Johnson ‘places NHS at the heart’ of the Conservative manifesto…

“Boris Johnson has put the NHS at the heart of his election campaign with a promise of 50,000 more nurses while vowing to “forge a new Britain”. The prime minister said that voters faced a stark choice between “out and out retrograde socialism” and “sensible One Nation Conservatism” as he presented the Tory party manifesto yesterday. Describing the election as the most critical in modern memory, Mr Johnson said that he would “level up” the country while freezing income tax, VAT and national insurance for five years. He announced the “biggest cash injection in the NHS for a generation” as he promised an 18 per cent increase in the number of nurses, 15 per cent more GP appointments and the renovation of 40 hospitals over a decade.” – The Times

  • Prime Minister ‘rejects spending contest’ with Labour – Daily Telegraph
  • Row over pledge of 50,000 nurses for ailing Health Service – The Times
  • Johnson’s vision for post-Brexit Britain – FT
  • Transport infrastructure to get £100 billion – The Sun


  • Brexit has shown that the Tories can campaign on the NHS and win – The Times
  • A document for swing voters, not the faithful – Daily Telegraph
  • Business welcomes ‘pro-enterprise’ manifesto… – FT
  • …but only in a ‘muted’ fashion – The Guardian
  • ‘Major investments’ promised to Wales – BBC
  • Rees-Mogg a no-show at launch – The Guardian
  • Key policies explained – The Times


…but ‘leaves the door open’ to a no-deal Brexit

“The Conservative party has committed to taking the UK out of the EU at the end of January and exiting the subsequent transition period in December 2020, leaving the door open to a no-deal Brexit at the end of next year. In its manifesto, unveiled on Sunday, the Tory party promised to negotiate a new trade deal with the EU next year and ruled out any extension to the standstill transition into 2021. However, trade experts have doubted Boris Johnson’s rapid timetable for negotiating the UK-EU future relationship, saying such deals typically take some five to seven years to complete… Allies of the prime minister said the aim was to deliver a “cathartic moment” by seeing the deal through parliament swiftly.” – FT

  • Blair attacks Johnson over ‘fantasy’ of exit – Daily Express
  • Rayner suggests whole Labour front bench could stay neutral on Brexit… – The Sun
  • …but McDonnell says he won’t – The Guardian


  • Paris promises ‘unique’ trade deal… if UK ‘plays fair’ – FT
  • Macron to ‘hold British fisheries hostage’ – Daily Express


  • Johnson is the man to make Brexit happen – Matthew Elliott, Daily Telegraph

>Today: David Gauke’s column: Labour struggling. The LibDems not cutting through. The Tories winning by default. My take in this unusual election for me.


Robert Halfon: I’m delighted we’re scrapping the NHS stealth tax on parking

“For years, motorists who don’t have good public transport links, or have no option but to use a car, have faced an additional stealth tax on the NHS. Some have had to pay charges of literally hundreds of pounds a week just because they needed to go to hospital regularly as an out-patient. All this when the core principle of the NHS is to provide free healthcare for all at the point of access… It was because of this major social injustice that I started the campaign for free hospital car parking in 2013, bringing through a number of Parliamentary Bills – after finding out that some hospitals in England were charging staff and visitors up to £500 a week to use on-site parking facilities.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Johnson plays a defensive game – Robert Shrimsley, FT
  • A first step on the road to realignment – Nick Timothy, Daily Telegraph
  • Tories are battling for the working man – Leo McKinstry, The Sun
  • Sober response to Labour’s reckless moonshine – Stephen Glover, Daily Mail
  • More a Johnson manifesto than a Conservative one – Simon Jenkins, The Guardian
  • Too much has been conceded to the Opposition – Timothy Stanley, Daily Telegraph


>Today: ToryDiary: The ConservativeHome columnists and the Conservative Party manifesto

Polls 1) Johnson on track for ‘a majority of 64’ by squeezing Brexit Party

“Boris Johnson is on course for a 64-seat majority having successfully “squeezed” the Brexit party, new analysis claims. The Conservatives are currently polling at 42.8 per cent support, which looks set to deliver the party 357 seats. The poll of polls by Electoral Calculus found that the election seems to be split down Leave and Remain lines, taking in research from five different surveys from Nov 14 to 19, polling over 7,500 people. Martin Baxter, managing director of the political forecasting website, said: “On the Leave side, the Conservatives have successfully squeezed the Brexit party, notably after the stand-down of Brexit candidates in Conservative-held seats.” However, the research seems to suggest that Labour are “finding the going a bit harder on the Remain side”.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Farage takes credit for Conservative manifesto – Daily Mail
  • Prime Minister attracts new wave of young Tory voters – Daily Express


  • Tories pray there are no potholes on the road to polling day – Sir John Curtice, The Times
  • Conservative lead is more fragile than it looks – Robert Ford, The Guardian

>Yesterday: MPs Etc.: Teachers, nurses, an ocean conservationist, the Chancellor – meet the manifesto’s Tory candidates.

Polls 2) Tory vote holding up in Scotland

“Nicola Sturgeon may need to keep an eye over her shoulder after the first Scottish opinion poll of the election campaign suggested a major Tory advance north of the border. The poll revealed a Conservative surge of seven points, holding 28 percent of the vote. The Panelbase poll of 1,009 voters in Scotland pointed to a collapse in support for Labour since the 2017 general election, from 27 percent to 20 percent. The news of a Scottish Conservative bounce have dashed Jeremy Corbyn’s hope Scottish voters could help him lead the biggest party at Westminster. An analysis of the poll reveals a surge in support since last month for the Scottish Tories since Boris Johnson secured a revised Brexit deal with the EU.” – Daily Express

  • Welsh Conservatives take seat off Labour in Cardiff by-election – Wales Online


  • Sturgeon to demand Corbyn scraps Trident, devolves powers, and grants a referendum – The Times


  • Why I’d never press the nuclear button – Nicola Sturgeon, The Guardian

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Scrapping Trident is a red line issue for the SNP, says Sturgeon

McDonnell conjures £58 billion for a WASPI payout

“Labour has been accused of driving a “cart and horses” through its commitment to balancing the books after announcing that it would spend £58 billion compensating women left out of pocket by rises in the state pension age. John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, announced the funding package to end the “historic injustice” faced by three million women born in the 1950s who said that they were given insufficient notice of changes to the pension age. The policy was not costed in Labour’s manifesto, which was published last week. Labour has said it will meet the pledge through increased borrowing. The announcement came as Angela Rayner, the shadow education secretary, was accused of failing to be honest for suggesting that only the top 5 per cent of earners would pay more tax under a Labour government.” – The Times

  • Shadow Chancellor is ‘nasty, devious’ figure, warns Hoey – Daily Telegraph



  • Cost is not the main problem with Labour’s nationalisation proposals – Jonathan Ford, FT
  • The voters will still pay, whoever gets into No 10 – Paul Johnson, The Times
  • Corbyn is driving is party to ruin – Trevor Kavanagh, The Sun

>Today: Andrew Green in Comment: Labour’s immigration policy is a threat to the country’s future

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Only the top five per cent will pay more income tax under Labour, says McDonnell

Swinson says the Tories are ‘on course’ to win the election

“Boris Johnson is “on course” to win the general election, Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson has said before having to deny that she was “conceding” the win to the Tories. Ms Swinson was also again put on the backfoot for voting through cuts in the coalition government, telling the BBC “I am really sorry we did not win more battles” in Whitehall. Ms Swinson made the unexpected admission three weeks before the Dec 12 election after polls suggested the publication of manifestos by Labour and the Liberal Democrats had failed to dent the Tories’ poll lead. The comments were in stark contrast to the optimism of the party’s campaign launch on November 5 when Ms Swinson said she could be Prime Minister.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Lib Dems switch tactics to target soft Conservative voters – The Times
  • Umunna attacked over tweet – Daily Express

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Swinson – “I’m not doing a deal, Andrew”

Farage to rebrand the Brexit Party as the ‘Reform Party’

“Nigel Farage has revealed plans to rebrand the Brexit Party as the Reform Party with an agenda of “draining the swamp” of Westminster politics. The Brexit Party leader has warned the political establishment that getting Brexit done is just the beginning and that his party’s long term future will be about reforming Britain’s broken political system. But in the short term, the veteran anti-Brussels campaigner has not ruled out taking on a role as an EU commissioner if asked by Boris Johnson… But Mr Farage sees parallels between his party and where Labour was in 1900 when it emerged  as a new party and eventually was in government by 1924.” – Daily Express

Bloomberg aims to topple Trump in the ‘battle of the billionaires’

“The billionaire businessman Michael Bloomberg has announced a late attempt to unseat President Trump next year, hoping to emerge from a crowded field as the Democratic Party’s challenger for the White House. His entry to the race was dismissed by the White House as a sign of the weakness of the other potential candidates despite almost a year of campaigning. Mr Bloomberg, 77, the three-times mayor of New York, stepped in after watching leftwingers in the Democratic Party advance while Joe Biden, the former vice-president and main centrist candidate, stumbled. Mr Bloomberg is America’s eighth wealthiest man with a net worth of $53.4 billion. He is expected to spend up to $34 million on a week of adverts in more than two dozen states from today.” – The Times

Democracy movement routs Beijing in Hong Kong elections

“Hong Kong’s deeply unpopular leader vowed Monday to “listen humbly” to voters after the pro-democracy camp scored a crushing victory in community-level elections that revealed broad public support for a protest movement that has sparked months of violence. In a rout that stunned the semi-autonomous territory, candidates seeking to loosen control by China seized an overwhelming majority of the 452 seats in the city’s 18 district councils, bodies that have historically been firmly in the grip of a Beijing-aligned establishment. The result was a humiliating rebuke to Beijing and Chief Executive Carrie Lam, who has dismissed calls for political reform and had repeatedly suggested that a silent majority supported her administration and opposed the protest movement.” – Daily Telegraph

News in Brief:

  • Is the Tory manifesto fiscally responsible? – Julian Jessop, CapX
  • Johnson has gambled big by pledging to spend small – Robert Peston, The Spectator
  • Brexit Party is turning into the Lib Dems – Joseph Rachman, Reaction
  • Is the Great British jobs miracle fake news? – Peter Franklin, UnHerd
  • Britain’s dismal choice – John Ware, The Critic