Johnson rules out allowing another Scottish independence referendum

“Boris Johnson, the prime minister, emphatically ruled out allowing another Scottish independence referendum on Thursday, touting himself as a defender of UK unity as an opinion poll found that half of British adults do not believe the union will survive the next decade in its current form. Mr Johnson said he would not approve a rematch of the 2014 plebiscite, in which Scots voted 55-45 per cent to remain in the UK, even if the Scottish National party secured another pro-independence majority in the parliament at Edinburgh in elections scheduled for 2021… Support for independence in Scotland appears to have risen since 2014 and polling company Ipsos Mori said on Thursday it had found a marked increase in uncertainty about the UK’s constitutional future.” – FT


  • It’s the Union, not Brexit, that’s the big issue for Boris and the Scottish Tories – Alan Cochrane, Daily Telegraph
  • Johnson’s charisma is all the Tories have left – Iain Martin, The Times

>Yesterday: Henry Hill’s column: How the Welsh Conservatives may win enough seats to offset setbacks in Scotland

Tories call for regulator to investigate ‘Remain Alliance’

“The Conservatives have called on electoral watchdogs to investigate a Remain pact in 60 constituencies where Liberal Democrats will work with the Greens and Welsh nationalists to keep out Tories and Labour. The pact, brokered by campaign group Unite to Remain, will see Lib Dem candidates get a clear run in 43 seats where the Green Party or Welsh nationalists will stand down in a bid to boost the number of Remainer MPs and block Brexit. The Lib Dems will stand aside in 10 seats to clear the way for Green Party candidates, while Plaid Cymru will step aside in seven Welsh constituencies… Conservative chairman James Cleverly has, however, written to the Electoral Commission urging it to investigate Unite to Remain for potential breaches of electoral law.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Both major parties attack ‘undemocratic’ pact – The Sun


  • ‘Remain Alliance’ expect to snare up to 40 extra seats – The Times
  • Swinson says Lib Dems can win even Leave-voting constituencies – The Guardian
  • Research suggests just a 40 per cent chance of a Tory majority – The Sun


  • The Greens are merely the Lib Dems’ useful idiots – Toby Young, Daily Telegraph


  • Ex-Conservatives must decide if they loathe Brexit more than Corbyn – The Times

>Today: Iain Dale’s column: How Unite to Remain seeks to rob voters of having a real choice

Patel 1) Government unveils new ‘NHS visa’ to avoid staff shortfall

“A new “NHS visa” will be introduced by a future Tory government, in a drive to bring in more staff from overseas to plug severe workforce shortages in the UK’s taxpayer-funded health system. It comes as the Conservatives seek to extol the advantages of leaving the EU in the run-up to the general election on December 12 and follows an announcement in August of a similar fast-track route for scientists. Priti Patel, home secretary, said the measures were part of a plan for an Australian-style points-based immigration system “that allows us to control numbers while remaining open to vital professions like nurses”.” – FT

  • Move follows fast-track route for scientists – Daily Telegraph
  • Immigration takes centre stage – The Sun
  • Patel promises ‘points-based’ immigration system – Daily Mail

Patel 2) Home Secretary attacks delay to ‘Helen’s Law’

“Priti Patel has attacked Labour for preventing the introduction of a law to crack down on killers who refuse to reveal the whereabouts of victims’ bodies – as one such notorious murderer comes up for parole. The Homne Secretary claimed Labour and other opposition parties’ decision to grind Parliament to a half had delayed the legislation – and pledged to fast track it if the Conservatives secure a majority Government. The legislation, known as Helen’s Law would force Parole Boards to take into account circumstances where an offender has not disclosed the location of their victim’s remains when assessing their suitability for early release.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Tory candidate quits over rape remarks – The Times

Yesterday: Stephen Laws in Comment: Post-election, the Government must act to restore the balance of the constitution

Kwarteng urges Johnson to prioritise lower earners…

“Boris Johnson should prioritise helping lower earners in his election manifesto rather than cutting taxes for the well-off, a Tory minister has said. The Prime Minister successfully fought the Tory leadership campaign this summer on a policy of lifting the 40p income tax threshold for higher earners 50,000 a year to £80,000 a year. The Institute for Fiscal Studies later said that this would cost £8billion a year and would boost the incomes of the highest earning eight per cent of the population. The policy would take 2.5 million people out of paying higher-rate tax, more than reversing the increase over the past three decades, the tax and spending watchdog said.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Javid ‘tears up borrowing rules’ but ‘blocks tax cuts’… – FT
  • …yet promises that Sun readers will benefit from tax cuts – The Sun
  • Both parties warned over ‘ambitious’ spending plans – The Guardian
  • Johnson’s exit deal will hit growth, warns Bank – The Times


  • Conservatives should give private tenants a ‘right to own’ – Jeremy Warner, Daily Telegraph
  • Tories will spend more money, but Labour will spend it all – Robert Colvile, The Sun
  • ‘Big ticket’ council tax is the bill voters want to see slashed most – James Johnson, Times Red Box

>Today: James Kirkup in Comment: Our advice to Johnson. Social mobility should be at the heart of your programme.


…as Corbyn bids to launch ‘1970s-style spending spree’

“Jeremy Corbyn’s fitness for office was questioned by former Labour MPs yesterday as he revealed proposals to increase spending by more than £50 billion a year. The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) criticised the plans to almost double public investment spending, which were laid out by John McDonnell. The shadow chancellor promised to spend £55 billion a year extra on schools, hospitals and other infrastructure, funded by borrowing. His plans would almost double public investment spending. Sajid Javid, the chancellor, also abandoned the longstanding Tory pledge to reduce debt as a proportion of national income year-on-year, promising a spending spree on borrowed money.” – The Times

  • Labour manifesto to let workers choose their own hours – Daily Telegraph
  • Mothers promised full year of maternity pay – The Guardian
  • Investors fear Labour policies ahead of election – FT
  • Experts warn that proposals could bankrupt Britain – The Sun


  • Political rivals are locked in a spending war – Ed Conway, The Times
  • A blizzard of plans to spend borrowed money well – Paul Johnson, The Times

>Today: ToryDiary: The election campaign, week one. “Listen to me, we’re going to lose this f*cking election.”

Watson’s departure boosts left and accelerates leadership struggles

“Tom Watson’s sudden resignation has accelerated the race to succeed Jeremy Corbyn as rivals gear up to fill the gap… Labour sources say that the contest for deputy leader, which will only take place after the election, is providing cover to those who want the top job. Rebecca Long Bailey, the shadow business secretary, raised eyebrows on Wednesday with a Labour campaign video that emphasised her own back story… Although Ms Long Bailey is thought to have the backing of John McDonnell she is said to be uncertain about whether to stand and may instead back Angela Rayner, the shadow education secretary.” – The Times

  • Exit signals surrender of centrist Labour – FT


  • Hodge repeatedly refuses to back Corbyn to be Prime Minister – Daily Telegraph
  • Ex-Labour MP to run as independent after being dropped in LGBT row – The Guardian
  • Labour candidate says she’d celebrate Blair’s death – The Sun
  • Corbyn aide denies he’s a Russian spy – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Watson quits. Will Labour’s moderates follow his example – or endorse an extremist as Prime Minister?

Four ex-Labour MPs brand Corbyn ‘unfit to lead’

“Jeremy Corbyn has been branded “unfit to lead” by four senior ex-Labour MPs who have taken the unprecedented step of telling “patriotic” voters to back Boris Johnson. The lifelong Labour supporters, three of whom are former ministers or frontbenchers, said Mr Corbyn was “a menace” as well as “a disgrace to his party and a disgrace to this country”. They said it was “too big a risk” to allow Marxist Mr Corbyn to “get his hands on the levers of national security and defence” as all four said they would be voting Conservative. The extraordinary intervention by Ian Austin, John Woodcock, Tom Harris and Michael McCann came less than 24 hours after Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson quit politics amid an ongoing civil war in the party over Brexit and anti-Semitism.” – Daily Telegraph


  • Dudley voters back Austin – Daily Express
  • Labour candidate quits after comparing Israel to a child abuser – Daily Mail

Ian Austin: Here’s why everybody needs to vote Conservative

“I have lived and breathed Labour politics all my adult life. Until this year, I could never have imagined voting for anyone other than Labour. As a teenager, I joined the Labour party to fight racism. In my twenties, I was elected as a Labour councillor. In my thirties, I worked for the Labour Party as an official, and adviser to Gordon Brown. In my forties, I became a Labour MP and finally a minister. But now, in my fifties, I have no choice but to leave the party and endorse the Conservatives. How has it come to this? Put simply, the Labour leader is completely unfit to be Prime Minister and must not be allowed anywhere near Downing Street.” – The Sun

  • The downfall of Watson seals Labour’s fate – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph
  • Hypocrisy of centrists keeps Corbyn in charge – Philip Collins, The Times
  • A stunning message: true Labour voters must back Johnson – Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph
  • Did Tom Watson go quietly to get peerage? – Simon Walters, Daily Mail

Brexit Party warned again that it could split the vote

“Brexit Party supporters could split the vote in Leave constituencies and end up shackling them with Remain MPs backing second referendum, a leading Brexit activist has warned. Political journalist and Brexiteer Tom Harwood highlighted a poll carried out in Nottinghamshire’s Gedling constituency, where Labour’s Vernon Coaker has held the seat for 22 years. The poll showed Labour leading the poll despite being outnumbered by the combined total for the Tories and the Brexit Party… Mr Harwood warned second-referendum supporter Mr Coaker would hold the seat unless all Leave voters backed the Tories.” – Daily Express

Northern Powerhouse: fresh calls for major devolution

“Control over education and transport should be devolved to the north of England to break the grip of a “London-centric parliament”, the region’s leaders have urged. In a “manifesto for the north”, the leaders of cities from Manchester to Newcastle urge Whitehall to cede powers over trains and buses to create Transport for London-style organisations for northern cities. They argue that the north should decide on the technical education most in demand from local employers and that with greater control over policy they can overcome economic problems and become world leaders in green growth.” – The Times

Extinction Rebellion plot pre-election protests

“Extinction Rebellion activists are planning “12 days of Christmas” protests in the run-up to the general election in a reprise of the demonstrations that paralysed the capital last month. Organisers say that they will undertake national and local action every day in the lead up to polling on December 12 to make this the first “climate change election”. Rupert Read, a spokesman for the group, said the protests would be aimed at politicians and not ordinary people. However, he refused to give specific details, saying that people would have to “wait and see”. “We want to be pressuring politicians and candidates all around the country to do the right thing and prioritise climate action,” Mr Read said.” – The Times

  • Many Londoners support their cause, but not their tactics – Tim Bale, Times Red Box

News in Brief:

  • Johnson needs eye-catching policies, not just extra spending – Henry Hill, CapX
  • Boris’s pudding without a theme – Graham Stuart, The Critic
  • Labour’s borrowing binge is the road to ruin – George Trefgarne, Reaction
  • The mesmerising mediocrity of Trump’s opponents – Freddy Gray, The Spectator
  • Drag kids are the product of a dangerous American delusion – Douglas Murray, UnHerd
  • The ground war: Conservatives likely to be outgunned – Tim Bale, UK in a Changing Europe