Newslinks for Wednesday 13th November 2019

Prime Minister pledges ‘clean energy revolution’

Boris Johnson will promise a “clean energy revolution” as one of the prizes of Brexit as he says a Tory government would spearhead the drive to tackle climate change. Making the first policy-driven speech of the election campaign, the Prime Minister will say that only by leaving the EU “can we truly unleash Britain’s potential”. Mr Johnson will make the televised speech on Wednesday at an electric car plant to showcase the world-leading technology being pioneered in the UK that can support a “high skill, high wage” economy… Having spent several days attacking Labour’s spending plans, Mr Johnson will steer the conversation back onto Brexit by championing the benefits of leaving the EU.” – Daily Telegraph

  • The best green election policies – The Sun

More:

  • Johnson aims for ‘marmite vote’ in video – The Times

…as Corbyn plans eye-watering fuel duty in ‘war on motorists’

“Jeremy Corbyn plans a war on motorists — forcing them to slash 60 per cent of trips within ten years. An internal Labour party paper reveals punishing new measures to slash road use. They include huge hikes in fuel duty and company car tax, mandatory road pricing and charges to park your vehicle at work. Reducing motorway speed limits so cars go slower and pollute less is also proposed and all planned road improvements will also be binned. At the annual party conference in September Labour defied expert warnings and backed Britain to go carbon neutral by 2030. The Tories seized on the document to insist the plans will hurt already struggling road commuters the hardest.” – The Sun

  • Britain set to miss 2020 environmental goals – FT

Johnson vows to end ‘Brexit groundhoggery’

“Boris Johnson is to use his first set-piece speech of the election campaign to stress a familiar roll-call of core policies, including a pledge to “end the groundhoggery of Brexit”, spend more on the NHS and cut crime. Speaking at an electric vehicle plant in the West Midlands, Johnson is due to combine touting the Conservative offering with a vehement condemnation of Labour, saying Jeremy Corbyn’s party would condemn the UK to the “intellectual cul-de-sac of far left Corbynism”. The entry of the prime minister to the full electoral fray after a relatively quiet start to his campaign comes after he starred in the Conservatives’ first election broadcast, an informal walkabout chat with Johnson made for social media consumption.” – The Guardian

  • Labour’s EU policy is simply dishonest – Daniel Finkelstein, The Times

>Today: Video: WATCH: Johnson’s first election broadcast. “Let’s get Brexit done – and unleash the potential of this whole country.”

Tories challenged over towns fund which favours their marginals

“The Conservatives have been accused of short-changing the poorest communities in favour of comparatively affluent towns to boost their election prospects. The government promised that the multibillion-pound towns fund would “unleash the full economic potential of more than 100 places and level up communities throughout the country”. However, 32 towns on the list fall outside the 300 worst-off in England according to rankings from the Office for National Statistics. Analysis by The Times reveals the extent to which money has been directed towards wealthier areas that are marginal Conservative-held or target seats.” – The Times

  • Military to be sent to English flood areas – FT
  • Future flood victims could get up to £10,000 for defences – The Times

Comment:

  • Floods are a warning to every would-be MP – Matthew Parris, The Times

Griffiths pulls out of nomination bid and backs wife

A disgraced former Tory minister who sent 2,000 texts to two barmaids behind his wife’s back has announced he will not be standing in the forthcoming general election. Andrew Griffiths, 49, said on Facebook that he would not be standing for Burton, the Midlands constituency that he has represented for the past nine years. Mr Griffiths resigned as a minister 15 months ago after sending a barmaid and her friend £700 and offering to rent a flat to meet for sex. He apologised over the incident and was later cleared of any wrongdoing after an investigation into his conduct. In his Facebook post, he said that he was going to take a step back from “front-line politics”, but that he would now be backing his wife, Kate, for selection as Burton MP.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Party suspends 25 members for posting racist material – Daily Mail

>Today: MPs Etc.: Meet the candidates hoping to form the 2019 Conservative Parliamentary intake

Tories pick senior Johnson allies for plum constituencies

“A series of senior aides to Boris Johnson are poised to enter parliament next month after being selected to fight safe Conservative seats. The prime minister’s Brexit adviser, business adviser and political secretary are all almost certain to move from Downing Street on to the green benches after the election, along with senior advisers to Dominic Raab and Rishi Sunak. Last night Andrew Griffith, Mr Johnson’s chief business adviser, was selected to fight Arundel and South Downs. Nick Herbert, who has held the seat since 2005, is standing down. At the last election he had a 40 per cent majority over Labour. Before joining Downing Street Mr Griffith was chief financial officer and chief operating officer of Sky. He was formerly the Conservative candidate in Corby in the 2001 and 2005 general elections, finishing second both times.” – The Times

  • Ex-aide to De Piero to fight her old seat as a Conservative – Daily Mail

Henry Hill: CCHQ must strike a careful balance between favoured candidates and local roots

“There are good reasons why CCHQ might want to play an active role – for example, the Tories’ progress in returning black and ethnic minority MPs is due almost entirely to the selection of BME candidates in safe seats. But both 2015 and 2017 hold warnings for the Conservatives about the dangers of excessive meddling, and of the limitations of using such meddling as a short-term alternative to genuinely diversifying the Party’s electoral appeal. For example, in 2015 we found that a significant majority of newly-elected MPs who had taken their seats from another party enjoyed strong local connections to their constituencies. This also held true for the much smaller number of gains made in 2017.” – Daily Telegraph

Gauke to run as an independent

“David Gauke, a Conservative cabinet minister only four months ago, today appeals to the party’s voters to deny Boris Johnson the chance to deliver a “very hard Brexit” as he announces that he is standing as an independent candidate. The former justice secretary told The Times it would be “no bad thing” if “traditional, long-standing” Tory backers lent their votes to the Liberal Democrats on December 12, but said he had the best chance of denying the Conservatives a victory in his constituency of South West Hertfordshire. Mr Gauke, 48, also endorsed for the first time calls for a second referendum, arguing that there was no longer any chance of uniting the nation around a “relatively soft Brexit”.” – The Times

  • He claims UK is on track for a ‘very hard Brexit’ – Daily Express
  • Tory MPs fear Johnson is ready to sacrifice southern seats – FT

More:

Labour plan to squeeze rich to boost NHS funding…

“Labour is promising to spend £6 billion a year more than the Conservatives on the NHS by taxing the rich. Repairs to crumbling hospitals and GP surgeries, and upgrades to scanners and other equipment are also promised through a 50 per cent increase to infrastructure budgets financed by more borrowing. Staff training and public health are promised £1 billion each. Analysts said that the cash would be a welcome boost that could help to start cutting waiting lists but would not immediately allow key targets to be hit. The Tories argued that Labour plans for a four-day working week would make its NHS proposals unfeasible and more than cancel out the extra funding.” – The Times

Comment:

  • Invest to stop people getting ill in the first place – Jonathan Ashworth, Times Red Box

>Today: Ryan Bourne’s column: Why billionaries are a sign of a fair society

…but face probe over ‘fake’ ad on Tory plans

“Labour is facing a humiliating probe over its ‘fake news’ photoshop stunt claiming the Tories will send Donald Trump £500million of NHS money each week. The party has been slammed for putting out a doctored image of Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg in front of a fake blue bus, claiming the Tories would ‘fund US drug firms’ rather than the NHS as part of a UK-US trade deal. The PM has repeatedly insisted the NHS is not up for sale in any trade deals after Brexit, and the claims about drug prices going up have been debunked by fact-checkers. And Labour could be forced into an embarrassing climb-down over its clumsy photoshop, which is supposed to ape the controversial ‘£350m’ bus used by Vote Leave during the Brexit referendum campaign.” – The Sun

Opposition accused of ‘hamming up’ cyber attack

Labour has been accused of deliberately “hamming up” the seriousness of a cyber attack on its digital platforms in order to make political capital out of it. Jeremy Corbyn claimed the party had been the target of “a very serious” attack, while Labour general secretary Jennie Formby described the incident as “large-scale and sophisticated”. Meanwhile Labour MPs implied the attack had been the work of a hostile nation, or even a “dirty tricks” campaign to help the Conservatives, and used the opportunity to pile pressure on the Government to release a report on alleged Russian interference in elections. However the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), to which Labour reported the incident, considered it so low-tech and inconsequential that the agency refused to investigate, saying it did not pass its lowest “Category 6” threshold needed for action to be taken.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Party hit by second attack – FT

Australia claim Corbyn is a threat to the western alliance

“Australia would be forced to “substantially reduce” sharing vital intelligence with the UK if Jeremy Corbyn became Prime Minister, according to the former High Commissioner to the United Kingdom… Alexander Downer, Australia’s former High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, has warned that Australia will have to reduce intelligence shared with the if Mr Corbyn becomes Prime Minister.  Speaking to the National Press Club in Canberra, Mr Downer said: “Under a Corbyn government, they will abandon the support for the Western Alliance and steer a completely different foreign policy and security policy direction to such an extent that I think we would be unwise to continue the intelligence-sharing relationship with a Corbyn-led Britain of the kind that we’ve had under Gordon Brown and Tony Blair and so on over the years.”” – Daily Express

  • French yearn for decisive Tory win to kiss Brexit goodbye – The Times

Editorial:

  • Corbyn’s support for Morales justifies fears – The Times

>Today: Daniel Hannan MEP’s column: Castro. Chávez – and now Morales. That these tyrants are Corbyn’s heroes should make us very, very frightened.

>Yesterday: Stephen Booth’s column: An independent UK must decide swiftly on its preferred place in the world

Liberal Democrats claim they could unseat Thornberry…

Emily Thornberry is at risk of losing her seat to the Liberal Democrats due to Labour’s ambiguity over Brexit, it was claimed on Tuesday, as Jeremy Corbyn faces his own “Ed Balls” moment. The shadow foreign secretary, who is seen as a potential successor to Mr Corbyn by party moderates, is said to be one of several candidates deemed “at risk” in London. Ms Thornberry’s Islington South and Finsbury constituency, which neighbours Mr Corbyn’s seat,  is one of the most pro-Remain constituencies in the country and would be considered a major scalp for the Lib Dems. A senior Lib Dem source told The Daily Telegraph they had seen a significant swing away from Labour in recent months due to concerns among Remain voters over Mr Corbyn’s approach to Brexit.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Odds also favour the party in Tory-held Cheltenham – FT

…as their Canterbury candidate resigns to unite the Remain vote

“The Liberal Democrats face a revolt from a local party over plans to replace a candidate who unilaterally stood down in a marginal Labour-held seat, saying he wanted to avoid the “nightmare” of handing the constituency back to the Conservatives. Tim Walker announced in an article for the Guardian that although he did not trust Jeremy Corbyn on Brexit, he wanted to give Rosie Duffield, the Labour candidate who took Canterbury from the Tories for the first time in 2017 by just 187 votes, the best chance of winning. Almost immediately afterwards, a party spokesman said Walker would be replaced “in due course”. Nominations for the 12 December election have to be finalised by Thursday afternoon.” – The Guardian

  • Why I’m stepping aside for Labour – Tim Walker, The Guardian

>Today: ToryDiary: Vox pub: Cornish voters wonder whether they can trust the Prime Minister more than the Lib Dems

Banks urges Farage to pull out of Labour-held seats

“A key ally of Nigel Farage is pressing him to pull out of Labour-held seats at the general election, warning that there are only “48 hours to save Brexit”. Arron Banks, who along with the Brexit Party leader was one of the self-styled “bad boys of Brexit”, urged Mr Farage not to fight Conservatives in marginal Labour constituencies. Mr Farage stood down in 317 Tory-held seats on Monday after weeks of pressure from his fellow eurosceptics not to split the Leave vote on December 12. However, he said he would fight on the 300 seats won by Labour and other parties in 2017. He now faces growing calls from Brexiteers to also withdraw from Labour-held seats needed by Boris Johnson for a Conservative majority in the Commons.” – The Times

Analysis:

  • Farage should run in just 20-30 seats – John Longworth MEP, Daily Telegraph
  • Withdrawal is a tonic for the Tory troops – Matt Chorley, The Times
  • Pacts won’t turn this into a Brexit election – Rafael Behr, The Guardian
  • Has this move let the Brexit Party be dismissed as ‘Turquoise Tories’? – Asa Bennett, Daily Telegraph

Editorial:

  • Take the peerage, Farage – The Times
  • Brexit Party leader should swallow his pride – The Sun

>Yesterday:

Co-author slams Government’s HS2 report

“The HS2 review has failed to scrutinise the project’s ballooning costs properly and has produced an unbalanced report, its deputy chairman has said. Lord Berkeley, a Labour peer, said that he “cannot support” the conclusions or recommendations of the review into the high-speed rail network. He said spending on it could rise to £103 billion, twice the present budget. The comments were made in a letter to Douglas Oakervee, the former HS2 chairman who was appointed by Boris Johnson in August to lead the independent review. A draft of the final report, revealed by The Times this week, calls for the government to commit itself to the full rail scheme, despite admitting that it is “not affordable” within its £56 billion budget.” – The Times

  • Scrapping it wouldn’t be popular in the North, but… – Christian Wolmar, The Sun
  • Warped review still hasn’t convinced me to back HS2 – Philip Booth, Daily Telegraph

>Today: David Simmonds in Local Government: I’m a supporter of railways, but HS2 is a misguided scheme

Bercow to rush out book on ‘friends and enemies’

“Money-grabbing former Speaker John Bercow has written a tell-all autobiography – which will be published just three months after he retired. The book ‘Unspeakable’ – which was announced less than two weeks after he retired – will divulge details from the Remainer Speaker’s political career and how he made “friends and enemies.” His memoir comes after he already signed up to a lucrative after dinner speaker agency which charges over £25,000 a gig. He was blasted for rushing it out – even though he is politically irrelevant – with the book set to be released in February.” – The Sun

News in Brief:

  • The Brexit Party can still trip the Tories – Henry Hill, CapX
  • What if Nigel Farage has a point? – Philip Patrick, Reaction
  • How much impact will Farage’s retreat really have? – Graham Stewart, The Critic
  • Could national service save higher education? – Mary Harrington, UnHerd
  • Help us champion freedom – Jack Powell and Matt Gillow, 1828

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