The Debate: Johnson prepares the ground with four Brexit questions for his opponent

‘The PM and the Opposition Leader go head to head for the first time in the election campaign in an hour long debate on ITV from 8pm. In a bid to set the terms of their crucial joust, the Tory boss last night despatched an appeal for clarity in a letter to the Labour chief. Insisting the public have “a right to know” where Mr Corbyn stands on the major issues which he says his rival for No10 has “ducked, Boris called on him to say: whether Mr Corbyn he will urge voters to back Remain or Leave in the second EU referendum that he proposes; if he will extend or end free movement from the EU, and if immigration will therefore he higher or lower; how much the Labour leader is prepared to keep on paying into the EU’s budget after Brexit in exchange for market access; and how many of Mr Corbyn’s Labour candidates are behind his Brexit policy to renegotiate a new deal and then put it back to the people…Laying down the gauntlet, the PM added in the letter: “Without satisfactory answers to these questions, the public will have no choice but to conclude that Corbyn’s Labour, propped up by the SNP, will mean dither, delay, and uncertainty with two more chaotic referendums next year”.’ – The Sun

The Prime Minister uses the CBI conference to announce he is postponing cuts to Corporation Tax

‘Boris Johnson yesterday dramatically shelved a planned cut to corporation tax – so the Tories can pay for extra NHS spending. The rate paid by firms on their profits was due to fall next April from 19 per cent to 17 per cent. But, in a surprise move, the Prime Minister told business leaders he believed the expected £6billion cost was better spent on priorities such as the health service. Speaking at the Confederation of British Industry conference in London, Mr Johnson justified his decision by saying the UK already has the lowest rate of any major economy. He said: ‘I hope you won’t mind if I also announce today that we are postponing further cuts in corporation tax. And before you storm the stage and protest…let me remind you this saves us £6billion that we can put into the priorities of the British people, including the NHS.’ He added: ‘I hope people understand that it is the fiscally responsible thing to do at the present time.’ – Daily Mail

  • Johnson seeks to spike Labour’s guns – Daily Telegraph
  • The ASI accuses him of ‘ceding ground to socialists’ – Daily Telegraph
  • He argued that passing his Brexit deal would unleash a ‘tidal wave of investment’ – The Times
  • What is each party offering to business? – Daily Telegraph
  • Promise to review business rates fails to convince – The Times
  • There are bridges to rebuild – FT


  • Which to choose, the low tax Brexit certainty candidate, or the indecisive nationalisation fan? – The Sun Says
  • Corbyn is by far the biggest threat to business – The Times Leader
  • The Tories must not abandon the case for free enterprise – Daily Telegraph Leader
  • The City needs to hear how it will trade in future – FT Leader

>Today: Richard Patient on Comment: At last, the Conservatives have realised that the CBI is the voice of big business, not all business

>Yesterday: WATCH: Johnson tells CBI he plans to put corporation tax cuts on hold

Buckland: Life will mean life for child-killers

‘Child murderers will die behind bars under Conservative manifesto plans to ensure ‘life means life’. In a further toughening of sentencing, Justice Secretary Robert Buckland will say they will automatically get a whole life sentence, so they are never released. The move will end the ‘sickening injustice’ of parents having to watch their child’s killer walk free, he said. Currently all murderers automatically get a life sentence, but the vast majority are eligible for parole after serving their minimum term, which is set by the courts. The whole life sentence is reserved for serial killers, or murders with a sadistic or sexual motive. But Mr Buckland, the Lord Chancellor, will announce a change to extend whole life sentences to adults aged over 21 who commit a premeditated murder of anyone under 16.’ – Daily Mail

  • There will also be improved efforts to get more offenders into work after release – The Sun
  • Jodie Chesney’s killer is jailed – Daily Telegraph
  • Tory manifesto commitment not to change the Hunting Act – The Times
  • Labour pledge to close hunting loopholes and deploy more police to enforce the ban – The Guardian

The NHS will pay the tax bills of consultants to ensure they keep working

‘Senior doctors in England will have their tax bills covered by the National Health Service this winter after a pension tax crisis threatened to exacerbate treatment delays. Patients have faced delayed or cancelled operations partly because hospital consultants have refused to take on extra shifts over fears the extra income could trigger six-figure pension tax charges. Under emergency plans expected to cost hundreds of millions of pounds, senior NHS staff delivering front-line care will be granted early access to their pension pots in order to help cover any extra charges in their April tax bill. Each pot will then be topped up by NHS England before they reach retirement. Despite reservations the decision could violate purdah rules — which state that no major government policy changes can be made during an election period — NHS England is expected to press ahead with the plan.’ – FT

  • Other health service workers might not feel fairly treated – The Times
  • Both parties think they can win on the health service – Richard Sloggett, The Times
  • Young people are warned that self-employment is not the Life of Riley – The Times

Johnson guarantees Javid’s position as Chancellor (but won’t be drawn on the rest of the Cabinet)

‘The prime minister delivered a “categorical assurance” that Mr Javid would remain at the Treasury, describing his former leadership rival as “a great guy”. However, Mr Johnson gave himself room for a sweeping post-election reshuffle if he wins, indicating that he would not answer questions on other “personnel at the top of the Tory party”. Mr Javid won a bruising row with the prime minister’s advisers this month over new rules on government borrowing and how much a Conservative government should offer in tax cuts. The chancellor, backed by Isaac Levido, the party’s election campaign chief, insisted that Mr Johnson agree to new constraints in an effort to maintain a dividing line with Labour over fiscal responsibility.’ – The Times

  • Sunak, Jenrick and Dowden are tipped for promotion – FT
  • How I – a former miner – became a Conservative candidate – Lee Anderson, Daily Mail
  • ‘It’s not easy being a Tory in education’ – The Guardian

Corbyn proposes an ‘audit’ of the sins of British imperial history

‘Jeremy Corbyn would launch an “audit” into Britain’s colonial past if he became Prime Minister in a move which could pave the way for hefty reparations. The Labour manifesto will declare war on the nation’s past, with a review of its alleged human rights abuses across the globe. Due to be announced on Thursday, the investigation would assess the impact of British imperialism and the “legacies” it created. Tory critics claimed the planned announcement showed “Labour’s priorities are getting weirder and weirder.” Mr Corbyn has previously admitted being “open” to apologising for slavery, and the move could see his government issue apologies in parliament as well as financial reparations. In September Shadow Equalities Secretary Dawn Butler demanded “consultation hubs” in cities historically associated with the slave trade… Michael Fabricant said: “Labour’s priorities are getting weirder and weirder. They should be apologising to the British public, not for our long gone Imperial past.”’ – The Sun

The Labour leader is challenged at the CBI conference over concerns he is ‘for the many, not the Jew’

‘Jeremy Corbyn was grilled over his personal role in tackling Labour’s anti-Semitism crisis today. The opposition leader was directly asked about the crisis that has overshadowed his party leadership after he addressed the Confederation of British Industry in London. After a speech in which he attempted to placate business leaders’ fears about his nationalisation plans he took questions from the audience. One was from a woman, named last night as Hannah Kaufman, who wanted to know about his plans for workplace diversity. Hannah, who is believed to be from the Patchwork Foundation, bluntly asked him: ‘What are you going to be doing, personally, to demonstrate you care about racism and anti-Semitism in society and show that Labour isn’t just for the many and not the Jew?” – Daily Mail

Senior figures in Labour believe their ‘best hope’ is a minority government

‘Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s best hope of becoming prime minister is to lead a minority government involving smaller opposition parties, according to members of his inner circle. With Labour trailing the Conservatives in the opinion polls, Mr Corbyn’s supporters said that — “barring a miracle” — there was little chance of his party emerging with a House of Commons majority after the general election on December 12. But in the event of a hung parliament, where no party has a Commons majority, Mr Corbyn’s backers think he has a good opportunity to form a minority government. The hurdles are nevertheless formidable: Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson has insisted she will not prop up a Labour government led by Mr Corbyn, and Scottish National party leader Nicola Sturgeon has declared the price of her support to be a new referendum on Scottish independence.’ – FT

>Today: Jesse Norman on Comment: The root of the financial crisis can be traced back directly to Brown and Labour

Swinson becomes less popular the more voters see of her

‘Polling analysis shows that Ms Swinson, 39, is far better known since becoming party leader in July, but almost all of those to have formed a view of her have formed a negative one. The shift has been negative even with Remain voters… Ms Swinson has repeatedly claimed that she could become prime minister after the poll on December 12 and insists that she be treated the same as the Tory and Labour leaders. The Lib Dems’ poll ratings depend heavily on securing positive media coverage. Each month since June YouGov has asked voters how they feel about Ms Swinson. In the days after she became leader half of the public did not know who she was. Among those who did, 21 per cent were positive, while the remaining 29 per cent had an unfavourable view. Four months on, after big events including her first conference as leader, helping to force a general election and adopting a revoke policy on Brexit, voters are unimpressed. About a quarter are favourable, but half are unfavourable. It suggests that those who have found out who she is are unimpressed. Among Remain voters the proportion who are positive has risen from 39 to 44 per cent, while those who are negative is up from 18 to 33 per cent.’ – The Times

  • Lib Dems lose High Court fight for a seat in tonight’s ITV debate – The Guardian
  • She will be in the Sky News debate next month – The Times
  • The Lib Dem leader went down well with the CBI, at least – Henry Deedes, Daily Mail
  • Sainsbury donates to Gyimah’s Kensington campaign – FT

>Yesterday: LeftWatch: Swinson’s ‘bicep-kissing’ strategy does not appear to be working

Silva accuses Prince Andrew of using the N-word in a meeting

‘Prince Andrew used the n-word in conversation with a Downing Street adviser of Sri Lankan heritage during a meeting at Buckingham Palace, it has been claimed. Rohan Silva, who was David Cameron’s key aide on the tech economy, said he had been left “reeling” after the Duke of York allegedly used the phrase “n***er in the woodpile” during a discussion about trade policy in 2012. The allegation is one of several claims that emerged yesterday, raising new questions about Andrew’s judgment after his heavily criticised interview with BBC Newsnight over his links to the paedophile Jeffrey Epstein. Mr Silva, 38, now an Evening Standard columnist, made the claim in an article for the newspaper about the meeting, which he said was attended by himself, Andrew and a Palace aide. Palace sources categorically denied that Andrew ever used the phrase and a legal letter has been sent to the Evening Standard.’ – The Times

Birrell: British police officers play a leading part in Hong Kong’s violent repression

‘At least five British officers in the Hong Kong police have played a leading anti-protest role. These people have been vilified by activists, who accuse them of directing brutal incidents and hound them on social media. A retired British officer told me that they were also dismaying many colleagues. They include Chief Superintendent Rupert Dover, a former public schoolboy seen at the university confrontation, and David Jordan, a commandant who joined the force after leaving the Royal Navy and was also spotted at the scene of the siege… These officers are among the remnants of 900 Britons serving in 1997 when Hong Kong was handed back to China under the “one country, two systems” deal agreed by Margaret Thatcher and now being trashed, to near-silence from our current leaders. Today, the 32,000-strong force contains some 50 expats. At the start of this conflict the police, for all their failings, were not thugs but slowly they have been sucked into more aggressive tactics to serve their Chinese masters. Now police are holding rifles, medics are arrested and some of the brutality is sickening.’ – The Times

  • China seeks to dictate the law to Hong Kong courts – FT
  • The rule of law is in peril – FT
  • A political resolution must be found – Daily Telegraph
  • Business schools think about moving to safer locations – FT
  • Xi Jingping’s failure – Gideon Rachman, FT
  • Beijing will consider the crackdown a price worth paying – Juliet Samuel, Daily Telegraph

News in Brief