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General Election 1) Johnson promises to ‘get Brexit done very, very fast’ in December

‘Boris Johnson has revealed his “fast and furious” plan to get Brexit wrapped up by Christmas if he wins a decisive General Election victory. The PM admitted he is driven by deep-seated rage over the way Remainer rebels colluded to stop Britain leaving the EU. And he warned it will be full speed ahead if he is returned to Downing Street with a clear majority on December 12. Mr Johnson declared: “We’ve got a deal that’s ready to go and if we can get it right with a new Parliament we will move quickly. Our new MPs will come back the following day and we will bang it through. We’ll get Brexit done very, very fast and avoid another infinite period of dither and delay.” In an interview with The Sun on Sunday, BoJo talked passionately of his determination to “pitchfork Brexit off our back” and end three years of “trauma and tedium”. He spoke frankly of his own frustrations and ambitions in a revealing and wide-ranging account of his testing first 100 days in power.’ – The Sun on Sunday

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

General Election 2) Tory strategists scrutinise the polls, hoping for a split opposition

‘According to numbers doing the rounds at Tory HQ, the current polls would translate to a Conservative majority of 40 to 70 — though the model created at the instigation of Johnson’s senior aide, Dominic Cummings, is highly secret and fewer than five people have access to it. The Tory strategy for victory is based on delivering Brexit so that the government can invest in hospitals, the police and schools, targeting leave voters in Labour’s northern heartlands and hoping the Liberal Democrats split the remain vote so the Tories can win marginal seats from Labour in the Midlands, South Yorkshire and the northeast… One Conservative strategist said: “There are two things that will stop a Tory majority — a proper Labour squeeze on the Lib Dems or industrial-scale tactical voting. The one thing that will worry them is it becoming a two-horse race. If Labour start getting regularly into single digits behind, there will be a lot of panic.” In a four-way fight the Tories might hope to win with 35% of the vote and Labour under 30% but if it becomes a two-horse race they need a bigger lead over Labour. “You would normally say a seven-point lead would give us a win but now it’s 10 points or above that is safe,” said a source. “If you’re in the seven to 10 range it’s squeaky bum time.”’ – Sunday Times

>Yesterday: Nick Hargrave’s column: Ten pieces of advice for political staffers during this coming election

General Election 3) Arron Banks warns Farage that splitting the Leave vote ‘is the wrong thing to do’

‘Mr Banks, who was also a key donor to Ukip when Mr Farage was leader, said: ‘He is being very dog in the manger about it. Like everything in life, what is the point of doing something if you can’t win? I don’t think he will go through with his threat, but if he does, it is the wrong thing to do. He risks splitting the vote in some seats and letting a Lib Dem through the middle to win – a party which wants to cancel Brexit altogether.’ Mr Banks believes it is better for the Tories to win a healthy majority in the Election so that MPs can pass Mr Johnson’s ‘imperfect’ agreement than risk staying in the EU for much longer. He added: If Boris wins a decent majority, he will be in a position of strength to negotiate a good trade deal with the EU. I think Nigel is just playing the deck of cards he has in his hand because he wants to take part in the television debates. But I’m on the naughty step with Nigel. He knows I disagree with him on this.’’ – Mail on Sunday

General Election 4) Claims that Cleverly has been ‘sidelined’ amid candidate selection row

‘The Tories are at war over the selection of candidates in key seats amid claims that their party chairman, James Cleverly, has been “sidelined” by Boris Johnson’s team. Cleverly has in effect been tasked with “going on television”, according to party sources, while the main apparatus of the Conservative campaign headquarters is under the command of his co-chairman Ben Elliot, a nephew of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. At a fractious meeting of the Conservative Party board last week, Elliot handed control of parachuting in candidates to safe seats and key marginals to Dougie Smith, an old party fixer who is close to the prime minister, Johnson’s senior aide Dominic Cummings and Michael Gove, the core team which won the 2016 EU referendum. The “Vote Leave takeover” of the candidate selection led to a “blazing row” at the board and the resignation of Charles Walker.’ – Sunday Times

>Yesterday: Joel Roberts on Comment: Conservatives risk a rout in London if ‘getting Brexit done’ is our only message

General Election 5) Davidson praises Johnson’s defence of the Union from Sturgeon

‘The SNP haven’t unveiled a slogan as yet, but are focussing on a different referendum entirely – with Nicola Sturgeon repeatedly saying she wants another Scottish independence referendum next year and the SNP website declaring ‘it’s time to choose our own future’. Note to Nicola: we did, and you lost. The Nationalists are also nominal supporters of a second EU referendum next year, although they did arrive late at that particular party and, as with everything else under heaven, have now cast that support aside in favour of separation…The Prime Minister and I have had our issues in the past – some genuine, many more confected by excitable news coverage. But Boris Johnson instinctively understands that you can’t move the country forward by re-running the referendums of the past. He is absolutely right to tell Nicola Sturgeon ‘no’ – especially when the majority of people in Scotland don’t want another referendum in the near future. And he’s absolutely right to say – after more than three years of wrangling – that it’s time to Get Brexit Done.’ – Ruth Davidson, Mail on Sunday

  • Are CCHQ digital strategists producing deliberately terrible memes? – Sunday Times
  • Extinction Rebellion hope to unseat Johnson – Sunday Times

General Election 6) Pollard: Moderate Labour MPs have abandoned Britain’s Jews

‘I can point to the minute when I knew with cold certainty that Labour’s so-called moderates would throw Britain’s Jews under the bus. At 3.59pm on July 18, Lucy Powell, an MP I had always thought of as decent and sensible, told the Jewish community that we should, in effect, shut up about anti-Semitism, stop rocking the boat and let her get on with making Jeremy Corbyn prime minister. A group of Jewish peers had just resigned the Labour whip and their former colleagues were contemplating holding a vote of no confidence in the Labour leader. Her response was to post a tweet attacking them for “a deeply unhelpful and divisive move, coming in the week where all our attention should be facing outwards at a new Tory PM”.Not that Ms Powell deserves special opprobrium. The simple truth is that every Labour member who campaigns for their party to win is sticking two fingers up to Britain’s Jews. The issue is binary: you are either working to make Jeremy Corbyn prime minister or you are not.’ – Stephen Pollard, Sunday Telegraph

  • ‘Jewish families will leave the country’ if Corbyn wins – Sunday Telegraph
  • A disgraceful act of appeasement – Dan Hodges, Mail on Sunday
  • Mann accuses the Labour leader of ignoring sexual harassment allegations – Sunday Times
  • Art critic ditched as Labour candidate after dismissing antisemitism concerns – Sunday Telegraph
  • Wilson’s press secretary quits the party – Mail on Sunday
  • Corbyn’s election supremo faces questions about Falkirk ‘vote-rigging’ scandal – Sunday Times
  • They’re right to propose more free childcare – Sunday Times Leader
  • The Opposition pledges energy efficiency improvements to every home – Sunday Telegraph
  • Labour seeks row about Cummings having worked in Russia – Sunday Times

Hoyle pledges to tackle ‘bear pit’ politics

‘In an exclusive interview with The Sunday Times, Sir Lindsay Hoyle pledged to repair what he claims has become a “toxic parliament”. The Labour MP for Chorley says one of his first acts as Speaker would be to hold an emergency summit with party leaders aimed at stamping out “bear pit” politics. Speaking on the eve of tomorrow’s Speaker election, Hoyle said he hoped to heal the wounds inflicted by a divided and fractured parliament, adding: “Of course I don’t want to stop political disagreement, but I don’t want the abuse of each other and I think we have got to close that down quickly and make sure it is a calmer place to be.” Addressing claims that the Conservatives were engineering a “people versus parliament” election campaign, Hoyle, now the deputy speaker, said: “I have been shocked at what MPs are suffering . . . The level of abuse, threats and the potential for those threats to be carried out is beyond the pale. I am worried about the bitterness and worry that candidates are going to have to go out there on dark nights, knocking on doors and facing the electorate.’ – Sunday Times

‘Britain’s FBI’ set to gain new powers to combat organised crime

‘Ministers are planning to give a huge budget boost and sweeping new powers to ‘Britain’s FBI’ to combat the growing threat of online paedophile rings, people traffickers and County Lines drugs gangs. It comes as the National Crime Agency reveals the frightening scale of organised crime in the UK. In an interview with The Mail on Sunday, Lynne Owens, director general of the NCA, said her gangbusters ‘need more capability’ to fight soaring levels of organised and increasingly sophisticated crime. She pointed out that while it was understandable that terrorist threats dominate the headlines, it was ‘chronic and corrosive’ organised crime that ‘kills more citizens every year than war, terrorism and natural disaster combined’. According to NCA intelligence, a staggering 181,000 criminals – the equivalent of the entire population of Ipswich – are members of the 4,500 organised crime groups that span the length and breadth of Britain.’ – Mail on Sunday

US Democrats search in vain for a 2020 Obama

‘More than 13,000 voters, the biggest gathering of Democrats all year, packed into the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, to see a host of 2020 candidates set out, in 10 minutes each, their vision for America, and why they can beat Donald Trump. It was at the same event in 2007 that Mr Obama achieved liftoff, his soaring rhetoric catapulting him to the presidential nomination, and eventually the Oval Office. Twelve years later no-one has broken out from the crowded Democrat field. Polls show Iowa, the first state to vote on Feb 3, is a tight four-way battle between Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg. Hours before the stadium event, known as the The Liberty and Justice Celebration, Beto O’Rourke, one of the early favourites, dropped out after polling anaemically. Mr Trump accused him of “quitting like a dog.”‘ – Sunday Telegraph

  • Bannon talks about the alt-right buying the Telegraph – Sunday Times
  • Dresden declares ‘Nazi emergency’ – Sunday Telegraph
  • The EU pays a Turkish think-tank to call Johnson Islamophobic – Mail on Sunday

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