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MPR 1) YouGov’s poll suggests a Conservative majority of 68

“Boris Johnson is on course for a comfortable majority, according to a polling model that accurately predicted the election outcome two years ago. The Conservatives would win 359 seats, Labour 211, the SNP 43 and the Liberal Democrats 13 if the election were held today, according to a seat-by-seat analysis based on current polling by YouGov for The Times. That result would give Mr Johnson a majority of 68 as he made gains at Labour’s expense, particularly in the Midlands and north of England. Labour would suffer its second-worst postwar defeat, with Jeremy Corbyn’s total two above Michael Foot’s in 1983. However, the projected margins of victory are below 5 per cent in at least 30 seats predicted to be Conservative.” – The Times

More:

  • The 32,000 votes in 50 key seats Johnson needs for a majority – The Sun
  • How to pollsters predict election results? – FT

Editorial:

>Yesterday:

MRP 2) Cummings warns the election is ‘too close to call’

“A hung Parliament remains “a very real possibility”, Boris Johnson’s most senior adviser has warned, as he insisted the Tories and Labour are much closer than polls suggest. Dominic Cummings voiced fears about complacency costing the Conservatives the election after a seat-by-seat analysis showed Mr Johnson on course for a 68-seat majority. Mr Cummings, who ran the successful Vote Leave campaign with Mr Johnson before being brought into Downing Street, said he had “looked very carefully at the numbers” and predicted Jeremy Corbyn could still become prime minister if the Brexit Party picks up votes in marginal seats… He argued that while the Brexit Party is struggling overall, it is still polling at 10 per cent in marginal seats where the Tories and Labour are neck and neck.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Adviser warns that Labour-SNP pact ‘could sink Brexit’ – Daily Mail
  • Farage risks gifting Labour eight seats – Daily Express
  • Tories outspent online by both Labour and the Lib Dems – FT

Labour:

  • Labour to shake up strategy to appeal more to Leave voters… – FT
  • …but Gardiner says they’d stay in a customs union – Daily Express

Analysis:

  • Time is running out for a Labour revival – Chris Curtis, The Times
  • Labour needs its leave voters too – Owen Jones, The Guardian

>Today: ToryDiary: Why YouGov’s good poll for Johnson may be bad news for him

MRP 3) Grieve, Skinner, Berger, and Umunna set to be swept away

“However, the Liberal Democrats’ predicted disappointing showing overall would see none of its defectors back in the Commons. In Cities of London & Westminster, Chuka Umunna is effectively tied for a distant second place with Labour, behind the Conservatives. The forecast is similar in Finchley & Golders Green, where Luciana Berger is standing. The ex-Tory Sam Gyimah is second in Kensington, but eight points behind the Tories. Fellow former Conservatives Sarah Wollaston, Phillip Lee and Antoinette Sandbach are all also lagging behind Conservative candidates… No independent candidates are forecast to win other than Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the Commons Speaker. Dominic Grieve has the highest vote share of the clutch of ex-Conservative independents, with 28 per cent in Beaconsfield, but that is half of the projected Tory vote share.” – The Times

  • Heseltine appears with Lib Dems to urge tactical voting… – The Guardian
  • …as party adds ‘to stop Brexit’ to ballot papers – Daily Mail

Comment:

  • A shock landslide is suddenly within Johnson’s grasp – Sherelle Jacobs, Daily Telegraph
  • Poll provides little comfort for campaigners – Francis Elliott, The Times
  • British voters face an impossible choice – Philip Stephens, FT

>Yesterday: Lord Ashcroft in Comment: My perspective on the US and UK elections

Johnson tries to wriggle out of austerity

“Boris Johnson says he told predecessor David Cameron his spending cuts were wrong as he sought to mark himself out as a very different type of Tory leader last night. The PM made the claim as he tried to distance himself from almost a decade of his party’s austerity policies. His assertion followed the unveiling of his election manifesto on Sunday, when he pledged to pour billions of pounds more into the NHS, schools and the police. Mr Johnson said: “I remember having conversations with colleagues in the government that came in in 2010, saying I thought austerity was just not the right way forward for the UK.”… Mr Johnson used an interview with The Spectator magazine to claim he was always dissatisfied with the belt-tightening approach. Instead, he drew a stark contrast with his own expansionist plans for the next five years.” – The Sun

  • Prime Minister appeals to Labour voters with spending pledge – Daily Express
  • Tories and Labour accused of breaking budgetary rules – FT
  • Johnson accused of ‘running scared’ of interview with Neil – The Times

Ex-Tory minister questions devolution pledges

“A former Conservative minister who was one of the key architects of the “northern powerhouse” has questioned whether either of the main parties are genuinely committed to devolving powers out of Whitehall. Jim O’Neill, a former Goldman Sachs banker who served as commercial secretary to the Treasury in David Cameron’s government, said the Conservative manifesto was “striking for having very little detail in it”… Boris Johnson has previously promised to “do devolution properly” and “maximise the power of the north with more mayors across the whole of the north”. Asked whether he believed anything Johnson said, O’Neill replied: “I’m chastened by my 17 months as a minister… I’ve had quite a lot of conversations with his people about this stuff and they say all the right things but I’ve heard it before.”” – The Guardian

Momentum accused of ‘dirty tricks’ as Duncan Smith’s office is vandalised

“When Iain Duncan Smith posted an image of his campaign office in Chingford daubed with the words: “Tories Out” and “Tory Cuts Kill”, he expected to provoke a low-key local reaction. Dubbing the people who spray-painted the building with black graffiti on Sunday night “democracy-hating thugs”, he suspected that Momentum activists were “up to their old tricks again”. But if having the door and window of the Chingford and Woodford Green Conservative Association vandalised was not bad enough, it was nothing compared to the hard-left backlash the picture sparked on social media. “Seems perfectly acceptable to me,” wrote John Browning as hundreds of abusive comments began appearing on Duncan Smith’s Facebook page. “Also acceptable would be lining you up against a wall in front of a firing squad.”” – Daily Telegraph

Comment:

  • The left’s self-righteousness is repellent – David Aaronovitch, The Times

Dale Louise Ellman: The antisemitism that drove me from Labour has only got worse

“In October, I left the Labour party after 55 years as a member. I did so because I believe Jeremy Corbyn is unfit to be Prime Minister. This unfitness is encapsulated by his failure to accept his responsibility for the antisemitism crisis which has engulfed Labour, and tarnished its reputation, since he became leader. Nothing that has occurred over the past six weeks has led me to change my mind. In fact, quite the opposite. This election campaign provided an opportunity, albeit a very belated one, for Jeremy Corbyn to take responsibility for anti-Jewish racism in the Labour party… Jeremy Corbyn dismisses the Jewish community’s concerns with contempt. It is inconceivable that he would treat any other minority group in this way. This makes a mockery of his supposed lifelong anti-racist credentials.” – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Corbyn refuses four times to apologise for anti-semitism in the Labour Party

NHS 1) Has Labour’s ‘dead cat’ on privatisation backfired?

“It was meant to be a political ‘dead cat’ – a moment which stopped everyone talking about anti-Semitism in the Labour party and refocused attention on alleged plans by the Tories to “sell off the NHS”. But it did not quite work for Jeremy Corbyn. After all, the moribund feline in question – 451 pages of leaked minutes of six trade talk meetings with the US – contained barely a mention of the NHS. Journalists had been called to the morning press event with Mr Corbyn and his international development secretary Barry Gardiner, amid overnight headlines detailing how Mr Corbyn refused four times in a BBC interview to apologise to Britain’s Jews for his failure to root out anti-Semitism in the Labour Party… The papers showed that while US wanted NHS medicine prices to form part of any trade deal, there was no evidence that ministers had agreed or that the NHS was up for sale.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Corbyn accused of lying to the public – Daily Telegraph
  • Five desperate Labour lies debunked – The Sun
  • Tories highlight six reasons Corbyn’s claims are wrong – Daily Express

Comment:

  • Is the NHS up for sale? That depends how much you trust Johnson – Alan Beattie, FT
  • No smoking gun, but the Tories cannot rest easy – David Henig, Daily Telegraph
  • Corbyn’s fear-mongering on the NHS is contemptible – Stephen Glover, Daily Mail

Editorial:

  • Dossier of lies proves Labour’s rancid campaign is panicking – The Sun

NHS 2) Scottish Nationalists add billions in health spending to to their demands of Corbyn

“Nicola Sturgeon handed Jeremy Corbyn a multi-billion-pound ultimatum in return for propping up a Labour government. The SNP leader demanded he cough up an extra £4billion a year for the Scottish NHS by massively ramping up health spending across the UK. She also ordered him to reverse a £1.5billion a year “real terms” cut to the Holyrood parliament’s budget as part of a pledge to “end austerity”. The nationalist leader said Edinburgh had been denied a further £3billion a year it should have got under its funding formula before ex-PM Theresa May handed extra cash to the DUP to prop up her government in 2017. Finally, she told Mr Corbyn he would have to compensate Scotland for the cost of Tory cuts — which she put at £13.9billion over the past decade.” – The Sun

  • First Minister won’t be drawn on if she wants Labour leader replaced – The Guardian

More:

  • Doctors seek legal guarantee from NHS on pension tax – FT

>Today: David Shiels in Comment: What a Conservative election win and a quick Brexit would mean for the Union

>Yesterday:

Labour leader ‘dodges TV debates’ after disastrous interview

“Jeremy Corbyn has decided not to take part in two television debates this week, it has emerged, in the wake of his disastrous interview with Andrew Neil on BBC One. Sky News was forced to cancel a leaders’ debate on Thursday after Mr Corbyn refused to sign up to the programme, and a seven-way debate between party leaders on the BBC on Friday night will feature Rebecca Long-Bailey, the shadow business secretary, in Mr Corbyn’s place. Sky sources confirmed they had called off the programme after both Boris Johnson and Mr Corbyn declined to take part in a three-way debate with Jo Swinson, the Liberal Democrat leader. Mr Corbyn will instead appear in a Channel 4 debate on climate change this evening, which is unlikely to stray on to controversial issues such as Labour’s handling of anti-Semitism.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Leaked messages show activists trying to drown out aftermath of broadcast – The Sun

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Full video of Corbyn’s interview with Andrew Neil

Corbyn’s pensions giveaway would ‘benefit richest’

“Labour’s £58 billion state pension compensation plan will disproportionately benefit the better off, analysis shows. A quarter of the 3.7 million women the party plans to compensate for rises in the state pension age are in the top fifth of British households by income, the Institute for Fiscal Studies has said. These million women had a disposable annual income after housing costs of more than £37,000, according to the report. Only 16 per cent of the women Labour said are owed “a historical debt of honour” were in the bottom 20 per cent of households, with annual income of less than £13,000. Separate figures from the Department for Work and Pensions show that half of all the women who thought they would retire at 60 but saw the state pension age rise have more than £50,000 of private pension wealth.” – The Times

  • Labour stumbles over tax pledges – FT
  • Opposition’s ‘triple tax whammy’ on millions of families – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: Daniel Hannan’s column: £1 million? £1 billion? £1 trillion? McDonnell is relying on you not knowing the difference.

Labour-run Welsh Assembly votes to extend franchise to foreigners

“Foreign nationals and children aged 16 and 17 will all be able to vote in the next elections for the Welsh Assembly. A new law passed yesterday will let 70,000 teenagers and 33,000 foreigners living legally in Wales vote for the first time in 2021. It does not affect elections for the UK Parliament in Westminster. The bill was backed by Labour, Plaid Cymru and ministers in the Welsh government but opposed by both the Conservatives and the Brexit Party. The final figure of 41 Assembly members in favour of the measure just scraped over the two-thirds majority of 40 votes required by the rules. It succeeded with the help of Presiding Officer Elin Jones, who does not normally take part in votes. The Tories were initially in favour of extending the franchise to younger people, but withdrew their backing after amendments adding foreign nationals.” – Daily Mail

Trump signs bills backing Hong Kong protesters

“Donald Trump has signed two US bills supporting Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protesters, defying calls from China to block the legislation and putting the territory’s special trade status at risk. The president ratified the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act after it was overwhelmingly passed by Republican and Democrat lawmakers, a rare example of bipartisan co-operation. It mandates the US government to re-examine annually Hong Kong’s status and imposes sanctions on anyone who has suppressed human rights in the former British colony. Mr Trump also signed a second bill that blocks new export licences for tear gas, rubber bullets and handcuffs being sent to the Hong Kong police force. China’s foreign ministry condemned Mr Trump’s decision, saying in a statement that Washington had “seriously interfered with China’s internal affairs”.” – FT

News in Brief:

  • Don’t get Corbyn and Sturgeon cheat a second referendum with foreign votes – Dominic Cummings, Blog
  • In an awful interview, two things really stuck out about  Corbyn – John Ashmore, CapX
  • Can I finish? – Ben Kelly, Reaction
  • Should we have just waited for the EU to die? – Peter Franklin, UnHerd
  • Uber’s fate should be left to consumers, not the state – Jack Powell, 1828

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