Boris Johnson has left the door open to coming out of the EU on World Trade Organization terms next year, after his foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, said it was “absolutely” right to keep a no-deal outcome on the table in trade talks. The prime minister was grilled about Raab’s statement after his cabinet minister appeared to let slip the government’s negotiating plans in an interview on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Tuesday. Johnson shook his head as it was mentioned but then three times declined the opportunity to refute Raab’s position or to tell businesses to stop theirno-deal planning. Asked if businesses should continue spending money getting ready for no deal, he said: “We have a great deal. It’s going to allow us to come out smoothly and efficiently on 31 January.” Pressed that it was actually 31 December 2020 when the danger of no deal occurs, he simply repeated: “We have a great deal that will allow us to come out of the EU smoothly.”
Top political scientists have said a Conservative majority of one will “get Brexit done” – but only after yet another extension. Ahead of next week’s general election, experts said plans for a third Brexit delay are being openly discussed in Downing Street. They said Boris Johnson will immediately look to capitalise on a new-found majority by pursuing a delay “to take the pressure off”. The UK is currently set to leave the EU on January 31 next year. Speaking at a UK in a Changing Europe event at Chatham House in central London on Tuesday, director Prof Anand Menon said: “I am pretty confident that a Tory majority of one gets Brexit done.
The BBC has received a record 24,000 complaints in the past fortnight as the election campaign threatens to erode its reputation for impartiality. The tally includes allegations of bias against Conservatives and Labour as both parties’ activists object to news coverage that they perceive to be slanted against their candidates. Between November 11 and 24, the corporation recorded 24,435 audience complaints, with 17,952 relating to specific programmes. In a normal fortnight fewer than 10,000 complaints are received.
Boris Johnson and the Tories hold a 12 point poll lead over Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party with the general election now just nine days away. A new survey conducted by Kantar between November 28 and December 2 puts the Conservative Party on 44 per cent overall, a one per cent increase on the company’s last poll on November 26. But while the Tories have edged forward, Labour has stalled with the party recording a rating of 32 per cent – the same as the last poll.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party has maintained its nine-point lead over the opposition Labour Party ahead of Britain’s Dec. 12 election, according to an opinion poll published by YouGov for The Times and Sky News on Tuesday. Support for the Conservatives stood at 42%, down one point from YouGov’s previous poll published on Saturday, while Labour was also down one point at 33%.
The Conservatives are maintaining their lead over Labour and voters are predicting a Tory majority at the next election, a new poll shows. Boris Johnson‘s party are ahead of Jeremy Corbyn‘s by seven points on 42 per cent to 35, according to the survey by ICM. It puts the Lib Dems on 13 per cent and Brexit Party on three, with other parties making up the remaining seven. This represents a squeeze on the gap between the two main parties in comparison to a number of other polls, which average out to the Tories having a 10-point lead.
This month’s election is going to “go to the wire” and the final result could be “very, very tight”, Boris Johnson has predicted. The prime minister’s comments came after the double-digit leads recorded by his Conservatives in the early weeks of the campaign dwindled to single figures as Labour gained ground. The remark is likely to be seen largely as an attempt to counter Conservative complacency and persuade voters that the result is not in the bag.
Boris Johnson has said that the election is “very, very tight” as the latest YouGov poll for The Times finds the Conservatives maintaining a nine-point lead but Jeremy Corbyn’s ratings rising. The Labour leader has put on six points since the start of the campaign, with 26 per cent now saying that he would make the best prime minister. Mr Johnson is still ahead on 41 per cent, down from 43 per cent before the election was called. Overall, 42 per cent are intending to vote Conservative and 33 per cent Labour, both down one point on last week.
Jeremy Corbyn has apologised for “everything that has happened” in Labour regarding antisemitism after he was criticised for failing to do so last week. The Labour leader refused four times to say sorry during an interview with the BBC’s Andrew Neil last week. It came on the day that the Chief Rabbi wrote in The Times that his handling of the allegations made him “unfit for high office”. In a testy exchange with Phillip Schofield on This Morning on ITV today Mr Corbyn was again repeatedly asked to apologise to British Jews, and ultimately did so.
Jeremy Corbyn today refused to give his personal backing to Nato as he insisted a Labour government would maintain the UK’s membership of the alliance despite him previously calling for the organisation to be scrapped. The Labour leader has been a vocal critic of Nato during his political career and in 2014 he claimed it was set up to ‘promote’ the Cold War with Russia as he demanded it ‘close down’.
Jeremy Corbyn’s flagship plans to renationalise the energy industry if he gets into government could damage his attempts to achieve near-net zero carbon emissions by 2030, the Institute for Fiscal Studies has warned. In a devastating analysis of Labour’s central policy for government at next week’s election, the respected independent think tank says transferring gas and electricity giants into public ownership will risk “years of disruption” and hamper progress towards decarbonisation within a decade.
The Kremlin has fuelled the growing row around leaked government documents published by Labour as it failed to deny the involvement of Russian hackers. Senior MPs have called for an urgent investigation into how Labour obtained the classified information amid growing evidence linking the leak to Moscow. Jeremy Corbyn hinted yesterday that he had downloaded minutes of US-UK trade talks from a website where investigators increasingly believe it had been placed by Russia.
The Conservatives are under fire for more “dirty tricks” after buying up a website address in the name of a Labour candidate – to tell voters to “stop Jeremy Corbyn.” The domain name margaretbeckett.com – instead of promoting the former Labour foreign secretary, a candidate in Derby South – reads ‘Don’t Vote Labour’ and attacks her voting record. A video of her Conservative rival, Ed Barker, carries the banner: “As the Labour candidate hasn’t set up her own website, I thought I’d do one for her.”
The Lib Dems have been accused of misleading voters with a letter from a “polling expert”. The leaflet has a large picture of Mike Smithson, who it describes as a “polling and elections expert” at the top, and urges locals to vote tactically in next week’s election. Mr Smithson has been a member of the Lib Dems since the party was formed, standing twice as an MP and serving three times as a councillor. But only at the very bottom of the leaflet, in very small letters, does it reveal the letter was sent on behalf of the Liberal Democrats .
The Lib Dems have installed 10 days to “stop Brexit” countdown clocks in their Westminster HQ. Jo Swinson’s party has largely bet its general election campaign on its promise to revoke Article 50 if it wins a majority or to push for a second referendum should Boris Johnson be denied control of the Commons. The new digital clocks count down the days, hours, minutes and seconds until polls close at 10pm on December 12. Tom Brake, the Lib Dem Brexit spokesperson, said the countdown reminds party staff “how little time is left to stop a Tory majority” that would force through the prime minister’s “damaging Brexit plans”.
Nicola Sturgeon has been asked four times whether she was ashamed of ignoring Scotland’s struggling education and health systems so she can campaign for another independence referendum. The First Minister was pressed during an STV debate about the scandal over child deaths at Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) and the delayed children’s hospital in Edinburgh. Opposition party leaders also challenged her over an international education report, showing science and maths performance in Scotland’s schools at a record low.
Nicola Sturgeon was repeatedly forced to defend the SNP‘s record in government during a live TV debate with the other Scottish party leaders ahead of next week’s general election. With eight days to go until the UK heads to the polls, the First Minister was targeted by her opposite numbers who took her to task over key domestic issues including education and the NHS. The SNP leader was asked whether she was “ashamed” of the problems facing Scotland and was accused of being distracted by her intention to hold a second independence referendum next year.
NICOLA STURGEON has been left humiliated by Scotland’s education results, a Scottish Tory has raged in a savage attack on the SNP. Scottish Conservative MSP Liz Smith launched a brutal attack on Ms Sturgeon following news results in maths and science have nose-dived this year. Taking to Twitter, Ms Smith said: “The latest PISA maths and science results are a humiliation for the SNP. “These two areas are so critical to the success of much of Scotland’s modern economy.
GERMANY is on a downhill slippery path to “anti-Europe hysteria” one of the country’s top economists has warned amid growing criticism in the country of the European Central Bank (ECB). Marcel Fratzscher said the entire continent stood to lose from the backlash against the ECB’s monetary policies and the single currency could also be impacted. Mr Fratscher is head of the German Institute for Economic Research in Berlin and previously worked at the eurozone’s central bank.
France and the EU are ready to retaliate if US president Donald Trump acts on his threats to impose tariffs of up to 100 percent on champagne, handbangs, and other French products, the Paris government said on Tuesday. A commission spokesman confirmed that the “the EU will remain united”. The threat came after the US government said that France’s new digital service tax would harm US tech companies, Reuters reported.
Donald Trump has promised to work out “a minor dispute” with France after threatening key exports from the country, including cheese, champagne and makeup, with tariffs of up to 100pc. France called for EU members to back it in a new tax battle with the US, threatening to open up a major front in the trade war. The US President plans taxes that would double the price of French goods, including handbags and dairy goods, sold in America, in retaliation for Emmanuel Macron’s new digital services tax.
EU nationals will need to apply for a US-style visa waiver to enter the UK after Brexit, under new plans set out by home secretary Priti Patel. The proposals mean European visitors, who currently only require an ID card to enter the UK, will be required to fill in an online form and go through additional security clearance at least three days before travelling, with an accompanying demand for payment.
THE IRISH Government will lose “privileged access” to Brexit negotiations on talks on a future trade deal between the UK and EU get under way in what is a fresh blow to Prime Minister Leo Varadkar. Ireland has been central in the three years of intense Brexit talks and meetings as it is the only European Union country which shares a significant land border with the UK. EU leaders have since been insistent a withdrawal agreement is not possible without the approval of the Irish Government, which has battled to avoid a hard border on the island.
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has warned that NATO and a future EU army cannot coexist. Mr Farage said during a campaign event in Buckley, Wales, on Monday that Prime Minister Boris Johnson has to choose the UK’s place inside or out the European Defence Union. He said that if the nation commits to the proto-EU army post-Brexit, then the North Atlantic Treaty Organization could collapse.
British schools have shot up the international rankings in maths following radical reforms in the subject, global figures show. Maths has been an embarrassment for UK governments over years of poor performance. However, teenagers scored a record 502 on the subject index used in the study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), made up of wealthy nations, up from 494 from 2015.
More than 200 terror suspects face being banned from towns and cities across Britain in the wake of the London Bridge attack, it has emerged. Police, intelligence services and probation bosses are examining files on 219 extremists after the killings by knifeman Usman Khan, who was released from prison early. It is believed 69 cases being looked at relate to convicted terrorists freed on bail licence before the end of the sentences.
Calls are growing for an urgent review of a counter-radicalisation scheme that Usman Khan was on before he launched the London Bridge terror attack. Figures obtained by the Mail show that at least 110 convicted and suspected terrorists are subject to the Desistance and Disengagement Programme. The number of freed extremists engaged in the Home Office’s secretive ‘detoxification’ strategy has soared over the past two years and questions were being asked last night over whether the public are being protected.
Boris Johnson is looking to keep security front and centre of the election campaign with the focus on ramping up measures to protect the public from terror attacks. The Prime Minister will be holed up for much of the day in a hotel near Watford in an attempt to build bridges between a fracturing Nato, with US President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron at loggerheads over the role of the international defence alliance.
Almost one in four hospital staff was born overseas — meaning that a tougher immigration system could “backfire spectacularly” for the NHS, according to a health think tank report. A crackdown on immigration from the EU as pledged by the Conservatives would mean 6,000 fewer health staff each year, the Nuffield Trust said. Foreign-born staff accounted for half the increase in NHS and care workers in the past decade. It said that NHS staff shortages would be “almost unmanageable” without significant immigration, and health and care staff might have to be exempted from any target.
The Conservatives and Labour’s migration policies pose a “very real risk” that they would worsen NHS understaffing, experts have warned, as it emerged that almost one in four hospital staff were born abroad. New research by the Nuffield Trust thinktank published on Wednesday showed that the proportion of hospital personnel born outside the UK has almost doubled from one in eight (11.9%) in 2000/01 to close to one in four (23.5%) in 2018/19. It warned that ending freedom of movement for EU citizens after Brexit – which both major parties back – would reduce the numbers coming to Britain and exacerbate lack of staff in both the NHS and social care.
People should be offered routine cholesterol checks from the age of 25, experts have said. A study has found that cutting cholesterol at a young age can slash the risk of heart disease and strokes. People should take steps to lower their levels of “bad” cholesterol from the age of 30 through means such as weight loss, increased exercise, dietary changes and the use of statins. Researchers carried out the largest study ever to look at the long-term link between high levels of non-high density lipoprotein (non-HDL) cholesterol and heart disease.
Commuters warned of people fainting on “dangerously” overcrowded trains today as the longest rail strike in history entered its second day. South Western Railway was urged to increase the number of trains running during the strike after passengers were crammed into carriages during the morning and evening rush hours. There were also demands for the company to provide a month’s worth of refunds for passengers forced to endure the disruption — replicating a payout made three years ago when similar action crippled the Southern Rail network.
BORIS Johnson has unveiled ambitious plans to plough £4.2billion into overhauling train, tram and bus services across England. He pledged the extra cash for councils to “kick-start the transformation” of public transport in major towns and cities. The Tories will create a new Local Public Transport Fund, drawing from a £100 billion pot for large infrastructure projects included in the party manifesto. The money will go to eight areas — West Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, the North East, the Tees Valley, the West Midlands, Sheffield, Liverpool and Bristol.
The Conservatives have promised £4.2bn of new spending on local train, bus and tram services if they win the 12 December general election. The party said the cash, which would become available from 2022, would help fund transport projects outside London. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said it would transform services “in towns and cities across the country”.
Soon we will all be able to hop on a state-owned train and pay a lot less for our ticket, according to the latest election pledge from the Labour party. On top of the “free” broadband, “free” university education, and “free” dental care, the party is now promising free train travel for under 16s and a 33 per cent reduction in fares for the rest of us. The renationalised services will offer the discounted tickets via a centralised platform – goodbye Trainline – in a bid to reverse the 40 per cent increase in fares since 2010.