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Labour Party Wins General Election, Keir Starmer to Become Prime Minister; Hurricane Beryl Heads for the Yucatan Peninsula; Biden Says I'm Not Going Anywhere; Labour Party Wins UK General Election; Talks On Ceasefire Details Could Begin As Early As Friday; Putin Spells Out His Terms For Ceasefire In Ukraine. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired July 05, 2024 - 02:00   ET




KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN HOST: Hello and welcome to all of you watching us around the world, I'm Kim Brunhuber in Atlanta.

MAX FOSTER, CNN HOST: I'm Max Foster live from Abingdon Green outside Parliament in London. It's been 14 years since a member of the Labour Party has served as Prime Minister here in the U.K. and that is all about to change. Keir Starmer will take the reins of government after he meets with King Charles a little later this morning.

His Labour Party has won a majority in Parliament and appears headed for an absolute landslide victory. He spoke with supporters in London a couple of hours ago.


KEIR STARMER, BRITISH LABOUR PARTY LEADER: We did it! You campaigned for it, you fought for it, you voted for it and now it has arrived. Change begins now.


FOSTER: Just what Rishi Sunak was dreading. He won re-election in his seat but he will no longer be Prime Minister. The dejected Tory leader conceded defeat to Labour and took responsibility for the loss.


RISHI SUNAK, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: The Labour Party has won this general election and I have called for Keir Starmer to congratulate him on his victory. Today, power will change hands in a peaceful and orderly manner, with goodwill on all sides.


FOSTER: The Scottish National Party suffered heavy losses too, including a number of seats in the capital Edinburgh and Reform U.K.'s leader, Brexiteer Nigel Farage, will win a seat in Parliament for the very first time. CNN's international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson is live outside 10 Downing Street in London. It is extraordinary how electorates in the U.K. can just flip like this.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: A huge victory, stunning. If you think back 2019, less than five years ago to the last election, the Conservatives came out under Boris Johnson with a majority of 80. Now that majority completely wiped away, utterly reversed and it looks like being about twice that in the favor of the Conservative Party.

I mean, people are talking about this as a loss for the Conservatives rather than a victory for Labour and as much as the Conservatives were really being punished at the polls, punished on the margins, on their sort of right-wing flanks if you will, by Nigel Farage's Reform Party which looked like taking a substantial percentage of votes and a couple of seats in Parliament to go with it.

They will have lost in some places to the Liberal Democrat Party, the centrist party, but clearly, it's the Labour Party that are making the biggest gains here. The analysis by some political sort of experts if you will is that the Labour Party won but despite the fact that Keir Starmer's popularity rating was so low, but regardless of the push and shove over who won and who lost, the majority looks as if it will be stunningly big.

Keir Starmer this morning talking about a sunny horizon ahead for the Labour Party, talking to them about the change that they hope to bring to the country, the change that they've managed in the Labour Party over the last four and a half years, change that he's managed to unify the party, bring it to the center, try to sort of reposition themselves away from some of the left-wing policies that really hampered them in the last few general elections.

So this is a moment that he obviously is savoring. He's talked about if you work hard, play by the rules, then you will get a fair chance of doing well, that the country, the government will respect you. This is a message he says for all people, but that message too for his party to remain united and the five missions that he set out, I expect we'll hear a bit more about those later today, but to reinvigorate the economy, to bring back the NHS to a better strength organization for the healthcare of the country, to tackle the crime and justice issues that the country faces.


To bring jobs and reform to the climate sector, to try to drive a cleaner energy mission forward for the U.K. So, this is where he wants to deliver, but the message that underwrites it is a sort of a message for society, for his own party, that we're a party that cares about people and will bring that change for them.

FOSTER: But the challenge obviously is making any of what he's promised affordable, that would have been the challenge for any of these parties because if you look at their manifestos, it's difficult to see how they're actually costed out. But we've just heard that Liz Truss, former Prime Minister, has lost her seat, Grant Shapps, the Defence Minister, has lost his seat, Jacob Rees-Mogg, who many people will know as well.

At the same time Nigel Farage, you know, he's only won a seat but his party appears to have taken a lot of votes, he represents Brexit and he represents, you know, keeping illegal immigrants out of the country, so what do we say to that? We've got a centrist Prime Minister yet again but we've also got the right taking a lot of votes.

ROBERTSON: Yeah, and I think as a lot of people are saying that what is going to happen now to the Conservative Party? We just saw Jeremy Hunt, the outgoing Chancellor of Exchequer, enter Number 11 behind me just a few minutes ago, who is obviously packing and will be leaving in fairly short order. He was also a Minister that there was much debate about whether he would lose.

So, you've seen conservative ministers and former Prime Minister who are on the right of the party do badly. You've seen those in the center of the Conservative Party, like Penny Mordaunt who was former Defense Secretary, who was somebody that was seen could be a potential new leader for a more centrified, if you will, Conservative Party. You see Suella Braverman, the former Home Secretary, who's on the right flank of the party, who's also perhaps got a leadership challenge for the Conservative Party coming up. She survived in the election.

So, the real tussle perhaps for the Conservative Party trying to read the room and read what Nigel Farage is doing, which is pulling away voters from the Conservative Party who don't think that the party's been tough enough on what it's demanded in terms of Brexit, but definitely on what it's achieved so far in terms of combating immigration.

That tussle for what becomes the Conservative Party, but of course that tussle is what we've seen play out over the past 14 years, and it's really what has undermined in the big picture the Conservative Party in that time. Now of course they won't be trying to govern the country as they work out their future, but that is their way back to power.

But Nigel Farage, as you say, won a significant percentage, or his party expected to win a significant percentage of the votes, talking about the U.K.'s first-past-the-post system where, you know, in one constituency, whichever person gets the most votes in that constituency wins the seat, talking about proportional representation, which is something groups like Clyde Cymru, the Nationalist Party in Wales, the SNP in Scotland and others will be wanting to voice, and Liberal Democrats as well, wanting to add their voices too undoubtedly.

FOSTER: Okay, Nic in Downing Street, thank you. Let's bring in Peter Westmacott. He is a former British ambassador to the U.S. He's worked closely with many of the politicians we've been talking about, but also with King Charles as well, haven't you Peter? Just take us through the process of what we'll see now, because we've just seen Rishi Sunak land just outside London. He'll be heading to Downing Street, won't he? And this is a familiar process.

PETER WESTMACOTT, FORMER BRITISH AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S.: Yeah, good morning. I'm speaking to you in fact from Turkey, so I'm not in Downing Street, but I follow the story pretty closely. So, yes, what happens in our system is that the transition from the outgoing government to the incoming one is almost instantaneous. The vans will be in Downing Street taking away the furniture. The prime minister will go and offer his resignation.

Later today, Keir Starmer will be invited by the king to form a government, and by the end of the day, you'll have half the cabinet ministers will have been appointed by Keir Starmer, and off they will go. And you will see this enormous majority for the Labour Party, even though their share of the vote has only gone up by one and a half or two percent.

But the real point is that the Conservative vote will have dropped by 20 percent, and with the other parties scooping up some of their supporters, in particular Nigel Farage and Reform, but also the Liberal Democrats.


And very importantly Labour doing strongly in Scotland at the expense of the Scottish nationalists, a relatively small change in the voting pattern of the electorate has handed an enormous majority to the Labour Party.

FOSTER: There's still a centrist prime minister, though, right? So what does this mean for other countries, for example, the United States? I was speaking to a commentator earlier saying it might make it more difficult if Donald Trump were to win the presidency, for example, if you have a Labour leader here in the U.K.

WESTMACOTT: Well, I think it's a great question. Of course, this slightly bucks the trend of what has been happening in other European countries, France, Germany, Italy, where people have moved towards a more center-right government, whereas here we are in the United Kingdom with the Social Democrats, almost, if you like, who are now winning such a strong majority.

What does that mean for the United States and so on? What does it mean for our relationship with the United States? If Donald Trump was to win in November, that relationship will probably be a bit more complicated, but I think both governments will be determined to make it work. I'm not too bothered about that.

It is the case that Donald Trump has been supportive of Brexit and Nigel Farage and the hard-right parties in the United Kingdom, but I think if there's a very large majority for an incoming British government, and they've already said nice things about working with the Labour Party, even if it is a Trump administration, I think they will make this work.

There are so many important issues that they've got to work together on, and so I think they'll make it work. I don't think it'll be too problematic.

FOSTER: You talk about the slight shift to the left in the U.K. bucking the trend, but we've seen so many right-themed, you know, hard-right policies really become mainstream in the U.K., so it is articulating itself in a way.

WESTMACOTT: I think you're right. What you saw was the -- well, in some respects, you saw the Conservative Party during the last desperate few weeks in office when it looked like they were going to lose, trying to move a little bit towards some left-wing taxation policies, for example, to try to appeal to the voters who had voted Conservative only once but weren't normally traditionally Labour Party voters, but in other respects, yes, that is true.

I think that perhaps one of the calculations that Rishi Sunak made in calling this election several months before he needed to do was that he thought that Nigel Farage and the Reform Party, you know, the far- right, anti-European party, were not going to be in play. Farage had said, I'm not running, and a few days after that, Rishi Sunak said, okay, we're going to have a general election on the 4th of July.

And then Farage changed his mind, and even though his party will not win more than, I don't know, 11 or 12 seats, it seems, he will have scooped up an awful lot of the traditional Conservative voters in a way that has destroyed the Conservative majority, but has not translated into very many seats for the Farage party.

But it does mean that public opinion, especially in the center and the center-right, has moved a bit further right, and I think that what Sunak was trying to do was to capture some of those voters before it was too late, before they went off to Farage, but it obviously didn't work.

FOSTER: And the turnout was pretty appalling, wasn't it? If you look at it, if you look at the trend in history, it's down, you know, slightly from the last election, but it's coming down every time. People just, I mean, this is a loss for democracy in a way, isn't it, when you've got a nation where they make it very easy for people to vote, but I think people have voiced this idea that they're not actually, they weren't actually that engaged in the campaign at all.

WESTMACOTT: Looks like it was around 60 percent, Max, which I think is the second lowest turnout for a general election in Britain since 1885, is what I read this morning. So yes, I think one of the problems was that people were feeling fed up at the stage of direction of the country, with the capacity of the government to do, the outgoing government to do a decent job.

They were fed up with the scandals, they were fed up with the constant change in different prime ministers every five minutes or so, and many people said, this lot have got to go, but they were not overwhelmed with a determination to see the Labour Party take over. So, I suspect that what happened was a lot of people stayed home. Some went off to Farage's Reform Party, as I was saying.

In Scotland, they did indeed change their vote from Scottish Nationalists to Labour. That made a big difference. But the rest, I think, as we have seen, the Labour Party vote in the United Kingdom as a whole is only very slightly above what it scored in 2019, when they were badly beaten. So, part of the explanation is the multiplicity of other parties in our first-past-the-post system, and part of it, I think you're right, low turnout, a lot of people stayed home. I don't like this lot, but I can't bring myself to vote for the others.


So it's not great for democracy, and it's not exactly, despite the numbers, a ringing vote of confidence from public opinion in the ability of Starmer and Co. to get it right. And I think that explains partly the humility and the calm, rather than the overenthusiastic response from Labour Party leaders. They know this is going to be a tough job, and they know that the country is in, you know, not great shape.

FOSTER: Okay, Peter Westmacott, thank you so much for joining us with your analysis today. I'm Max Foster in London, back a bit more later in this hour, Kim, but certainly, you know, a big moment in the U.K. to have another centrist leader, but one which has really taken so many votes from the other one.

KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN HOST: Yeah, monumental change, Max Foster. Thank you so much. Appreciate that.

Mexico's president is urging Tulum residents to seek higher ground and shelter as Hurricane Beryl strengthens into a Category 3 and is expected to bring dangerous storm surge to the Yucatan coast in the coming hours.

Plus, Joe Biden says he's not going anywhere as he fights for his political life. He just needs sleep. That's what he says. We'll have more coming up. Stay with us.


BRUNHUBER: Hurricane Beryl weakened slightly after battering Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, but that was only temporary. It's now back to a dangerous Category 3 storm with sustained winds of 185 kilometers per hour as it starts to rush Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. According to the National Hurricane Center, conditions will deteriorate there very soon.

So have a look. Here's a bit of what it left behind in Kingston, Jamaica. Damaged infrastructure, road closures, downed trees and power lines. Jamaica's prime minister told CNN that two deaths have been reported. And take a look at this dock in the Cayman Islands, heavily damaged by the strong waves.

The outer bands of Beryl are now starting to hit Mexico's Yucatan, where it will make landfall in the hours ahead. Our meteorologist Chad Myers brings us the latest forecasts.

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Clearly, this is going to make a big impact here for the Yucatan Peninsula, without a doubt. Along the beaches, we will get storm surge. There's an awful lot of water under this storm still, and we do know that it's going to get into the Bay of Campeche and eventually possibly even into the Gulf of Mexico. Whether it gets far to the north or not, there will be significant

waves with this. And so for all of this holiday weekend, there will be significant rip current risk all the way from Florida, all the way down to Mexico. There will be quite a bit of rain as it comes on shore in Mexico or either South Texas. That heavy rainfall will be right on top of where we've already seen heavy rainfall from the tropical storm a couple of weeks ago.


Here's a European ensemble forecast, a computer model, and then they change a few things, make it farther north, make it a little bit weaker, a little bit stronger, on 50 different successive runs of this model. And you want to look for where this whole thing is kind of congealed, where you have all of the lines close together. You look at the ones to the right because it's a possibility. You look at the ones to the left because obviously that is too.

But you want to see where most of what we call these members of the European ensemble are going. And the big question is how much of this high pressure is left to the north of it to push it to the west? The big story here is that Beryl was a major hurricane, Category 3 or higher, for four days and six hours. The average date of the first major hurricane per year is September 1st. Let that sink in a little bit because that's how warm the water was there in the Caribbean.

BRUNHUBER: It's been a week since his disastrous debate against Donald Trump and U.S. President Joe Biden is still trying to control the fallout that has sent shivers of panic through the Democratic Party. On Thursday, the president observed the Fourth of July holiday with Vice President Kamala Harris at the White House.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We've got to do what our founders did, show the world we're a nation of dignity, honor and just devotion to one another. This is -- no, I really mean it. Folks, it's all about democracy. It's all about freedom. It's all about who we are. We're the United States of America and nothing like it exists in the world. Happy Fourth of July. Enjoy the fireworks. God love you all.


BRUNHUBER: But earlier, he briefly addressed speculation that he's exiting the race after someone in the crowd appeared to offer him support. Have a look.


BIDEN: You got me, man. I'm not going anywhere. All right.


BRUNHUBER: Well, he may be staying put for now, but Biden says he will stop scheduling events after 8:00 in the evening so he can get more sleep. CNN's Priscilla Alvarez has more.


PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): White House officials and President Biden himself stumbling on damage control a week after that poor debate performance.

REP. JARED HUFFMAN (D-CA): We've got to be honest about that. So we need a reset. We need a course correction. We've got to acknowledge that this was not just one bad night.

ALVAREZ (voice-over): Biden telling Democratic governors gathered at the White House Wednesday his plan is to stop scheduling events after 8:00 p.m. so he can get more sleep. That comment, according to sources, leaving some governors privately frustrated. Biden was also asked about his health by Hawaii Governor Josh Green.

According to "The New York Times," quote, "Mr. Biden replied that his health was fine. It's just my brain." An attempt at humor, according to his campaign chair, that fell flat with some in the room despite their public support.

WES MOORE, GOVERNOR OF MARYLAND: The president is our nominee. The president is our party leader. And the president has told us and he was very clear back there that he is in this to win this.

ALVAREZ (voice-over): The White House's evolving reasons for Biden's bad debate are also raising eyebrows. Officials now contradicting the White House press secretary, saying Biden was seen by his doctor days after the debate.

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He did not get checked out by the doctor. It's a cold, guys. It's a cold. And I know that it affects everybody differently. We have all had colds. And so, no, he was not checked by the doctor.

ALVAREZ (voice-over): A White House official tells CNN Biden had a, quote, "brief check, not a physical" after the debate. In private, Biden has acknowledged that the next few days are critical, packed with a high-profile interview and two stops in battleground states and appealing directly to black voters in a pair of new interviews.

BIDEN: I had a bad night. And the fact of the matter is that, you know, it was -- I screwed up. I made a mistake. That's 90 minutes on stage. Look at what I've done in 3.5 years.

ALVAREZ (voice-over): Priscilla Alvarez, CNN, Washington.


BRUNHUBER: CNN senior political analyst Ron Brownstein joins me now live from Los Angeles. Ron, good to see you again. So, President Biden said yesterday, I'm not going anywhere. So, of course, that's what he has to say. But I want to read you something that David Axelrod, top aide to former President Barack Obama, had to say about Biden. He said that if he sees numbers that suggest to him that this isn't a winnable race, my guess is he'll act on them. My question to you is, are we not getting close to those numbers? I mean, no incumbent president has had an approval rating this low at this stage of the election since what, George H.W. Bush. And now Trump has perhaps his biggest ever lead. So what do you make of the numbers and what they suggest about whether it is a winnable race for Biden?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, yeah, I mean, that really is the point, right?


I mean, Donald Trump is ahead in national polling by as big a margin as he's ever been ahead, really, since he's became a national figure. I mean, there's never been anything like this for Trump against either Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden.

And, you know, if you look across the battleground states that you need to get to 270, the two swing states in the southeast, Georgia and North Carolina, looked out of reach for Biden before the debate. The two swing states in the southwest, Nevada and Arizona, aren't quite as far gone, but they're really not far behind.

I mean, Biden is looking at a substantial deficit in them even before the debate again. The one pathway that was there for Biden going into the debate was to sweep Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, three states that Trump famously dislodged in 2016 from the blue wall. And he won those three and one congressional district in Omaha, he got to exactly 270, Biden.

But I have seen polling since the debate that has Biden down six or seven points in each of those three states, which he has to sweep. And that's why so many Democratic strategists and I think many, many elected officials in Congress feel there's just is enormous disconnect between the president's language like that. I'm not going anywhere. And his campaign saying it was a bad night and what they are seeing on the ground that makes them very dubious that he can recover from, you know, a performance as poor as that one.

BRUNHUBER: Yeah. To the how, I mean, according to a "Wall Street Journal" poll, 80 percent say he's too old to run for a second term. And now Biden saying he won't do any events past 8:00 p.m. I mean, I guess, you know, that is sensible, maybe considering what we've seen. But really, it doesn't help that perception that he's too old.

BROWNSTEIN: Right. And it's not acceptable to, I mean, really to the public, right? The idea that you're going to have a president who is diminished in that way, you know. Look, we are a deeply dug in and polarized country. There are millions and millions of Americans who don't want Donald Trump to be president again. So the floor is not going to fall out for Joe Biden.

But the question going into the debate was where could he make up the votes to overcome what has become a deficit, right? I mean, where he was trailing in national polling. And as I said, we're probably behind today in all seven of the swing states and within range only in three of them. He was the one who needed to add to his pile of chips.

And when you have these kinds of doubts, it just makes it very hard to see where you go to get over the top. And it's also reflective of kind of the dynamic here, where once this idea really has been imprinted so strongly on Americans from this debate, sharpening the questions that already existed about whether he was physically and mentally up to doing the job for another four and a half years, pretty much anything that can, you know -- the points in that direction is going to resonate more powerfully than it did before the debate.

So, this kind of comment, I think it's just an early preview of the challenge the White House will face and the Democrats will face if he stays in the race, because there are going to be many things that kind of add to the concern of voters who are already anxious about this.

BRUNHUBER: All right. Let's pivot to Donald Trump. I mean, it was a great week for him. The debate fallout, a game changing Supreme Court decision in his favor. Now, this week, he's kept a relatively low profile, obviously tough for a man who loves being in the spotlight, but no doubt keeping the focus on Biden is his best strategy.

BROWNSTEIN: Absolutely. And look, that was not a great debate for Donald Trump, you know, per se. It was a great debate for Donald Trump because Joe Biden had such a calamitous night. But I think if you talk to pollsters in both parties, there's really no evidence that that Trump reached out beyond the voters who are already with him. And, you know, he took credit for killing his word, the legal right to abortion. I mean, you know, he lied again about the 2020 election. He reiterated his promises to pardon January 6th rioters.

And while the Supreme Court decision was, you know, a landmark, epic decision that I think is going to be seen in a very negative light by history, while it eliminated the short-term threat to him of a trial before the election, you know, in the hands of a stronger Democrat, it also gave him the argument to prosecute the argument that this really would be Trump unbound if he is returned to office.

I mean, pretty clearly, the Republican Party is not going to hold him to any constraint. The Supreme Court has basically given him a green light to proceed along the lines that he's talked about in terms of deploying a federal force into blue jurisdictions and setting up internment camps and purging the civil service and ordering the Justice Department to prosecute his enemies or his opponents.


There are a lot of voters who are going to be uneasy about all of that. But all of those kinds of questions, I think, you know, are subsumed, obviously, now by this overriding issue of whether voters say Biden is up to the job, and as you point out, the vast majority are saying they are concerned that he is not physically or mentally -- doesn't have the physical or medical capacity to do this, maybe for another six months, but certainly not for another four years.

KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR: Yeah, still time for plenty of twists and turns, Ron Brownstein in Los Angeles, always great to speak with you. Thank you so much.

BROWNSTEIN: Thanks for having me.

BRUNHUBER: All right. We'll return to London in just a moment where the Labour Party is celebrating a major victory in parliamentary elections. And the U.K. will soon have a new prime minister.

Stay with us.


MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to our viewers in the U.S., Canada, all around the world. I'm Max Foster, this is CNN NEWSROOM.

We are following breaking news out of the U.K. where the Labour Party has won a majority of seats in the parliamentary election and it's pretty much a landslide. Keir Starmer will take over as prime minister later today. It will make King Charles of Buckingham Palace to take that appointment. The 61-year-old former barrister says his mandate comes with great responsibility, and he outlines his plans going forward.


KEIR STARMER, BRITISH LABOUR PARTY LEADER: Together, the values of this changed Labour Party are the drive and guiding principle for a new government? Country first, party second.

We have the chance to make work pay because we changed the party. We have the chance to deliver for working people, young people, vulnerable people, the poorest in our society, because we changed the party.

Today, we start the next chapter. But given the work of change, the mission of national renewal and start to rebuild our country.



FOSTER: Things, are going so badly for the Tories, Rishi Sunak conceded defeat even before the official results were actually announced. And he said he gave Keir Starmer the call before those results were in. He told supporters he took responsibility for the loss, a number of other prominent conservatives, including Liz Truss, Grant Shapps, Penny Mordaunt, Jacob Rees-Mogg, they've all lost their seats.

Reform UK Party leader Niger Farage won his bid finally for seat in parliament for the very first time.

Joining me, Luke McGee, the UK and European politics policy editor here at CNN, also CNN business journalist Hanna Ziady.

What's the big headline for you, Luke, for people around the world? LUKE MCGEE, CNN UK AND EUROPEAN POLITICS AND POLICY EDITOR: Yeah. I mean, the big headline is clearly this enormous win for the Labour Party, enormous personal win for Keir Starmer. You have to remember when he took over leadership of the party back in 2020, Labour just come off its worst election defeat in a generation.

You know, the idea that he could have turned this grounding five years is really quite remarkable. Now, of course, the results aren't quite as clean cut as a straightforward massive win for Keir Starmer. We've seen obviously the surge of the reform party, seeing him bleed votes to the liberal Democrats.

We've seen actually former Labour candidates, people sounding as independence on an anti or pro Gaza ticket, take votes away from Labour. So it's not quite straightforward, but the headline this morning is massive and most remarkable win, seemed impossible not that long ago.

FOSTER: And what Niger Farage quite successfully did was appeal to people over that cost of living at the solutions people won't all agree with, but he was very focused on that and that's the story we're seeing across Europe.

HANNA ZIADY, CNN BUSINESS JOURNALIST: It is. It was a huge issue in this election. We saw in the debate between Sunak and Starmer, people in the audience, voters racing there, saying they still struggling to pay bills, inflation in the UK hitting a record 18 months ago. Of course, it has come down.

The people are still struggling. Interest rates are still high. This is an economy that's really had anemic growth for the last few years. And that has squeezed living standards. And I think that is really been the key to this election is this need for change.


ZIADY: You heard Starmer talking about that, but Brits want to seek change. They want to see a material improvement to their lives.

FOSTER: But Keir Starmer's speech was interesting when he talks about change, he was basically conceding, wasn't he? That's what this is about. This was almost an anti-Tory vote.

It's not the same energy as '97 when Blair came to power.

MCGEE: No. I mean, I would say the politics are very different to '97, but no, it's not. He comes into office as if the polls are to be believed. There's not a particularly -- not a particularly popular leader coming in from opposition. That could have its advantages though. I mean, that could mean that expectation is very low for him, so it could actually mean he doesn't have to do a huge amount in his first thought. That's five years to come around to win a second election possibly in 2029.

So there are sort of inherent advantages. I thought it was interesting though what Hanna was saying that this has been an economics election because if you've looked at the campaign, you'd think that the main issues have been migration, or culture issues. So it's interesting that you say that because I thought it hasn't been one of the things that hasn't been discussed quite as much as it should have been throughout the campaign.

FSOTER: You've gone through the manifestos and you probably thought there is unrealistic as all the other business reporters, but to be fair to Labour, they were all unrealistic, but just set out the challenge that Keir Starmer has got when he talks about improving public services for example.

ZIADY: So the government now has a debt burden. It's almost the same size as the economy, which puts huge pressure on government spending because they have to serve as their debt, they have to pay it down? That diverts money away from public services. The fact that government finances on such a poor state means that Labour will be really constrained by what but can actually do to bring about that change.

Also, it's promised not to increase taxes. It's going to increase some taxes on wealthy people like non-doms, wealthy people who earned foreign income, et cetera, but it's promised not to increase income tax, a big one, or corporation tax, a big one, almost VAT.

So some analysts saying it's really tied its hands in terms of how much it can do to deliver that change, and not really being honest about the trade-offs that are going to have to be made between higher taxes or lower public spending.

FOSTER: Luke, I also ask you, is this narrative, but the UK's bucking the trend, the European trend, and going left rather than right.

But isn't there an argument to say those hard-right policies have actually become part of the mainstream? You know, stop the boats is a hard right policy. And it's part of the mainstream and we've certainly seen a reflection of the popularity of the hard right in this election.

MCGEE: I think that's absolutely right. I think you're -- the conditions that existed for a rise of hard-right across Europe still very much exist in this country. And if you look at the actual vote chair, which is going to combine the conservatives and reformed and, clearly, this is a conservative party has had 50 quite a long way to the right arguably because of the pressure of Nigel Farage.

So, yeah, the idea that there's some sort of disappearance and we bucked the trend here, I think is unusual. I think just coming back to what you were saying though about physical constraint that's going to be imposed on the incoming government. That's going to be interesting in itself because, of course, part of this populist moving towards the right is going to be about public services and spending.


And if Starmer coming into power really, really is constrained, then that's going to really feed the narrative on the populist right. So, I think even on that level, he's going to be attacking went up migration, will be public spending is going to be attacked.

FOSTER: We also against the French election and I know that that's probably the one that their business reporters are looking at more closely arguably, is that right? Because that could have more impact on markets because of this movement in the far right.

ZIADY: Absolutely.

FOSTER: And it's because they're spending loads of money.

ZIADY: Yes, and so, committing to cut taxes in some cases. Look, you know, Marine Le Pen's party has watered down some of its more extreme policies, I think realizing that there are these fiscal constraints, but we did see when Macron called that snap election, we saw French bond yields soar out of this expectation that were going to get the right leaning government in France, that's going to turn away from fiscal prudence if you will.

We saw Le Pen not necessarily winning as many seats as some I thought she might. On Monday this week, we saw kind of the relief rarely in markets perhaps the worst-case scenario not materializing.

But in France, you kind of have a situation where both the far left and the far right are making quite big promises on tax and spending and that is making markets nervous.

FOSTER: Luke, you mentioned the Middle East issue. It's really bubbled up in this election, hasn't it? Jeremy Corbyn, the former Labour leader, really talking a lot about that? And he's got his seat back. The Green Party as well.

MCGEE: Yeah. I mean, it's definitely eating into the labor vote, I suppose from a label perspective, they're going to be rational and sort of thinking about things this morning. They've got to wonder how long that's going to be an issue for him politics, but yeah, it certainly, it certainly been very damaging to the Labour Party.

And I think you look at one of the most prominent Labour politicians, he's probably be coming in as health secretary. You know, his majority narrow two under 1,000 votes, because he was up against an independent candidate who are eating into the Labor votes.


MCGEE: So, yeah, it's definitely an issue. It's definitely something they're going to need to watch.

FOSTER: Okay. Luke, Hanna, thank you both very much, indeed.

That's it from London this hour. I'm Max Foster. I'll send it back to Kim.

BRUNHUBER: All right. Thanks so much.

While Labour celebrates victory in Britain, Iran is kicking off its presidential runoff. The country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, cast his ballot right after the polls opened a couple of hours ago. Iranians face a choice between two polar opposites for the next president, performance lawmaker, Masoud Pezeshkian, who won the most votes in the first round of last week, and hard-line former nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili. Dozens of other candidates were banned from even entering the race by Iran's powerful guardian council.

All right. Still ahead, signs of progress in Gaza ceasefire talks. Israel indicates it's ready for more detailed discussions around bringing the hostages home. The latest developments in the region coming up next. Stay with us.



BRUNHUBER: A new round of Gaza ceasefire negotiations is expected to begin in Doha, possibly in the coming hours. Israeli officials are set to meet with Qatari mediators to discuss the specific details of a new framework agreement.

CNN's Jeremy Diamond has the latest from Jerusalem.


JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: For a month, Israel and Hamas have been engaged in start and stop negotiations to try and reach a ceasefire and hostage release deal. And now, there appears to be major progress in those negotiations, and that's because those negotiations for months now have focused on trying to reach a framework agreement, the broad strokes of how this deal would work.

But they have been leaving the details, the implementation, the identity of Palestinian prisoners who would be released, for example, leaving all of that to the side while they try and reach a framework. But on Thursday, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, agreeing to enter that more detailed stage of negotiations, sending his Mossad director, David Barnea, to Doha, Qatar, to begin that next phase of negotiations.

And that indicates for all intents and purposes, including according to a senior administration official, that Israel and Hamas effectively have an agreement on a framework for this deal. Now, what remains ahead is still a lot of difficult and complex work about two to three weeks according to one source I spoke to, of detailed negotiations over the implementation of this agreement.

And at the end of those two to three weeks, there's still no guarantee that these two sides will actually be able well, to broker a ceasefire deal. But nonetheless, this appears to be the furthest that Israel and Hamas have gotten in these negotiations since the last truce between these two sides fell apart after just a week at the very beginning of December. And so, there's certainly a lot of cautious optimism in the air from folks that I have been speaking with. And President Biden speaking with the Israeli prime minister on Thursday, emphasizing that this is an opportunity for the Israeli prime minister to, quote/unquote, close out the deal.

And so, that is effectively the stage that we're at, which not only has enormous implications for the families of those hostages. For the hostages themselves, for the people of Gaza who have endured nine months of suffering, but also for the region at large, particularly at a time when tensions between Israel and Hezbollah have really been rising in recent weeks, particularly over the last 48 hours, we saw Israel taking out a senior Hezbollah commander in a drone strike in southern Lebanon. Hezbollah retaliating with more than 200 rockets and missiles fired towards the Golan Heights.

And Israel striking in southern Lebanon with a series of airstrikes, certainly a ceasefire in Gaza could provide an opening that diplomatic opening that diplomats have been waiting for, looking for between Israel and Hezbollah to resolve those tensions as well.

Jeremy Diamond, CNN, Jerusalem.


BRUNHUBER: Israel's government has approved one of the largest land seizures in the occupied West Bank in decades. The area covers more than 1,200 hectares or more than 3,000 acres of the Jordan Valley in the eastern West Bank near Jericho. The government issued the declaration last month, but it wasn't posted publicly until Wednesday. The Israeli rights group Peace Now says its the biggest land seizure since the 1993 Oslo Accords. The group monitors illegal settlement expansion and said the seizing of land makes it even more difficult to establish a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

Ukraine has conceded some ground in a key hilltop town on its eastern front. Official say Ukrainian troops have pulled out of one of the eastern sections of Chasiv Yar after Russian forces destroyed their defensive. Chasiv Yar is largely a ghost town after months of relentless fighting, but it sits high on, sits on high ground. So its capture could open the door for further Russian advances. Ukrainian monitoring group says Russians are also moving towards a strategic road south of there.

Ukraine's says the pull-out was only a tactical decision and its still firmly in control of the western part of town.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is spelling out his terms for a ceasefire in Ukraine. He spoke in an international conference in Kazakhstan on Thursday. Here he is.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): We need to ensure that Ukraine agrees to take steps that are irreversible and acceptable to the Russian Federation. Therefore, a ceasefire isn't possible without achieving this kind of agreement. We cannot declare a ceasefire now and simply hope that the other side will take some positive steps.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BRUNHUBER: Putin also said he would take any peace proposals by former U.S. President Donald Trump very seriously.


But the Russian leader says he hasn't seen any specific ideas on the table yet.

Trump, who's running for reelection, claimed without evidence that he will end the war in 24 hours if he wins.

So as the fighting grinds on, a new batch of U.S. military aid will soon be on its way to Ukraine, $2.3 billion in weapons and ammunition that Washington announced on Wednesday.

As Fred Pleitgen reports, the package includes some materials desperately needed on the front lines.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Pretty big military aid package for Ukraine coming from the U.S., and essentially all this is divided get into two parts. Part of it is from the presidential drawdown authorities, meaning that the U.S. gets these weapons directly from American military stocks.

Now, a lot of that, $150 million worth, is ammunition. Some of it is interceptor missiles for surface-to-air missile systems, very important for the Ukrainians to keep their city safe but also around the front lines as well. And then a lot of it is also artillery ammunition, 155 millimeter and 105 millimeter. The Ukrainians obviously have been saying that they are in bad need of that as well.

A lot of it is also HIMARS artillery rockets, which the Ukrainians have said have been very effective, especially trying to bend the Russians off in the northeast of the country. Now, the other part of this assistance package that is gear -- that the U.S. is going to acquire it directly from U.S. defense companies, a lot of that also is going to be air defense. The U.S. has been saying that its going to prioritize air defense weapons, going to Ukraine especially, of course, the NASAM system, which is a medium-range system, but also the Patriot system, which is a long range surface-to-air missile system. That is really important for the Ukrainians, not just to fend off missiles flying at their cities, but also to try and stop the Russian air force from bombing Ukrainian frontline troops.

All of this comes as the Ukrainian say, that they've been managing to stabilize the front line in many areas. However, there's one particular area in the Donetsk region called Chasiv Yar, where the Russians have said that they have made some gains towards a very key town.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Berlin.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BRUNHUBER: The French government says it will deploy an additional 30,000 police and security officers for Sunday's parliamentary election runoff. Now, it comes after a wave of election linked violence. This as a government spokesperson and her team were attacked while campaigning on Wednesday, a politician with the National Rally party was assaulted in a market in southeastern France and a Republican Party candidate said left-wing campaigners attacked him in Cherbourg.

President Emmanuel Macron has even warned a civil war if the extreme right or left wins Sunday's runoff.

All right, when we come back, police are looking for answers after a deadly stampede at a religious ceremony in India kills more than 100 people. That story and much more straight ahead.


BRUNHUBER: Six people had been arrested following a deadly crowd crush in northern India that killed 121 people. Officials say those arrested were organizers of the prayer meeting where scores were killed, more than 250,000 people showed up at an event intended for 80,000. Police are also trying to determine what role was played by Bhole Baba, the self-styled guru who led the event.


One devotee defended his actions.


RISHIPAL CHAUDHARY, DEVOTEE OF BHOLE BABA (through translator): People who lost their lives in the crowd crush were responsible for their own deaths. When you're being told to follow some instructions and you don't follow it, who else can be responsible? They were told to sit quietly and leave in an orderly fashion. What was the need to create a crush?


BRUNHUBER: Authorities are still searching for the main organizer of the event. They're offering a reward of 100,000 Indian rupees, around $1,200 for his arrest.

Hurricane Beryl is back over open water and getting stronger as it makes a beeline towards Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. At Cancun International Airport, more than 150 flights have been canceled ahead of Beryl making landfall Friday morning. The storm weakened temporarily, but is back at category three strength, making it a major hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 185 kilometers per hour. The U.S. National Hurricane Center forecasts dangerous storm surge and damaging waves are expected to begin in he coming hours.

It was forecast to be the hottest Fourth of July on record across many areas of California, and the heat is expected to continue into the weekend. In Oroville, the Thompson Fire continues to burn. More than 12,000 residents are under evacuation orders. Eleven firefighters have been injured battling the blaze.

Cal Fire says it's now 29 percent contained in California's Fresno County. The Basin Fire is 46 percent contained. The state's extreme heat is combining with strong winds, allowing the fires to spread quickly.

All across the U.S., Fourth of July celebrations have been underway. This is the annual fireworks display in Washington, D.C. Before the fireworks, there were performances on the West Lawn of the capital from among others, Smokey Robinson, Fantasia, and Darren Chris.

That wraps this hour of CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Kim Brunhuber. I'll be back in a moment with more news. Please do stay with us.