Newslinks for Friday 15th November 2019

Brexit Party 1) Candidates revolt in key marginals

“Nigel Farage faced a rebellion within his party yesterday as parliamentary candidates, including one of his MEPs, defied him and pulled out of the general election. Rupert Lowe, an MEP for the West Midlands, said that he was “putting country before party” as he withdrew at the last minute with an attack on Mr Farage’s electoral strategy. Mr Lowe had been due to contest Dudley North, one of the most marginal seats in England… No Brexit Party candidate was registered in Canterbury either, a key target for the Tories where Labour has a majority of only 187. In Hove another Brexit Party candidate, Andy Wood, also said that he was putting the national interest first as he withdrew and endorsed the Conservative candidate.” –The Times

  • Wheels come off Farage’s campaign – Daily Telegraph
  • He claims the Tories offered peerages… – FT
  • …and ‘intimidating’ his candidates… – The Sun
  • …as he accuses Tories of dirty tricks – Daily Telegraph
  • Widdecombe ‘offered role in talks to stand down’ – The Guardian

>Today: ToryDiary: The campaign, week two. “Small earthquake in Chile. Not many dead.”

Brexit Party 2) Experts refute Farage and say its presence hurts the Tories more

“Nigel Farage is harming the Tories more than Labour, a polling expert warned yesterday. The Brexit Party leader last night refused to withdraw candidates from seats Boris Johnson needs for a Commons majority. But as the deadline for nominations passed, at least two of his candidates refused to hand in their papers to avoid splitting the pro-Brexit vote. Sir John Curtice, a professor of politics at Strathclyde University, yesterday said the election is a ‘binary choice’ between Mr Johnson and his Brexit deal or a second referendum under Jeremy Corbyn… The elections guru challenged Mr Farage’s claim that his party is mainly winning over Labour voters who would never back the Tories.” – Daily Mail

  • Brexit Party would have cost me my seat, says Smith – The Times
  • Furious voters ‘will spoil ballots’, claims lawyer who mediated talks – Daily Telegraph
  • Prime Minister transforms Tories into the party of Leave – The Times

Comment:

  • Johnson’s opponents have stacked everything in his favour – John Kampfner, Times Red Box
  • Farage betrays the Brexit Party’s latent instability – Gaby Hinsliff, The Guardian
  • How Leave and Remain alliances are shaping the election – Robert Shrimsley and Miranda Green, FT
  • Poor Farage sounds like a jilted ex – Michael Deacon, Daily Telegraph

Editorial:

  • We admire Farage, but only a Johnson majority will deliver Brexit – The Sun

>Today: Iain Dale’s column: Worryingly for the Conservative Party, it’s unclear how Tory Remainers will vote

Johnson pledges investment in ‘left-behind’ towns and axed rail lines

“Boris Johnson is promising to revitalise “left behind” high streets through tax cuts for pubs and shops and reversing some of the Beeching rail cuts to branch lines. Towns have been promised a share of a £150 million fund to help local people to buy up pubs and post offices threatened with closure. Shop, cafés and pubs will be given a 50 per cent discount on business rates, up from 33 per cent, saving them an average of £1,400 each. Pubs have been promised a £1,000 a year extra discount as the Tories try to target disaffected voters who feel that their communities are in decline. The Conservatives are focusing on working-class Leave voters in Labour seats as they lose support in the Remain-voting south. ” – The Times

  • Prime Minister pledges £280 million for high streets and pubs – The Sun
  • Conservative plan to ‘reverse Beeching’ – Daily Telegraph
  • Train companies handed £400 million of taxpayers’ cash – The Times

More:

  • Northern council leaders demand huge funding rise after floods – The Guardian
  • Johnson’s 20-point lead amongst lower-income voters – Daily Mail

Analysis:

  • Yorkshire floods risk washing away Tory hopes of taking the north – Rob Parsons, Times Red Box
  • Johnson’s slow response to flooding could cost him the election – Robyn Vinter, The Guardian
  • Flooding must not be left to the Environment Agency – Jamie Blackett, Daily Telegraph

>Today: Local Government: Large towns are offering a route to Conservative revival. How can we return the favour?

EU is suing UK after Prime Minister fails to nominate commissioner

“British taxpayers face paying out for a large fine after the EU launched a legal action against Boris Johnson’s government over his failure to abide by the law and nominate a candidate for the new European commission. Despite knowing for weeks that the UK would remain in the EU beyond 31 October, when a new EU executive had been due to be in place, Downing Street failed to put someone forward to join the bloc’s 28-strong top team. Johnson instead belatedly claimed in a letter sent on Wednesday evening that he had been unable to make an international appointment due to purdah rules ahead of the general election on 12 December.” – The Guardian

  • Brussels threatens enormous daily fines – Daily Mail

Hancock warns that NHS investment would ‘vanish’ under Corbyn

“The Tories warned NHS investment would vanish under Jeremy Corbyn in a row over waiting times yesterday. A&E delays have hit a new high, with one in six patients left longer than four hours to be seen. Labour leader Mr Corbyn seized upon the grim figures to bash PM Boris Johnson and accuse the Tories of presiding over an NHS crisis. But Health Secretary Matt Hancock said a Corbyn government would wreck the economy and risk starving the NHS of cash. The Tories have pledged to pump £34billion into the health service by 2024, the biggest cash injection it has had… Hancock hit back as he warned Labour’s leftie plans to give NHS staff a four-day week risked piling yet more strain on the service.” – The Sun

  • Welsh Labour withdraw video over ‘fake nurse’ – The Guardian
  • A&E waiting times increase to the ‘longest ever’ – Daily Mail
  • Will Labour’s spending plans trigger an economic crisis? – FT

Comment:

  • Opposition are desperate to turn the NHS into 2019’s dementia tax, but it’s not working – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Richard Short in Comment: Corbyn rails against the super-rich, but it’s ordinary workers who would bear the cost of his ideas

Labour ‘pledge billions to nationalise broadband’…

“A Labour government would nationalise Britain’s broadband network and offer free internet access to every household and business in the country, the party will say today. Outlining its most radical policy of the campaign to date, John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, will say that Labour would commit £20.3 billion to speed up the introduction of broadband. It would also nationalise BT’s Openreach, which owns the bulk of the full-fibre network. The cost of this commitment is unclear as its shareholders would be compensated at a price fixed by parliament, but Bloomberg has recently estimated Openreach’s value at between £12 billion and £25 billion.” – The Times

  • Conservatives warn against ‘fantasy’ proposals – Daily Telegraph
  • Price of the plan is £56 billion – The Sun
  • Manifesto ‘savaged’ by leading analysts – Daily Express

More:

  • BT shrugs off poll risk to fibre plan… – FT
  • …as it rejects Corbyn’s proposals – Daily Express

Analysis:

  • Radical plan would part-reverse Thatcher’s legacy – Patrick Hosking, The Times
  • Irresponsible promises will hit brutal reality – Martin Wolf, FT

…but are divided on immigration

“Labour’s policy on immigration was in disarray on Thursday after Diane Abbott, the shadow home secretary, appeared to contradict the more hawkish approach of the head of the UK’s biggest union and one of the party’s most influential policymakers. Ms Abbott took to Twitter to insist that the party was “committed to maintaining and extending freedom of movement rights” of the 3m EU citizens living in the UK, just days after Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite said it would be “wrong” to have greater freedom of movement without stricter labour market regulation. The divergent views underline Labour’s deep divisions over immigration, which is expected to be a big issue in the election next month, ahead of Saturday’s “Clause 5” meeting…” – FT

  • Free movement pledge divides the left – The Times
  • Leader insists Labour will not impose ‘arbitrary target’ – The Guardian
  • Corbyn savaged by own candidates in past tweets – The Sun

Comment:

  • Why the Tories should offer amnesty to illegal immigrants – Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph
  • How to detoxify the immigration debate – Philip Collins, The Times
  • Conservative attack hides demise of their own policy – Jonathan Portes, The Guardian
  • Britain should open its doors to the liberty-loving Hong Kongers – Matt Kilcoyne, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: In the new Tory immigration policy, less is more

Corbyn ‘denies he’s a unionist’ as Scottish confusion continues

“Jeremy Corbyn has stated he is “not a unionist” as he came under fire over his shifting position on granting a Scottish independence referendum if he wins the election. The UK Labour’s leader brought the curtain down on a mini Scottish tour with a rally in front of hundreds of supporters in Edinburgh’s McEwan Hall last night, but it was a trip which was marked by controversy. Pro-union opponents attacked his credibility on protecting Scotland’s place in the UK as he again hinted that he could back a referendum as prime minister. And asked if he would “consider himself a unionist” last night, he said: “No… I would consider myself a socialist.”” – The Scotsman

  • Ex-Scottish Secretary: Labour is being punished for ‘ambiguity’ on independence – The Scotsman

Comment:

  • Scottish Tories must get stuck into the First Minister – Iain Martin, The Times
  • Sturgeon may ‘own’ the SNP, but she has few fans outside the party – Alan Cochrane, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday:

Stars attack Labour over anti-Semitism

“Joanna Lumley is among a score of stars warning that electing Jeremy Corbyn would mean giving up the fight against anti-Semitism in a bombshell letter. Anti-Semitism is more central to the wider debate about the future of Britain and ignoring it over Brexit is a dangerous path, the letter argues. Joanna Lumley, Dan Snow, Trevor Phillips and 21 others have signed the letter declaring they cannot vote for Labour in the upcoming election… The letter, published in The Guardian this evening, does not endorse any of the other parties, but has refused to vote Labour on December 12. Mr Corbyn’s leadership has been dogged by accusations of anti-Semitism within the Labour Party and allegations of officials not doing enough to stamp it out.” – The Sun

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: What Johnson said about an independent enquiry into Conservative anti-Muslim hatred

Joan Ryan: Fear, hatred and racism in Labour makes idea of Corbyn as Prime Minister truly frightening

“I disagree strongly with Boris Johnson on Brexit, but I also know that Corbyn is utterly unfit to be Prime Minister. His record as leader offers a frightening preview of the kind of government he would lead. First, he has tolerated racism against Jewish people. From ex-BNP leader Nick Griffin and the former Ku Klux Klan head David Duke, to an assorted bunch of Holocaust-deniers, terrorist-sympathisers and Jew-haters, Corbyn attracts supporters who would disgust and horrify most mainstream party leaders. When anti-Semites flooded into the party after he became leader in 2015, his reaction was one of denial, indifference and foot-dragging.” – Daily Mail

Swinson prepared to demand another election

“Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson has admitted she is willing to throw the country into further chaos in the coming months by demanding another general election if no party receives a majority in the upcoming national vote. Ms Swinson, who is already demanding the UK remain in the EU, will refuse to support with Boris Johnson or Jeremy Corbyn if both fail to secure a majority of seats in the House of Commons , saying she would sooner force the UK into another general election. Asked whether she would back Mr Corbyn in a confidence vote aimed at forming a minority Labour government, she said she would reject him or get her party to abstain in the vote.” – Daily Express

  • Lib Dems require charm offensive to gain tactical votes – Sir John Curtice, The Times
  • The Lib Dem fashion parade – Henry Deedes, Daily Mail

Editorial:

  • Party should be honest about what it will do in a hung parliament – The Times

News in Brief:

  • If Johnson gets a majority, the transition will not be extended – Martin Howe QC, Brexit Central
  • Top ten marginals where Brexit Party could deny the Tories – Alastair Benn, Reaction
  • Why ‘Equal Pay Day’ is nothing of the sort – Morgan Schondelmeier, CapX
  • Beware the creepy male feminist – Douglas Murray, UnHerd
  • Now is the time for the Tories to be borrowing more – Paul Collier, The Spectator

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