Brexit

BBC News
Over and over again in this election campaign you hear supporters of Boris Johnson confidently asserting that “he did it with the Brexit deal: he got the EU to renegotiate when most people said it’d be impossible.  “So who cares about those who now openly doubt his ability to get a trade deal done with the EU by December next year? The doubters were wrong before. They’ll be proved wrong again.” Except, it seems to be overlooked that Prime Minister Johnson did not charm or bully or manipulate the EU into reopening the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement and changing the infamous backstop for the Irish border. It was only by breaking a deep red line of his, very late on in the negotiations, that EU leaders wholeheartedly agreed to a “new” Brexit deal (that in reality was almost identical to the one negotiated by Theresa May).

Reuters
Prime Minister Boris Johnson will bolster his argument on Tuesday for leaving the European Union early next year, urging voters to return him to power so Britain can “rip up the EU rule book and write a new one for ourselves”. Just days before Britain votes in an election he called to try to break the deadlock over Brexit, Johnson will repeat his desire to “finally get Brexit done” on a tour of traditionally Labour supporting areas he hopes to win over. He will also hope to get his campaign back on track after he was criticised on Monday for his response to being shown a photo of a sick child lying on a hospital floor and after being heckled by a voter over his election tactics.

Independent
Implementing Boris Johnson‘s Brexit deal by the end of next year will be “major” challenge, a leaked Whitehall memo has warned. The document, drawn up by the Department for Exiting the European Union, raises questions about the prime minister’s promise that the UK will be able to fully leave the EU at the end of 2020. It warns that introducing new infrastructure in Northern Ireland within 12 months will be difficult and says there would be a “legal and political impact” of failing to do so.

Labour Party

Telegraph
Jeremy Corbyn is “much closer” to becoming prime minister than voters think because he could get into Downing Street without winning a single extra seat, a Tory party memo has warned. The memo, dated Dec 7, says the chances of a Corbyn-led coalition  have been “seriously underestimated”, as gains of just 12 seats by the SNP, Liberal Democrats and other minor parties would be enough to remove Boris Johnson from No 10.

Breitbart
Labour’s pledges on immigration would be “disastrous” for the United Kingdom and the Liberal Democrats’ plans “absurd”, the chairman of Migration Watch has told Breitbart London in the first of a series looking at UK parties’ manifestos in the run-up to Thursday’s election. Alp Mehmet, a first-generation migrant and the chairman of the mass-migration sceptic think tank Migration Watch UK, told Breitbart London that it is “absolutely essential that whichever party forms the next government, gets it right on immigration”.

Mail
Jeremy Corbyn’s plans to set up more than 100 new quangos will hit taxpayers with a £13.2 billion bill, according to Tory analysis. Labour’s manifesto contains plans for dozens of new public bodies including a Working Time Commission, a national bus regulator, a National Food Commission, a string of regional development quangos, regional banks and an agricultural wages board. In total, the party is expected to create 108 quangos, at a cost of £13.2billion over the next five years, the Conservatives have calculated.

Sun
JOHN McDonnell on Monday night vowed to ram through Soviet-style plans to seize control of industries within the first 100 days of a Labour government. The shadow chancellor said he will renationalise Britain’s water and energy firms and plonk workers, customers and politicians in charge of them. And the Labour bigwig would deliver an emergency Budget on February 5 as part of his hard-Left plan to totally rewire the economy. Furious business chiefs lashed the barmy proposals, warning they will spell disaster and drive jobs and investment out of Britain.

Sky News
Labour will start nationalising water and energy companies within 100 days of taking office, John McDonnell will announce as the election campaign enters its final 72 hours. The shadow chancellor is expected to use a speech in London on Monday to announce the move, which will include “governing boards” made up of workers, politicians and customers. These boards will have to broadcast their decisions live on social media, he will say.

Express
A LABOUR government would fritter away billions of pounds of taxpayers money to create scores of pointless cash-guzzling quangos, new analysis revealed last night. Jeremy Corbyn’s radical socialist vision for Britain includes the creation of more than 100 new semi-public bodies, costing an eye-watering £13.2 billion over the next five years. This will cost every taxpayer in the country £425. Tory analysis shows that pledges in Labour’s 2019 manifesto alone commit to the creation of at least 108 new quangos.

Mail
Labour’s nationalisation plans were today slammed as ‘bad for customers, the environment and the economy’ after John McDonnell said the party would launch its state takeover of key industries within weeks of taking power. Mr McDonnell used a speech in central London to tell voters that starting the process of taking ownership of water, energy, rail and even broadband would be a key priority in Labour’s first 100 days in office.  He also announced that if the party is victorious at the ballot box on Thursday he would hold his first budget as chancellor on February 5, setting out plans to ‘save the NHS’ and end austerity ‘once and for all’.

Express
BRITISH intelligence officials have launched an investigation into how classified documents relating to US trade talks, unveiled by Jeremy Corbyn during a press conference last week, were first leaked, amid claims the dossier has links to Russia. The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), part of GCHQ – the UK’s intelligence, security and cyber agency – have launched a probe into whether Russian hackers were involved in disseminating the leaked document, first shared on the social network site Reddit.

Conservative Party

Telegraph
The BBC licence fee could be scrapped under a Conservative Government, as Boris Johnson branded it a “tax” and questioned how long such a funding system could be justified. Asked on the campaign trail if he would abolish the licence fee, Mr Johnson said he was “certainly looking at it,” adding that it was a questionable method of funding “in the long term given the way other organisations manage to fund themselves.” He said: “I think the system of funding by what is effectively a general tax…bears reflection.

Mail
The BBC licence fee is outdated and could be axed, Boris Johnson said yesterday. He hinted that the broadcaster, which has clashed with the Conservatives during the election campaign, faces a big shake-up if he wins power. The Prime Minister said he was looking at whether it made long-term sense to impose a £154.50 annual levy on all homes with TV sets. His chief adviser Dominic Cummings is leading a review of the BBC’s funding. As an initial step, the licence fee could be decriminalised, ending the corporation’s power to prosecute non-payers.

Sky News
Boris Johnson has raised the possibility of scrapping the TV licence fee by admitting he is “certainly looking at” the issue. As he continued campaigning in the North East ahead of Thursday’s general election, the prime minister questioned “how long” the current system of funding the BBC can be justified. He also claimed the BBC should “cough up” and fund free TV licences for over-75s.  But Mr Johnson stressed he was keen not to create policy “on the hoof” in the last few days of the election campaign.

Mirror
The Prime Minister said he was “certainly looking at” abolishing all TV licences – casting doubt on the corporation’s funding as he toured target seats in the run-up to Thursday’s general election. Speaking in Washington Tyne and Wear, he said: “You have to ask yourself whether that kind of approach to funding a TV, a media organisation still makes sense in the long-term given the way other organisations manage to fund themselves – that’s all I will say

Mail
A number of Remain campaigners such as Gina Miller have set up tactical voting websites to try to persuade supporters to defeat the Tories and stop Brexit – despite its democratic mandate. But tactical voting can work both ways. There are a large number of voters who want Brexit. There is also a very large body of voters who want to stop Jeremy Corbyn reaching No 10. Both these groups can vote tactically – in the first case to block Remain candidates getting into the Commons, and in the second to elect whoever is best-placed to defeat the Labour candidate in their area in Thursday’s election.

Ireland

Independent
Ireland’s government has stepped in to clarify the Brexit deal after Boris Johnson was accused of misleading voters over the nature of his agreement. The prime minister had claimed that there would be no checks or controls on goods crossing the Irish Sea under the treaty he negotiated with Brussels. Mr Johnson was accused of lying to voters after he repeatedly insisted that there would be no checks, despite the deal’s actual content. But on Monday, Ireland’s foreign minister Simon Coveney intervened, telling public broadcaster RTE that it was “clear” that the new deal includes checks.

Independent
The DUP leader Arlene Foster has accused Boris Johnson of a “betrayal” over Brexit, saying he “broke his word” that a withdrawal agreement would not include a customs border in the Irish Sea. Ms Foster, whose party propped up the current Conservative government, defended standing alongside Mr Johnson since he entered No 10 and said it was “right for the leadership of unionism in Northern Ireland to work with the prime minister of the day”. Asked if Mr Johnson’s Brexit deal represented a “betrayal”, she told the BBC’s Today programme: “I think it says more about the person who broke their word, than me and leadership of the unionist party, the betrayal.”

Mirror
Boris Johnson has been accused of breaking his word over his commitment to protect the union between Great Britain and Northern Ireland by the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party. Arlene Foster said her party was “once bitten, twice shy” over its relationship with the Tories after feeling let down by the PM’s deal. Mr Johnson said yesterday that ‘”there’s no question of there being checks on goods'” travelling between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK or the other way around.

Express
BORIS JOHNSON’s Brexit deal would lead to “high levels” of customs checks on goods passing between Northern Ireland and Britain, according to another leaked Government document. The paper from the Department for Exiting the EU (Dexeu) highlights official concerns about the potential checks after Brexit and the timescale in which to get a new system set up. It follows similar warnings in a Treasury analysis leaked last week. Mr Johnson insists his Brexit plan is a “great deal” and has repeatedly denied there will be any checks on the on between Northern Ireland and Britain.

Wales

ITV News
Are we at a tipping point in Welsh politics? Ordinarily the answer to that question would veers towards a “No” but it’s just possible that when Wales votes on Thursday it will deliver something seismic. Labour look set to win in Wales, no change there, but the win might come with some heavy losses. The latest YouGov Poll for ITV Wales and Cardiff University suggests the Conservatives could finish with as many as 16 seats – double the number they achieved in 2017.

LibDems

iNews
The Liberal Democrats’ priority was to deny Boris Johnson a Commons majority and stop the “madness” of the Tory and Labour plans for Britain, one of the party’s highest-profile defectors has said. Sam Gyimah, who left the Conservatives over Brexit, admitted the best the Lib Dems can hope for is to dent Mr Johnson’s lead and stop him pursuing a hard Brexit. Speaking to i, he also called on other centrist Tories to join him in abandoning “the Johnson train” – claiming that the “fundamental values of liberal democracy” are under threat at the election.

Reform Party

Breitbart
Nigel Farage has registered a new party, the Reform Party, should Boris Johnson take the UK out of the European Union under his proposed withdrawal agreement, which Farage says will plunge the country “back in crisis by June”. The new Reform Party would set its sights on addressing structural issues in British politics, such as abolishing the House of Lords and making changes to the voting system. The party’s other main focus would be to ensure that Prime Minister Johnson delivers a proper Brexit.

EU

Guardian
Campaigners for EU citizens have launched a scathing attack on Boris Johnson over his claims that EU nationals who made Britain their home have treated the UK like “their own” country for too long. They say his remarks have moved some of their members to tears as they suggest the 3.4m who have settled in the UK have somehow abused freedom of movement laws. In a letter to the Guardian, the3million said: “We did not invade our new home countries, we had to fulfil certain criteria upon arrival to make sure we did not become a burden.

Telegraph
Germany has a giant “Corbyn problem” of its own. The Social Democrat base has been captured by hard-Left youth activists and has repudiated the core policy positions of the party leadership and Germany’s post-war consensus. The difference is that the venerable SPD is not in opposition. It is for the time being the second pillar of Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition, with “co-determination” powers over economic policy and the strategic direction of Europe.

Telegraph
Its main industry is in freefall. Its political system is descending into chaos. The banking system is in crisis, and consumer demand is stuck in the doldrums. Which country? It is, of course, Germany. With every week that passes there are more and more signs of a deep malaise in its economy. The nation once known as Europe’s powerhouse, and the locomotive of the entire eurozone, is slowly turning into its sick man instead. That is partly a German story, of course, but it is also a global one.

Hospital parking

Telegraph
Hospitals are charging relatives more than £100 to visit the sick amid record charges of more than £250 million a year, an investigation reveals. One in three NHS trusts increased their prices in the last year, with overall charges rising by 10 per cent, the findings show.  Campaigners criticised the “rip-off” fees which they said amounted to a tax on being ill. The investigation of 144 NHS trusts came alongside a survey of almost 8,000 patients and visitors who recently used hospital car parks.

Sun
HOSPITAL bosses raked in record sums in car parking charges last year – as one in three sites hiked their prices. New figures show that NHS trusts made £254million in 2018/19, up ten per cent on the previous 12 months. Campaigners slammed the “rip-off” fees as a tax “for being ill”, and called for their axing as it emerged some visitors are paying more than £100 a time. The Tories have pledged to make parking free for those in greatest need, including the disabled, parents of sick children staying overnight and staff working nights.

Star
Hospitals across England raked in more than £254million from parking charges in the past year. It is up 10% on the previous year and a record high. One in three trusts increased the cost of parking at their sites last year.  Patients and visitors blasted the “rip-off” and ­“extortionate prices”. A poll found 86% of them said parking caused stress. Nearly half said nobody should have to pay to park at a hospital, while a third said they struggled to find a space ­during a visit.  One man said: “I spent over £102 to visit my wife.”

Rail travel

Times
Three classes of travel will be reintroduced to Britain’s railway as part of the new service on the west coast mainline. The new operator of the intercity route between London and Scotland, Avanti West Coast, is planning to introduce premium economy-style fares within the next three years to give passengers more travel options. It is expected that the new tickets will be priced between existing first and standard classes — replicating the system already offered by airlines.

Mail
Third class train travel is set to return to Britain for the first time since the 1950s as standard-tier is bumped down to make way for a ‘premium economy’ carriage with bigger seats. The new middle-way experience will allow passengers to treat themselves to an upgrade without having to fork out for the luxuries in first. This extra class will be part of a souped-up service from Avanti West Coast which on Sunday replaced Richard Branson’s Virgin Trains on the West Coast Main Line.

HS2/Heathrow

Times
Boris Johnson cast doubt on two big transport projects as he entered the final leg of the election campaign, saying he still wanted to lie down in front of the bulldozers at Heathrow and that the case for HS2 deserved further scrutiny. Asked whether he would support the third runway, he said: “Heathrow is a private-sector project which is yet to satisfy obligations it has to meet on air quality and noise pollution.” He went on to address his famous vow that he would physically block its construction, telling LBC: “I don’t see much sign of any bulldozers yet . . . I would have to find some way of honouring that promise. It might be technically difficult to achieve.”

Terrorism

Mail
Free counter-terrorism training is being made available to the general public to teach them how to react to a major attack. The online programme, devised by counter-terrorism operatives and security experts, The online programme, was previously only available to staff who worked in crowded areas like shopping centres and entertainment venues. The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) said the decision to make the training public was not connected to the London Bridge terror attack – but added that the atrocity was a ‘stark reminder’ of the ‘ongoing threat and need for vigilance’.

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