No deal

There’s still hope for we leavers says the Times.

Boris Johnson has admitted for the first time during the election campaign that Britain could still leave the European Union without a deal.
The prime minister had previously suggested that no-deal was off the table because he had an “oven-ready” deal that he would push through parliament if he won a working majority.
However, he said yesterday that the Conservative Party would remain in a “state of readiness” for a no-deal Brexit.

GE

The latest polls show differing results.  The Telegraph reports:

Boris Johnson has seen his projected Commons majority slashed from 80 to just 12 seats in a week as Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party eats into the Conservatives’ lead, a poll of polls has revealed.
The survey – based on almost 10,000 voters – shows Jeremy Corbyn closing the gap on the Tories in the same way as Theresa May’s lead collapsed after her manifesto launch and her refusal to appear in TV debates.
Labour is squeezing the Liberal Democrats by gaining Remain voters who see the party as the better prospect to block Mr Johnson’s bid for a rapid Brexit.

The Sun also claims the gap is closing.

JEREMY Corbyn is gaining ground on the Tories with just two weeks to go until the election, a shock series of polls shows.
The Labour leader is up against Boris Johnson in six separate surveys published this week, with experts warning the race is set to “narrow”.
In a Panelbase poll published yesterday the left-wing party was up to 34 per cent – just eight per cent behind the Tories.
That marked a two per cent rise on the same time last week, while the Conservative score remained static.

Yahoo News claims the Labour Party is gaining ground.

The Conservatives’ lead has narrowed with Labour inching its way closer to Boris Johnson’s party ahead of the general election, a new poll shows.
Jeremy Corbyn’s opposition eked a two-point boost in the latest survey, while support for the Tories remained the same, shortening the margin between the pair in the run up to the December 12 vote.
This left Mr Johnson’s party on 42 per cent and put Labour on 34, putting the gap at eight points, according to the Panelbase survey.

The Evening Standard says the gap is now down to 10 percent.

Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party has crept up on the Tories who now have just a 10-point lead, according to an average of comparable general election polls from the last seven days.
After a tumultuous week for both leading parties, the poll of polls compiled by PA Media, puts the Tories on 42 per cent having dropped by one point from last week.
Meanwhile Labour has crept up two points to 32 per cent, narrowing the gap between their party and the leading Conservative Party to just 10 per cent.
The Liberal Democrats are the next biggest party but have fallen one point to 14 per cent this week.

The Express reports a system that I have clarified.

SIR JOHN CURTICE has predicted YouGov’s MRP (multilevel regression and post-stratification) will be reflecting on polling day as Labour Leave voters across the country flock to support the pro-Brexit Conservatives.
Polling guru Sir John Curtice has endorsed the results of the YouGov MRP poll published this week. The MRP poll found the Conservative Party would take a substantial lead on December 12, with a majority of 33 seats. But what has the expert revealed about the upcoming December election and Labour’s Vote Leave supporters?

TV debate

The latest seven-party television debate is reported in the Times.

The Conservatives and Labour accused each other of lying and dishonesty during bad-tempered clashes on the economy and Brexit in a televised seven-way debate.
Rebecca Long Bailey, the shadow business secretary, who is seen as a potential Labour leader, accused Rishi Sunak of making “fabricated” claims about Labour’s spending plans.
Mr Sunak, chief secretary to the Treasury, said that Labour was failing to be “honest” with the public because ordinary voters would be left to foot the bill for its spending plans.

The Guardian reports criticism of the Tories.

The Conservatives faced criticism over cuts to police numbers as politicians took part in a seven-way television debate just hours after the London Bridge terror attack.
Labour, the SNP, Green party and Plaid Cymru politicians all took the Tories to task for having reduced police numbers by more than 20,000 over the last nine years.

And the Sun reports on the two lady leaders.

LABOUR’s Rebecca Long-Bailey and SNP boss Nicola Sturgeon have been accused of “scare-mongering” for “pathetic” claims the NHS is up for sale in a Donald Trump trade deal.
Brexit Party chief Richard Tice said the pair were “lying to the British people” during a seven-way leader debate on the BBC this evening.
The clash came after Boris Johnson today vowed to deliver Brexit for Brits and laid out his roadmap to take us out of the EU – urging voters to back the Tories on election day.
The PM insisted that “no other party can deliver change” and pledged a Tory majority government would take immediate steps to get Brexit done by 31 January 2020.
Mr Tice went to battle for Nigel Farage in tonight’s debate and accused Ms Long-Bailey of talking “rubbish”.

Conservative Party

But the BBC is holding Boris to ransom, claims the Independent.

The BBC has refused to allow Boris Johnson to appear on its Andrew Marr programme unless he also agrees to be grilled by Andrew Neil.
No 10 had attempted to defuse the growing controversy over the prime minister’s refusal to appear before the BBC’s most-aggressive interviewer by offering to appear on the rival show, on Sunday morning.
But a well-placed BBC source told The Independent: “The BBC has refused the Conservatives’ offer to put the prime minister on the Andrew Marr programme until he agrees a date for Andrew Neil.”

The Guardian explains:

The BBC has refused to allow Boris Johnson to appear on the Andrew Marr Show this weekend unless he agrees to take part in a one-on-one interview with Andrew Neil, amid ongoing tension between the Conservatives and broadcasters.
The prime minister has failed to set a date for his proposed half-hour primetime interview with Neil, despite every other party leader agreeing to do one.

iNews says Boris has two rows going on.

The Prime Minister’s ongoing battles with broadcasters have continued after the BBC refused a request by the Conservatives for him to appear on Andrew Marr.
Boris Johnson is embroiled in two separate rows, one with the BBC and another with Channel 4, over his failure to participate in their respective flagship election programmes.
The Tories are continuing to resist calls by the corporation for Mr Johnson to be interviewed by Andrew Neil for a half-hour, prime time slot.

The Express reports a ‘buy British’ comment.

BORIS Johnson yesterday vowed to back UK businesses after Brexit by “buying British” in the public sector and offering state support for struggling firms.
Signalling a major change in approach, the Prime Minister announced that dumping EU state aid rules will allow the Government to intervene quicker to support jobs once the departure from the bloc is completed. He also promised that a new Australian-style points-based immigration system will be in place by January 21 if he wins a Tory majority in the general election on December 12.

And the Sun says fuel tax will not go up if the Tories are returned.

BORIS Johnson has promised Britain’s 37 million drivers that they won’t face a hike in fuel duty if the Tories win next months’ election – in a huge victory for The Sun’s long-running Keep It Down campaign.
He also revealed that his first Budget will cut business rates for millions of struggling High Street firms, which will see their tax bill tumble from April.

Labour Party

Looks like Jeremy is losing support in the north, says the Express.

LABOUR strongholds are turning their backs on Jeremy Corbyn, with traditionally die-hard Labour supporters set to vote Tory for the first time in their lives.
Latest polls suggest the party will face a battering in the upcoming general election, with voters taking a wrecking ball to the so-called “red wall” of Labour heartland in northern England and Wales. The party is still reeling from results of a YouGov poll that showed Labour faced losing dozens of seats in the Midlands and the north of England.
The poll, which correctly forecasted a hung parliament in 2017, indicates the Conservatives will win a huge majority with 359 seats nationwide, with Labour getting just 211, the SNP 43 and the Liberal Democrats 13.

But the Express reports that Labour are trying to divert attention away from Brexit.

LABOUR plans for a quarter of a trillion pound regional spending splurge are a “distraction” from Jeremy Corbyn’s Brexit failures, it was claimed last night.
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said the £250 billion “investment blitz” would reduce the economic gap between the north and south if Labour seizes power. Launching his party’s regional manifestos the hard-left socialist veteran claimed the funding “will breathe new life into local economies across the country and bring pride back to communities by kickstarting a Green Industrial Revolution in every part of the UK.”

SNP

The Scottish leader seems to be suffering from election fatigue, says the Express.

NICOLA STURGEON is the latest political leader to sit down for an interview with BBC presenter Andrew Neil, as the election 2019 campaign continues. Viewers said the Scottish First Minister looked defeated following the “bruising” exchange.
Nicola Sturgeon sat down for an unforgiving interview with the BC’s Andrew Neil earlier this week, talking about her plans for Scotland and the upcoming December election. Viewers noted Scotland’s first minister seemed downtrodden following her showdown with the political pundit.
Viewers following Nicola Sturgeon’s interview with Andrew Neil said the BBC exchange had taken its toll on the Scottish First Minister.

DUP

The DUP leader is still holding out against Labour, says Sky News.

DUP leader Arlene Foster has insisted her party will not support a Labour government under Jeremy Corbyn.
She told Sky News their shared opposition to a border in the Irish Sea was the only thing they had in common with him.
The DUP leader, who was kingmaker last time around, said she would demand changes to the Brexit deal if the Tories call on her again.
Mrs Foster said: “If he makes that phone call, I will be saying to him ‘Boris I need changes. I need changes around customs and I need changes around the consent issue. I need to see those happening before we could ever be in a position to support you in government’.”

EU

The Times quotes the former Brussels boss.

Jean-Claude Juncker has expressed his personal relief that he has left the top post in Brussels before Britain quits the European Union, because Brexit will “break his heart”.
The European Commission president finishes his five-year term this weekend and is departing politics after almost 25 years on the front line, either as the EU’s top official or the prime minister of Luxembourg.
Mr Juncker, 64, said that the political chaos in Britain had helped to make the EU more popular by comparison. “I will be leaving before the UK does. In a way I am not unhappy about this because it breaks my heart to see a member of our union leave its midst,” he told the Politico website yesterday.

And the Irish boss has problems as well, reports the Express.

IRISH leader Leo Varadkar is facing four devastating defeats in by-elections today – with a former Irish diplomat suggesting the Taoiseach had made an error of judgement in not opting to call an early general election.
Mr Varadkar’s Fine Gael party is competing in four votes today, in Dublin Fingal, Dublin Mid-West, Wexford and Cork North Central in what is being presented as an acid test for his leadership. Allies are privately predicting at best Mr Varadkar can hope to win one of the contests.

Yahoo News reports a comment that NATO is fading.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that Emmanuel Macron’s warning that NATO was dying reflects a “sick and shallow” understanding, telling the French president “you should check whether you are brain dead”.
The comments drew a swift rebuke from the French foreign ministry, which summoned Turkey’s ambassador to Paris to protest over what a French presidential adviser called “insults”.
Erdogan was speaking days ahead of a summit of the military alliance, which Macron has said is experiencing “brain death” because of U.S. unpredictability under President Donald Trump and strained ties with Turkey.

Terror attack

Several of the media report on yesterday’s terror attack.  The Mail says:

This is the moment that a brave bystander used a fire extinguisher to tackle a knifeman wielding two weapons on London Bridge this afternoon.
Two people were killed today and up to twelve were injured after the maniac pulled the knives on innocent people on the north side of London Bridge just before 2pm.
Video footage showed the attacker running across London Bridge clutching the weapons as a fearless member of the public trailed him.

The Sun reports on the members of the public who helped.

LONDON Bridge heroes pinned terrorist Usman Khan down and kicked him in the head as they fought back with a 5ft narwhal tusk.
Fearless tour guide Thomas Gray, 24, was one of the brave pedestrians who risked his own life in Friday’s savage attack which left two people dead.
Mr Gray was driving northbound over the bridge with his friend Stevie Hurst when they saw people running in panic and jumped out to help.
He told the Mail: “There were three big blokes grappling with another man and had him on the floor.
“I asked what was going on and someone said the man on the ground had just stabbed two women.

The PM says Londoners should not be intimated by the terrorists, reports the Mirror.

Boris Johnson tonight urged Londoners to go about their business as usual as he vowed “never to be cowed or intimidated” after the London Bridge attack.
The Prime Minister spoke out after a knifeman wearing a fake suicide vest who injured several people – some seriously – was shot dead by police on London Bridge.
Confirming the incident “has been contained”, Mr Johnson said discussions would be held tonight about whether to suspend campaigning in the general election.

Immigration

Immigrants from outside the EU are coming in thick and fast, says Breitbart.

Non-EU immigration — the only type of immigration the Government can control — has risen to near-record levels.
Immigration from European Union member-states, as well as the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland, is almost entirely outside the British government’s control, as they are part of the Free Movement regime which the United Kingdom remains subject, despite the fact that more than three years have passed since the British people voted to leave the bloc.
But the inflow of migrants from the European Union, while still significantly higher than the number of EU migrants returning to their home countries, has fallen, according to the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) quarterly report.

NHS

Service contracts are still being privatised, reports the Independent.

Boris Johnson is facing fresh questions over privatisation in the NHS after new research revealed that £15bn of health service contracts have been handed to private companies since 2015.
The analysis found that almost two-thirds of NHS contracts by value have gone to the private sector in the last four years, and that their total yearly value has almost doubled since then.
The finding casts doubts over health secretary Matt Hancock‘s promise that there would be “no privatisation of the NHS on my watch”.

There are still rumblings that the service could be sold abroad, reports the Mirror.

NHS and care workers fear for the future of the health social care services under a US trade deal, workers’ leaders warn tonight.
In an open letter, published exclusively in the Mirror, the general secretaries of the TUC, Unison, Unite and GMB issue a fresh alert about the sectors if a transatlantic pact is negotiated.
Senior officials from the British Dietetic Association, Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association, College of Podiatry and Society of Radiographers have also signed the letter.

Rail travel

The cost of travelling by rail is to rise, reports the Times.

Rail fares will increase by 2.7 per cent in the new year despite criticism of years of “appalling service”.
The rise is expected to push an average season ticket up by £84 to exceed £3,000 for the first time. An annual ticket between Birmingham and London will increase by more than £300 to £11,205. The increase is higher than inflation when set against the consumer prices index (CPI), which was 1.5 per cent last month.

And ITV News answers readers’ questions:

Next year’s average increase in rail fares has been revealed.
Here the PA news agency looks at nine key questions around the controversial issue:
– Why does the cost of train travel increase every year?  It has been the policy of successive governments to switch the burden of funding the railways from taxpayers to passengers.
– How much more expensive have train fares become? Office of Rail and Road figures show that between January 1995 – around the time the network was privatised – and January 2019, average fares increased in real terms by 21%.
– When is the next increase? Fares become more expensive on January 2 2020.
– Who decides how much they go up by? Increases in about 45% of fares are regulated by the UK, Scottish and Welsh Governments. The rest are decided by train companies.

The Times reports the ‘war chest’ of a rail union.

The union at the centre of the longest rail strike in history has amassed almost £42 million as it prepares to support train guards taking part in the unprecedented month-long stoppage.
The Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) is believed to be offering members up to £2,000 each in hardship payments as the walkout causes misery for passengers on South Western Railway throughout December. The strike could cost the union, which represents about 800 guards on the busy commuter network, as much as £1 million.

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