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Live Reporting

Edited by James Harness

All times stated are UK

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  1. Prorogation ceremony ends business in Parliament

    Jennifer McKiernan

    Political reporter

    A short ceremony, involving a lot of hats and a smattering of French, has now ended business in Parliament for this session, ahead of the general election.

    A Royal Commission, made up of five peers appointed by the King, take their places on the woolsack dressed in red ermine robes and black and two-pointed, bicorner hats.

    Video content

    Video caption: Watch: A ceremony ends business in Parliament for this session.

    They send a small group of Lords officials down the Westminster corridors to instruct Black Rod to summon representatives from the Commons, made up of the Speaker of the Commons, alongside the deputy speakers, the Clerk of the House and the Serjeant at Arms.

    When they arrive, there is a ceremonial greeting, where the Lords doff their black bicorn hats and the Commons representatives acknowledge this by bowing.

    The Acts passed this parliamentary session are then read from a parchment and the Clerk of the Parliament turns to face MPs and indicates they have Royal Assent in French, which translates as "the King wishes it".

    And with that, we are ending our live coverage for today. For more on the forthcoming general election click here. We will be back tomorrow for more, so please join us then.

  2. What happened on the second full day of campaigning?

    We are nearing the end of day two. Here’s a recap of what happened:

    • Senior Conservatives Michael Gove and Dame Andrea Leadsom announced they will not be seeking re-election, with the total number of MPs from all parties standing down now at 121
    • Parliament was prorogued, with a handful of government bills rushed through before the cut-off
    • Plans to reform homeowners' rights in England and Wales passed in time, but without the Tory manifesto commitment to restrict ground rents paid by leaseholders to next to nothing
    • The Conservatives’ promise to abolish no-fault evictions for renters failed to get over the line, but a bill which paves the way to establish an independent Infected Blood Compensation Authority passed
    • Rishi Sunak admitted he was disappointed his plan to phase out smoking did not have enough time to become law, but he said it would be back if the Conservatives are returned to government
    • Labour leader Keir Starmer said he can't commit to scrapping university tuition fees - which he backed when running to be Labour leader - or repealing the two-child benefit cap, blaming a lack of resources
    • Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he would stand as an independent in his Islington North constituency, meaning he will be directly competing with the party he once led
    • Labour committed to two TV debates involving Starmer, with the Conservatives pushing for six such leaders events
  3. Watch or listen to Electioncast: Michael Gove Votes to Leave

    Adam Fleming and Chris Mason are joined by James Cook to discuss Starmer visiting Scotland on the campaign trail, Corbyn confirming he is standing in Islington North and a surprise announcement from Michael Gove!

    Listen or watch now and every day of the general election campaign.

    Adam Fleming and Chris Mason
  4. Path to the general election

    We are nearing the end of the second full day of the general election campaign.

    While the party leaders were on the road Parliament wrapped up its business, and many sitting MPs announced they are stepping down at the forthcoming election.

    What's next? Here's a handy timeline of key dates that lead up to the big day on 4 July.

    Key dates are 30 May when parliament is dissolved and 18 June is the deadline for registering to vote.
  5. Packed summer sport schedule surrounds election

    Rishi Sunak's six-week campaign ahead of the snap election coincides with some of the biggest fixtures of the British summer.

    election summer dates

    The election falls on the 4 July, just days after Glastonbury, one of the biggest music festivals in the world, and in the midst of Wimbledon's tennis tournament and the European Football Championships.The date has irked some politicians, as school holidays start from 1 July in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

    Scotland's First Minister John Swinney said holding the vote on the first week of the holidays showed the impact on Scots "will not have been given a moment's thought".

    Read more on thishere.

  6. Listen to our Reliable Sauce podcast

    Kirsty Grant

    Reliable Sauce podcast presenter

    Hey hey hey.

    Kirsty here – one half of the Reliable Sauce podcast. We cover all the biggest trending stories – things we’ve seen on social media and love.

    We were supposed to be on a break but we’ve started Season Three early because of this week’s 'genny lec' announcement!

    So, we’ve been stalking the comments on @BBCNews TikTok account and have gathered your general election questions – and we’re answering them on this week’s episode. From – how to vote, why some people postal vote… and what happens if you’re on holiday? It is in July after all.

    Head to BBC Sounds to listen to the answers - we’ll be back every week too.

    See ya!

    Jonelle and Kirsty podcasting
  7. Leasehold bill passes as Gove steps down

    Aerial view of rows on houses

    One of the last acts of this parliament was to pass the government’s reforms to leaseholds.

    Labour agreed to back the legislation, meaning it was able to go through its final stages quickly.

    The bill aims to make it cheaper and easier for more people to extend their lease, buy their freehold and take over management of their building.

    But it is significantly less ambitious than Michael Gove, the housing secretary, had hoped. It also does not implement the 2019 Conservative manifesto promise to restrict ground rents paid by leaseholders to “peppercorn”, or next to nothing.

    In his letter announcing his was stepping down, Gove highlighted the bill as “the most wide-ranging reforms to leasehold” in a generation.

    Labour aren’t convinced. The shadow housing minister Matthew Pennycook described it as “unambitious” and said “leaseholders across the country will be bitterly disappointed at the Tories' failure to enact bold leasehold reform.”

    But given the timing of Gove standing down, it will be seen as one his last achievements.

  8. Leadsom to stand down

    Andrea Leadsom after being made a Dame Commander of the British Empire
    Image caption: Andrea Leadsom became Dame Commander of the British Empire for services to politics in 2022

    Dame Andrea Leadsom has just announced that she will not stand at the election.

    Writing on social media site X, Leadsom says "after careful reflection" she has decided not to stand as a candidate for South Northamptonshire.

  9. In pictures: On the campaign trail

    The election campaign is well under way. Let's look at some photos from day two.

    Sunak hopes he laying strong foundations for a successful campaign
    Image caption: Prime Minister Rishi Sunak hopes he's laying strong foundations for a successful Conservative campaign
    Sir Keir Starmer wrenches support from house builders in Lancashire
    Image caption: Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer wrenches support from house builders in Lancashire
    The Liberal Democrat's Sir Ed Davey tries to win over Eastbourne in one fell scoop
    Image caption: The Liberal Democrat's Sir Ed Davey tries to win over Eastbourne in one fell scoop
    Scotland's deputy first minister Kate Forbes hopes to bring home the bacon in Strathnairn, near Inverness
    Image caption: Scotland's deputy first minister Kate Forbes hopes to bring home the bacon in Strathnairn, near Inverness
  10. Gove full of praise for Sunak as he steps down

    Harry Farley

    Political correspondent

    Michael Gove is a longstanding Conservative cabinet minister. He is respected by many in Westminster as an operator and an effective reformer, including by several Labour MPs and ministers I have spoken to.

    His decision not to stand for re-election is undoubtedly a loss for Rishi Sunak.

    But he makes a point in a letter to his local Conservative Association chair of praising the prime minister as someone who “exemplifies the patriotism, hard work, sense of selfless service and clarity of purpose which are the best virtues of our party”.

    So it is very different from losing a cabinet minister in protest at Sunak’s leadership.

    It’s worth bearing in mind that Gove has been an MP for nearly 20 years. And like more than 100 other MPs, all with different reasons, he has decided to call time on his time in the Commons.

  11. Lib Dems claim Gove is 'running scared'

    Some reaction now from the Lib Dems to Michael Gove announcing he will not be standing as an MP again.

    Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson Sarah Olney says the MP for Surrey Heath is "running scared" of her party.

    She says: "The drumbeat of Conservative MPs stepping down has been getting louder as the days go by - now it's deafening.

    "Every Conservative MP that steps down in a blue wall battleground is a damning statement against Rishi Sunak and proof the Liberal Democrats are on the up."

  12. Who is Michael Gove?

    Michael Gove

    Michael Gove has announced he will not be standing at the upcoming election on 4 July.

    The secretary of state for levelling up, housing and communities, as well as minister for intergovernmental relations, Gove is a high-profile departure for the Conservatives, having played a prominent role in UK politics for many years.

    A former journalist, who worked at the BBC before going on to become a columnist on the Times newspaper, Gove entered the Commons in 2005 as the MP for Surrey Heath.

    He served as education secretary under David Cameron’s premiership, where his flagship policy was the introduction of free schools, which operate outside of local authority control.

    Gove then played a prominent part in the Vote Leave campaign during the 2016 Brexit referendum - a move which saw him competing against Cameron, a close friend.

    Having successfully campaigned for Brexit together, Gove was set to back Boris Johnson in a leadership contest after Cameron’s departure.

    But in another twist, Gove instead decided to run himself, and criticised Johnson’s suitability. Theresa May ending up winning the contest, but Gove returned to the Cabinet shortly afterwards.

    The housing secretary’s announcement that he is standing down comes as the Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill, which will update homeowner’s rights, is on the verge of becoming law after clearing both Houses of Parliament.

  13. Gove 'tried to be a voice for the overlooked and undervauled'

    More on Michael Gove's statement now.

    He says that he "undoubtedly made mistakes" but tried to "fight for greater social justice" during his time in politics.

    "I have always tried to be a voice for the overlooked and undervalued," he says.

    His announcement means 120 MPs standing down at the forthcoming election.

  14. Gove gives his backing to Sunak

    In his statement, addressed to the chairman of his local Conservative group in Surrey Heath, Gove backs Rishi Sunak's leadership, saying he "has the plan our country needs at a time of global insecurity and growing challenge".

    In the statement, which is around two-and-a-half pages long, Gove says being asked to serve as a minister has been "the honour of my life", but adds "I also know the toll office can take, as do those closest to me".

    He then talks through the achievements he is most proud of from his time in office.

  15. Time to let new generation lead, Gove says

    More now from Gove, who has posted his statement announcing he is standing down on social media.

    He says the chance to serve is "wonderful", saying: "But there comes a moment when you know that it is time to leave. That a new generation should lead."

  16. Gove issues statement confirming he is stepping down

    Confirmation now from Gove that he is standing down.

    Writing on social media platform X, he says: "After nearly twenty years serving the wonderful people of Surrey Heath and over a decade in Cabinet across five government departments, I have today taken the decision to step down as a Member of Parliament."

  17. BreakingGove to stand down at election

    Cabinet minister Michael Gove will not stand at the next election, the BBC understands.

  18. Cat and dog theft to become criminal offence in August

    Close up shot of dog panting

    The Pet Abduction Bill is due to receive Royal Assent with the law subsequently set to come into force in August.

    It's one piece of legislation, among others, that has been pushed through today on the final day of Parliament.

    It will make taking a cat, or taking or detaining a dog, a criminal offence.

    Anyone convicted under the law could face a fine or a maximum of five years in prison.

    Currently, pets are legally considered to be property. Stealing a pet is covered by the 1968 Theft Act with the law similar in Scotland.

    You can read more details about the new law from our correspondent Helen Catt.

  19. What have we heard so far today

    With the election campaign now in its third day, here is what has been happening:

    • We started the day with Keir Starmer out on the broadcast round, saying his party would only make commitments it could keep
    • The Labour leader was pushed on Diane Abbott's suspension as a Labour MP, and indicated that it was an issue which could be resolved in the coming days
    • As the current leader was speaking, former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn confirmed he will stand against the party at the general election
    • The Labour leadership were on the campaign trail in Scotland - where it will base state-owned company Great British Energy if it wins the election
    • MP Craig Mackinlay, who made an emotional return to parliament this week after losing his arms and legs to sepsis, has said he will stand down at the next election
    • Rishi Sunak was in Northern Ireland for a flying visit, and he said he was disappointed his smoking legislation could not pass before parliament was dissolved
    • And finally, there is something of a row developing over television debates - with Sunak pushing for a debate a week, and Starmer staying non-committal
  20. Political campaigns don't always stick to the script

    Nick Eardley

    Political correspondent, travelling with the PM

    Rishi Sunak had one key advantage going into this campaign; he knew it was going to happen. That meant he could get on the front foot and out on the road right away.

    In the past couple of days, I’ve been with him in Nottingham, Staffordshire, Belfast, Inverness and Barry.

    The PM’s message has been that the economy has turned a corner – and that he has bold ideas for the country.

    But as is often the case in political campaigns, things don’t always stick to the script.

    He’s had to admit he won’t deliver on two key pledges before voters go to the polls; the Rwanda scheme and his plan to ban smoking for everyone born after 2009.

    He’s had to deny snubbing the mother of one of the victims of the Manchester bombing. She said Sunak had promised to get a law ensuring better security at venues through before summer – and felt misled. He says he’s still committed to that (if he’s PM).

    And then there’s the campaign moments.

    Rishi Sunak walking up a ramp
    Image caption: Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in Belfast today

    Local journalists in Northern Ireland noticed he’d chosen the Titanic Quarter for his event in Belfast; one asked was he in charge of a sinking ship.

    There was an moment in Wales when he asked if people in a brewery were looking forward to the summer of football. Wales didn’t qualify for the Euros. Cue awkward silence.

    We’ve also just left a college where a small but noisy protest turned up. Pro-Gaza demonstrators rushed the PM’s car and he had to be huckled into the building.

    Some of these things might seem a bit minor. But add them together, and they could be a problem.

    Journalists chatted to the PM on the plane from Belfast to the Midlands earlier. He was chipper; saying he was up for the fight of the campaign. I asked him if he’d win: “Damn right” was the answer.

    But with the Conservatives behind in the polls, Sunak knows how much work he has to do. And things haven’t gone totally to plan so far.