Duke of York ‘steps back’ from royal duties

“The Duke of York has stepped down from public duties after crisis talks with the Queen and the Prince of Wales following his television interview over his relationship with the sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Prince Andrew said he was withdrawing from his official life because the controversy had become “a major disruption” to the work of the royal family. The duke’s decision to become the first member of the royal family to in effect resign from duty because of his growing unpopularity came after he talked with the Queen, Prince Charles, who is on tour in New Zealand, and other family members. Buckingham Palace said it had been his “personal decision”, which followed days of discussion with senior members of the family culminating in a face-to-face meeting with the Queen at the Palace yesterday.” – The Times

  • Queen sacked him and stripped him of salary – Daily Mail
  • Duke authored his own downfall by going public – Daily Telegraph
  • Charities deal the fatal blow – The Times

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Johnson v Corbyn 2) The quickfire questions. “Is Prince Andrew fit for purpose?” Both leaders dodge the question.

Labour Launch 1) Corbyn sets out plans to ‘sweep aside Thatcher’s legacy’…

“Labour will promise to sweep aside anti-strike laws and reverse Margaret Thatcher’s flagship right to buy policy as Jeremy Corbyn launches the party’s manifesto. The Telegraph understands that a “major” focus of Labour’s prospectus for government due to be announced on Thursday will be employment rights and repealing Conservative laws. Having vowed to repeal the Trade Union Act within 100 days of taking power, Labour is expected to set out detailed plans to reduce voting thresholds for strike action as well as introducing electronic and workplace ballots. The manifesto is also expected to include proposals for a major expansion of collective bargaining, the practice of negotiating minimum workers’ rights and pay for whole industries.” – Daily Telegraph

  • 100,000 council and 50,000 ‘genuinely affordable’ homes a year – The Times
  • Corbyn to ‘seize land at lower prices’ – The Sun
  • Opposition to issue ‘housing revolution’ pledge… – FT
  • …which would cost £75 billion per year – The Sun
  • Labour leader says only a few would need to pay more tax – Daily Mail


  • A hung parliament is the best we can hope for – David Aaronovitch, The Times

Labour Launch 2) Manifesto promises ‘one million green jobs’

“Labour is promising to create 1m green jobs in the energy sector and through nationwide home refurbishments in a bid to tackle the climate crisis. Environmental protection is expected to be a central theme of Jeremy Corbyn’s general election manifesto, launched in Birmingham today, with new jobs promised through insulation upgrades, offshore wind and carbon capture developments. The focus on tackling climate change while also supporting mass job creation is likely to be a resolution of tension between ambitious de-carbonisation targets set by Labour activists at the autumn party conference and union concerns about job losses.” – The Guardian

  • Labour ‘declare war on wealth creators’ – Daily Express
  • Plan for windfall tax on oil sector draws union outcry – FT
  • Voters don’t believe Corbyn can deliver – The Times


  • Peston ‘rips apart’ union chief over Labour’s spending plans – Daily Express
  • Butler ‘lost for words’ after car-crash interview – Daily Mail
  • Corbynista candidate faces probe over council flat – The Guardian


  • Free broadband will do nothing to address the digital skills deficit – Mercy Muroki, Times Red Box
  • Media lets Labour leader’s serial lies go unchallenged – Stephen Glover, Daily Mail
  • Voters don’t trust Corbyn to deliver popular policies – James Johnson, The Times

Liberal Democrats: Plan to invest £130 billion ‘rebuilding Britain’…

“Jo Swinson pledged to tax frequent flyers, launch a £130 billion capital investment programme and legalise cannabis as she set out the policies she hopes will halt the Liberal Democrats’ slide in the polls. Publishing the party’s manifesto yesterday, Ms Swinson said that her party would invest £18 billion in health and education while boosting the economy by revoking Article 50 and ending the “uncertainty” of Brexit. She admitted that the Lib Dems were suffering a squeeze in the polls but called on voters to reject the “two old parties”, accusing them of “gambling with Britain’s future” because of their policies on Brexit. Party strategists privately believe that the best result it can achieve is to increase its seats and hope that Boris Johnson fails to win a majority.” – The Times

  • They promise a £50 billion ‘Remain dividend’ – FT
  • But do spending promises add up? – The Sun
  • UK industry welcomes business pledges – FT
  • Swinson acknowledges poor poll performance – Daily Express

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Swinson – “No form of Brexit will be good for our country”

…as Swinson announces intention to legalise cannabis

“Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson revealed she smoked cannabis while at university, saying: ‘I enjoyed it.’ The Scottish MP, 39, said she would not be one of the hypocritical politicians who dodged the question or pretended any dalliances with drugs were regretted. She told Newsnight: ‘I’m not going to be one of those people who says “I tried it once and I didn’t really inhale”. ‘Yes, I enjoyed it. And it wasn’t unusual… lots of people do it and we should enable them to do it more safely.’ The interview came hours after she unveiled her party’s election manifesto, which contained plans to legalise cannabis.” – Daily Mail

  • A party on the verge of crashing and burning – Sherelle Jacobs, Daily Telegraph
  • Brexit is too important for piety, it’s time for tactical voting – Martin Kettle, The Guardian
  • Swinson is supposed to be their trump card, but is she a busted flush? – Michael Deacon, Daily Telegraph


  • Lib Dems show a business-friendly face – FT
  • For all their bravado, they’re floundering – Daily Telegraph
  • Lib Dem limbo – The Times

>Yesterday: MPs Etc.: Election Battlegrounds 6) The South West

Johnson hints that he could press ahead with HS2…

“Boris Johnson has given the strongest hint yet that he will approve the High Speed 2 rail project if he wins the election, but said he was looking for savings in a budget that could run to “the thick end of £100bn”. Mr Johnson, speaking on the campaign trail in the north-east of England, said HS2 was a project of “great national importance”; it is also of special importance to Tory target seats in this election. The UK’s flagship infrastructure project – which aims to improve travel times between the north and the south of England by creating high speed rail connections between some of its biggest cities – has been hit by a decade of political and financial problems with the cost of the proposed railway soaring by £26bn to £88bn.” – FT

  • Tories ready to axe Oxford-Cambridge road over cost fears – The Times

>Today: ToryDiary: Johnson’s critics will get nowhere by calling him a liar

…as he pledges tax cut for millions of workers…

“Boris Johnson has pledged to give 31 million workers a tax cut by increasing the threshold at which they start paying national insurance to £12,500. The prime minister inadvertently revealed the pledge, which is likely to form the centrepiece of the Conservative manifesto when it is launched on Sunday, at an engineering company in Teesside yesterday. The move would bring national insurance in line with the threshold at which people start paying the basic rate of income tax, pulling 2.4 million people out of the tax system altogether. The Tories said that their “ultimate ambition” was to raise the threshold to £12,500, which would save workers £460 a year. However, Mr Johnson declined to say when that threshold would be reached.” – The Times

  • Tories to delay tax breaks for high earners – FT
  • Campaign secret spilled on the factory floor – The Times


  • Pledge to help renters buy home with fixed-for-life mortgage – The Times


  • He needs a dynamic manifesto that radically improves public services – The Sun

>Today: Andrew Smith in Comment: The next Conservative Government can deliver for the North by investing in regeneration.

…and confirms Tory plans to protect family homes from social care bills

“The Tories will pledge to protect family homes from the sky-high cost of care bills. Their manifesto will outline a ‘three-point plan’ to deal with the social care crisis that has bedevilled politics for decades and almost cost Theresa May the last election. The blueprint, published next week, will include a promise to spend an extra £1billion a year on social care over the next parliament. The manifesto will call for cross-party talks to find a long-term solution to shore up the care system and ‘give every person the dignity and security that they deserve’. The Tories say in those talks they will have ‘one red line: we will protect the family home’. It means that, for the first time, the children of those going into care will be confident they will inherit their family home – rather than having to sell it to pay huge care bills – after a parent dies.” – Daily Mail

  • Three older people an hour dying for want of proper care – The Guardian

Matt Hancock: We shall help the elderly keep their dignity

Shield“This is a long-term problem, and it requires a long-term solution. Successive governments have failed to properly address this issue, in part because people have used social care as a political football ahead of elections. More recently, the impasse in Parliament over Brexit has made it harder to make any progress. We must break this deadlock and move things forward. We need a long-term solution for social care that rises above Party politics. So the approach that we Conservatives will take is the one we think is best designed to bring people together and solve the problem once and for all. In our manifesto we will commit to an ambitious three-point plan to address the social care challenge and give people across our country the dignity and security they deserve.” – Daily Mail

Patel ‘to double’ maximum sentences for assaulting police

“Priti Patel is to double the maximum sentence for assaulting a police officer and other emergency service workers to two years to combat a surge in attacks on frontline staff. It will be part of a major review of the way the criminal justice system deals with assaults on police and emergency workers following evidence by The Telegraph showing the average jail term for the offence is just two months. The Government has already raised the maximum from six to 12 months but it has failed to stop the “tide” of attacks on police that earlier this year saw Thames Valley police constable Andrew Harper killed when he went to investigate a burglary. Figures show the number of assaults causing injury to a police officer rose by 27 per cent this year to 10,399, the equivalent of 28 a day.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Digital campaign masterminds ruffle feathers – FT

Mercer leads calls for investigation into illegal voter registration

“Universities and Labour councils have been accused of registering thousands of students to vote without their knowledge in a bid to boost left-wing turnout. An investigation in uni city Plymouth has so far identified 850 students and under 17-year-olds on the electoral register who had not completed their own applications. Of those, 352 had already received polling cards from the Labour council before sceptics blew the whistle. It is illegal to register ­anyone else to vote. Three Tory candidates in the South West last night wrote to the Electoral Commission to ask for a full investigation amid suspicions the same process is being carried out nationwide… The illicit Plymouth registrations affect three constituencies. Two – Plymouth Moor View and Plymouth Sutton and Devonport – are expected to see close fights between Tories and Labour.” – The Sun

>Today: Mario Creatura in Local Government: In defence of the professional politician

Tory candidate suspended over ‘racist remarks’

“Tory election candidate has been suspended over alleged anti-Semitic, Islamophobic and homophobic comments he made seven years ago. Ryan Houghton, who is standing in Aberdeen North, apologised for any hurt caused by the comments posted on a martial arts forum but insisted they had been taken out of context. Although he remains a candidate, the Scottish Tories said the comments were “unacceptable” and withdrew their support for his campaign while an investigation takes place. The party suspended him after the independence-supporting National newspaper highlighted a post where he argued that there was “no credible evidence to suggest the Holocaust did not happen”.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Labour suspend campaign ‘poster-boy’ over antisemitic slurs – The Sun
  • Extinction Rebellion disown co-founder over Holocaust comments – The Times

Sturgeon insists Corbyn will grant her another referendum on independence

“Nicola Sturgeon today insisted Jeremy Corbyn will bow to her demand for a new Scottish independence referendum – saying he would not ‘turn his back’ on the chance to be PM. The SNP leader said the Labour leader would prioritise getting into No10 if the election on December 12 results in another hung parliament. The comments came after Ms Sturgeon ridiculed Mr Corbyn’s wriggling on the issue of when he would permit a new ballot on breaking up the union. Mr Corbyn has admitted he will not stand in the way of another Scottish independence referendum, but flip-flopped wildly over the timing.” – Daily Mail

  • If Labour continues to equivocate on the Union, it deserves extinction – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Shona Haslam in Local Government: With three weeks to go here in Lanark & Hamilton East, it is only going to get busier, colder…and crazier.

Bercow ducks interview over questions of bullying

“John Bercow cancelled an interview with the BBC after producers refused to accept his demands that he would not be asked questions about allegations that he had bullied staff. Mr Bercow’s agent from JLA, the corporate speaking agency, tried to set restrictions on questions before an interview with Hardtalk, on the BBC World News channel. An email obtained by Buzzfeed News said: “I have only one comment about the proposed subject matter. For good reasons John will not agree to answer questions about bullying allegations or bullying in general. So as long as you confirm today (in writing, please) that Stephen [Sackur, the presenter] will stay clear of that topic altogether we’re good to go ahead.” In a subsequent email Mr Bercow’s agent cancelled the interview: “Just to wrap this up… it’s definitive ‘no’ from John Bercow as a result of this morning’s conversations.”” – The Times

News in Brief:

  • Remain’s last stand: the collapse of the anti-Brexit campaign – James Forsyth, The Spectator
  • If Johnson can keep grinding out score draws, he’ll have won the debates – Henry Hill, The Article
  • A debate where no one won, and the voters lost – John Ashmore, CapX
  • Tory Twitter factcheckUK row is media hyperbole – Alastair Benn, Reaction
  • Call yourself a monarchist? – James Kanagasooriam, UnHerd