Government announces an immediate ban on fracking

“Boris Johnson’s government is to abandon the Conservatives’ decade-long policy of supporting fracking as the party seeks to neutralise Labour attacks on its environmental record. Fracking for shale gas is to be banned in Britain with immediate effect because of the “unacceptable” risk of earthquakes, ministers will announce today. The move comes after a review found it impossible to predict the probability or scale of earthquakes. The prime minister, who previously hailed fracking as “an answer to the nation’s prayers”, acknowledged this week “very considerable anxieties” over the practice. Public opposition to fracking has grown and there is mounting concern from Tory MPs, who have called for the party to follow Labour’s promise of a ban….Andrea Leadsom, the business secretary, said: “While acknowledging the huge potential of UK shale gas to provide a bridge to a zero-carbon future, I’ve also always been clear that shale gas exploration in the UK must be carried out safely. After reviewing the Oil and Gas Authority’s inquiry into recent seismic activity at Preston New Road [in Lancashire], it is clear that we cannot rule out future unacceptable impacts on the local community.” Fracking would not be allowed in Britain “unless and until further evidence is provided that it can be carried out safely”, the government said.” – The Times

Election 1) Johnson hits back at Farage

“Boris Johnson has rejected the suggestion from Nigel Farage and Donald Trump that he should work with the Brexit Party during the election. The Tory leader told the BBC he was “always grateful for advice” but he would not enter into election pacts. His comments come after the US president said Mr Farage and Mr Johnson would be “an unstoppable force”. Downing Street sources say there are no circumstances in which the Tories would work with the Brexit Party. In an interview with BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg, the prime minister said the “difficulty” of doing deals with “any other party” was that it “simply risks putting Jeremy Corbyn into Number 10”. “The problem with that is that his [Mr Corbyn’s] plan for Brexit is basically yet more dither and delay,” Mr Johnson said.” – BBC

  • Brexiteers need to consider the impact of tactical voting – The Times
  • Farage could let Corbyn onto Downing Street – Leader, The Sun
  • Divided Brexiteers – Leader, The Times
  • He’s handed Hartlepool to Labour – The Guardian
  • Drop this dreadful deal and get Brexit done properly – Nigel Farage, Daily Telegraph
  • Dewbury may stand for Brexit Party – Daily Express



Election 2) Tories to include Manifesto promise of tax cuts

“The Conservatives are preparing to launch a manifesto that will commit the party to tax cuts, Andrea Leadsom, the Business Secretary, has signalled. Asked in an interview with The Daily Telegraph if income tax was too high, she said: “A Conservative government will always be a tax-cutting government. “We have raised the personal tax-free allowance to let people keep much more of their own hard-earned cash. We will set out more in the manifesto about our ambition for income taxes.” Mrs Leadsom also backed Boris Johnson’s rejection of Nigel Farage’s proposed “Brexit alliance” involving a Tory-Brexit Party general election pact, saying that only the Conservatives could deliver a successful exit from the EU. She warned that a vote for any other party was “a vote that risks Jeremy Corbyn” gaining power.” – Daily Telegraph

  • ‘We must end online abuse driving women out of politics’ – Interview with Andrea Leadsom, Daily Telegraph
  • We will let you keep more of what you earn – Interview with Michael Gove, Daily Mail
  • The lower taxes are the better – Leader, Daily Telegraph

Election 3) Poll shows the Conservatives are winning over “Workington Man”

“Boris Johnson is poised to make big gains from Labour in its northern heartlands because many working-class voters back Brexit and cannot stand Jeremy Corbyn. A survey suggests the Conservatives are on course to win the key Labour seat of Workington, seen as crucial to the Prime Minister’s hopes of victory on December 12. The Tories are set to win the seat in Cumbria by more than 4,000 votes, according to the Survation poll for the Daily Mail. It would be a complete reversal of Labour’s 3,925 majority at the 2017 election. The Conservatives have 45 per cent support in Workington, with Labour on 34 – a swing of ten percentage points to the Tories in two years.” – Daily Mail

  • The Conservatives’ strategy requires picking up Labour seats in working-class areas – Financial Times

Election 4) Concerns over student voting fraud

“In the 2017 election, students supporting Jeremy Corbyn were blamed for causing upsets, including in Canterbury and Lincoln, where expected Tory wins turned to dust…In Lincoln, where 18,000 students attend two universities, the Tories found themselves trounced, too. Karl McCartney, Lincoln’s current Tory candidate and former MP, found Labour had increased its vote share by 8.3 per cent. The University of Lincoln authorities told Mr McCartney in 2017 that it would be normal for only 20 to 30 per cent of students registered to vote at one hall of residence — The Junxion — to turn up to do so, because many would already have left the city for the summer. Yet, mysteriously, a whopping 95 per cent of registered students from The Junxion voted. The students all turned up at the Lincoln polling station nearby — none of their votes were cast by proxy or by post. So who were they? Is it possible, asks Mr McCartney today, for the polling cards of students who had left to have been ‘requisitioned’ on a mass scale?” – Daily Mail

Election 5) Tories abandon “no deal” threat

“Boris Johnson has abandoned the threat of a no-deal Brexit in the Conservative manifesto in a move designed to capture the centre ground, The Times has been told. The prime minister’s manifesto will focus on “getting Brexit done immediately” by pushing his “fantastic” deal through the Commons as soon as MPs return. The approach is in stark contrast to Mr Johnson’s previous “do or die” pledge to leave Britain with or without a deal on October 31. The Tories believe that they can use the promise of Mr Johnson’s deal to appeal to soft Liberal Democrat voters who have significant concerns about the impact of a second referendum.” – The Times

Election 6) Excluding Swinson from TV debates is sexist, Lib Dems claim

“The Liberal Democrats accused their two main rivals of sexism last night after Jo Swinson was excluded from the first televised debate of the campaign. Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn will hold a head-to-head debate on November 19, it was announced yesterday. It will be the first direct debate between the leaders of the Conservatives and Labour since televised debates began in the 2010 election…Chuka Umunna, the former Labour MP who defected to the Liberal Democrats in June, attacked ITV, which will broadcast the debate. “Whatever your politics, this is discriminatory, undemocratic and wrong,” he said. “Not only is it two blokes deciding to have a debate excluding women, we are not a two-party country and the sizeable proportion of the public who want to stop Brexit won’t have a voice in the room.”….The BBC is understood to have submitted a bid for a Question Time-style event as well as one-on-one interviews with Andrew Neil.” – The Times

  • SNP outrage at being excluded – The Scotsman
  • Lib Dem defector Antoinette Sandbach fails to back Revoke amid fears of party divide – Daily Telegraph

Election 7) Government criticised for Facebook advertising

“The Government has been accused of misusing taxpayers’ money to target voters in key swing constituencies with Facebook ads. At least 17 adverts promising up to £25 million investment in various towns across the UK went live on Tuesday – the day the General Election was announced. They are part of My Town, a Government-backed campaign that seeks residents’ views on how to improve their towns. The adverts ran without a political disclaimer, and were taken down by Facebook shortly after 8.30pm on Friday evening.” – Daily Telegraph

Election 8) Farage to use software from the US to target Tory leavers

“The Brexit Party has brought in software designed by Republican campaign chiefs in the US to target voters who feel betrayed by the Conservatives’ failure to take Britain out of the EU. Nigel Farage’s party has begun mapping the intentions of British voters using the “battle-tested” software to secure the votes of disgruntled Tories through a doorstep campaign. The software, known as Pericles, provides activists with detailed electoral roll data and assigns them a list of addresses to canvass. The voting intentions of those who answer the door are then fed back to campaign headquarters, where the results are analysed and used by strategists to target Leave voters and those who supported the Conservatives.” – The Times

  • Labour campaign activists aim to go viral by exploiting WhatsApp groups – The Times
  • Dad’s Army taught the basics of winning election votes – The Times
  • Cummings passes election baton to softly spoken Australian – The Times

>Today: Columnist Nick Hargrave: Ten pieces of advice for political staffers during this coming election

Election 9) Labour “would make all new homes zero carbon by 2022”

“Labour would introduce tough new standards forcing housebuilders to make new properties zero carbon within three years, Jeremy Corbyn is to announce. The last Labour government introduced regulations to make all homes zero carbon by 2016, but the rules were scrapped by David Cameron less than a year before they were due to come into force. Now, Labour says it would create a new “zero-carbon standard” to ensure new homes make no positive contribution to greenhouse emissions. The standard would be introduced by 2022. …Tory MP Robert Jenrick, the secretary of state for housing, communities and local government, said: “Labour are setting unrealistic targets that would slow down housebuilding and put up house prices.” – The Guardian

Election 10) Parris: I’m voting for the Lib Dems

“When it becomes clear which way the wind is blowing, “count me out” may be all that’s left to you. But if it’s all that’s left to Philip, Antoinette, Dominic, Anna Soubry, Guto Bebb, Ken Clarke, Sam Gyimah, Justine Greening, Oliver Letwin and Rory Stewart, proper Conservatives every one of them, then count me out too. Were I a voter where some of these will stand, they would have my vote. I am a conservative, not a Liberal Democrat, but will unhesitatingly vote Lib Dem this time to defeat Tory zealotry over Europe….I find myself, unwilling to support a leader who is a stranger to honesty or principle and who surfs a foolish populist wave for the sake of ambition alone, leading a governing party whose centre of gravity has shifted decisively away from the broadly centrist political force Conservatism once was…We all have our breaking point, but for me the time has arrived to give up hoping for a return to Tory sanity.” – Matthew Parris,  The Times

  • I no longer wish to be Prime Minister – Interview with Rory Stewart, Daily Telegraph

Election 11) Forsyth: Tories are determined not to repeat the mistakes of 2017

“There is a Tory fear that history could repeat itself — that Jeremy Corbyn could surge again and an election designed to deliver a majority for Brexit could once more lead to a hung Parliament. But oddly, 2017 is one of the things that mean the Tories might win that majority this time round. They are determined not to make the same mistakes again. As one senior party figure puts it: “We screwed it up once. We’re not going to do that again.” When Chancellor Sajid Javid spoke to Tory MPs on Wednesday night, he reassured them that “this campaign will not be like last time”. He described Theresa May’s 2017 effort as “the most incompetent election campaign in modern times”.” – James Forsyth, The Sun

Sturgeon “confident” Corbyn will agree to a second independence referendum

“Nicola Sturgeon yesterday declared she is confident Jeremy Corbyn will grant a second independence referendum if he becomes PM. And she vowed to demand another vote on tearing the United Kingdom apart with days of the December 12 election.The SNP boss said Labour is under “no illusions” about her demands. She vowed to send a letter “before Christmas” to ask No10 to grant her a Section 30 order. This would let her hold another referendum  just six years after Scots voted to stay in the UK in what was described as a “once in a generation” vote. Asked at an election rally in Leith, Edinburgh, if she thinks Mr Corbyn will let her have an indyref, Ms Sturgeon answered emphatically: “Yes.” – The Sun

People’s Vote staff urge Rudd’s clients to cancel their business

“People’s Vote staff are writing to clients of the public relations company run by its chairman, Roland Rudd, to ask if they are comfortable with his involvement in an extraordinary row that has brought the campaign group to a grinding halt. The angry staff members, who are refusing to work under a new chief executive summarily appointed by Rudd, ask whether he has “demonstrated good PR skills” in a vicious conflict that has coincided with the start of the general election campaign. Finsbury, the leading public relations firm run by the multi-millionaire, specialises in advising FTSE 100 companies and the letter is part of an attempt by the estranged People’s Vote staff to “hit him in the wallet” in the escalating dispute.” – The Guardian

  • Remain campaign civil war explodes with legal threats – Daily Express

Beto O’Rourke stands down in US Presidential race

“US President Donald Trump has ridiculed Beto O’Rourke just hours after the Democratic presidential hopeful ended his campaign. The president used a profanity to describe his rival and said he “quit like a dog”. Mr O’Rourke, a former Texas congressman, was highly critical of Mr Trump after a mass shooting in his hometown of El Paso in August. He called the bloodshed a “consequence” of Mr Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric. On Friday Mr O’Rourke said he was quitting the race for the White House as his campaign did not have “the means to move forward successfully”.” – BBC

Moore: Banishing billionaires would leave us all worse off

“Labour, in the voice of the Corbynite MP, Lloyd Russell-Moyle, says: “I don’t think anyone in this country should be a billionaire.” His ambition could all too easily be achieved by a Corbyn government. People need to know that a country without billionaires is a country with significantly fewer billions at its disposal, both in the private and public sectors. More fundamentally, Tories in the 21st century seem to have become embarrassed by the bottom-up economics which understands that wealth is another word for the successful work of millions of citizens. It is not a baked, finite cake eaten by a greedy plutocrat sitting alone. It is a yeast that can make every loaf rise. Somewhere in the 2008 credit crunch, that thought got lost. Boris Johnson’s Conservatives need to rediscover it fast.” – Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph

News in brief

  • Brexiteers shouldn’t vote for the Brexit Party – Douglas Carswell, The Spectator
  • The choice in the election – John Redwood
  • The Farage ultimatum to the Tories should make Brexiteers despair – Jack Walters, Brexit Central
  • Even Labour supporters know Jeremy Corbyn is unfit for public office – Oliver Kamm, CapX
  • On the media’s Planet Remain, truth is now a ‘hard-right’ concept – Melanie Phillips, Conservative Woman