Boris Johnson has threatened a major shake-up of Channel 4 after the Conservatives accused the broadcaster of “conspiring with Jeremy Corbyn” to shut them out of a televised debate. The Tories made a formal complaint to Ofcom on Thursday night alleging Channel 4 breached the Broadcasting Code by refusing to allow Michael Gove to take part in the debate on climate change. Mr Gove was turned away after Channel 4 News said the programme was for party leaders only. Instead, the Prime Minister was represented by a melting ice sculpture of a globe in what the Conservatives deemed “a provocative partisan stunt”.
Boris Johnson has gone to war with Channel 4 after the broadcaster replaced him with an ice sculpture at its debate on climate change last night. The prime minister threatened a review of the channel’s public service broadcasting licence over “a pattern of bias”, and his party made a formal complaint to Ofcom over what it called a “provocative, partisan stunt”. Channel 4 accused him of behaving like Donald Trump and said threats to broadcasters were a “slippery slope”. Jeremy Corbyn told the debate that he turned his central heating on only last week because “I don’t like to see the waste of energy that goes with it”.
Five of the main party leaders clashed tonight in the first ever general election TV debate devoted solely to the climate. Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage were no-shows to the hour-long Channel 4 special, which began with a heartbreaking video of a koala killed by fire. But Jeremy Corbyn , Jo Swinson, the SNP’s Nicola Sturgeon, Green Sian Berry and Plaid Cymru’s Adam Price all turned up. And they went on to talk about insulating homes, the merits of wind power versus nuclear and the need to fly less around the world. Not to mention the hotly-debated target to get to net zero carbon emissions. For Labour it’s an aim by 2030; for the Greens it’s concrete by 2030.
Opposition leaders attempted to outbid each other on Thursday night with their climate credentials in the first ever election debate focusing on the environmental emergency, in which the absent Boris Johnson was replaced by a melting ice sculpture. In place of the prime minister, Channel 4 placed an ice sculpture, representing, they said, the emergency on planet Earth. A second ice sculpture took the place of Brexit party leader Nigel Farage, who also refused to take part. The Conservatives accused the broadcaster of bias for not allowing Michael Gove to take Johnson’s place, accusing them of “conspiring” with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to block the party from making their case.
The Conservative Party is embroiled in a row with Channel 4 over the broadcaster’s decision to “empty chair” Boris Johnson during its election debate on climate change last night. Minister Michael Gove offered to take his place, but the broadcaster said the invitation was for leaders only. The party wrote to Ofcom saying placing an ice sculpture on the PM’s podium was a “provocative partisan stunt”. Labour has accused Mr Johnson of “hiding from scrutiny”. Urging the regulator to take action against Channel 4, the Conservative Party accused the broadcaster of breaking its duty to be impartial and citing other alleged examples of bias.
Michael Gove stormed the Channel 4 debate on climate change last night, demanding producers let him stand in for Boris Johnson. The Prime Minister Boris Johnson had refused to take part in Thursday’s debate on climate change, but Gove offered to step in yesterday – only for the broadcaster to say they’d ’empty-chair’ the Conservatives. In an unprecedented move, the Minister for the Cabinet Office turned up at Channel 4’s offices in Westminster, central London, with his own camera crew saying that as a former Environment Secretary he should be allowed to take his place in a video streamed to his Twitter followers. After being denied entry, he said Jeremy Corbyn and other rivals denied him entry and were more prepared to debate a giant ice cube than a Conservative after the Tories and the Brexit Party were replaced by ice sculptures due to both Johnson and Nigel Farage deciding not to take part.
The Conservatives are threatening a review of Channel 4’s broadcasting remit following a row that saw a melting block of ice stand in for Boris Johnson during a climate change debate. The prime minister was branded “a coward and a bully” by Labour after the Tories complained to Ofcom about Thursday night’s debate and accused the broadcaster of “conspiring with Jeremy Corbyn”. Mr Johnson refused to take part in Channel 4’s debate, and the broadcaster refused to accept his underling Michael Gove as a stand-in, stating that Mr Gove was “not the party leader”. In place of the prime minister, Ben de Pear, editor of Channel 4 News, said the broadcaster would put “two ice sculptures [that] represent the emergency on planet Earth”.
Figures from seven major political parties will be quizzed in a live BBC election debate later. Senior members of the Tories, Labour, Lib Dems, SNP, Greens, Plaid Cymru and the Brexit Party will take part in the debate chaired by Nick Robinson. Each will have opening and closing statements and they will face questions from the audience in Cardiff. It will be broadcast on BBC One, the BBC News Channel and streamed on the BBC News website from 19:00 GMT. Channel 4 hosted a live debate on climate change on Thursday, but the Conservative Party and the Brexit Party declined to take part prompting a row between the party and the broadcaster.
THERE are just 14 days to go until the December 12 election and the bitterly-fought campaign is its climax. Here is all the latest from the polls. Registration to vote has closed, and the electoral must now decide who to throw support behind. The Conservatives have sought to highlight Labour’s inability to manage Brexit, while the Labour Party has gone hard on the Tories’ plans for the NHS. Follow Express.co.uk below as we track the latest from the opinion polls ahead of the December 12 snap election.
The Conservatives and Labour have redoubled their efforts to woo Brexit voters after a polling model for The Times indicated that they held the key to the election. Boris Johnson will rally voters for a final push to “save Brexit” and Jeremy Corbyn will attempt to shore up support in Labour’s so-called red wall, which has been revealed to be crumbling fastest in Leave areas. Jo Swinson, meanwhile, made her most personal attack yet on Mr Johnson as all three parties changed tactics in response to the YouGov research that put the Tories on course for a majority of 68.
Remainers appear to be rallying behind Labour and Jeremy Corbyn despite the leader’s toxic image, polling shows. Mr Corbyn is currently performing dismally in net approval ratings as the least favourable leader of the main parties, but recent YouGov data appears to show something of a reverse in his fortunes. As support for the Liberal Democrats flounders, Remainers and those who voted Labour or Lib Dem in 2017 seem to be warming once again to Labour as the vote looms. For the first time since July the Labour leader now enjoys a positive net approval rating among 2017 Labour voters, providing the first sign that Labour may be able to rebuild their 2017 voter coalition.
Labour is poised to reshape its general election strategy with a direct appeal to Leave voters amid concerns about the scale of the Conservative lead. Shadow cabinet members who would back leaving the EU under Labour’s version of a Brexit deal such as Ian Lavery, the party chairman, are expected to tour seats in the so-called red wall that are at risk of being lost to the Conservatives. The YouGov MRP projection for The Times, released yesterday, showed Labour winning 211 seats, its second worst postwar defeat, with Jeremy Corbyn’s total only two above Michael Foot’s in 1983. The party would lose 44 seats directly to the Conservatives.
LABOUR was accused of “taking voters for fools” last night after the party launched a desperate last-ditch attempt to win over Brexit supporters ahead of the general election. With opinion polls forecasting a trouncing for Labour candidates in Leave-backing heartlands, Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign chiefs scrambled to try to convince Eurosceptic voters that the party wants a revamped Brexit deal. And in a sign that the strategy is already being tried in some parts of the country, it emerged that Ed Miliband told voters in his heavily Leave-supporting constituency that he had voted nine times for an EU departure deal.
Boris Johnson has served notice that he intends to clip the power of the courts in what leading lawyers said was revenge for outlawing his attempt to suspend parliament. The prime minister is understood to have insisted that the Conservative party manifesto include a promise of constitutional reform so that he could claim a mandate to reform the Supreme Court and House of Lords. A little-noticed section of the manifesto, published this week, states that “after Brexit we also need to look at the broader aspects of our constitution: the relationship between the government, parliament and the courts; the functioning of the royal prerogative”.
The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) will seek further changes to Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal, if he remains prime minister after the general election. Leader Arlene Foster said the number of DUP MPs elected would determine “the shape and direction of this country”. The party, which won 10 seats in the 2017 general election, launched its manifesto in Belfast on Thursday. The DUP opposes elements of the Brexit deal relating to Northern Ireland. It has been strongly critical of the revised plan because it would see Northern Ireland treated differently from the rest of the UK.
Emmanuel Macron was left isolated by the leaders of other Nato countries on Thursday after he defended his claim that the organisation was “brain dead”. The French President’s stark appraisal of the transatlantic alliance was given short shrift by EU allies who want to bind Nato countries closer together in the face of threats from Russia and other aggressors. Ahead of a Nato meeting on the outskirts of London next week which will be attended by President Donald Trump and the leaders of the other 28 member countries, President Macron claimed his remarks served as a “wake-up call” to spur the alliance into redefining its strategic goals and asking “who’s the enemy?”
A “climate and environment emergency” was declared by the European parliament yesterday ahead of a United Nations summit in Spain next week. The European Union must cut its carbon emissions by 55 per cent in the next decade, according to a motion passed by MEPs by 429 votes to 225. The move, sponsored by President Macron of France, is symbolic, allowing the EU to take the moral high ground at the 12-day COP25 UN climate summit in Madrid. Pascal Canfin, a French MEP and member of the French leader’s Renew Europe bloc in the EU assembly, said that the declaration would underline European division with Donald Trump, who has pulled the US out of climate change targets.
The European Parliament has voted to declare a ‘climate emergency’. This is part of an ambitious plan by incoming European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen for the EU to become the world’s first Zero Carbon entity. The vote was opposed by the European Climate Realist Network, which argued that ‘unjustified panic and alarm could pressure MEPs into supporting costly policies that will hurt European families, businesses, and Europe’s economic stability and competitiveness.’
EMMANUEL MACRON’S ambitions of setting up a European army to defend the continent as a unified force have been dealt a blow by incoming EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen. The former German defence minister, who was formally approved by MEPs to replace Jean-Claude Juncker in a vote on Wednesday, has poured cold water on the French president’s military plans. During a debate on NATO, the president-elect said the EU would “never become a military alliance”. She also stressed the importance of NATO for European countries ahead of the organisation’s meeting of world leaders in London next week.
Net migration from the EU has fallen to its lowest for 16 years as fewer people come to work and more return home, official figures show. They show overall net migration fell by 37,000 to 212,000, driven by the reduced number of those from the EU. EU net migration fell from 74,000 to 48,000 in the year to June, after peak levels of more than 200,000 in 2015 and 2016 before the Brexit referendum. It is now at its lowest since 2003 when it stood at 15,000, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) says.
Italian police said Thursday that they had seized weapons and far-right propaganda material from the homes of 19 suspected extremists who were hoping to form a Nazi party in the country. The Polizia di Stato said that searches had taken place in 16 cities and towns, including Milan, Genoa, Livorno, Turin, Padua and Verona. It was not immediately clear how many people, if any, were arrested and police gave no estimate of how many people were members of the self-styled Italian National Socialist Workers Party. Authorities said the raids, dubbed “Operation Black Shadows,” stemmed from “the monitoring of extreme right-wing local groups all united by the same ideological fanaticism and intending to constitute a pro-Nazi, xenophobic and anti-Semitic movement.” They added that some suspects “had a vast amount of weapons and explosives at their disposal” while others tried to recruit new members by posting anti-Semitic and Holocaust-denying material on social media.
John Bercow has said he helped stop a no-deal Brexit and played a “handmaiden role” in the process. The former Commons Speaker said he “facilitated” Parliament’s push to force Boris Johnson to delay the UK’s departure from the EU beyond Oct 31. Speaking in an interview with La Repubblica, Mr Bercow said Brexit is “the biggest foreign policy blunder in post war period.” Mr Bercow suggested he supports a second EU referendum and said: “I don’t see how having more democracy can be undemocratic.”
The Government has failed to recruit enough new maths, science and languages teachers – after missing secondary school targets for the seventh year running. The Department for Education figures, published yesterday, will renew fears about a shortage of qualified staff in key subjects across the country. Teaching unions have warned of looming problems amid rising numbers of secondary school pupils. This year, just 43 per cent of the required new physics trainees have been recruited, along with 62 per cent in modern foreign languages.
THE Tories last night branded Labour a threat to our children’s future, as the PM unveiled plans to drive up school standards by giving Ofsted more cash and powers. Boris Johnson, visiting a school in Chulmleigh, Devon, yesterday announced a £10million funding boost for the education watchdog so it can carry out longer and more thorough inspections. Under the blueprint Ofsted visits will be extended from two to three days — with the extra time used to focus on pupil behaviour, tackling bullying and extra-curricular offerings. The watchdog will also trial unannounced inspections where teachers are given no prior warning, to make sure the ratings it hands out are a “true reflection” of reality.
Ofsted would be given powers to carry out “no-notice” inspections under Conservative proposals to improve standards and discipline in schools. Boris Johnson wants the watchdog’s inspectors to be allowed longer visits and the right to arrive at schools without having to inform them a day in advance. The Tories also pledged to give Ofsted £10 million in additional funding and remove the exemption for outstanding schools from inspections. The approach is in direct contrast to that of Jeremy Corbyn, who has pledged to scrap Ofsted and replace it with a light-touch system run by local councils. Mr Corbyn claims that Ofsted inspections place too much stress on teachers and that the system being drawn up by Labour would provide “supportive investigation” instead.
Schools will face tougher checks that include Ofsted inspectors arriving in classrooms without notice, Boris Johnson has pledged. The Prime Minister also wants to extend the length of inspections in secondary and large primary schools from two days to three. The extra day would focus on behaviour, bullying and extra-curricular activities such sport. Rules will also be changed so that schools rated ‘outstanding’ are no longer inspected on a less frequent basis. The Tories have said they will give the education watchdog an additional £10million funding so that it can boost the number of inspectors and run trials of the no-notice checks. At present schools are notified by lunchtime the day before.
HUNDREDS of thousands of commuters and party-goers face 27 days of Christmas strike misery after talks between unions and South Western Railway collapsed. Militant RMT members, who are backed by Jeremy Corbyn, are due to walk out from Monday. Morning rush-hour services will be slashed to 15 compared to the usual 42. It is thought the strike action could cost up to £25million per working day. South Western (SWR) serves about 600,000 passenger journeys a day, linking Waterloo to London suburbs and the Home Counties. Talks were held over the past two days but ended without agreement.
Plague outbreaks in the remote north of China have led health officials to install temperature scanners at airports and checkpoints on main roads in an attempt to stop the spread of the disease. A new plague case was reported yesterday in Inner Mongolia when a herder in an area where the virus had not been recorded fell ill. That brought the number of confirmed cases to four. The herder was in a stable condition and those who came into contact with him were quarantined, officials in Ulanqab, the northern region of Inner Mongolia, said. Local governments are scrambling to eradicate rats and their fleas, which transmit the infection. All people and traffic leaving the province are being checked for signs of fever.