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Johnson urges voters to give him ‘sensible majority’…

“Boris Johnson compared Nigel Farage to a “candle-seller at the dawn of the age of the electric lightbulb” last night as he appealed to voters to hand him a “sensible majority”. The prime minister launched the Conservative election campaign with a rally in Birmingham at which he laid out his battle lines. Voters faced a “very stark and very clear” choice between the Tories and Labour, he said. Mr Johnson said that he had been forced to go to the country because parliament was paralysed. “For three and a half years we have had nonstop political manoeuvring to stop Brexit and thwart the will of the people,” he said. He accused Mr Farage of criticising his Brexit deal because “they have a terrible sense they are about to lose their market”. He said that the deal delivered “everything I campaigned for during the EU referendum”.” – The Times

  • He fires starting gun at ‘Trump-style’ rally – Daily Telegraph
  • Prime Minister ‘puts travails aside’ at ‘boisterous’ launch – FT

More:

  • Stewart warns Johnson of what failure to win a majority means for Britain – Daily Express
  • Downing Street fears ’embarrassment’ over Russia report – The Times

>Yesterday:

…as he sparks fresh rift over Brexit

“Boris Johnson sparked a fresh rift with Conservative moderates after confirming MPs will not be given a vote on whether to extend the Brexit transition period. The Prime Minister binned a pledge from Justice Secretary Robert Buckland to ask the House of Commons if we should leave at the end of 2020 even without a trade deal in place. Asked if Parliament would get a say, his official spokesman said: “No, the simple answer is we are not extending the transition period. “There is no reason whatsoever to believe a trade agreement wouldn’t be ready by that date.” The remarks prompted a furious reaction from Tory rebels, who accused Mr Johnson of breaking a “clear promise”. Ex Cabinet minister David Gauke fumed: “Looks like the Conservative message is ‘we’ll be out on WTO terms by 2021’. I have to say – that is reckless.”” – The Sun

  • Johnson unveils day-one plan in blow to ‘outdated’ Farage – Daily Express

Comment:

  • Europe, as well as Britain, is breaking up – Martin Kettle, The Guardian

>Yesterday:

Cairns resigns over link to disgraced candidate

“A Cabinet minister became the first to quit the Government during a general election campaign for over 100 years yesterday as the Conservatives stumbled over their attempts to seize the political agenda. Boris Johnson would have expected the television cameras to be trained on his Prime Ministerial jaguar as he was driven to Buckingham Palace to meet the Queen to start the formal campaign at lunchtime. Yet instead the focus was on Alun Cairns, the barely known Welsh Secretary, who had dramatically quit over his links to a Conservative assembly election candidate accused of sabotaging a rape trial. It crowned a chaotic 48 hours for the Tories, which saw Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Commons Leader, forced to apologise for insensitive comments about the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Rape victim tells him to quit as an MP too – The Times

More:

  • Bridgen says Rees-Mogg is too clever to have died at Grenfell – The Sun
  • Grenfell comments caused ‘huge distress’, admits Tory chair – The Guardian
  • Labour’s simple message is winning on social media – The Times

Comment:

  • This isn’t even close to being the worst Tory campaign. Yet. – Paul Ovenden, Times Red Box
  • Tory gaffes haven’t changed the fundamentals – James Johnson, Daily Telegraph
  • Why I empty-chaired Cleverly on live TV – Kay Burley, Times Red Box

Editorial:

>Yesterday:

Javid to ‘borrow for schools’…

“Sajid Javid is expected to announce plans to loosen the Conservatives’ borrowing rules as he pledges today to “unleash Britain’s potential”. The chancellor is preparing to raise government borrowing to fund extra spending on schools, hospitals, transport and infrastructure projects. The Tories are expected to exclude capital spending, such as investment in infrastructure, from borrowing targets to ensure that big projects can be funded. Mr Javid will reveal the new fiscal rules in a speech in the northwest of England today and warn that Labour will “make the country sick and unhealthy again”. He will say that Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, are like the “anti-vaxxers of economic policy”, a reference to those who campaign against inoculations for children.” – The Times

  • Chancellor omits green pledges in guidance to regulators – FT

>Today: David Willetts in Comment: The Conservatives can win back young voters by delivering property-owning democracy

>Yesterday: Phoebe Griffith in Comment: To end austerity finally, Johnson needs more than a quick splash of populist spending

…as Tories attack Labour over spending

“Jeremy Corbyn’s plans to impose 1970s-style trade union powers could cost Britain a whopping £9.5billion a year, new analysis claimed. The Tory Party said Labour’s radical plans could see a staggering 40 million working days lost to strikes every year. Their stark warning comes as militant barons from the railway and postal unions have threatened to plunge Britain into Christmas chaos with industrial action. The two unions, the RMT and CWU, have donated millions to Labour under Mr Corbyn. Mr Corbyn has vowed to reintroduce sector-wide collective bargaining – union powers which once led to massive industrial strife.” – The Sun

More:

  • Corbyn says Labour will ‘chase down’ tax-dodgers – The Guardian
  • McDonnell’s aide calls for fuel duty hike – The Sun
  • Labour MP ‘humiliated’ over incorrect figures – Daily Express

Angus Dalgleish: Labour’s four-day week would be terminal for the NHS

“When I read the reports that Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party is proposing a four-day working week, I could not believe any supposedly serious politician was contemplating something so fundamentally stupid. Yes, I can see it might buy Labour some cheap votes at the ballot box, especially from those won over by the economically illiterate, but electorally compelling, footnote — that a shorter week (32 hours) would involve no loss of pay. But this completely ignores the fact that reducing the hours of public-sector employees — doctors, nurses, teachers, firefighters, police officers, etc — would impose an extra cost on the Treasury, because the workforce would have to expand to ensure productivity and service delivery.” – Daily Mail

Antisemitism 1) Ex-Labour MP urges voters to back the Tories

“Former minister Ian Austin has urged “decent, traditional voters” to back Boris Johnson in the upcoming General Election. He claimed that “Jeremy Corbyn is totally unfit to lead this country” and Labour’s economic policies “would leave our country worse off”. The former Minister for the West Midlands, who resigned the Labour whip in February, admitted: “I’m not a Tory, this isn’t where I want to be.” Mr Austin, the adopted son of a Jewish refugee who escaped the Holocaust, cited the”scandal of anti-Semitism that has poisoned the Labour Party”. He asked: “If you’re not going to do what’s right on a fundamental issue like racism, what are you going to do it on?”” – Daily Telegraph

  • Former minister says Labour has been ‘poisoned’ – The Times
  • Jewish Chronicle’s front-page aimed at non-Jews – Twitter

More:

  • The 55 marginals where Corbyn’s Brexit muddle leaves Labour vulnerable – Daily Telegraph

Antisemitism 2) Williamson blocked from being a candidate

“Chris Williamson has been banned from standing for Labour in the general election after he was suspended for comments on antisemitism. He was one of three former Labour MPs told yesterday by the party’s ruling body that they would not be candidates on December 12. The MP was suspended in February after saying Labour had been “too apologetic” in its handling of antisemitism allegations. He was briefly readmitted but was suspended again in June after an outcry from colleagues. He asked the High Court last month to order his reinstatement but the challenge failed. Mr Williamson, 63, a passionate supporter of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, first won the Derby North seat in 2010 before losing it to the Conservatives in 2015 and regaining it in 2017.” – The Times

  • Two other ‘shamed candidates’ also blocked – The Sun
  • Party accused of ‘student union politics’ in latest candidate row – The Guardian

More:

  • Candidate for Johnson’s seat said 9/11 was an ‘inside job’ – The Sun
  • Labour campaign gets hit by four body blows in a day – Daily Mail

Comment:

  • Williamson’s departure presents Labour with a huge dilemma – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph

Watson resigns as Labour deputy and MP

“Tom Watson has quit as Labour’s deputy leader and will not stand in the general election after a series of clashes with Jeremy Corbyn on antisemitism, Brexit and the party’s direction. Mr Watson, who has been MP for West Bromwich East since 2001, insisted that the decision was “personal, not political” but he has been increasingly isolated since the 2017 general election tightened Mr Corbyn’s hold on Labour. His resignation comes barely more than a month after supporters of Mr Corbyn pushed to abolish the role of deputy leader, a move that Mr Watson said at the time was an attempted “drive-by shooting”. Mr Watson had faced intense criticism in recent months over his role in promoting the claims of a Westminster paedophile ring by the fantasist Carl Beech, who is now serving 18 years in jail for perverting the course of justice.” – The Times

  • Corbyn gives Watson a lukewarm farewell – Daily Mail
  • How he lost all credibility as his Westminster paedophile ring claims unravelled – Daily Telegraph
  • ‘Good riddance’, says Proctor – Daily Mail

Comment:

  • Voice of the moderates goes out with a whimper – Henry Zeffman, The Times

>Today: ToryDiary: Watson quits. Will Labour’s moderates follow his example – or endorse an extremist as Prime Minister?

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Vox pub in West Bromwich: “I will definitely vote for Boris, liar, cheat and fool!”

New poll shows how Brexit Party could put Corbyn in Downing Street

“Analysis of a new opinion poll has shown how Nigel Farage’s Brexit party could put Jeremy Corbyn in No10. Mr Farage is enjoying a four-point surge in the polls as the Tories dipped by one per cent and Labour by two. It comes as Mr Farage is visiting Workington today to woo over those Labour voters. He said the idea of ‘Workington man’ as the target to win over to get a majority is a “load of patronising old cobblers”… The Brexit Party is currently enjoying an 11 per cent share of the vote, while Boris Johnson has the backing of 38 per cent of Brits and Mr Corbyn has 25 per cent, according to YouGov. He’s warned Mr Corbyn he is fighting for Labour’s 5million Brexit voters – making the party’s Leave-voting constituencies across England and Wales his “key” focus.” – The Sun

  • Farage faces questions over dumped candidate for Workington… – The Times
  • …who is now backing Johnson – The Sun

Comment:

  • Tories’ botched game plan in the Labour heartlands could cost them the election – Sherelle Jacobs, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: MPs Etc.: The Election Battlegrounds 2) West Midlands

Liberal Democrats to reveal ‘remain pact’ in 60 seats…

“The Liberal Democrats are to unveil a Remain pact in up to 60 seats, as Jo Swinson predicted an electoral breakthrough by the party could see more MP defections to them. Ms Swinson said the pact could make a “significant difference” as the Lib Dems, Welsh nationalists or Green Party stand down seats to allow the Remain candidate with the best chance of winning to have a clear run. She said the Lib Dems would be the biggest beneficiaries, with potentially tens of thousands of extra voters swinging behind the party’s bid to revoke Article 50 and block Brexit… The pacts have been co-ordinated by campaign group Remain to Unite and will be unveiled by Heidi Allen, the former Tory who joined the Lib Dems, but is now standing down as an MP.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Corbyn refuses to rule out scrapping Brexit in exchange for power – The Sun
  • Greens give up on 50 seats to beat Brexit – The Times
  • Plaid Cymru also taking part – The Guardian

More:

  • Bercow finally ends the mystery surrounding his views on Brexit – The Sun

…as they launch an ‘audacious bid’ for Raab’s seat

“Jo Swinson today launched an audacious Liberal Democrat bid to oust Dominic Raab at the general election as she took her battle bus to the senior Tory’s Surrey stronghold. Mr Raab, the Foreign Secretary, has been the Conservative MP for Esher and Walton since 2010 and in 2017 he held onto the seat with a massive majority of more than 23,000 votes. But the Lib Dems believe they could spring a surprise in the constituency on December 12 because of the seat’s pro-Remain majority. At the 2016 EU referendum Esher and Walton backed Remain by 58 per cent to 42 per cent and Ms Swinson is hoping to capitalise on that pro-EU support on polling day.” – Daily Mail

News in Brief:

  • In Scotland this election will be about much more than Brexit – Alex Massie, CapX
  • Johnson tries to get back on track – Jack Dickens, Reaction
  • Patriotic Labour voters should back the Prime Minister – Ian Austin, The Spectator
  • How much has Brexit divided Britain? – Robert Ford and Philip Cowley, UnHerd
  • Regional papers unite around ‘Manifesto for the North’ – Twitter

7 comments for: Newslinks for Thursday 7th November 2019

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