatan Peninsula

Hurricane Beryl has been lashing Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula after wreaking havoc across the Caribbean.

It made landfall as a category-two hurricane early on Friday, bringing winds of up to 175km/h (108mph). It was later downgraded to a tropical storm, but is expected to re-intensify over the Gulf the Mexico at the weekend.

Beryl brought heavy rain to tourist hotspots of Cancún and Tulum.

The hurricane has left a trail of devastation across the south-east Caribbean, with at least 10 deaths.

Mexican authorities took measures to prepare the coastline for the hurricane.

Schools have been closed, hotel windows have been boarded up, and emergency shelters have been set up in areas facing the brunt of the impact.

More than 8,000 troops from the army, air force and national guard have been deployed in the Yucatán Peninsula to provide support.

Hundreds of tourists have been evacuated from hotels, and more than 3,000 people have fled from Holbox Island off the coast, according to local authorities.

More than 300 flights have been cancelled or delayed.

Stranded US tourist Anita Luis told Reuters news agency on Thursday: “We just want to go back home safely and pray the same for everybody else.”

Meanwhile, Virginia Rebollar, a Mexican tourist who travelled to Tulum, told AFP news agency: “They cancelled our flight and we had to pay for two extra nights.”

On Thursday, many homes and businesses were badly damaged in the Cayman Islands, particularly along the coastline, where entire neighbourhoods were inundated.

Hurricane Beryl battered Jamaica on Wednesday after causing huge devastation across other Caribbean nations.

Hurricanes frequently occur near the peninsula, with the official storm season running from June to late November.

Where will Hurricane Beryl go next?

The storm is projected to travel over the Gulf of Mexico, moving towards north-eastern Mexico and southern Texas by the end of the weekend.

By the time it makes landfall again on Sunday evening, the storm is expected to have strengthened back to a hurricane.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott told people near the state’s Gulf coast to “have an emergency plan to take care of yourself and your loved ones”.

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has warned that the North Atlantic could get as many as seven major hurricanes this year – up from an average of three in a season.

What went wrong for the Conservatives?

By Ione WellsPolitical correspondent

The Conservative Party had become accustomed to almost being the Manchester City of politics.

A blue, winning machine for so long that some of its key players could barely remember anything else.

But their streak – that delivered Tory prime ministers in four elections in a row – has been brought to a dramatic end.

Many Tories, both winners and losers, are almost speechless and still processing it.

One told me they were simply “not coherent”.

A post-mortem on what went wrong with their tactics and leadership, and where to go next, is now beginning.

When I speak to Conservatives, several themes come up repeatedly.

Some feel Labour’s policy offering was not drastically different to theirs, but think the choice became more about perceptions of “competence”.

They have had five leaders, and prime ministers, in less than 10 years.

Seismic events, from Brexit to Covid to multiple leadership contests, splintered the party into ideological factions. Some Tories spent more energy plotting to take each other down than their opposition – and never really patched things up.

Scandals rocked the party in a whack-a-mole fashion, from lockdown parties to sexual misconduct allegations to a mini-budget that contributed to raising interest rates. An election betting saga was the cherry on top.

When I asked former Chief Whip Sir Mark Spencer during the campaign if the party had a conduct problem, he mentioned that other parties also had to suspend MPs for poor behaviour – which is true – but conceded this had become too regular.

Then there was the undoubted desire for change – a word Labour deployed in its campaign.

The cost of living, NHS waiting lists, and small boats were all issues voters raised on the doorstep – and felt had been getting worse, not better.

Nigel Farage’s late return to the fray meant the latter theme became a particular thorn in Tory sides, with some right-leaning voters who switched to Reform UK wanting tougher immigration policies and lower taxes.

Rhetoric and policies attempting to win them back alienated some more centrist Tories who abandoned the party for Labour or the Liberal Democrats, leaving the Tories pincered in between.

This was a more comfortable switch for some centrists who didn’t feel they could vote Labour under Jeremy Corbyn.

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Did these circumstances mean defeat was inevitable? Most Tories I’ve spoken to describe the result as “not unexpected”, but some feel the scale of it could have been mitigated.

There were avoidable gaffes – like Rishi Sunak leaving D-day commemorations early.

While Boris Johnson was prone to gaffes too, some of his fans felt Mr Sunak didn’t charm voters back in the same way. The former prime minister still yielded chants of ‘Boris! Boris!’ at an eleventh-hour rally to try to energise the campaign.

There is still a lingering bafflement among some about why Mr Sunak decided to call the election in July.

Their campaign guru, Isaac Levido, had argued for a later date – hoping by then there would be more “measurables” to demonstrate their policies were having an impact.

A flight of asylum seekers taking off to Rwanda, for example, or an interest rate cut.

But he lost that argument. And the Conservatives had little evidence in their armoury of some of their policies working when they went to the electorate.

The risk of the alternative, Mr Levido’s critics argued, was that more bad news could come down the road for the Tories – more Channel crossings this summer, more offenders being released because of prison overcrowding, universities going under.

But policy and identity wise, what else could the Conservatives have done? That’s where their focus will lie now as a search for the soul of the party begins.

What – and who – could come next?

Mr Sunak has confirmed he will resign as Tory leader once arrangements are in place to choose his successor.

There have been murmurings for the last few weeks about whether an interim leader is appointed to avoid the awkwardness of, for example, the former PM having to do Prime Minister’s Questions from the opposition benches.

Could this be someone who served in the cabinet previously – like Sir Oliver Dowden, James Cleverly, or even Jeremy Hunt, who just about scraped back into the Commons?

If so, it would probably need to be someone who doesn’t actually want to run for leader full time.

Otherwise, Mr Sunak could stay on until the next Tory leadership contest concludes.

There are some MPs who have been working behind the scenes for a long time on shoring up their support, including Kemi Badenoch (the bookies’ favourite) who is on the right of the party, and Tom Tugendhat, who is more to the centre.

Former contenders like Suella Braverman and former Sunak ally-turned-critic Robert Jenrick are tipped to run too.

They both spent time in the Home Office, are on the right of the party, and have criticised the government’s record on immigration.

One interesting thing to note, though, is who the remaining Tory MPs are, and what that might mean for who wins support among the parliamentary party.

I’ve had a quick skim over the new intake of Tory MPs and who they backed in the first Tory leadership contest of July-September 2022.

Interestingly, the majority are Sunak-backers, with a hefty chunk of Liz Truss supporters too.

Suella Braverman and Kemi Badenoch have lost a couple of their key allies on the right of the parliamentary party. A couple of Mr Tugendhat’s backers are gone too.

Some of the most notable Conservative losses this election

Why do the leanings of the remaining MPs matter? Well, partly because this will determine how the Tory party decides to shape itself going forward.

Does it decide to elect someone on the right of the party, like Ms Badenoch, Mrs Braverman or Mr Jenrick, to try to stave off the growing influence of Reform UK who have now won several seats?

Some in the party argue not being tougher on issues like immigration was part of their downfall.

Or does it try to shift back toward the centre ground with a candidate like Mr Tugendhat or Mr Hunt to reclaim some of the space Labour is now trying to occupy on the political spectrum?

Some in the party argue the Tories’ drift to the right was part of the problem, and alienated socially liberal, but fiscally conservative, voters.

The answer will be the result of a lot of tussling and soul-searching over the weeks to come.

Sunak’s ‘dismal end’ and ‘bland’ Starmer: World media reacts to UK election

The Conservatives have emerged with “broken bones” from the UK election after Rishi Sunak’s “dismal end” – but the big question for some in the international media is whether the “bland, even boring” Keir Starmer can clean up the UK’s “mess”.

Labour’s landslide victory is being digested by commentators all over the world, many dissecting what the results mean for relations with the UK – as well as for the future of the Conservative Party of Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher.

The rise of Reform UK also generates many international column inches of coverage, especially in Europe where it didn’t go unnoticed that its leader, the arch-Brexiteer Nigel Farage, became an MP for the first time.

Europe: Centre-left success bucks a trend

For Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the results mean “the British [have] had a burden lifted from their shoulders”, but any renewed stability in the UK is seen as fragile.

Voters “were primarily concerned with getting rid of the Conservatives,” the paper says, adding that “Labour has a stable majority, but also problems within the party”.

German business daily Handelsblatt says the British election result “opens up the opportunity to correct Brexit”.

“Now is the time to correct one of the biggest mistakes in British politics. A security pact with the EU can only be the beginning,” the paper said.

Mr Farage’s success attracted a lot of attention. German Tabloid Bild dubbed it an “election earthquake”, albeit one for which the paper says Labour can be thankful, seeing that Reform took many votes from the Conservatives.

French media largely hails Labour’s victory, also noting the election of Nigel Farage. Le Figaro says that despite the Reform party leader’s success in Clacton, “the British people have overwhelmingly chosen a moderate centre-left leader”.

According to Le Monde, the UK’s return to the centre-left is “striking, especially seen from France, where the far right has the wind in its sails on the eve of the second round of the legislative elections”.

Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Sera says of the Conservative defeat: “The party of Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher emerges from this election with broken bones: it will take years to recover. Has the right-wing wind that blows across the continent stopped at the English Channel? Obviously not… If the person in charge disappoints, he is replaced.”

Conservative Italian daily Il Giornale hopes for a return to stability in the UK, calling Prime Minster Sir Keir Starmer “a reassuring institutional alternative”.

But for Poland’s national broadcaster TVP, Mr Starmer is seen as “a bit bland, even boring”. But fortunately for him, the broadcaster says, “previous leaders of the Conservative Party achieved much worse results”.

In Hungary, the press there noted two issues: “Unchanged support for Ukraine”, according to pro-government paper Magyar Nemzet; and Hungarians in the UK hoping for “a more relaxed stance on visa rules and work permits,” said the left-wing paper Telex.

US sees ‘frustrated’ voters plump for ‘dull competence’

The New York Times casts Labour’s victory as “a seismic moment in the UK’s politics, returning to power a party that just five years ago suffered its most crushing defeat since the 1930s”.

But it also notes the low voter turnout, reporting only about 60% of those eligible cast ballots.

“The low figure speaks to the mood of an electorate that seemed frustrated with the last government but hardly full of optimism about the next one. It also pointed to the challenge facing the new Labour government, which will have to work fast if it wants to restore disillusioned voters’ faith in mainstream politics,” the Times says.

For ABC News, Rishi Sunak’s campaign to remain Britain’s prime minister showed a lack of political touch.

“Predecessors such as Tony Blair and Boris Johnson were more politically astute and able to connect with voters.” As for Mr Sunak, he defied political advice by calling the election in May — “with Conservative support dwindling steadily amid an economic slump, ethics scandals and a revolving door of leaders over the last two years,” the broadcaster said.

Meanwhile, a headline in the Wall Street Journal read: “The UK elects a no-drama prime minister after years of post-Brexit chaos.”

“Eight years after the UK voted to leave the European Union and entered an era of political and economic turmoil, voters have asked Keir Starmer to steady the entire country with his brand of dull competence,” the paper said.

India: ‘Dismal end’ for Sunak

Most TV channels and news sites in India focused on Rishi Sunak conceding defeat.

“British Indians Rishi Sunak, Suella Braverman win seats, but apologise for poor Tory performance,” The Times of India noted.

The Wire website called it “a dismal end to his 20 months as head of government”.

Everything Sunak tried during the campaign “really failed”, Times Now TV added. “Everyone thought the Conservatives had a plan but now all those plans have fallen flat.”

But the Labour win “is also a triumph for India”, one news site thought, suggesting that Sir Keir Starmer would seek better relations with Delhi.

China: ‘Can Starmer clean up UK’s mess?’

China’s only official statement so far has been via its foreign ministry, which said China “had noticed the results of the British election” and “we hope to get Sino-UK relations along the right track”.

Despite these hopes, state media outlets were not overly optimistic.

“With six prime ministers in eight years, can Starmer clean up the UK’s mess?” asked broadcaster CCTV.

Given the next government faces “the most challenging issues in 70 years”, “public dissatisfaction” might soon follow, mused The Paper.

The Global Times, however, published a positive profile of the prime minister-to-be, saying Sir Keir was “not the inflammatory politician that people imagine”, and that media impressions of him are that he is “conscientious, good at management, and a little dull”.

China can hope for a more pragmatic relationship with the UK, the paper said.

Russia: No change in policy expected

Russia’s state-controlled TV channels have presented the UK election result as a “miserable failure” and a “crushing defeat” for the Conservative party and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

State channel Rossiya 1 said that Brexit was the only achievement of 14 years of Conservative rule and Channel One objected to how Russia had been cast in the election in the UK, which has helped rally Western opposition to Russia’s war in Ukraine.

“This election, like politics in general in Britain in recent years, just can’t manage without an enemy figure in the form of Russia,” the channel said.

Outlets and commentators in both Russia and Ukraine don’t expect the election to change UK policies toward Russia.

“For Moscow [Keir Starmer’s] arrival in power changes nothing, since he takes anti-Russian positions and supports continued backing for Ukraine,” said NTV, another leading Russian channel.

Pro-government paper Izvestiya thought anyway that: “Political changes in Europe show that for the electorate, internal issues are becoming much more important than Ukraine.”

In Ukraine, the country’s national wartime news service Suspilne thought the same. “For the first time in 14 years, power will change hands in the UK, but this will not have an impact on support for Ukraine,” the news service said.

UK election: What’s happened and what comes next?

By Matt Murphy & Graeme BakerBBC News, in London & Washington DC

Sir Keir Starmer is the UK’s new prime minister, after his Labour Party swept to power in a landslide general election victory.

The Conservative Party suffered a dramatic collapse after a tumultuous 14 years in power, which saw five different prime ministers run the country. It lost 250 seats over the course of a devastating night.

Rishi Sunak – the outgoing PM – accepted responsibility for the result and apologised to defeated colleagues during a brief statement outside a rainy 10 Downing Street. He said he would resign as party leader in the coming weeks.

In his first speech as prime minister after greeting dozens of jubilant Labour supporters who had lined Downing Street, Sir Keir vowed to run a “government of service” and to kick start a period of “national renewal”.

“For too long we’ve turned a blind eye as millions slid into greater insecurity,” he said. “I want to say very clearly to those people. Not this time.”

“Changing a country is not like flicking a switch. The world is now a more volatile place. This will take a while, but have no doubt the work of change will begin immediately.”

The result marks a stunning reversal from the 2019 election when Labour, led by the veteran left-wing politician Jeremy Corbyn, suffered its worst electoral defeat in almost a century.

On the other side, Robert Buckland, a former Conservative minister who lost his seat, described it as “electoral Armageddon” for the Tories.

It is the party’s worst result in almost 200 years, with an ideological battle over its future direction expected ahead.

It’s been a long night of results. Here’s what it all means.

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A huge Labour victory

Britain’s House of Commons has 650 MPs, or members of parliament. Each of their “seats” represents a constituency, or district.

So far Labour has won 412 seats, while the Conservatives have slumped to just 121 and centrist Liberal Democrats have taken 71. Reform UK, a successor to the Brexit Party, is set to pick up four seats, as is the left-wing Green Party.

There is just one seat left to be declared, in Scotland, for the constituency of Skye and Ross-shire.

Labour’s surge was partly aided by the collapse of the Scottish National Party (SNP). The party has been hit by a succession of controversies around its finances and fell to just nine seats overnight.

The expected 170-seat majority in the House of Commons for Labour is an enormous number but still short of the majority of 179 won by the party under Tony Blair in the 1997 election.

But for more perspective, the Conservatives’ win in the 2019 election under Boris Johnson – seen as a very strong performance – saw them get a majority of 80 seats.

A reminder: If a party holds a majority, it means it doesn’t need to rely on other parties to pass laws. The bigger the majority, the easier it is.

There were, however, a number of notable defeats for Labour to independent candidates campaigning on pro-Gaza tickets – especially in areas with large Muslim populations.

Labour has faced growing pressure over its stance to the conflict. In February, the party called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire but critics said it was too slow to reach that position.

Centre-left parties in other Western countries were keeping a keen eye on the trend ahead of the poll, amid fear of a growing backlash from their own voters over their support for Israel.

First moment Sir Keir Starmer met King Charles after election

Big names fall one by one (but some survive)

As constituencies have declared their results live on television – with all candidates lined up next to each other on stage – there were some major moments.

Perhaps the most notable was the defeat of Liz Truss. The former prime minister served just 49 days in Number 10 before being ousted by her party. She narrowly lost to Labour in the constituency of South West Norfolk, having previously held a huge 24,180 majority.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, the former Conservative business secretary and arch-Brexiteer, was another of the biggest names to suffer defeat. He lost his East Somerset and Hanham seat to Labour.

He told the BBC that he couldn’t “blame anybody other than myself” for the loss but he took a “small silver lining” from the fact that the Conservatives would be “at least the official opposition” – a reference to fears they wouldn’t even have that.

Grant Shapps, the defence secretary, looked rattled after losing his seat in southern England.

Leader of the House Penny Mordaunt, who ran against Rishi Sunak for the party leadership before he became prime minister, lost her seat in Portsmouth.

As the night wore on, a succession of other Conservative cabinet ministers also lost their seats, including Education Secretary Gillian Keegan, Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer and Veterans Minister Johnny Mercer.

  • Truss and Rees-Mogg among big-name Tory losses
  • The dramatic Tory decline behind Labour’s landslide
  • Key moments from a dramatic election night

But Jeremy Hunt, who served as chancellor – the UK equivalent of a finance minister – held on to his seat but with a much-reduced majority.

Mr Sunak also won his seat in Yorkshire with a comfortable majority of about 12,000 – but used his acceptance speech to concede and confirm his party had lost the election.

Labour lost two big names of their own. Jonathan Ashworth and Thangam Debbonaire were both expected to be a part of Keir Starmer’s incoming cabinet.

A new PM within a day

Things move pretty fast in British politics – there is very little time between an election result and the installation of the new prime minister.

By mid-morning moving vans had arrived to help Rishi Sunak out of 10 Downing Street. He was then whisked away to Buckingham Palace to offer his resignation to King Charles III.

Then, just 14 hours after the initial exit poll dropped, Sir Keir was formally invited by the monarch to form the next government.

Moments later – watched by the world’s media – he walked up Downing Street and addressed the nation for the first time as prime minster.

He has already started appointing a new cabinet.

Angela Rayner has been made deputy prime minister, while Rachel Reeves has become the first female chancellor.

Meanwhile David Lammy is the new foreign secretary with Yvette Cooper as home secretary.

Speaking before he handed his resignation to the King, Mr Sunak wished the new PM well.

“His successes will be all our successes, and I wish him and his family well,” Mr Sunak said. “Whatever our disagreements in this campaign, he is a decent public spirited man who I respect.”

So who is Keir Starmer?

He’s fairly new to politics, relatively speaking.

Sir Keir started his professional life as a barrister in the 1990s, and was appointed the director of public prosecutions, the most senior criminal prosecutor in England and Wales, in 2008.

He was first elected in the Holborn and St Pancras constituency in north London in 2015, and took over leadership of Labour after the party’s poor 2019 general election, pledging to start a “new era” after the left-wing leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.

Sir Keir was re-elected in the same constituency on Thursday, saying in his victory speech people were “ready for change” and promising an “end the politics of performance”.

“The change begins right here because this is your democracy, your community, your future,” he said. “You have voted. It’s now time for us to deliver.”

The Labour leader largely avoided making big pledges during the campaign.

But during his address outside Downing Street, Sir Keir said his government would strive to “rebuild” British public services such as the NHS, slash energy bills and secure the country’s border.

“You have given us a clear mandate, and we will use it to deliver change,” he vowed.

You can read Sir Keir’s full profile here.

Nigel Farage finally becomes an MP

This election’s insurgent party was Reform UK, the right-wing successor to the Brexit Party and the UK Independence Party.

Nigel Farage, its leader, finally won a seat on his eighth attempt – but his party’s initial projection of 13 seats fizzled to four. That’s still better than UKIP and the Brexit Party ever did, and Mr Farage has been celebrating.

The party’s share of the vote looks to be about 14%.

Reform drew controversy during the campaign over offensive statements made by some of its candidates and activists.

Mr Farage will be joined in the House of Commons by former Conservative party deputy chairman Lee Anderson, Reform founder Richard Tice and Rupert Lowe.

From their new perch in parliament, the party could seek to cause trouble for the Conservatives and pick off more voters from the party’s remaining base.

Labour manifesto: What they plan to do in government

By the Visual Journalism teamBBC News

Labour has won a big majority in the general election. That means it should be able to pass the new laws it wants easily. But what are those likely to be?

During the election campaign, Labour released a manifesto – a list of pledges explaining to voters what it would do if elected.

Use our interactive guide below to find out what the party said it would do on key issues that interest you – whether that’s the economy, the environment or immigration.

Because of devolution, the UK parliament has limited powers over some of the issues highlighted in the guide. For example, health policy is devolved to Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

If you want to find out what was promised by other parties around the UK during the election campaign, you can find out in our full manifesto guide.

  • LIVE: Follow all the latest general election results news
  • Labour manifesto: 12 key policies analysed
  • Compare all the election manifestos and policies
  • Results tracker: Find out who won in your area
  • General election 2024: All BBC stories and analysis

Rescue street dogs, or euthanise them? Turks split over its strays

By Victoria CraigBBC News, Ankara

Under the shade of a leafy green apricot tree on a scorching summer afternoon, Gokcen Yildiz scoops up a squirming ball of light-brown fur.

It licks her all over the face and she breaks out in giggles.

But laughter gives way to a more serious tone as she points to the dog’s back legs, which are missing paws. A sign, she says, of the abuse some of Turkey’s street dogs are subjected to.

Ms Yildiz is a secondary school physics teacher by day, street-dog advocate by night. The canine she’s holding is one of 160 she’s collected on the property where she lives on the outskirts of Turkey’s capital city, Ankara.

Her dogs are a small fraction of the estimated four million that make up the country’s street-dog population.

It’s a problem that has fiercely divided public opinion: are stray dogs a neighbourhood fixture to be looked after and loved?

Or does the government need to take more drastic solutions, like those state media are reporting that it’s considering – including euthanasia?

On her 15,000 sq m property, Ms Yildiz looks after elderly and disabled dogs, and those with psychological or behavioural issues.

“It is not my job, but I look after dogs in need,” she said. “I always experience financial worry because the economy is getting harder. When the price of petrol increases, everything like pet food or the medicine I give, or the vet expenses – everything goes up.”

She said she feels anxious about finances, but her bigger concern is what will happen to the dogs if she doesn’t collect them.

“The dogs outside of here eat every two or three days, but they’re alive. They’re not about to die. That’s what really worries me,” she said.

Lawmakers from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) are working on a new bill aimed at getting dogs off the streets.

It hasn’t yet been introduced into the country’s parliament, but state media report it could require municipalities to collect stray dogs, shelter them for around 30 days, and if the animals are not adopted in that time, euthanise them.

The latter provision has outraged animal rights activists – and Turkey’s dog lovers, like Ms Yildiz – but it’s also raised questions about whether existing facilities across the country could handle additional responsibilities.

Only about one third of the nation’s provincial and district municipalities have shelters, according to Doctor Murat Arslan, president of the Turkish Veterinary Medical Association.

He said this had been one of the problems with an existing law, which requires dogs to be sterilised and then returned to the streets where they lived.

“In order to manage the animal population, street dogs needed to be collected, sterilised, given some vaccinations, and then released back to the street. However, not every municipality had shelters or facilities where these operations could be carried out. Especially in small municipalities, there are neither shelters nor sufficient employment of veterinarians.”

If this law, enacted 20 years ago, had been enforced, the street-dog population wouldn’t be so large today, Dr Arslan said.

Animal abandonment and overbreeding and selling of dogs had also allowed the street-dog population to rise, he told the BBC. Although animals are microchipped and registered in a centralised database, officials needed to be better at following through with fines for owners when animals were found to have been thrown out on the street, he added.

Regardless of what led to the problem, campaign groups like Safe Streets Association argue a solution is needed to take dogs permanently off the street.

Attorney Meltem Zorba is a volunteer for Safe Streets. She works with families that have been victims of stray-dog attacks, and points to government statistics that show over the past five years, street dogs have contributed to 55 deaths, more than 5,000 injuries, and 3,500 traffic accidents.

“We have been pressuring for legal change for three years,” she said. “There should not be stray dogs on the streets. These attacks on people causing death, traffic accidents, and other animals being attacked are unacceptable.”

She’s calling for a legal requirement to take dogs off the streets for good – rather than the catch-and-release protocol in place now. Ms Zorba also says the dogs pose other concerns including rabies and public health issues arising from dog faeces in public places, such as parks and playgrounds.

“This is rationality,” she said of the creation of new legislation, adding that euthanasia should be a last resort and a result of an animal being deemed too sick or posing a risk to society.

That’s where a national consensus seems to be building. A recent opinion poll showed nearly 80% of respondents supported measures to take dogs off the street and provide shelter. But less than 3% believed collected dogs should be euthanised.

Both Ms Zorba and Ms Yildiz support a government solution that would allow dogs to be taken off the streets, collected in newly-built shelters around the country, sterilised, and looked after through the end of their lives, if not adopted.

It’s believed that ministers plan to provide local authorities with fresh funds to implement any new law on stray dogs.

But it’s unclear whether the government – already dealing with an economic crisis that’s seen inflation climb to 75% this year – has the resources available for such a solution.

Jill Biden: The quiet influence of Biden’s closest adviser

By Rachel LookerBBC News, Washington

A day after US President Joe Biden struggled through a 90-minute debate that only served to fuel voter concerns about his age and fitness, Jill Biden stood before well-heeled donors at a New York fundraiser and tried to explain what they had all witnessed.

“‘You know, Jill, I don’t know what happened. I didn’t feel that great,'” the president had confessed, she told them. “I said, ‘Look, Joe, we are not going to let 90 minutes define the four years that you’ve been president.’”

It offered an early glimpse into the president’s mindset and how he rated his debate performance, which was widely panned as a major blow to his campaign.

As doubts about Mr Biden’s candidacy began to circulate, his closest adviser was unequivocal about whether he would step out of the race. “When he gets knocked down, Joe gets back up, and that’s what we’re doing today,” Mrs Biden said.

The first lady has stood beside her husband throughout his decades-long career, from his time as a Delaware senator to becoming commander-in-chief, often serving as the decisive voice behind many of Mr Biden’s political choices.

While the president often turns to his tight-knit family on big decisions, Mrs Biden is among a handful of top advisers who wield the most influence over the president and could ultimately help him determine whether it is time to step out of the race.

“It’s fair to call her Biden’s closest adviser,” veteran Democratic political strategist Hank Sheinkop told the BBC. “Family matters to him significantly and that makes Jill Biden’s role even more important.”

The president’s younger sister, Valerie Biden Owens, who served as his campaign manager during his years in the Senate, as well as his son, Hunter Biden, are also among his most trusted confidantes.

After the fallout from the debate, Mr Biden huddled with his family for a long-planned trip to Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland, where they discussed the fate of his campaign and urged him to keep fighting, according to the BBC’s US partner CBS. Hunter Biden was among the most vocal family members urging his father to remain in the race, CBS reported.

But as Democratic anxiety over the 81-year-old president’s physical and mental stamina has spilled into public view in recent days, many inside the party have looked to the first lady for any hint of wavering over his candidacy.

Instead, she has continued to hit the campaign trail, travelling to the battleground states of Pennsylvania and Michigan this week for a string of political and official events.

“Because there’s a lot of talk out there, let me repeat what my husband has said plainly and clearly: Joe is the Democratic nominee and he is going to beat Donald Trump, just like he did in 2020,” Mrs Biden told supporters at a campaign event in Traverse City, Michigan, on Wednesday.

Mrs Biden’s influence in the West Wing, however, is not unusual.

Nancy Kegan Smith, president of the First Ladies Association for Research and Education, said there are historic parallels between Mrs Biden and former first ladies.

“Most presidents depend on the uncoloured advice of their wives because that’s the person who is normally closest to them,” she said.

She pointed to Lady Bird Johnson, the wife of former President Lyndon B Johnson, who advised her husband – ultimately convincing him with a moving letter – to run for the White House in August 1964 after he became president following the assassination of John F Kennedy.

Four years later in 1968, she changed her opinion, telling him to not run for re-election. He listened, Ms Kegan Smith said.

Many in the Democratic Party are waiting to see if a similar scenario may unfold in the next month, placing a greater spotlight on Mrs Biden.

The first lady keeps a busy schedule. She is the first in the East Wing to keep a day job teaching English at a northern Virginia community college. When she is not teaching, she is often on the road campaigning for her husband.

“Most modern first ladies have been in the political game for quite a while and have been political sounding boards to their husbands,” Katherine Jellison, an Ohio University professor who studies first ladies, told BBC News.

The president proposed five times before Mrs Biden said yes, and the couple married in 1977, five years after Mr Biden lost his first wife and daughter in a car crash that also injured his two sons.

When he decided not to run for president in 2016, he told 60 Minutes “it was the right decision for the family”. He cited his reasoning was in part because of the loss of his son, Beau, who died from brain cancer in 2015.

Mrs Biden specifically played a role in her husband’s decision not to run for president in 2003, Ms Kegan Smith said, pointing to a scene described in the first lady’s 2019 memoir, Where the Light Enters. In the book, she recalled lounging by the pool as Democratic advisers inside encouraged her husband to launch a campaign. Wearing a bikini, she wrote “no” on her stomach in magic marker and walked through the meeting. Biden did not enter the race that year.

But the first lady has also come under pressure in recent days, facing criticism after the presidential debate for praising her husband after his poor showing on the debate stage.

“Joe, you did such a great job. You answered every question. You knew all the facts,” she told him on stage at a post-debate rally in Atlanta. A clip of the exchange was widely mocked on social media.

Some Republicans have also seized on Democratic worry, laying blame on the first lady for Mr Biden’s debate performance. Representative Harriet Hageman, a Republican from Wyoming, even accused Mrs Biden of “elder abuse” in a post on X, for “rolling him out on stage to engage in a battle of wits while unarmed”.

The Drudge Report, a conservative website, ran a headline on its front page immediately after the debate that read: “Cruel Jill clings to power.”

“It’s really unfair to put the burden on her. She’s his spouse. She’s not a politician,” Michael LaRosa, her former press secretary, told The Hill. “It’s not up to her to save the Democratic Party.”

Mrs Biden, meanwhile, has stressed that the president’s bid for re-election will continue as the stakes in November are high.

“Every campaign is important, and every campaign is hard,” the first lady told Vogue for their August cover story. “Each campaign is unique. But this one, the urgency is different. We know what’s at stake. Joe is asking the American people to come together to draw a line in the sand against all this vitriol.”

That urgency is something the campaign is hoping she’ll be able to convey to voters. In a statement to the BBC, the Biden campaign called Mrs Biden an “effective messenger” on the campaign trail.

“As a teacher, mom, and grandmother, she’s uniquely positioned to connect with key constituencies across the country and speak to the president’s vision for America,” the statement said.

Still, her steadfast support combined with White House dismissals of media reports that the president is weighing his exit have yet to tamp down growing uncertainty about the Democratic ticket. The fallout has triggered a backlash of Democrats, donors and some lawmakers publicly calling for the president’s withdrawal from the race.

“Joe has been knocked down and counted out his whole life… When he gets counted out, he works harder. And that’s what he’s doing, but he needs your help,” she told Michigan supporters on Wednesday.

“We don’t choose our chapter of history, but we can choose who leads us through it,” she added.

For Mrs Biden, that choice remains her husband.

More:

Celebrating 50 years of marriage in Nigeria’s ‘divorce capital’

By Mansur AbubakarBBC News, Kano

A couple who live in Nigeria’s “divorce capital” are being hailed for their long marriage having recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.

Mahmud Kabir Yusuf and Rabiatu Tahir spoke to the BBC about the secrets of their happiness, and about why so many marriages fail in the northern city of Kano, in a video that has generated much comment.

Mr Yusuf puts it down to his wife’s generous nature.

“She is a very unselfish person and she overlooks a lot which has contributed to the success of our marriage,” the 76-year-old told BBC Hausa.

This prompts a smile from Ms Tahir, who is in her late sixties. Together the couple have had 13 children – and she praised her husband’s ability to remain calm in the face of the difficulties all families confront.

“He is a very patient man and I feel that was also key to our success,” she said.

The pair say they love and respect each other – and they clearly enjoy each other’s company, breaking off to laugh several times during the interview.

For Hassana Mahmud, it is a revelation. The 39-year-old divorcee has been married five times and is impressed by the couple and their evident contentment.

“In all my marriages I have only spent four years with a spouse – so to see them on social media celebrating this milestone was refreshing,” she said.

“My husbands were all nice and caring during courtship but changed after the wedding,” said the mother of four.

“I feel bad whenever I hear people call Kano ‘the divorce capital of Nigeria’, I hope things will change,” she added.

Kano gained the epithet after divorce rates began to rise in the 1990s and it has not been able to shake off the unwanted label.

Hundreds of marriages collapse each month in Nigeria’s most populous state, whose capital, Kano city, is the commercial hub of the north.

In 2022 research done by the BBC in collaboration with the local government disclosed that 32% of marriages in Kano state only survive between three and six months.

It also revealed that some people aged between 20 and 25 had already gone through three marriages.

The scale of separations is a concern – especially for the Hisbah, a Kano state-funded Islamic agency that deals with moral issues and enforces Sharia, or Islamic law in the state.

It has a police unit that enforces things like segregation in public places and an alcohol ban for Muslims, who make up the majority of residents. It also has a counselling service mainly to help struggling married couples.

Long lines of women can often be seen queueing outside its offices to complain that their ex-husbands are not helping with maintenance for their children.

People tend to marry young in Kano – often before the legal age of 18.

Others feel Islam’s easy method of divorce might be a factor as husbands can simply tell their wives: “I divorce you” or write that on a piece of paper and it is over. Nowadays a message sent on social media is enough to end their marriage.

Aminu Daurawa works for the Hisbah to address the high divorce rate. One of their solutions is to offer a second chance to people and better prepare them for married life.

The agency organises mass marriages, known as “Auren Zawarawa”, mainly for divorcees – acting as a matchmaker on a giant scale.

The hundreds of newly wed couples, who are treated to a big wedding ceremony, are also offered a small sum to help them set up a business and other household goods.

This initiative began in 2012 – though Mr Daurawa acknowledges divorce rates are still high.

“We know about that problem – that is why we set up a committee to check on each couple after the marriage so we don’t get the former [same] results,” he said.

But Hadiza Ado, founder of non-governmental organisation Women and Children Initiative, says the number of divorces continue to rise.

“At the moment we get up to 30 marital cases daily in our various offices,” she told the BBC.

“The troubling Nigerian economy is the number-one reason at the moment.

“Husbands go out to make ends meet and sometimes come back home empty-handed, which causes rifts.”

The practice of using matchmakers is common in Kano because in a Muslim society single people do not mix, so it is difficult to meet potential partners.

The only place that the sexes mix would be at university or other tertiary institutions, which most people do not attend.

When people are matched together they often get married hardly knowing each other.

In fact Mahmud Kabir Yusuf and Rabiatu Tahir were introduced as youngsters by an older woman in their neighbourhood.

She was the one who felt they would be a good match – but they did not tie the knot for another 12 years, giving them ample time to get to know one another.

One man with a reputation for making successful matches says that is key.

“A lot of investigation needs to be done before marriage to know the persons involved,” Rabiu Ado told the BBC.

He set up as a matchmaker 10 years ago. The 46-year-old had not intended to become a marriage broker, though it had been the job of his mother.

He was working as a truck driver when he was approached by friends complaining about the difficulty of finding a partner.

After making some successful introductions, he realised he had a knack for the family business.

He now has billboards advertising his services – and gets between one and five clients each day. He interviews them and gets to know their attitudes and expectations. Often men want a woman who can make money and women want rich men.

“A lot of people go into marriages with the wrong mindset, which is why they get disappointed after some time.”

He says he has organised around 500 marriages over the last decade, with a success rate of more than 90%.

He counsels couples to always take time to know each other well before marrying.

Mr Ado, who has the nickname “Mai Dalili” meaning “He who makes it happen”, says the high number of divorces means some people don’t take marriage seriously.

“I feel why divorce is high in Kano is because people feel I can always get another person after a divorce.”

Islamic cleric Abdullahi Ishaq Garangamawa defends the ease with which Muslims can get a divorce.

“Islam is merciful and made marriages and divorces not hard so that people will not be caged when things aren’t going right,” he told the BBC.

“In the past we didn’t have this many divorces as our parents were married for decades. It was in recent times that people started abusing the process for selfish interests,” he says.

“But in essence, unlike in some religions where it’s till death no matter the situation, Islam legalises divorce when things get out of hand.”

Mr Yusuf, who used to work for the now-defunct Nigeria Airways, says sharing life’s difficulties and helping one another has been crucial to his enduring partnership with Ms Tahir.

“Love is also key because when you love each other genuinely you tend to stay together.

“My advice to people getting married is not to get into it for selfish reasons but go into it with genuine intentions.”

His wife agrees, adding: “My own advice is that people wanting to get married have to be patient with each other – if one partner is angry, the other should be calm.”

Additional reporting by Abba Awwalu

More Nigeria stories from the BBC:

  • A hunger for romance in northern Nigeria
  • The UK taxi driver still being paid as a Nigerian civil servant
  • Nigeria, twins and a love-hate relationship
  • The Nigerian professor who makes more money welding
  • Mr Ibu – the man who made Africa laugh

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Tennis, flags and fire: Photos of the week

A selection of striking news photographs taken around the world this week.

Israel settlements drive heightens Palestinian land angst

By Yolande KnellBBC Middle East correspondent

Palestinian officials have condemned a dramatic new settlement drive by Israel in the occupied West Bank which includes retroactively authorising three outposts.

The move is set to further stoke tensions in the territory which has seen a surge in violence since the war in Gaza began on 7 October.

Palestinians claim the West Bank as part of their hoped-for future state. Settlements are widely seen as illegal under international law although Israel disagrees.

The three unauthorised outposts that have now been legalised under Israeli law were described as new neighbourhoods of existing settlements. They are in sensitive areas in the Jordan Valley and near the southern city of Hebron.

In addition, the Israeli anti-settlement watchdog Peace Now said on Thursday that Israeli authorities had approved or advanced plans for 5,295 homes in dozens of settlements.

It also emerged this week that the Israeli government’s Higher Planning Council had approved the largest seizure of West Bank land in over three decades.

Some 12,700 dunams (5 sq miles) has been seized in the Jordan Valley and declared as Israeli state land. This year has marked a peak in the extent of declarations of state land with a total of 23,700 dunams affected.

The Palestinian president’s spokesman, Nabil Abu Rdeinah, said the new announcements confirmed that Israel’s “extremist government is bound by the right-wing policy of war and settlement”.

He said the latest steps would not “achieve security and peace for anyone” and were meant to prevent the establishment of a geographically contiguous Palestinian state in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip.

Last week, Israel’s security cabinet decided to authorise retroactively five settlement outposts built without official government approval.

The UN, the UK and other countries denounced the move as undermining hopes for the two-state solution – the internationally approved formula for peace that would see the creation of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel.

“Israel must halt its illegal settlement expansion and hold to account those responsible for extremist settler violence,” the British Foreign Office said.

“The UK’s priority is to bring the Gaza conflict to a sustainable end as quickly as possible and ensure a lasting peace in the Middle East, through an irreversible pathway towards a two-state solution.”

The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not immediately respond to a BBC request for comment on the overall strategy for the West Bank.

However, the far-right Israeli minister, Bezalel Smotrich, who lives in a West Bank settlement, has welcomed the recent steps. “We are building the good land and thwarting the establishment of a Palestinian state,” he said Wednesday on social media platform X.

Not counting annexed east Jerusalem, about half a million settlers live in the West Bank alongside three million Palestinians. Last year, Mr Smotrich instructed government departments to prepare to double the number of settlers to one million.

Since Israel captured the West Bank from Jordan in the 1967 Middle East War, successive Israeli administrations have allowed settlements to grow. However, expansion has risen sharply since Mr Netanyahu returned to power in late 2022 at the head of a hardline, pro-settler governing coalition.

Last month, Peace Now released the recording of an address by Mr Smotrich to his Religious Zionism party, in which he proposes transferring the management of settlements from military to civilian officials, building a separate road bypass system for settlers, expanding farming outposts and cracking down on unauthorised Palestinian construction.

Peace Now warned that the plan would irreversibly change the way the West Bank was governed and lead to “de facto annexation”.

Victoria Starmer: Who is the new PM’s wife?

By Kate WhannelPolitical reporter

Throughout the general election campaign and much of her husband’s tenure as Labour leader, Victoria Starmer has kept a low profile.

Apart from appearances at Labour conferences, the odd state banquet and a Taylor Swift concert, Lady Starmer, nee Victoria Alexander, has sought to avoid public appearances

Asked on LBC about his wife’s low profile, Sir Keir pointed out that she had a full-time job at an NHS hospital and that their eldest child was doing his GCSEs.

“We took the decision that whilst I was out and about on the road, we wanted to create the environment where he could study calmly in ordinary circumstances.”

However, now that Sir Keir has won the election and become prime minister, Lady Starmer may find it trickier to shun the spotlight.

When she first met Sir Keir in the early 2000s, he wasn’t a politician but a barrister. She was a solicitor working on the same case.

Sir Keir told ITV’s Piers Morgan’s Life Stories, of their first meeting: “I was doing a case in court and it all depended on whether the documents were accurate.

“I [asked the team] who actually drew up these documents, they said a woman called Victoria, so I said ‘let’s get her on the line.'”

He grilled her forensically on the paper but as he hung up he heard one comment from her.

“She said, ‘who the bleep does he think he is’, then put the phone down on me,” Sir Keir said. “And quite right too.”

Despite the rocky beginnings, the relationship blossomed after a first date in the Lord Stanley pub in Camden, north London.

Speaking to his biographer Tom Baldwin, Sir Keir described her as “grounded, sassy, funny, streetwise – and utterly gorgeous too”.

He proposed just a few months later on a holiday in Greece.

“Won’t we need a ring, Keir?” was her down-to-earth response.

They were married in 2007 at the Fennes estate in Essex, walking down the aisle to one of Sir Keir’s favourite pieces of music – Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.5, 2nd movement.

He later described her to Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs as an “incredibly warm, wonderful woman. My complete rock”.

The couple have two teenage children – but have been at pains to keep them out of the limelight – making a point of not naming them in public.

Lady Starmer grew up in north London, not far from where she currently lives with her family.

She attended Channing School before studying law and sociology at Cardiff University.

While there, she got involved in student politics, becoming president of the student union in 1994.

In an interview with the student newspaper Gair Rhydd, she said her main priority was to campaign against cuts to student grants.

Rob Watkins was at Cardiff University at the same time and worked as a photographer for the paper.

He remembers the future Lady Starmer as being “witty and professional, clearly dedicated to her work” and aware of her responsibility to the people she represented.

Lady Starmer currently works in occupational health for the NHS – something her husband has frequently referred to during his time as Labour leader.

He says it gives him insight into the problems faced by the health service.

Speaking to the Times in May, Sir Keir said his wife intended to keep her job if he won the election.

“She’s absolutely going to carry on working, she wants to and she loves it.”

While the couple say they want to keep life as normal as possible for their children, their domestic life has already been disrupted by Sir Keir’s job.

In April, pro-Palestinian demonstrators held a protest outside their home, hanging a banner outside their house and laying children’s shoes outside the front door.

Lady Starmer had returned from a shopping trip with her son when she saw the protesters.

Asked how the protest made her feel, Lady Starmer said: “I felt a bit sick, to be perfectly honest.”

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Japan declares victory in ‘war’ on floppy disks

By Kelly NgBBC News

It’s taken until 2024, but Japan has finally said goodbye to floppy disks.

Up until last month, people were still asked to submit documents to the government using the outdated storage devices, with more than 1,000 regulations requiring their use.

But these rules have now finally been scrapped, said Digital Minister Taro Kono.

In 2021, Mr Kono had “declared war” on floppy disks. On Wednesday, almost three years later, he announced: “We have won the war on floppy disks!”

Mr Kono has made it his goal to eliminate old technology since he was appointed to the job. He had earlier also said he would “get rid of the fax machine”.

Once seen as a tech powerhouse, Japan has in recent years lagged in the global wave of digital transformation because of a deep resistance to change.

For instance, workplaces have continued to favour fax machines over emails – earlier plans to remove these machines from government offices were scrapped because of pushback.

The announcement was widely-discussed on Japanese social media, with one user on X, formerly known as Twitter, calling floppy disks a “symbol of an anachronistic administration”.

“The government still uses floppy disks? That’s so outdated… I guess they’re just full of old people,” read another comment on X.

Others comments were more nostalgic. “I wonder if floppy disks will start appearing on auction sites,” one user wrote.

Created in the 1960s, the square-shaped devices fell out of fashion in the 1990s as more efficient storage solutions were invented.

A three-and-a-half inch floppy disk could accommodate up to just 1.44MB of data. More than 22,000 such disks would be needed to replicate a memory stick storing 32GB of information.

Sony, the last manufacturer of the disks, ended its production in 2011.

As part of its belated campaign to digitise its bureaucracy, Japan launched a Digital Agency in September 2021, which Mr Kono leads.

But Japan’s efforts to digitise may be easier said than done.

Many Japan businesses still require official documents to be endorsed using carved personal stamps called hanko, despite the government’s efforts to phase them out.

People are moving away from those stamps at a “glacial pace”, said local newspaper The Japan Times.

And it was not until 2019 that the country’s last pager provider closed its service, with the final private subscriber explaining that it was the preferred method of communication for his elderly mother.

Kris Jenner shares plans for removal of her ovaries

By Bonnie McLarenCulture reporter

US reality TV star Kris Jenner has spoken emotionally about plans to have her ovaries removed.

In scenes during reality show The Kardashians, the US media personality and businesswoman revealed she was set to have the procedure after doctors found a cyst and a tumour.

While on holiday in Aspen, Colorado with partner Corey Gamble, Jenner broke the news to her daughters, Kendall, Kim and Khloé Kardashian.

“I wanted to tell you guys something because I hadn’t told you yet, but I went to the doctor and I had my scan,” she said.

“And this just makes me really emotional, but… they found a cyst and like a little tumour on my ovary.

“So I went to the doctor, and Dr A said I have to have my ovaries taken out. And I’m just really emotional about it because they came in handy with you guys.

“It’s also a thing about getting older,” she added.

“It’s a sign of ‘we’re done with this part of your life.’ It’s a whole chapter that’s just closed.”

Jenner has six children. Kim, Khloé, Kourtney and Rob Kardashian, from her marriage to the late Robert Kardashian. She also has Kendall and Kylie Jenner, from her marriage to Caitlyn Jenner.

Kris Jenner added that her biggest achievement was raising her family.

“People often ask me what is the best job you’ve ever had, and I always say mom,” she said.

“The biggest blessing in my life was being able to give birth to six beautiful kids.”

Daughters’ support

Speaking to the camera, Kim Kardashian empathised with why her mother was upset.

“To have a surgery and remove your ovaries is a really big deal,” she said.

“I feel really sad for her. I couldn’t even imagine being in that situation and how you would feel really scared to be going through that.”

Kourtney also agreed, saying she “would feel the same way”. “It’s like your womanly power,” she added.

“It doesn’t mean it’s taking away who she is or what she’s experienced, but I would feel this sentimental feeling of what it’s created.”

Kendall added: “I get that it’s sad because they [her ovaries] have brought all her kids into the world, which is totally fair.

“But at the same time, what are we going to use those for anymore? If they’re potentially hurting you, let’s get them out of there.”

Flames, chains and grains: Africa’s top shots

A selection of the week’s best photos from across the African continent:

On the eve of Mauritania’s presidential election, a man arrives at the Grand Mosque in Nouakchott for Friday prayers…

Days later supporters of the incumbent president celebrate his re-election. The runner-up, an anti-slavery campaigner, alleges that the vote was stolen.

On Saturday, Ayra Starr becomes the first Afrobeats artist to perform on the Pyramid stage at the UK’s Glastonbury Festival…

Followed the next day by fellow Nigerian star Burna Boy.

Also on Sunday, South African singer Tyla appears at the BET awards in the US and takes home two trophies – for best Best New Artist and Best International Act.

Angola’s Silvio de Sousa and Spain’s Willy Hernangomez vie for the ball during an Olympic basketball qualifier on Wednesday.

Eritrean cyclist Biniam Girmay takes in the moment after winning the third stage of the Tour de France on Monday. He becomes the first black African competitor to win one of the 21 stages in this yearly feat of endurance.

Fishermen bring their catch to shore in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, on Saturday.

The next day, Nigerian golfer Georgia Oboh lines up her putt at the Dow Championship in the US.

Protests continue in Kenya on Tuesday even though an unpopular draft law to raise tax is dropped…

Young people have been at the forefront of these demonstrations in cities and towns across the country.

And on Friday in the Tunisian town of Nabeul, a woman spreads couscous out to dry in the sun.

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Could the ‘flying piano’ help transform air cargo?

By Michael DempseyTechnology Reporter

US start-up Aerolane is seeking the secret to airborne surfing.

Geese already know how to do it. When you see them flying in a v-formation, they are surfing on the air currents created by formation members ahead and around them.

At an airfield in Texas, Todd Graetz is hoping to use that concept to disrupt the market for air cargo.

Aerolane has been mimicking the tricks used by migrating birds, aided by modified planes towed into the air by another aircraft.

Smoke released from the leading plane allowed cameras installed in the towed aircraft to capture vortices in the air that a glider can exploit to stay aloft.

Their latest test aircraft is known as the “flying piano” because of its poor gliding characteristics.

Its twin engines idle for electrical power while it glides along with propellers turning for purely aerodynamic purposes.

Other tests have measured the tension in the towing line.

They spotted when the line went slack, indicating the glider is surfing along on currents generated by the aircraft ahead.

Aerolane’s plan is to feed all this data into a program that will guide an unmanned cargo plane through wakes and turbulence to exploit the possibilities of gliding long distances without burning fuel.

One or more such cargo planes could be towed by a jet, also carrying cargo, to their destination where they would land autonomously.

The only fuel costs would come from supplying the towing aircraft’s engines.

In theory this should work like a truck pulling a trailer, with air currents doing much of the heavy lifting. This is what Mr Graetz calls “a combination of gliding and surfing”.

The same idea occurred to Airbus, which tested the technique in 2021 with two A350 airliners flying 3km (1.9 miles) apart across the Atlantic.

Although the aircraft were not connected by a tow line, the experiment saw one aircraft winning an uplift from the lead A350’s wake to reduce CO2 emissions and fuel burn.

Mr Graetz, a pilot with 12 years’ experience, founded Aerolane with Gur Kimchi, a veteran of Amazon’s drone delivery project, on the basis that “there has got to be a better way to get more out of existing aircraft”.

The project has raised eyebrows among experienced pilots. Flying large gliders in commercial airspace means meeting strict flight safety regulations.

For instance, the towing aircraft has to be confident it can release the tow line at any point in the flight, safe in the knowledge that the auto-piloted glider can make it down to a runway without dropping on top of the local population.

Aerolane says a small electric motor driving a propeller will act as a safety net on their cargo gliders, giving them enough juice to go around again if a landing looks wrong or to divert to another location close by.

Mr Graetz counters that Aerolane employs active commercial pilots who are hard-headed about the practicalities of the project.

“We’ve engaged outside advisors to be devil’s advocates,” he adds.

He says big freight businesses are interested in anything that allows them to cut the cost per delivery.

On top of the cost of fuel, air freight firms also have to think about jet engine emissions and a shortage of pilots.

James Earl, a former RAF helicopter pilot and aviation consultant, thinks Mr Graetz may just be onto something.

“It stands to reason that gains can be had by slipstreaming and combining efforts in the sky. And any innovation in the cargo space is good.”

However, he cautions that public acceptance of unpowered cargo flights over built-up areas is another thing entirely.

“It should have a good gliding range to get to a landing spot in the event of a major failure by the tow plane. Whether that can be effectively communicated to the public is another matter though.”

Regulators are likely to be cautious as well, particularly in the US, where the Federal Aviation Authority is under pressure after serious problems with Boeing aircraft.

Mr Graetz replies that his team has complied with every request from the FAA so far. “The FAA has always been super risk averse. That’s their business!”

Fred Lopez spent 36 years in aviation operations at cargo giant UPS. As he says, he’s put “my entire adult life” into working out the most cost-effective way to operate an air freight business.

Mr Lopez admits he was profoundly sceptical about cargo gliders when Aerolane first approached him. But the prospect of serious fuel savings won him over and now he sits on their advisory board.

Cutting fuel costs is an obsession in civil aviation. When the upturned wing-tips we see out of a cabin window became a standard design feature airlines cut fuel costs by around 5%.

But gliders only consume the fuel required by their tow plane. If that too is a cargo aircraft, a pair of gliders drawn by one jet represents a significant reduction in fuel consumption on a large shipment.

The initial Aerolane design uses their autopilot plus what Mr Lopez terms a human “safety pilot”. This should make certification from the FAA easier.

“Aerolane is not trying to change everything at one go” he says.

Their ultimate goal is autonomous operation using AI, or as Mr Lopez puts it “to pull the pilot out of the seat”.

And, if the flying piano can surf, then who knows what’s possible?

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Starmer names first cabinet after landslide win

By Sam Francis@DavidSamFrancisPolitical reporter

Sir Keir Starmer has appointed his cabinet after Labour’s landslide election win, making Rachel Reeves the UK’s first female chancellor.

Deputy Prime Minister Angela Rayner is also among a record 11 women in the team of 25.

In his first speech as prime minister at Downing Street on Friday Sir Keir promised to restore trust in politics with a “government of service”.

His new cabinet will meet for the first time on Saturday morning, with Sir Keir vowing to start Labour’s “urgent” work immediately.

In a largely unchanged Labour frontbench line-up, David Lammy has become the foreign secretary.

Yvette Cooper, one of three members of the last Labour cabinet under Gordon Brown, is home secretary.

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Speaking outside 10 Downing Street after being appointed PM by the King at Buckingham Palace, Sir Keir pledged: “My government will serve you, politics can be a force for good.

“The work of change begins immediately, but have no doubt, we will rebuild Britain.”

In his farewell speech outside No 10, Rishi Sunak apologised to unsuccessful Tory candidates and told the public: “I have heard your anger, your disappointment.”

Labour won 412 seats – giving the party a majority of 174 in the new House of Commons. The Conservatives were reduced to a record low for them of 121 MPs, a net fall of 251.

The Liberal Democrats made 63 gains, giving them 71 seats. The SNP suffered a severe defeat, losing 38 seats to stand on nine with one constituency still to declare.

Reform UK won five seats, include leader Nigel Farage’s in Clacton, with the Greens increasing their number of MPs from one to four. Plaid Cymru doubled its number of MPs from two to four.

Before polling day, Sir Keir repeatedly refused to confirm the details of his top team.

But within hours of becoming prime minister on Friday, his appointments came thick and fast – suggesting plans had been in place for a long time.

Alongside her role as Sir Keir’s deputy, Ms Rayner will also take control of the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

A significant majority of the cabinet were state educated – with only three attending private schools.

The other two veterans of the last Labour government are Energy Security and Net Zero Secretary Ed Miliband, and Northern Ireland Secretary Hilary Benn.

Mr Lammy also served as a minister in the last Labour government alongside Pat McFadden, who takes over the Cabinet Office, and Defence Secretary John Healey.

All cabinet members supported Remain in the 2016 EU referendum. Ahead of the election, Sir Keir ruled out the UK rejoining the EU single market in his lifetime.

Sir Keir also spent his first few hours as PM receiving calls of congratulations from world leaders.

US President Joe Biden told Sir Keir he looked forward to “further strengthening the special relationship” with the UK, according to statements from both the White House and Downing Street

Both leaders “reaffirmed the special relationship between our nations and the importance of working together in support of freedom and democracy around the world”, the statements said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also congratulated Sir Keir on his election victory.

In a social media post, Mr Zelensky said: “I am grateful to Prime Minister Starmer for reaffirming the UK’s principled and unwavering support for Ukraine.”

Meanwhile, Sir Keir and Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris committed themselves “to reset and strengthen” Anglo-Irish relations “with urgency and ambition”, the Irish government said.

Though mostly a continuation of Sir Keir’s opposition team, the new cabinet includes some unexpected appointments.

The PM has chosen Richard Hermer as attorney general, rather than Emily Thornberry who had shadowed the role.

Mr Hermer, a friend of Sir Keir’s from when he was a barrister, will receive a life peerage to allow him to sit in the House of Lords and attend cabinet.

Some members of Sir Keir’s shadow cabinet have not yet been given new positions – including Ms Thornberry, shadow women and equalities secretary and party chairwoman Anneliese Dodds, and shadow minister without portfolio Nick Thomas-Symonds.

A peerage has been given to former government chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance to become a science minister in the new government.

James Timpson has also received a peerage and appointed prisons minister.

He is current CEO of the Timpson Group, which has a policy of employing ex-offenders across its UK watch and shoe repair chain.

Neither Lord Vallance nor Lord Timpson will attend cabinet, the BBC understands.

Ms Reeves is the first woman to hold the second most important role in government in the office’s 708-year history.

She said: “To every young girl and woman reading this, let today show that there should be no limits on your ambitions.”

Ms Reeves told her new team of Treasury officials she was “under no illusions of the scale of challenges we face”.

In a speech she said she could not promise it would be easy and “it’s a long road ahead”.

“We’re a new team, it’s a new start so let’s get to work,” she added.

Mr Lammy posted on social media that being appointed foreign secretary was “the honour of my life”.

The world “faces huge challenges”, but Mr Lammy said he would “navigate them with the UK’s enormous strengths”.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Lammy said his first priorities were “a reset on Europe, a reset on our relationships with the global south and a reset on climate”.

Asked if previous comments describing ex-US President Donald Trump as “a woman-hating, neo-Nazi-sympathizing sociopath” would hurt Labour’s relationship with a potential future Trump presidency, Mr Lammy said: “I will work closely with whoever is in the White House.”

Despite a winning a 174-seat majority, Sir Keir has been forced to fill unexpected holes in his team after key allies lost their seats, defying the night’s trend.

In one of the biggest shocks, shadow minister Jonathan Ashworth lost his Leicester South seat, which had a majority of more than 22,000, to independent candidate Shockat Adam, who campaigned against Mr Ashworth’s stance on the war in Gaza. .

Former shadow culture secretary Thangam Debbonaire lost to Green Party co-leader Carla Denyer in Bristol Central

After surviving a challenge from a pro-Gaza independent in Birmingham Ladywood, Shabana Mahmood, a key ally of Sir Keir, has been appointed justice secretary.

The Cabinet team announced are:

  • Sir Keir Starmer – Prime Minister
  • Angela Rayner – Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities
  • Rachel Reeves – Chancellor of the Exchequer
  • Pat McFadden – Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
  • David Lammy – Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs
  • Yvette Cooper – Secretary of State for the Home Department
  • John Healey – Secretary of State for Defence
  • Shabana Mahmood – Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
  • Wes Streeting – Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
  • Bridget Phillipson – Secretary of State for Education
  • Ed Miliband – Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
  • Liz Kendall – Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
  • Jonathan Reynolds – Secretary of State for Business and Trade
  • Peter Kyle – Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
  • Louise Haigh – Secretary of State for Transport
  • Steve Reed – Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
  • Lisa Nandy – Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
  • Hilary Benn – Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
  • Ian Murray – Secretary of State for Scotland
  • Jo Stevens – Secretary of State for Wales
  • Lucy Powell – Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
  • Baroness Smith – Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Lords
  • Alan Campbell – Chief Whip in the House of Commons
  • Darren Jones – Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
  • Richard Hermer – Attorney General

One of the big questions arising from the election result is what type of Conservative Party will emerge from the worst result in its modern history.

Mr Sunak pledged to remain party leader until formal arrangements for selecting his successor were in place.

Several potential leadership candidates were felled during a disastrous night for the Tories.

Penny Mordaunt – the former leader of the Commons and twice a candidate to be prime minister – lost her Portsmouth North seat, as did ex-cabinet minister Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg.

One key reason for the Conservatives grim results was the increased support for Reform UK – who won 14.3% of the vote, propelling party leader Nigel Farage into Parliament for the first time, alongside four other Reform MPs.

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey’s decision to bungee jump, log flume and paddleboard his way through the campaign appeared to have paid of as his party became the third largest in the Commons.

The Greens recorded their best general election performance yet with 6.8% of the vote across Great Britain.

Keir Starmer: From indie kid to prime minister

By Nick Eardley@nickeardleybbcPolitical correspondent

Three years ago Sir Keir Starmer seriously considered quitting as Labour leader.

It was 2021 and his party had just lost the Hartlepool by-election to Boris Johnson’s Conservatives.

It was the first time Labour had ever lost the seat. Three short years feel like a political lifetime ago now.

Sir Keir has become only the fifth person in British history to take Labour from opposition to power.

His party has gone from a historic thumping at the general election in 2019 – to victory in 2024.

The Hartlepool result though, is a reminder that Sir Keir’s journey to Downing Street was far from straightforward. In fact, for a long time his life and career were on a very different path.

Keir Starmer, one of four children, was brought up in the town of Oxted on the Kent-Surrey border.

He was raised by his toolmaker father and nurse mother, who suffered from a debilitating form of arthritis known as Still’s disease.

Sir Keir has spoken about the challenges of growing up at a time of high inflation in the 1970s.

“If you’re working class, you’re scared of debt,” he said during the election campaign.

“My mum and dad were scared of debt, so they would choose the bill that they wouldn’t pay.” The choice was the phone bill.

Sir Keir had a lot going on in his younger years.

He was obsessed with football (on the centre-left of midfield, of course). He was a talented musician and learnt violin with Norman Cook, who went on to become chart-topping DJ Fatboy Slim.

Sir Keir also had a rebellious streak. He and his friends were once caught by police illegally selling ice-cream on a French beach to raise cash.

But what about politics? There were always clues, including his name which was given to him as a tribute to the first leader of the Labour Party, Keir Hardie.

Sir Keir dabbled in left-wing politics over the course of his pre-parliamentary life.

That started at school, when he joined the Young Socialists, Labour’s youth movement.

After school, Sir Keir became the first person in his family to go to university, studying law at Leeds University and later at Oxford.

At Leeds, he was influenced by the indie music of the 1980s, from The Smiths and The Wedding Present to Orange Juice and Aztec Camera.

His biographer, Tom Baldwin, notes his favourite drink as a student was a mix of beer and cider – or Snakebite – and he had a taste for curry and chips.

For a while after graduating, Sir Keir lived above a brothel in north London.

More importantly, he was building a reputation as a workaholic that would see him go on to become a successful and prominent human rights lawyer.

At the same time, Sir Keir continued his left-wing activism, as a prominent contributor to the magazine Socialist Lawyer.

But politics was a side interest and, for much of the next 20 years, his legal career was his focus.

In 2008, he became Director of Public Prosecutions, the chief prosecutor for England and Wales.

Sir Keir likes to talk about this period in life as an example of his dedication to public service, and often recalls his role in prosecuting terrorist gangs. But what else?

Under the 2010-15 coalition government, he had to implement significant cuts, with the Crown Prosecution Service’s budget reduced by more than a quarter.

He also oversaw high-profile decisions including the prosecution of MPs over their parliamentary expenses following the 2009 scandal and prosecuting the then Lib Dem cabinet minister Chris Huhne for asking his wife to take speeding points for him.

Sir Keir’s legal work was rewarded with a knighthood in 2014. But how successful was his leadership?

Towards the end of his tenure, Sir Keir admitted in a BBC interview that vulnerable victims were still being let down by the justice system.

A late career change

It wasn’t until the age of 52 that the career change came.

Sir Keir was selected for a safe Labour seat in north London, winning comfortably. He and his predecessor Rishi Sunak became MPs on the same day.

But it wasn’t a happy time for the Labour Party.

The Conservatives had just won the general election and a bitter factional battle loomed after Jeremy Corbyn became leader.

Much has been said and written about Sir Keir’s journey from backbencher to the Labour leadership – and now to Downing Street. But some things are worth highlighting.

When he became leader, Jeremy Corbyn made Sir Keir shadow immigration minister but it didn’t last long.

He resigned after less than a year, one of dozens of frontbenchers who quit after the Brexit referendum in an attempt to force Mr Corbyn out.

When that failed, and Mr Corbyn saw off a leadership challenge, Sir Keir returned to the fold as shadow Brexit secretary.

Labour in the doldrums

Sir Keir’s position on Mr Corbyn has evolved over time.

In 2019, he was asked on BBC Breakfast to repeat the sentence “Jeremy Corbyn would make a great prime minister”. He did.

A few months later, he would tell the BBC he was “100%” behind Mr Corbyn and working with him to win a general election.

While others refused to serve under Mr Corbyn, Sir Keir stayed in the tent and helped persuade the leader to back a second Brexit referendum at the 2019 election.

That election was a disaster for Labour. Mr Corbyn quit and Sir Keir won the race to replace him.

But when he took over, a lot of people thought Boris Johnson was destined to govern for some time.

Many saw Sir Keir as a leader who could help rebuild – but few thought he was the man who would take them back to power.

When did that change? The polls give us a good indication.

Sir Keir’s Labour trailed Mr Johnson’s Conservatives in the polls for much of 2020 and 2021 when the Hartlepool by-election was held.

But that started to change after the first reports of Downing Street parties during the pandemic, when strict restrictions were in place around social gatherings.

There is a clear point in the polls where Labour overtakes the Conservatives in November 2021.

Its lead increased significantly after the Liz Truss mini budget and has been consistent and significant ever since.

A ‘ruthless’ leader

Sir Keir’s allies argue that wouldn’t have happened without big changes in the Labour Party. Sir Keir has sometimes been ruthless.

Jeremy Corbyn was thrown out of the parliamentary party and ultimately barred from standing as a Labour candidate.

Economic policy was tightened; meaning policies were junked if they weren’t seen as affordable.

Sir Keir embraced British patriotism, using the union jack as a backdrop for speeches and getting his conference to sing God Save the King.

All of that has contributed to Sir Keir’s message of change. He spent the campaign arguing he had changed Labour and could change the country too.

The election result will also mean change for the Starmer family.

Sir Keir, now 61, married his wife Victoria in 2007. Her intention is to keep working for the NHS in occupational health as he serves as prime minister.

Lady Starmer has been seen at some high-profile events like conference speeches, a rally last week – and at a Taylor Swift gig. But she is unlikely to play as prominent a role in public life as some partners have in the past.

Sir Keir though has been candid about the impact high office could have, particularly on his teenage son and daughter.

He told the BBC in 2021: “I am worried about my children. That is probably the single thing that does keep me awake – as to how we will protect them through this.”

It’s a challenge the Starmers will now face as they move into Downing Street at the end of a testing, far from straightforward, journey.

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Biden vows to stay in race and beat Trump in defiant speech

By Mike Wendling in Madison, Wisconsin & Max MatzaBBC News
‘I am running and I’m going to win again,’ Biden says

US President Joe Biden vowed to stay the course in his re-election bid and defeat Donald Trump in a defiant speech on Friday, as questions continue to swirl over whether he will drop out of the race.

At a rally in Madison, Wisconsin, the 81-year-old acknowledged his disastrous performance in last week’s CNN debate. “Ever since then, there’s been a lot of speculation. What’s Joe going to do?” he told the crowd.

“Here’s my answer. I am running and going to win again,” Mr Biden said, as supporters in the crucial battleground state cheered his name. It marked his latest commitment to staying in the race as he seeks to defuse a political crisis that has snowballed in recent days.

The 17-minute speech, which was more energetic than his widely-panned performance on the debate stage, comes at a critical moment for his campaign, with donors and Democratic allies considering whether to stick with him.

The campaign is aware that the next few days could make or break his re-election bid, according to various reports in US media, as Mr Biden seeks to regain ground that he lost to his Republican rival Donald Trump following the debate.

After his speech in Madison, a rare sit-down interview will air on ABC News at 20:00 EDT which will also be closely watched by those questioning his commitment and fitness.

As he took the stage at the rally, Mr Biden passed one voter who was holding a sign reading “Pass the torch, Joe”. Another voter who stood outside the venue held a sign that read “Save your legacy, drop out!”.

“I see all these stories that say I’m too old,” Mr Biden said at the rally, before triumphing his record in the White House. “Was I too old to create 15 million jobs?” he said. “Was I too old to erase student debt for five million Americans?”

“Do you think I’m too old to beat Donald Trump?” he asked, as the crowd responded “no”.

Referencing Trump’s criminal conviction in New York, and the other charges he is facing in separate cases, he called his rival a “one-man crime wave”.

Pressure on Mr Biden to step aside has only grown following the debate which was marked by several instances where he lost his train of thought, raising concerns about his age and mental fitness.

Some major Democratic donors have begun to push for Mr Biden to step down as the party’s nominee, publicly warning they will withhold funds unless he is replaced.

His campaign is planning an aggressive come-back. His wife, Jill Biden, as well as Vice-President Kamala Harris, are planning a campaign blitz to travel to every battleground swing state this month.

Mr Biden, who is due to speak at another rally in Pennsylvania on Sunday, thanked the vice-president for her support. She has emerged as the most likely candidate to replace him on the Democratic ticket if he were to step down.

On Thursday, Mr Biden acknowledged that he “screwed up” in the debate. He has blamed jet lag for his poor performance, saying that his busy travel schedule prevented him from getting sufficient rest before the debate. “I didn’t listen to my staff… and then I nearly fell asleep on stage,” he said.

In a preview of the president’s Friday evening interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, Mr Biden again blamed his failings last week on exhaustion and a “bad cold”.

“I was sick. I was feeling terrible,” Mr Biden says in the clip, adding he was asked to take a Covid-19 test before the debate.

“It was a bad episode,” he said. “No indication of any serious condition.”

The Washington Post has reported that Mr Biden’s senior team is aware of the pressure coming from within the Democratic Party to make a decision on the future of his candidacy within the next week.

Four Democrats in the House of Representatives in Congress have now called for him to withdraw from the race – Lloyd Doggett of Texas, Raúl Grijalva of Arizona, Seth Boulton of Massachusetts and Mike Quigley of Illinois.

“President Biden has done enormous service to our country, but now is the time for him to follow in one of our founding father, George Washington’s footsteps and step aside to let new leaders rise up and run against Donald Trump,” Mr Moulton told radio station WBUR on Thursday.

However, no senior Democrats have called on him to quit, as his campaign has pointed out to reporters.

On Friday, reports emerged that Senator Mark Warner was attempting to form a group of fellow Democratic senators to ask Mr Biden to drop out of the race. The reports, including one in the Washington Post, suggested Mr Warner had deep concerns following the CNN debate.

Speaking to reporters later on Friday, Mr Biden said he understood that Mr Warner “is the only one considering that” and that no one else had called for him to step down.

The same day, Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey, a Democrat and ally of Mr Biden, issued a statement urging the president to “carefully evaluate” whether he remains the Democratic nominee.

“Whatever President Biden decides, I am committed to doing everything in my power to defeat Donald Trump,” she said.

More on election

  • Where Biden and Trump stand on key issues
  • What’s in Trump’s second term wish list, Project 2025
  • What Moscow, Delhi and Beijing make of rematch
  • Who will be Trump’s vice-president?

Some Democratic voters, too, have lost faith in Mr Biden’s capacity to run. In a Wall Street Journal poll released on Friday, 86% of Democrats said they would support Mr Biden, down from 93% in February.

At the rally in Madison, multiple Biden supporters told BBC News that they supported his bid for re-election and were not concerned about the debate debacle.

“I’m not worried about his health. I think he can go all the way to the election and beyond,” said primary school teacher Susan Shotliff, 56.

Some said that while Mr Biden struggled for words, more focus should be on his Republican rival. “During the debate, [Trump] told a bunch of lies. How is that any worse than what Biden did?” said Greg Hovel, 67.

Others expressed more concern. “I wanted to have a first hand look at how he’s like, his mannerisms, his energy,” said Thomas Leffler, a health researcher from Madison. “I’m worried about his capacity to beat Trump.”

“As he gets older, I think it’s going to increasingly be an issue. But I’ll vote blue no matter what,” he said.

General election 2024 in maps and charts

By Data journalism teamBBC News

The Labour Party has won a landslide majority in the 2024 general election.

The party is set to take 412 seats with a majority of 174, with one result yet to be declared.

It is the worst Conservative result in terms of seats in history, with the party forecast to win as few as 122. The Liberal Democrats have their highest tally since 1923, taking 71 seats.

The SNP is forecast to finish with 10 seats. Reform UK have five and Plaid Cymru and the Green Party have four each.

Some 23 seats were won by other parties, all in Northern Ireland, and independent candidates.

The biggest gap on record has emerged between the share of the vote won nationally by parties and the number of seats they have gained.

Vote share

Labour gained over 200 seats but their vote share increased by less than two percentage points to 34%.

The Conservatives saw their vote share plummet by 20 points to 24% and the party lost 251 seats.

Reform are in third place by share of the vote on 14% but they found it difficult to convert votes into seats. The party has returned five MPs, including party leader Nigel Farage in Clacton.

By contrast, the Liberal Democrats’ 12% vote share translated into 71 seats.

The Greens recorded their best ever general election performance, winning four seats and seven per cent of the vote.

  • LIVE: Follow all the latest general election results news
  • Who’s in Keir Starmer’s new cabinet?
  • What went wrong for the Conservatives?
  • Who is my MP now? The election in maps and charts
  • General election 2024: All BBC stories and analysis

Changed hands

This map shows the seats which have been won by a different party to the last general election. To see all the results use the “Changed hands” toggle.

All of the new seats Keir Starmer’s party took came from constituencies won by either the SNP or the Tories at the last general election. A total of 182 seats changed from blue to red.

All of Reform’s gains came from seats previously won by the Conservative Party in 2019. Labour lost five seats to independent candidates, including former party leader Jeremy Corbyn in Islington North.

Labour also lost one seat, Leicester East, to the Conservatives and Bristol Central to the Greens.

Share by constituency

The Conservative vote share suffered particularly in areas where high numbers voted to leave the European Union, falling by 27 points in constituencies where more than 60% voted Leave.

Labour support in constituencies with large Muslim communities fell about 23 points to 39%.

Click through the slides on these maps to see constituency vote share by party.

Scotland

Scotland is the only part of the UK where Labour’s vote share rose sharply. It jumped by 17 points as the party took 36 seats from the SNP.

The SNP share of the vote is down 15 points. They also lost three seats to the Liberal Democrats.

The leader of the Scottish Conservatives, Douglas Ross, lost his seat in Aberdeenshire North and Moray East.

Wales

The Conservatives lost 12 seats in Wales, meaning they now have no MPs there.

Labour gained nine seats, taking the party’s total to 27, despite their share falling by four points.

Plaid Cymru has gained two seats, putting the party on four and the Liberal Democrats have taken one seat.

Northern Ireland

Sinn Féin has become Northern Ireland’s largest Westminster party, winning all seven seats it won in 2019, while the Democratic Unionist Party lost three of the eight it held at the last general election.

In a surprise result, Traditional Unionist Voice took North Antrim from the DUP, unseating Ian Paisley Jr.

Regional change

Looking at seat and vote share change across broad areas of England, the Conservatives have lost more than 100 seats in the South excluding London and their vote share is down by about 24 points.

Labour has made seat gains in the Midlands, North and South and has also increased its already-strong London tally by seven seats.

The Liberal Democrats have increased their seats in the South by more than 40, their highest regional tally.

Labour and Lib Dem vote shares fell somewhat in London, while hardly changing in the North and Midlands. Vote share for the two parties rose slightly in the South.

Reform share is up in all of these broad regions.

Turnout

Turnout across the UK as a whole is 60%, the second lowest in a UK election since 1885. Only 2001 was lower with 59%.

It was lowest in Wales, where only 56% of the electorate voted. Northern Ireland had a turnout of 57%, Scotland 59% and England 60%.

The lowest turnout of any constituency was 40% in Manchester Rusholme, where Afzal Khan held the seat for Labour. The bottom five for turnout also included Leeds South, Hull East, Blaenau Gwent & Rhymney and Tipton & Wednesbury.

What went wrong for the Conservatives?

By Ione WellsPolitical correspondent

The Conservative Party had become accustomed to almost being the Manchester City of politics.

A blue, winning machine for so long that some of its key players could barely remember anything else.

But their streak – that delivered Tory prime ministers in four elections in a row – has been brought to a dramatic end.

Many Tories, both winners and losers, are almost speechless and still processing it.

One told me they were simply “not coherent”.

A post-mortem on what went wrong with their tactics and leadership, and where to go next, is now beginning.

When I speak to Conservatives, several themes come up repeatedly.

Some feel Labour’s policy offering was not drastically different to theirs, but think the choice became more about perceptions of “competence”.

They have had five leaders, and prime ministers, in less than 10 years.

Seismic events, from Brexit to Covid to multiple leadership contests, splintered the party into ideological factions. Some Tories spent more energy plotting to take each other down than their opposition – and never really patched things up.

Scandals rocked the party in a whack-a-mole fashion, from lockdown parties to sexual misconduct allegations to a mini-budget that contributed to raising interest rates. An election betting saga was the cherry on top.

When I asked former Chief Whip Sir Mark Spencer during the campaign if the party had a conduct problem, he mentioned that other parties also had to suspend MPs for poor behaviour – which is true – but conceded this had become too regular.

Then there was the undoubted desire for change – a word Labour deployed in its campaign.

The cost of living, NHS waiting lists, and small boats were all issues voters raised on the doorstep – and felt had been getting worse, not better.

Nigel Farage’s late return to the fray meant the latter theme became a particular thorn in Tory sides, with some right-leaning voters who switched to Reform UK wanting tougher immigration policies and lower taxes.

Rhetoric and policies attempting to win them back alienated some more centrist Tories who abandoned the party for Labour or the Liberal Democrats, leaving the Tories pincered in between.

This was a more comfortable switch for some centrists who didn’t feel they could vote Labour under Jeremy Corbyn.

  • LIVE: Follow all the latest general election results news
  • Who’s in Keir Starmer’s new cabinet?
  • What went wrong for the Conservatives?
  • Who is my MP now? The election in maps and charts
  • General election 2024: All BBC stories and analysis

Did these circumstances mean defeat was inevitable? Most Tories I’ve spoken to describe the result as “not unexpected”, but some feel the scale of it could have been mitigated.

There were avoidable gaffes – like Rishi Sunak leaving D-day commemorations early.

While Boris Johnson was prone to gaffes too, some of his fans felt Mr Sunak didn’t charm voters back in the same way. The former prime minister still yielded chants of ‘Boris! Boris!’ at an eleventh-hour rally to try to energise the campaign.

There is still a lingering bafflement among some about why Mr Sunak decided to call the election in July.

Their campaign guru, Isaac Levido, had argued for a later date – hoping by then there would be more “measurables” to demonstrate their policies were having an impact.

A flight of asylum seekers taking off to Rwanda, for example, or an interest rate cut.

But he lost that argument. And the Conservatives had little evidence in their armoury of some of their policies working when they went to the electorate.

The risk of the alternative, Mr Levido’s critics argued, was that more bad news could come down the road for the Tories – more Channel crossings this summer, more offenders being released because of prison overcrowding, universities going under.

But policy and identity wise, what else could the Conservatives have done? That’s where their focus will lie now as a search for the soul of the party begins.

What – and who – could come next?

Mr Sunak has confirmed he will resign as Tory leader once arrangements are in place to choose his successor.

There have been murmurings for the last few weeks about whether an interim leader is appointed to avoid the awkwardness of, for example, the former PM having to do Prime Minister’s Questions from the opposition benches.

Could this be someone who served in the cabinet previously – like Sir Oliver Dowden, James Cleverly, or even Jeremy Hunt, who just about scraped back into the Commons?

If so, it would probably need to be someone who doesn’t actually want to run for leader full time.

Otherwise, Mr Sunak could stay on until the next Tory leadership contest concludes.

There are some MPs who have been working behind the scenes for a long time on shoring up their support, including Kemi Badenoch (the bookies’ favourite) who is on the right of the party, and Tom Tugendhat, who is more to the centre.

Former contenders like Suella Braverman and former Sunak ally-turned-critic Robert Jenrick are tipped to run too.

They both spent time in the Home Office, are on the right of the party, and have criticised the government’s record on immigration.

One interesting thing to note, though, is who the remaining Tory MPs are, and what that might mean for who wins support among the parliamentary party.

I’ve had a quick skim over the new intake of Tory MPs and who they backed in the first Tory leadership contest of July-September 2022.

Interestingly, the majority are Sunak-backers, with a hefty chunk of Liz Truss supporters too.

Suella Braverman and Kemi Badenoch have lost a couple of their key allies on the right of the parliamentary party. A couple of Mr Tugendhat’s backers are gone too.

Some of the most notable Conservative losses this election

Why do the leanings of the remaining MPs matter? Well, partly because this will determine how the Tory party decides to shape itself going forward.

Does it decide to elect someone on the right of the party, like Ms Badenoch, Mrs Braverman or Mr Jenrick, to try to stave off the growing influence of Reform UK who have now won several seats?

Some in the party argue not being tougher on issues like immigration was part of their downfall.

Or does it try to shift back toward the centre ground with a candidate like Mr Tugendhat or Mr Hunt to reclaim some of the space Labour is now trying to occupy on the political spectrum?

Some in the party argue the Tories’ drift to the right was part of the problem, and alienated socially liberal, but fiscally conservative, voters.

The answer will be the result of a lot of tussling and soul-searching over the weeks to come.

Who’s in Keir Starmer’s new cabinet?

By the Visual Journalism teamBBC News

The country’s new Prime Minister Keir Starmer has appointed 22 Labour MPs and peers to key cabinet positions – including a record 11 women – after the party’s landslide election victory.

Explore our guide for short biographies of each member of the new cabinet and of ministers who will be able to attend its meetings.

  • LIVE: Follow all the latest general election results news
  • Chris Mason analysis: Voters show ruthless drive to remove Tories
  • What are Labour planning to do in government?
  • Who is my MP now? The election in maps and charts
  • General election 2024: All BBC stories and analysis

Pope Francis critic excommunicated by the Vatican

By Ian AikmanBBC News

An Italian archbishop and staunch critic of Pope Francis has been excommunicated by the Vatican, its doctrinal office has said.

Carlo Maria Vigano was found guilty of schism – meaning he has split from the Catholic Church – after years of fierce disagreement with the pontiff.

The 83-year-old ultra-conservative has previously called on the Pope to resign, accusing him of heresy and criticising his stances on immigration, climate change and same-sex couples.

Archbishop Vigano was a senior figure in the Church, serving as papal envoy to Washington from 2011 to 2016.

In 2018 he went into hiding after alleging that the Pope had known about sexual abuse by an American cardinal and failed to act. The Vatican rejected the accusation.

Over time, the archbishop became associated with US conspiracy theorists, criticising Covid vaccines and alleging a “globalist” and “anti-Christian” project by the UN and other groups – both familiar conspiratorial themes.

On Friday the Vatican’s doctrinal office said his refusal to submit to Pope Francis was clear from his public statements.

“The Most Reverend Carlo Maria Vigano was found guilty of the reserved delict [violation of the law] of schism,” the statement said, adding that he had been excommunicated – or banished from the church.

Responding by a post on X, the archbishop linked to the decree that was emailed to him and said:

“What was attributed to me as guilt for my conviction is now put on record, confirming the Catholic Faith that I fully profess.”

Archbishop Vigano was charged with schism and denying the pope’s legitimacy last month. At the time, he write on X that he regarded the accusations against him as “an honour”.

“I repudiate, reject, and condemn the scandals, errors, and heresies of Jorge Mario Bergoglio,” he said, using Argentine Pope’s given name.

Pope Francis has put himself at odds with traditionalist Catholics by making overtures towards the LGBTQ+ community, championing migrant rights and condemning the excesses of capitalism.

Last year, he took action against another ultra-conservative critic, dismissing Bishop Joseph E Strickland of Texas when he refused to resign after an investigation.

UK election: What’s happened and what comes next?

By Matt Murphy & Graeme BakerBBC News, in London & Washington DC

Sir Keir Starmer is the UK’s new prime minister, after his Labour Party swept to power in a landslide general election victory.

The Conservative Party suffered a dramatic collapse after a tumultuous 14 years in power, which saw five different prime ministers run the country. It lost 250 seats over the course of a devastating night.

Rishi Sunak – the outgoing PM – accepted responsibility for the result and apologised to defeated colleagues during a brief statement outside a rainy 10 Downing Street. He said he would resign as party leader in the coming weeks.

In his first speech as prime minister after greeting dozens of jubilant Labour supporters who had lined Downing Street, Sir Keir vowed to run a “government of service” and to kick start a period of “national renewal”.

“For too long we’ve turned a blind eye as millions slid into greater insecurity,” he said. “I want to say very clearly to those people. Not this time.”

“Changing a country is not like flicking a switch. The world is now a more volatile place. This will take a while, but have no doubt the work of change will begin immediately.”

The result marks a stunning reversal from the 2019 election when Labour, led by the veteran left-wing politician Jeremy Corbyn, suffered its worst electoral defeat in almost a century.

On the other side, Robert Buckland, a former Conservative minister who lost his seat, described it as “electoral Armageddon” for the Tories.

It is the party’s worst result in almost 200 years, with an ideological battle over its future direction expected ahead.

It’s been a long night of results. Here’s what it all means.

  • Follow live updates

A huge Labour victory

Britain’s House of Commons has 650 MPs, or members of parliament. Each of their “seats” represents a constituency, or district.

So far Labour has won 412 seats, while the Conservatives have slumped to just 121 and centrist Liberal Democrats have taken 71. Reform UK, a successor to the Brexit Party, is set to pick up four seats, as is the left-wing Green Party.

There is just one seat left to be declared, in Scotland, for the constituency of Skye and Ross-shire.

Labour’s surge was partly aided by the collapse of the Scottish National Party (SNP). The party has been hit by a succession of controversies around its finances and fell to just nine seats overnight.

The expected 170-seat majority in the House of Commons for Labour is an enormous number but still short of the majority of 179 won by the party under Tony Blair in the 1997 election.

But for more perspective, the Conservatives’ win in the 2019 election under Boris Johnson – seen as a very strong performance – saw them get a majority of 80 seats.

A reminder: If a party holds a majority, it means it doesn’t need to rely on other parties to pass laws. The bigger the majority, the easier it is.

There were, however, a number of notable defeats for Labour to independent candidates campaigning on pro-Gaza tickets – especially in areas with large Muslim populations.

Labour has faced growing pressure over its stance to the conflict. In February, the party called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire but critics said it was too slow to reach that position.

Centre-left parties in other Western countries were keeping a keen eye on the trend ahead of the poll, amid fear of a growing backlash from their own voters over their support for Israel.

First moment Sir Keir Starmer met King Charles after election

Big names fall one by one (but some survive)

As constituencies have declared their results live on television – with all candidates lined up next to each other on stage – there were some major moments.

Perhaps the most notable was the defeat of Liz Truss. The former prime minister served just 49 days in Number 10 before being ousted by her party. She narrowly lost to Labour in the constituency of South West Norfolk, having previously held a huge 24,180 majority.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, the former Conservative business secretary and arch-Brexiteer, was another of the biggest names to suffer defeat. He lost his East Somerset and Hanham seat to Labour.

He told the BBC that he couldn’t “blame anybody other than myself” for the loss but he took a “small silver lining” from the fact that the Conservatives would be “at least the official opposition” – a reference to fears they wouldn’t even have that.

Grant Shapps, the defence secretary, looked rattled after losing his seat in southern England.

Leader of the House Penny Mordaunt, who ran against Rishi Sunak for the party leadership before he became prime minister, lost her seat in Portsmouth.

As the night wore on, a succession of other Conservative cabinet ministers also lost their seats, including Education Secretary Gillian Keegan, Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer and Veterans Minister Johnny Mercer.

  • Truss and Rees-Mogg among big-name Tory losses
  • The dramatic Tory decline behind Labour’s landslide
  • Key moments from a dramatic election night

But Jeremy Hunt, who served as chancellor – the UK equivalent of a finance minister – held on to his seat but with a much-reduced majority.

Mr Sunak also won his seat in Yorkshire with a comfortable majority of about 12,000 – but used his acceptance speech to concede and confirm his party had lost the election.

Labour lost two big names of their own. Jonathan Ashworth and Thangam Debbonaire were both expected to be a part of Keir Starmer’s incoming cabinet.

A new PM within a day

Things move pretty fast in British politics – there is very little time between an election result and the installation of the new prime minister.

By mid-morning moving vans had arrived to help Rishi Sunak out of 10 Downing Street. He was then whisked away to Buckingham Palace to offer his resignation to King Charles III.

Then, just 14 hours after the initial exit poll dropped, Sir Keir was formally invited by the monarch to form the next government.

Moments later – watched by the world’s media – he walked up Downing Street and addressed the nation for the first time as prime minster.

He has already started appointing a new cabinet.

Angela Rayner has been made deputy prime minister, while Rachel Reeves has become the first female chancellor.

Meanwhile David Lammy is the new foreign secretary with Yvette Cooper as home secretary.

Speaking before he handed his resignation to the King, Mr Sunak wished the new PM well.

“His successes will be all our successes, and I wish him and his family well,” Mr Sunak said. “Whatever our disagreements in this campaign, he is a decent public spirited man who I respect.”

So who is Keir Starmer?

He’s fairly new to politics, relatively speaking.

Sir Keir started his professional life as a barrister in the 1990s, and was appointed the director of public prosecutions, the most senior criminal prosecutor in England and Wales, in 2008.

He was first elected in the Holborn and St Pancras constituency in north London in 2015, and took over leadership of Labour after the party’s poor 2019 general election, pledging to start a “new era” after the left-wing leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.

Sir Keir was re-elected in the same constituency on Thursday, saying in his victory speech people were “ready for change” and promising an “end the politics of performance”.

“The change begins right here because this is your democracy, your community, your future,” he said. “You have voted. It’s now time for us to deliver.”

The Labour leader largely avoided making big pledges during the campaign.

But during his address outside Downing Street, Sir Keir said his government would strive to “rebuild” British public services such as the NHS, slash energy bills and secure the country’s border.

“You have given us a clear mandate, and we will use it to deliver change,” he vowed.

You can read Sir Keir’s full profile here.

Nigel Farage finally becomes an MP

This election’s insurgent party was Reform UK, the right-wing successor to the Brexit Party and the UK Independence Party.

Nigel Farage, its leader, finally won a seat on his eighth attempt – but his party’s initial projection of 13 seats fizzled to four. That’s still better than UKIP and the Brexit Party ever did, and Mr Farage has been celebrating.

The party’s share of the vote looks to be about 14%.

Reform drew controversy during the campaign over offensive statements made by some of its candidates and activists.

Mr Farage will be joined in the House of Commons by former Conservative party deputy chairman Lee Anderson, Reform founder Richard Tice and Rupert Lowe.

From their new perch in parliament, the party could seek to cause trouble for the Conservatives and pick off more voters from the party’s remaining base.

Who could replace Biden as Democratic nominee?

By Ana FaguyBBC News, Washington

President Joe Biden and the White House have spent days on the defensive amid growing doubts about his ability to win the November election.

The ongoing – and now public – discussion about how to maintain Democratic control of the White House has also raised questions about who could replace him on the presidential ticket, though Mr Biden has insisted he will run.

Public support for Mr Biden’s vice-president, Kamala Harris, appears to be growing. Other names have also been floated.

If Mr Biden does step down, here are a few names who might replace him.

Vice-President Kamala Harris

Vice-President Kamala Harris, who is already on the ticket, is an obvious and increasingly popular choice to replace Mr Biden.

As his deputy, she has become the face of the administration’s campaign to protect reproductive rights after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade.

Ms Harris has proved to be a loyal ally to the president and fiercely defended his debate performance. After the event, she admitted the president had a “slow start” but argued he went on to provide more substantive answers than Trump.

Days after the debate, as concern grew about the president’s ability to stay atop the ticket, Ms Harris reiterated her support for Mr Biden.

“Look, Joe Biden is our nominee. We beat Trump once and we’re going to beat him again, period,” she said Tuesday.

“I am proud to be Joe Biden’s running mate.”

The White House planned to deploy Ms Harris to engage with black voters, women, and young people throughout the month of July. Her first scheduled stop is a panel at the ESSENCE Festival in New Orleans.

Ms Harris has the strong name recognition that comes from the job of vice- president, but has struggled with low approval ratings throughout her tenure.

Forty-nine percent of Americans disapprove of Ms Harris, while 39% approve, according to polling averages tracked by FiveThirtyEight.

Ms Harris will also have a prime-time moment that could vault her ahead of the pack of potential presidential contenders when she faces off against Trump’s pick for vice-president. The BBC’s US media partner CBS is scheduled to host a vice- presidential debate before the Democratic National Convention in August.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer

Gretchen Whitmer, the two-term governor of Michigan, is an increasingly popular Midwest Democrat who many pundits speculate will run for president in 2028.

She has campaigned for Mr Biden in the past and has not been shy about her political aspirations.

She told the New York Times she wants to see a Generation X president in 2028, but stopped short of suggesting that she might fill that role.

In 2022, she led a campaign that left Michigan Democrats in control of the state’s legislature and the governor’s mansion.

That political control allowed her to enact a number of progressive policies including protecting Michigan abortion access and the passage of gun safety measures.

California Governor Gavin Newsom

California Governor Gavin Newsom is one of the Biden Administration’s fiercest surrogates. He frequently appears on cable news networks praising Mr Biden.

But Mr Newsom has political ambitions of his own.

He is often listed as a possible 2028 candidate, but many Democratic pundits now say he could be a stand-in for Mr Biden.

Mr Newsom raised his national profile in recent years by being a key party messenger on conservative media, and via a debate against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis last year.

He was a top surrogate at Mr Biden’s disastrous debate in Atlanta in June, and dodged several questions in the spin room about whether he would replace Mr Biden.

For now, he is publicly standing by the president. He traveled to Washington to attend a Wednesday meeting with Mr Biden and other top Democratic governors, and headlined a Biden campaign event in Michigan on the 4th of July holiday.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg

It is no secret that Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has presidential aspirations.

He ran for president in 2020 and is often touted as one of the Biden administration’s best communicators.

Mr Buttigieg has managed a number of public crises during his time as transportation secretary.

He helped to oversee the government response to the East Palestine train derailment in Ohio, the Baltimore Bridge collapse and Southwest Airlines’ scheduling crisis in 2022.

Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro

Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro has seen high approval ratings since he was elected in 2022 in a swing state Mr Trump narrowly carried in 2016.

The governor, who previously served as the state’s attorney general, has worked across party lines during his tenure.

He made national headlines last year after quickly rebuilding a collapsed bridge on a crucial Philadelphia highway – a major political victory for a first-term governor.

The quick repair was hailed by many as the perfect infrastructure talking point for a potential 2028 presidential candidate.

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker

JB Pritzker, the governor of Illinois, has raised his profile in recent years by going after Trump and defending Mr Biden.

The billionaire businessman – heir to the Hyatt hotel chain – is quick to post criticism of Trump on social media.

After the debate he called Trump a “liar” and said he is a “34-count convicted felon who cares only about himself”.

Like Ms Whitmer, Mr Pritzker has a track record of completing agenda items on progressive Democrats’ to-do lists on issues like abortion rights and gun control.

Biden ‘not going anywhere’ despite unclear moments in July 4 speech

Other possible candidates?

The list of potential nominees stretches beyond these Democrats, as the party has developed a deep bench of possible future presidential candidates.

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear, a two-term Democratic governor in a very conservative state, has earned growing national attention since his re-election last year.

Maryland Governor Wes Moore found himself in the spotlight in recent months following the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore.

Senators Amy Klobuchar and Cory Booker have run for president in the past and have some name recognition among Democrats.

Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock, who won a closely contested Senate race in a swing state, also has been mentioned as a potential replacement for Mr Biden.

A Reuters IPSOS poll released Tuesday found the only person who could beat Trump in November was Michelle Obama. Though the former first lady has repeatedly said she does not have presidential aspirations.

Hungary’s Russia-friendly PM meets Putin in Moscow

By Jaroslav Lukiv and Nick ThorpeBBC News, London and Hungary

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban has met Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, in a visit that has been heavily criticised by EU leaders and Ukraine’s government.

Friday’s meeting was part of what Mr Orban called a “peace mission”, coming three days after a visit to Kyiv where he met Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Hungary has just taken over the presidency of the Council of the European Union, but EU leaders have stressed that Mr Orban is not acting on behalf of the bloc.

Mr Orban is the EU’s only head of government to have kept close ties to the Kremlin following its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

After the meeting, which lasted several hours, Hungary’s PM said Russia and Ukraine were still “far apart” in their views on achieving peace.

“Many steps are needed to end the war, but we took the first step to restore dialogue,” he said.

The Russian leader called it a “frank and useful” conversation. He also repeated a previously rejected proposal for Ukraine to withdraw from regions in the south and east of the country which Russia claims to have annexed – an area that includes territory Russia does not currently occupy.

Volodymyr Zelensky has long said Ukraine will not negotiate with Moscow until Russian forces leave all Ukrainian territory, including Crimea.

Earlier, Mr Putin said Mr Orban was visiting “not just as a long-time partner” but as a European Union representative.

However, European leaders openly condemned the Moscow trip and emphasised he was not representing the EU.

“The EU rotating presidency has no mandate to engage with Russia on behalf of the EU,” Charles Michel, President of the European Council, wrote on X.

“The European Council is clear: Russia is the aggressor, Ukraine is the victim. No discussions about Ukraine can take place without Ukraine.”

“Appeasement will not stop Putin,” European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen wrote on X.

Ukraine also condemned the visit: “For our country, the principle of ‘no agreements on Ukraine without Ukraine’ remains inviolable and we call on all states to strictly adhere to it,” the foreign ministry said a statement.

Earlier this week, Mr Orban visited Kyiv, saying “a quick ceasefire could be used to speed up peace negotiations”.

President Zelensky – who has had frosty relations with Mr Orban – did not publicly respond to the proposal.

Ahead of Ukraine’s offensive last summer, Mr Orban warned that Ukraine cannot win on the battlefield.

Since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022, the Hungarian prime minister has underlined that Russia’s advantage in resources and men makes Putin’s country unbeatable.

However, many Ukrainians believe any ceasefire would simply cement Russia’s hold over territory it has seized from Ukraine and, if negotiations were to take place, they would prefer them to be conducted from a position of strength rather than on the back foot.

Mr Orban has been a vocal critic of Western support for Ukraine. He previously slowed agreement on a €50bn ($54bn; £42bn) EU aid package designed to support Ukraine in its defence against Russia.

Tuesday’s visit to Kyiv was his first in 12 years, while he met Mr Putin repeatedly during that time.

During Mr Orban’s joint appearance with Mr Zelensky, the body language between them was not warm, and neither took questions from the media after they gave their statements.

But for the next six months Mr Orban’s position as head of the Council of the European Union means he has an influential role as a figurehead for Europe.

His visit to Kyiv came on his second day in that role, saying there was a need to solve previous disagreements and focus on the future.

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Portugal manager Roberto Martinez says “no individual decisions” have been made on the international futures of Cristiano Ronaldo and Pepe after their loss to France at Euro 2024.

Both players have been a regular feature in the Portugal side throughout the tournament, with 39-year-old Ronaldo playing every minute of both the shootout win over Slovenia in the last 16 and the defeat on penalties by France in the quarter-finals.

Pepe has also made history at the tournament, becoming the oldest player in European Championship history aged 41.

The pair shared a long embrace on the pitch after Friday’s loss, with Pepe in tears as Ronaldo consoled him.

“His tears are frustration,” said Martinez. “Pepe is a role model in Portuguese football. What he did tonight and in the tournament will stay with us for the next generations.”

When asked whether the two players had just featured for Portugal for the final time, Martinez answered: “No. Everything is too raw. We are still suffering the defeat.

“There’s no individual decisions at this point”

More shots than any other player – but no goals

Ronaldo has endured a difficult tournament, with his place in the side constantly questioned as he failed to score in any of his five appearances.

The former Manchester United and Real Madrid forward was left in tears after missing an extra-time penalty after Slovenia – although he made amends by scoring in the shootout as Portugal went through.

But he again cut a frustrated figure during the defeat by France – and now there are doubts over whether he will play for his country again.

“They probably know it’s the end of the line in the national team, perhaps. Where do you go from here?” former Portugal defender Jose Fonte told BBC Sport.

“They’ve achieved so much, they’ve done so much for Portugal, sometimes you just have to give your place to the young boys coming up and let them show their talent.”

Ronaldo’s stats at Euro 2024 do not make for good reading.

  • It is the first time Ronaldo has failed to score at a major international – with Euro 2024 his 11th.

  • He has not scored in open play at a major tournament since the group stage of the last Euros in 2021.

  • He had 23 shots in Portugal’s five games at Euro 2024 – more than any other player – and failed to score.

  • His expected goals across all fives games is 0.692

Despite his struggles in front of goal manager Martinez has resisted the urge to drop him to the bench.

BBC Sport pundit Chris Sutton says Martinez has an “obsession” with Ronaldo and shows a “lack of imagination” by keeping him on.

Ronaldo is managing the team and Martinez isn’t when you have options like they do on the bench – he is hampering them,” said Sutton.

Danny Murphy added: “It does seem ridiculous at times that he keeps Ronaldo on when he is having no impact.”

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England boss Gareth Southgate has warned against an “entitlement we have as a nation that creates drama and annoys our opponents” before Saturday’s Euro 2024 quarter-final with Switzerland (17:00 BST).

The Three Lions are two wins from the final after avoiding favourites Spain and France on the other side of the draw, meaning England cannot meet them before the showpiece in Berlin on 14 July.

On the eve of the last-eight match with Switzerland – live on BBC One, BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website and app – BBC sports editor Dan Roan asked Southgate whether England need to take the opportunity of being in the perceived easier side of the draw.

“We are playing a really strong football nation who have played exceptionally well, have enormous pride,” said Southgate, who takes charge of his 100th game as boss.

“I would say that is a classic example of the entitlement we have as a nation that creates drama and annoys our opponents.

“Our focus is on how do we win this game and how do we play to the best of our ability? We have never been to a final outside England, we have only had two finals in our history, three semi-finals.

“So lots of nations who we might perceive as English people to be smaller have far better records than us in terms of winning things, in getting to the latter stages in finals.

“It’s half of the problem we have. We’re ready for tomorrow and, as a team, we have huge respect for our opponents.”

‘We’re in a different place mentally’

England were seconds away from going out of Euro 2024 when Jude Bellingham scored a 95th-minute equaliser against Slovakia in the last 16.

Harry Kane then headed the winner in extra time to set up the quarter-final with Switzerland in Dusseldorf, with the winners facing the Netherlands or Turkey in the semis on Wednesday, 10 July (20:00 BST).

England have produced four under-whelming performances at Euro 2024 but Southgate said he expected better against the Swiss.

“I feel that the team, even in training, now look in a different place mentally, they look more fluid,” he added.

“The longer the players are here, the more belief they have, the less they are being affected by what’s outside. They can see the opportunity.

“Every game can take you on a journey, like the game the other night. We have to deliver tomorrow, we have to be ready to go until the last minute again, dig deep in the moments that you have to.

“They are highly motivated guys and can see the possibility of a semi-final. There is a buzz about them and they are excited to take that challenge on.”

‘I’m not worried about job speculation’

With some fans venting their anger over the team’s displays in Germany, Southgate’s position has come under scrutiny.

In February, the Football Association made it clear they were keen for him to remain in charge beyond Euro 2024.

But Southgate, who steered England to the 2018 World Cup semi-final, the Euro 2020 final as well as a World Cup quarter-final in 2022, has yet to sign a new contract, with his current deal due to expire in December.

There has been speculation about his future after the tournament – whether England win it or not.

“If you are in one of the most high-profile jobs in world football then there is always going to be speculation, always going to be assessment of what is going on,” said Southgate.

“I’m not worried. When I was a young manager you are worried if the first job doesn’t go well you will never get another job. You worry about failing and getting the sack.

“I’m older, I’m not worried about losing, what might go wrong. We have an opportunity tomorrow to get to another semi-final.

“It’s about going for it now.”

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Remco Evenepoel claimed his first victory at the Tour de France in stage seven’s individual time-trial as Tadej Pogacar held on to the leader’s yellow jersey.

The Belgian, who is the current world time trial champion, underlined his credentials as one of the favourites in the general classification, with a superb run on 25.3km course to finish 12 seconds ahead of Slovenia’s Pogacar.

Evenepoel, 24, who thought he had suffered a puncture on the approach towards the finish in Gevrey-Chambertin, is now just 33 seconds behind Pogacar overall.

Another Slovenian, Primoz Roglic was third 34 seconds down, while defending champion Jonas Vingegaard conceded 37 seconds in fourth.

The Dane now trails by one minute and 15 seconds in the GC after also losing time on stage four.

Simon Yates was the top-placed British rider in the time-trial, finishing 1:33 behind Evenepoel.

The stage win gives Evenepoel, who is wearing the white jersey as the best young rider in the race so far, stage victories in all three Grand Tours.

“It’s crazy. I enjoyed every metre of this time trial and coming out with the win was simply amazing,” said the Soudal-Quick Step rider.

“We wanted a stage win, and that is done. It’s a perfect day for me and my team. Mission accomplished. As for the rest of the Tour de France, I believe Tadej is going to be unreachable. But this is cycling, you never know what can happen.

“I think the further into the race we go, the better I will feel, so I’ll focus more on the podium because I feel I have the legs for it.”

Before Friday’s stage Pogacar had forecast that Evenepoel would be the man to beat in a discipline he excels in.

However, the two-time winner produced a determined ride of his own to extend his advantage over Roglic and Vingegaard, who will now see the mountain stages as their best opportunity to regain ground.

“I can be satisfied,” Pogacar said.

“I would have loved to have taken a stage win today but against Remco it’s a bit tough. But I gained time on Primoz [Roglic] and Jonas [Vingegaard] and the other guys so I can be really happy.”

On Saturday, the Tour will take a lumpy 183.4km route from Semur-en-Auxois to Colombey-les-Deux-Eglises.

Tour de France stage seven results

Stage seven results 1. Remco Evenepoel (Bel/Soudal-Quick Step) 28mins 52secs

2. Tadej Pogacar (Slo/UAE Team Emirates) +12secs

3. Primoz Roglic (Slo/Red Bull-Bora-Hansgrohe) +34secs

4. Jonas Vingegaard (Den/Visma-Lease a Bike) +37secs

5. Victor Campenaerts (Bel/Lotto-dstny) +52secs

6. Kevin Vauquelin (Fra/Arkea-B&B Hotels) Same time

7. Matteo Jorgenson (US/Visma-Lease a Bike) +54secs

8. Joao Almeida (Por/UAE Team Emirates) +57secs

9. Ben Healy (Ire/EF Education-EasyPost) +59secs

10. Stefan Kung (Swi/Groupama – FDJ) +1min

General classification after stage seven

GC: 1. Tadej Pogacar (Slo/UAE Team Emirates) 27hrs 16mins 23secs

2. Remco Evenepoel (Bel/Soudal-Quick Step) +33secs

3. Jonas Vingegaard (Den/Visma-Lease a Bike) +1min 15secs

4. Primoz Roglic (Slo/Red Bull-Bora-Hansgrohe) +1mins 36secs

5. Juan Ayuso (Spa/UAE Team Emirates) +2mins 16secs

6. Joao Almeida (Por/UAE Team Emirates) +2mins 17secs

7. Carlos Rodriguez (Spa/Ineos Grenadiers) +2mins 31secs

8. Mikel Landa (Spa/Soudal-Quick Step) +3mins 35secs

9. Matteo Jorgenson (US/Visma-Lease a Bike) 4mins 03secs

10. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus/Red Bull Bora-Hansgrohe) +4mins 46secs

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Spain hero Mikel Merino says their Euro 2024 quarter-final win over hosts Germany could have been a final – and coach Luis de la Fuente compared his team to a “winning horse”.

La Roja edged the battle of the two top-scoring teams and arguably the most impressive in the European Championship so far.

Dani Olmo, who played 112 minutes despite starting on the bench, opened the scoring and set up fellow substitute Merino’s extra-time winner – with Florian Wirtz levelling for Germany in the 89th minute.

Spain will play France in the semi-finals on Tuesday.

Real Sociedad midfielder Merino said: “I’m exhausted. The adrenaline is taking its toll on me now. It’s been a unique moment.

“The match we were all waiting for, between two of the best teams in the world. It could be a World Cup final or a European Championship final.

“We have shown that we know how to suffer, that we have a great team.”

Spain have been one of the most impressive teams in the Euros, beating 2018 World Cup finalists Croatia and European champions Italy – plus Albania – in the group stage and Georgia in the last 16.

Their young wingers Lamine Yamal, who is just 16, and Nico Williams, 21, have been two of the stars of the tournament.

But they had to win this one in a different way, with the pair – and striker Alvaro Morata – all replaced at 1-0.

De la Fuente said: “I’m proud to coach players like this, players that are insatiable.

“They’re used to competing at the highest level and they have an opportunity to win the tournament.

“How far we will get, we will see, but we’re absolutely convinced that we can get very far with this side.

“We are so happy, but our euphoria is totally under control. We know tomorrow is already another day.”

Spain will be without suspended defenders Dani Carvajal and Robin le Normand for the semi-final – and midfielder Pedri is an injury doubt after going off in the eighth minute for Olmo.

Fifteen players were shown cards in the game – the second highest in a European Championship game – with seven for Spain, including Le Normand and Carvajal, who was sent off for two bookings.

“I played in the 80s – if you want to watch a video of the 80s and see how football was played back then, you know I don’t get scared. I have a friend who says, ‘what do you want, to get kissed?” De la Fuente said.

“This is football, I am not afraid of these things – the game is played to the limit, I am not complaining about the toughness of the opposing team, I rather appreciate what we as a team have done.”

Olmo, who plays in Germany for RB Leipzig and was named man of the match, said: “The heart is always more important than the legs.

“Let’s take it easy and calmly, because in four days we have the semi-finals. We are going to enjoy, celebrate, but calmly and calmly, because in a few days we have the semi-finals.”

Former Scotland winger Pat Nevin, watching for BBC Radio 5 Live, said: “You talk about tactics and systems but it became much more human than that.

“It was about who was going to be least exhausted and who would switch off for that split second. And it turned out to be the Germans.

“Well done to Spain. They are not just a pretty team, they have grit as well. But they also have a lot of suspensions so will find it hard to get past whoever they play in the semi-final.”

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Defending champion Carlos Alcaraz avoided a surprise exit at Wimbledon by holding off American Frances Tiafoe in a five-set thriller.

The Spaniard won an intense match 5-7 6-2 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-2 in front of a raucous Centre Court crowd.

It keeps Alcaraz’s hopes of winning back-to-back major titles alive after triumphing at the French Open last month.

“Obviously it is always a big challenge playing against Frances,” said third seed Alcaraz.

“All I was thinking is ‘fight one more ball’.”

Friday’s first match on the main show court lived up to the pair’s previous meeting in the semi-finals of the 2022 US Open.

Alcaraz was the victor on that occasion as well, beating Tiafoe in a five-set epic on the way to winning his first Grand Slam title.

World number one Jannik Sinner is also through to the last 16 after an emphatic 6-1 6-4 6-2 win against Miomir Kecmanovic.

Alcaraz survives scare against ‘talented’ Tiafoe

Tiafoe was seeded 10th at Wimbledon last year, but he has since dropped down the rankings and suffered second-round exits at this year’s Australian Open and French Open.

Now 29th in the world rankings, he frustrated Alcaraz throughout and received the early backing of the crowd after coming back from a break down to take the opening set.

“He is a really talented player, really tough to face,” Alcaraz added. “He deserves to be at the top, he deserves to fight for big things.”

Alcaraz, who had not dropped a set at the Championships until then, regained control in the second, but a single break of serve was enough for Tiafoe to win the third.

The American waved to the crowd and pointed to his ears, calling for more noise under the closed Centre Court roof.

The fans willingly obliged, cheering on the 26-year-old through the fourth set until it reached a tie-break after both players’ serve held firm.

Sensing the crowd were on his opponent’s side, Alcaraz whipped up emotion with cries of “vamos” after striking huge winners and he cruised his way through to force a decider.

From there it was plain sailing for the three-time major winner, who broke twice before raising his arms in celebration after sealing the victory with a delightful drop shot.

He will play American Brandon Nakashima or French 16th seed Ugo Humbert in the fourth round.

Rain wreaks havoc on men’s singles schedule

Only four men’s singles matches, including Alcaraz’s, were completed on Friday, with play on the outside courts ending early because of the weather.

Australian Open champion Sinner was one of those to benefit from the use of the show courts, featuring last on Centre Court to book his place in round four.

The top seed raced through the first set in 21 minutes and was on course for a bagel after breaking opponent Kecmanovic twice, but the Serbian managed to salvage one game.

World number 52 Kecmanovic found his feet in the second set but it was still all on Sinner’s terms as he wrapped up the match in one hour and 36 minutes.

Sinner will play either American 14th seed Ben Shelton or Canada’s Denis Shapovalov next.

Shelton leads Shapovalov 3-2 in the first set of their match, which will resume on Saturday at 13:00 BST on Court One after rain halted play on Friday.

Queen’s champion Tommy Paul wrapped up a 6-3 6-4 6-2 win over Alexander Bublik on court two before the rain arrived.

Meanwhile, Bulgarian 10th seed Grigor Dimitrov moved past Frenchman Gael Monfils 6-3 6-4 6-3 under the Court One roof.

Nakashima and Humbert’s third-round tie was suspended just before the fourth set headed to a tie-break, while fifth seed Daniil Medvedev leads Jan-Lennard Struff by two sets to one.

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Manchester City and Manchester United have been cleared to take their places in European competition next season after conflicts over multi-club ownership with Girona and Nice respectively were resolved.

However, United will be prevented from signing highly-rated Nice defender Jean-Clair Todibo by Uefa.

City Football Group owns City and Girona, while Ineos controls the football operations of United and Nice, and Uefa does not allow clubs with the same ownership to be involved in the same competition.

The Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) of European football’s governing body said on Friday “significant changes” had been made at Girona and Nice which would “substantially restrict investors’ influence and decision-making power”.

In addition, shares have been transferred through independent trustees to a blind trust, which will be supervised by the CFCB.

Among additional guarantees given by the City Football Group and Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s Ineos Group to prove the independence of the respective clubs, they agreed not to transfer players “permanently or on loan, either directly or indirectly from July 2024 to September 2025”.

This means United will not be able to sign Frenchman Todibo, the £40m-rated defender Ratcliffe had hoped would switch clubs.

However, City’s pursuit of Brazilian winger Savio will be unaffected as he has returned to parent club Troyes, who are also part of the City Football Group, after his loan with Girona expired on 30 June.

A CFG source told BBC Sport that City and Girona were compliant with all the CFCB requests.

Ineos said in a statement: “We are pleased with the positive decision from the First Chamber of the Uefa Club Financial Control Body which will see Manchester United play in the Europa League next season. The focus for Manchester United is on the season ahead and performance on the pitch.”

City will be playing in their 14th consecutive Champions League campaign, but Girona qualified for the first time by finishing third in La Liga, their highest ever league position.

Nice also seemed set to qualify for Europe’s most prestigious club competition for a long time last season, but eventually finished fifth in Ligue 1. Manchester United qualified for the Europa League by beating Premier League champions City in the FA Cup final.

It remains to be seen how the matter is dealt with over the longer term, given the shares are due to be transferred back in July 2025.

At that point, CFCB say the clubs will be considered to be “under the control or decisive influence of their investor”.

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