Tories and Labour double down on ‘battle for the North’…

“The Conservatives and Labour have redoubled their efforts to woo Brexit voters after a polling model for The Times indicated that they held the key to the election. Boris Johnson will rally voters for a final push to “save Brexit” and Jeremy Corbyn will attempt to shore up support in Labour’s so-called red wall, which has been revealed to be crumbling fastest in Leave areas. Jo Swinson, meanwhile, made her most personal attack yet on Mr Johnson as all three parties changed tactics in response to the YouGov research that put the Tories on course for a majority of 68. The seat-by-seat analysis based on current polling shows Labour losing a swathe of seats in the Midlands and the north, with the biggest swings to the Tories in seats that voted Leave in 2016.” – The Times

  • Corbyn under growing pressure to go defensive – FT
  • Opposition target Brexit voters in bid to prevent red wall’s collapse – The Times
  • Miliband accused of lying over support for Brexit – The Sun
  • Unions pump millions into faltering campaign – Daily Mail
  • At least 100 Labour candidates don’t mention Corbyn – Daily Express


  • MRP poll result should not be a surprise – Sir John Curtice, The Times
  • Johnson’s message discipline lifts the Conservatives – Robert Shrimsley, FT
  • Local intelligence and boots on the ground are what the Tories need – Rob Wilson, Daily Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: The campaign, week four. Johnson pushes upwards but so does Corbyn.


…as ex-Labour minister endorses the Conservatives

“Boris Johnson will be joined on stage by an ex-Labour minister Gisela Stuart in a major Brexit speech in central London tomorrow. Tonight she became the fourth former Labour MP to urge the nation to vote Tory in next month’s election. Writing for The Sun, Ms Stuart said her experience of working alongside Mr Johnson during the 2016 referendum campaign in her role as chairman of Vote Leave had convinced her that he is the right man to take the country forward. And tomorrow she will join No Deal minister Michael Gove on stage alongside the PM as the trio get the old Vote Leave band back together and issue a rallying cry to Brexit voters to hand the Tories the majority they need to deliver Brexit.” – The Sun


  • Corbyn’s last-minute wooing could be too little, too late – Camilla Tominey, Daily Telegraph

>Today: Iain Dale’s column: If everyone hates the Conservatives, why do they lead the polls?

Prime Minister unveils school plan

“The Tories last night branded Labour a threat to our children’s future, as the PM unveiled plans to drive up school standards by giving Ofsted more cash and powers. Boris Johnson, visiting a school in Chulmleigh, Devon, yesterday announced a £10 million funding boost for the education watchdog so it can carry out longer and more thorough inspections. Under the blueprint Ofsted visits will be extended from two to three days — with the extra time used to focus on pupil behaviour, tackling bullying and extra-curricular offerings. The watchdog will also trial unannounced inspections where teachers are given no prior warning, to make sure the ratings it hands out are a “true reflection” of reality.” – The Sun

  • Inspectors could visit schools with no warning – The Times

Johnson accused of seeking ‘revenge’ on courts with reform plan…

“Boris Johnson has served notice that he intends to clip the power of the courts in what leading lawyers said was revenge for outlawing his attempt to suspend parliament. The prime minister is understood to have insisted that the Conservative party manifesto include a promise of constitutional reform so that he could claim a mandate to reform the Supreme Court and House of Lords. A little-noticed section of the manifesto, published this week, states that “after Brexit we also need to look at the broader aspects of our constitution: the relationship between the government, parliament and the courts; the functioning of the royal prerogative”… Alex Bailin, QC, a human rights and public law specialist, said the manifesto was “certainly not contrition” in relation to the ruling.” – The Times

…as he drags Ofcom into row with Channel 4

Boris Johnson has threatened a major shake-up of Channel 4 after the Conservatives accused the broadcaster of “conspiring with Jeremy Corbyn” to shut them out of a televised debate. The Tories made a formal complaint to Ofcom on Thursday night alleging Channel 4 breached the Broadcasting Code by  refusing to allow Michael Gove to take part in the debate on climate change. Mr Gove was turned away after Channel 4 News said the programme was for party leaders only. Instead, the Prime Minister was represented by a melting ice sculpture of  a globe in what the Conservatives deemed “a provocative partisan stunt”.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Prime Minister ‘goes to war’ over ice sculpture stunt – The Times
  • Gove’s ‘fury’ at not being allowed to take part – The Sun


  • BBC tells Tories to take down online ad featuring presenters – The Guardian

>Today: Eamonn Ives in Comment: Yesterday’s TV environment debate. No-one told the truth – that capitalism and climate concern are compatible

>Yesterday: Ted Christie-Miller and Richard Howard: How to deliver net zero emissions by 2050 without damaging the economy

Duncan Smith told he must have a bodyguard on election day

“Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith has been told by police he must have an escort when he votes in the General Election. It comes after his office was vandalised and he received vile online abuse warning him: ‘Worse than this is coming.’ Mr Duncan Smith said detectives investigating the attack in his constituency have insisted that an officer accompanies him to the polling station on December 12. In the early hours of Monday, a thug daubed graffiti on his office door and window saying ‘Tory cuts kill’ and ‘Tories Out’. CCTV images of a man police want to speak to shows him parking his bicycle just yards from Mr Duncan Smith’s constituency office in Chingford, east London.” – Daily Mail

Iain Martin: The Conservatives will face a backlash if they win

“Veteran party observers have cited similarities between this general election and 1983, when voters concluded that they simply could not countenance a far-left leader like Michael Foot. The more striking parallel I see is with 1992. Then the Conservatives won with a relatively new leader, John Major, and promises of a brighter future. Six months later they were ruined by the collapse of their European policy and the ERM debacle. In the years that followed they were buried under an avalanche of sleaze allegations. This time the Tories have been in power for nearly a decade and, in policy area after policy area, they are overdue a kicking from a country increasingly concerned about the condition of public services.” – The Times

  • I fear the Tories may yet blow this race – Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph
  • Johnson knows this election is about identity, not cash – Simon Jenkins, The Guardian
  • Tories are wise to play the campaign safe – Simon Walters, Daily Mail

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: The Conservatives must resist any temptation to get greedy in which seats they target

McCluskey savaged over attack on Chief Rabbi

Jeremy Corbyn’s biggest union backer has launched a scathing attack on the Chief Rabbi, saying it was “extraordinary” and “wrong” for him to criticise the Labour leader over anti-Semitism. Len McCluskey, the general secretary of Unite, said he “fundamentally” disagreed with Ephraim Mirvis’s suggestion that Mr Corbyn was “unfit for high office”. He also said, in an apparent slip of the tongue, that everyone should be concerned about “the type of hurt that has been caused by the Jewish community”. Mr McCluskey told the BBC: “I think that was wrong and quite extraordinary that a religious leader should come out and say that…I’m sure that’s what he believes if he said it, I just absolutely, fundamentally disagree with him.”” – Daily Telegraph

  • Opposition drop Falkirk candidate over antisemitism claims – The Guardian


  • Labour’s racism is worse than the Tory kind – Phillip Collins, The Times
  • Why I cannot vote for Corbyn’s Opposition – Martin Wolf, FT


  • Remainers will ignore racism and lies to stop Brexit – The Sun

Experts warn that Labour might need to levy even more taxes

“Labour could have to introduce even more taxes than they listed in their manifesto to pay for their extravagant spending plans, experts warned today. The IFS claimed there were a host of hidden taxes in the leftie boss’ plans – as well as policies set to hit lower paid workers and not just the rich. They also accused the Conservatives of being unlikely to balance the budget, warning they would be forced to spend or tax more than they promised. In a brutal take-down of Jeremy Corbyn’s far left manifesto, IFS director Paul Johnson warned Labour’s plans for tax and spending didn’t offer a “properly credible prospectus.”” – The Sun

  • Millions ‘outside top five per cent’ would be affected – The Times

>Yesterday: Left Watch: On the NHS, Corbyn has deployed his weapon of last resort with two weeks to go

Swinson attacks Johnson for comments on single mothers

“Boris Johnson is being urged to apologise for describing the children of single mothers as “ill-raised, ignorant, aggressive and illegitimate”. It prompted a blistering attack by Jo Swinson, who said that his “disgusting comments” came as little surprise. The Tory leader came under fire after the unearthing of a column on the “appalling proliferation of single mothers” written for the Spectator in 1995. Last night Ms Swinson, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, said: “Boris Johnson has a track record of making remarks that pick on people less powerful than him, particularly women, and he must make a full, unreserved apology for this and all the other comments he has made which have demeaned people.”” – The Times

  • Liberal Democrat leader branded ‘desperate’ – Daily Express


  • Will this change a single voter’s mind? – Michael Deacon, Daily Telegraph

News in Brief:

  • What ‘May at 10’ gets wrong, and leaves out – Stephen Parkinson, The Critic
  • Sturgeon’s threat of Indyref2 could save the Scottish Tories – Katy Balls, The Spectator
  • Will Johnson save social democracy? – David Goodhart, UnHerd
  • Could the UK be extricated from its transition period by December 2020? – Ben Habib, Brexit Central
  • Labour cannot take Catholics for granted – Mike Craven, The Tablet
  • How to restore trust in the internet – Richard Walker, CapX