Speaker election hit by row over timing

“Candidates to become Speaker of the Commons have questioned the legitimacy of John Bercow’s successor if enough MPs do not turn up for a pre-election vote today. In a secret ballot, MPs will choose between eight candidates in a decision that could have far-reaching consequences for the future of parliament and the outcome of Brexit. Some of those standing are unhappy that the vote is going ahead today after a failed attempt to delay it until after the general election. They said the new Speaker will have only a day in the chair before an election is called. Others believe it is essential that the post be occupied in case major events during the campaign, such as an attack on an MP or even a death in the royal family, require someone to speak for parliament.” – The Times

>Today: ToryDiary: The point of Bryant’s candidacy

Baker claims Farage could be ‘the man who threw away Brexit’

Nigel Farage risks becoming the “man who threw away Brexit”, the most senior Tory Eurosceptic backbencher has warned, as the Brexit Party leader prepares to unveil his 600 election candidates. In a blistering attack on Mr Farage, Steve Baker, the chairman of the European Research Group (ERG), accused him of “setting out” to create a “weak and indecisive” hung Parliament. The former Brexit minister, who until now remained closely aligned with Mr Farage on Brexit, also condemned his decision not to stand as an MP, saying it showed he was “not serious about governing the country”. Senior Brexit Party figures have expressed concerns Mr Farage has “gone down the wrong path”… fearing his approach risks derailing Britain’s attempts to leave the European Union.” – Daily Telegraph

  • He in turns mocks Tory Brexiteers – Daily Mail
  • Prime Minister rejects ultimatum on electoral alliance – The Sun
  • Brexit Party leader says he’s not standing so he can campaign harder – The Times
  • Farage’s allies turn on him as he declares ‘war’ on the Tories – Daily Express
  • Trump repeats call for pact – The Sun


  • No, Mr Farage, Boris Johnson’s deal is not ‘Brexit In Name Only’ – Martin Howe QC, Daily Telegraph


  • Farage should swallow his pride and think again – The Sun

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Farage announces he won’t be standing in the General Election

Johnson fudges over length of transition period

“Boris Johnson refused to rule out extending the Brexit transition period beyond next year as he apologised yesterday for not meeting his pledge to leave the EU by Hallowe’en. The prime minister said that he felt “deep regret” at the failure to honour his “no ifs no buts” pledge to leave by October 31, accepting partial responsibility. However, he wants to avoid an election row about the next stage of Brexit before Britain has left, hoping to focus attention on the choice between his deal and Labour’s promise of a referendum. Beginning a campaign that he will base on the promise to “get Brexit done”, Mr Johnson insisted parliament was mainly responsible for delaying Britain’s departure beyond last month.” – The Times

  • Nothing conservative about leaving the Tories, even if you voted Remain – Tim Stanley, Daily Telegraph


  • There is no such thing as a ‘clean break’ Brexit – FT

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Johnson on the Brexit Party – “The only consequence of voting for them…is that you’ll get Jeremy Corbyn”

Conservative promises could ‘push spending to 1970s levels’

“Boris Johnson risks being forced into making emergency spending cuts after the election as a result of a campaign bidding war with Labour on public services, analysts have said. Sajid Javid, the chancellor, is arguing against a manifesto that “throws away” the past decade of deficit reduction, amid predictions that Britain is heading for 1970s levels of public spending, whoever wins the election. The Conservatives are targeting poorer voters without university degrees who supported Brexit, by promising a £155 million boost for further education and sixth-form colleges, focusing on technical subjects like building, catering, transport and manufacturing, as well as unfreezing benefits.” – The Times

  • Johnson vows to save free TV licences for the elderly – The Sun
  • Tories announce end to welfare freeze – The Guardian
  • HS2 decision delayed until after the election – FT
  • Counting the cost of the pledges – The Times


Eamonn Butler: The Conservatives must remember their Hayek

“Focused on each day’s headlines, politicians like that are pushed to and fro by polls and the noisy campaigns of vested interest groups. David Cameron’s Tories caught the same disease. At least today’s Labour Party has a vision, even if it is a crackpot one. Perhaps that is why young people in particular – who sadly do not remember the horrors behind the Berlin Wall – are attracted by them. Under Boris Johnson, the Tories now need to assert their values, and their more realistic vision, too. Yes, there are pre-election promises about outspending Labour. But much deeper is Boris’s optimism about Britain, his enthusiasm for new ideas, his commitment to capitalism and individual freedom.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Plan to outspend Labour turns principle on its head – Larry Elliott, The Guardian
  • Halting fracking is a short-sighted political move – Madeline Grant, Daily Telegraph


>Today: Matt Kilcoyne in Comment: The Conservative manifesto. Wooing Labour heartlands with socialist policy is a doomed strategy.

Tories ‘confident’ they can oust Watson

“Tory chiefs think they can oust Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson in what would be the biggest scalp of the general election. Traditionally a safe Labour seat, the veteran party bruiser’s patch of West Bromwich East has never been held by a Conservative. But The Sun can reveal the pro-Leave constituency is now on Boris Johnson’s target list because of the multiple political and personal challenges that ardent Remainer Mr Watson faces. The West Midlands rather than the North is now emerging as the most important battleground for the December 12 poll. On top of Mr Watson’s, Tory chiefs have identified as many as 20 Labour seats there that could be vulnerable because of disenchantment with Jeremy Corbyn and his party’s confusion over Brexit.” – The Sun

  • Could Uxbridge unseat Johnson? – The Guardian
  • Extinction Rebellion focus on the Prime Minister’s seat – Daily Mail


  • Johnson’s strong position isn’t locked in yet – Sir John Curtice, The Sun

>Today: Neil O’Brien’s column: How to win over Workington Man and Woman

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Almost nine in ten Party members expect a Conservative-led Government after the election. Our survey.

Thomson standing down after allegations by Scottish Labour MP

“A Conservative MP has stood down after being accused of sexually assaulting a Labour MP in a Commons bar. Ross Thomson, 32, confirmed that he would not contest the Aberdeen South seat at the general election on December 12 while insisting that the allegations against him were politically motivated “malicious lies”. The standards watchdog is investigating claims that Mr Thomson groped Paul Sweeney, the MP for Glasgow North East, at the Strangers’ Bar before attempting to force his hand below his belt. Mr Thomson was removed by police from the same bar after allegedly groping other men in a separate incident.” – The Times

  • Outrage over Welsh candidate’s remarks – The Sun

>Yesterday: MPs Etc.: James to leave Parliament after finding her association don’t want her to continue as their candidate

Labour 1) Party ‘ready to scrap Heathrow expansion’

“The expansion of Heathrow could be ditched by Labour because climate change is the party’s “No 1 priority”, the shadow chancellor has suggested. John McDonnell said that Heathrow “clearly doesn’t qualify” for a third runway under tests that the party has set, including meeting carbon reduction targets and minimising noise. Labour has pledged that Britain will be carbon-neutral by 2030, 20 years earlier than the government target, as the parties compete to offer green policies to an electorate increasingly concerned about the environment. Over the weekend the Conservatives said they would ban fracking because of “unacceptable” earthquake risks, bringing them into line with Labour.” – The Times

  • Sports stars round on Corbyn over attack on billionaires – Daily Telegraph
  • McDonnell plans to ‘soak rich’ and raises business taxes… – The Sun
  • …as he’s ‘forced to confront Jewish anger’ over antisemitism – Daily Mail


  • His goal is Socialist state control – Jacob Rees-Mogg, Daily Express

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: “We’re doing everything we can” on antisemitism, McDonnell claims

Labour 2) Milne accused of torpedoing bid to make it a ‘Remain party’

“Mr McDonnell and Ms Abbott, the two closest and longest-serving parliamentary allies of the Labour leader, told him that they needed a serious chat away from Westminster. They met at his vegetable patch in East Finchley, north London, where the three agreed that the party would move to an unequivocal Remain position and Mr Corbyn would write an article saying just that. The piece was written but at the last minute Mr Milne persuaded Mr Corbyn, MP for Islington North, not to go ahead with it, according to several anonymous sources, Dispatches claims. Labour has stuck to an ambiguous position on Brexit, proposing that it would negotiate a new deal with the European Union and put it to a referendum alongside an option to remain.” – The Times

  • ‘Obey me on Brexit’, Corbyn warns Shadow Cabinet dissenters – The Guardian

Liberal Democrats, Greens, and Welsh Nationalists plot pro-EU pact

“Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson revealed she was plotting a Remain electoral pact with the Green Party and Plaid Cymru. They are in talks to try to ensure there is just one anti-Brexit candidate standing in dozens of constituencies. Two of the parties would stand down to give the one who is most likely to win the best chance in 60 seats… It follows the success of the Remain pact in August’s Brecon and Radnorshire by-election. The Greens and Plaid made way to let the Libs’ Jane Dodds unseat Tory Chris Davies by 1,425 votes. The Lib Dems have also agreed not to stand against pro-Remain ex- Tory Dominic Grieve… Change UK MP and ex-Tory Anna Soubry is also expected to get the same treatment.” – The Sun

  • Backlash over Swinson’s ‘Remain Alliance’ – Daily Express
  • Politicians get more security amidst fears of voter anger – Daily Mail


  • Lessons for pro-Europeans in the failed Remain cause – Wolfgang Münchau, FT
  • The crucial question: can Remainers vote tactically? – Sir John Curtice, The Times
  • Save Britain by supporting moderate MPs – Tony Blair, FT

SNP ‘start talks with civil servants’

“The civil service is to hold talks with the SNP amid a political row over speculation that Labour will seek to do a deal with the party in the event of a hung parliament. Mandarins have been given permission to begin pre-election consultations with Nicola Sturgeon as part of a long-standing convention that the civil service discusses priorities with opposition parties to allow them to prepare for whoever wins power. The talks, which are at the discretion of the prime minister, are understood to have been approved by Boris Johnson. Conservatives have accused Jeremy Corbyn and the SNP of doing a “backroom deal” over Scottish independence, while Mr Johnson has accused Labour of planning to hold two more referendums next year, on Brexit and Scottish independence.” – The Times

  • Nationalists focus on independence as they shoot for landslide – FT

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: If Scotland voted for independence, would Sturgeon demand a second referendum on the exit deal? “No…”

Doctors attack Tories and Labour over NHS

“Doctors have launched an unprecedented election attack on the Conservatives and Labour, accusing the parties of preparing to tell “outright lies” on the NHS during the campaign. The professional standards group for Britain’s 220,000 doctors says that politicians see the NHS as “vote-bait”, ridiculing key pledges from Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn. In a sign of mounting unease within the health service as the general election campaigns begin, hospital chiefs will also join today in condemnation of “unrealistic expectations” and “empty promises”, warning voters to beware. Campaigning starts officially on Wednesday, as parliament is dissolved.” – The Times

  • Let’s keep promises to ‘save the Health Service’ out of this election – Carrie Macewan, The Times
  • Why doesn’t the media scrutinise Corbyn’s lies on healthcare? – Tom Welsh, Daily Telegraph
  • Please don’t turn the NHS into a political weapon – Chris Hopson, Times Red Box
  • Tories should copy Labour’s social care policy – Clare Foges, The Times

MPs urged to wake up to the ‘human costs of migration’

“The deaths of 39 Vietnamese citizens found in the back of a lorry in Essex should serve as a “wake-up call” for the government on illegal immigration, MPs have said. A report by the foreign affairs select committee said that a policy focused on closing borders would drive migrants to take more dangerous routes and push them into the hands of smugglers. Members of the Vietnamese community gathered in London for a vigil in memory of the victims, who were found dead in the back of a lorry in Grays, Essex, early on October 23. A man has been charged over the deaths. More than a hundred people attended a service at the Church of the Holy Name and Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in east London on Saturday.” – The Times

  • Home Office says Channel 4 will have ‘blood on its hands’ over new smuggling show – Daily Telegraph

News in Brief:

  • The Tories must offer ‘Workington Man’ more than just extra spending – Robert Colvile, CapX
  • What will Brexit do to Belfast? – Paul Embery, UnHerd
  • The hole at the heart of Tory economics – James Kirkup, The Spectator
  • Labour’s sinister class war campaign shows the historic catastrophe in prospect – Iain Martin, Reaction
  • Why unionists should be very wary about the new Brexit deal – Michael Horne, 1828