Televised debate

Last evening’s one-on-one television debate is reported in several of the media.  The Times says:

Leading broadcasters have been accused of letting a “sense of entitlement” drive “hysterical” rows with politicians as the Conservatives turned their fire on the BBC and Channel 4.
Senior media figures warned that broadcasters risked breaching their obligation to remain impartial during the election by attempting to embarrass leaders into granting interviews.
It came after the prime minister rejected a televised appeal by Andrew Neil to submit to an interview. In a clip that has been viewed six million times on social media, the BBC presenter delivered a monologue about Boris Johnson’s refusal to appear and questioned his trustworthiness.

The Sun says the Prime Minister blasted his opponent.

BORIS Johnson blasted Jeremy Corbyn for a “failure of leadership” over Brexit in their final live BBC debate last night – with just a week to go until polling day.
The PM went up against the leftie leader for their last showdown before polling day, and repeatedly attacked him for staying neutral on the biggest issue of the day.
The two leaders were grilled by BBC presenter Nick Robinson, and faced questions from 100 members of the audience in an hour-long showdown.
Boris, who is flying at least ten points ahead of his rival in the polls, immediately got onto the front foot by attacking the Labour boss on Brexit, saying he was “stuck in neutral”.

The Independent said they ‘traded blows’.

In their final face-to-face clash ahead of next week’s general electionBoris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn traded blows over Brexit, the NHS, security and racism in an hour-long TV debate – but neither landed a killer punch.
The Labour leader accused the prime minister of using racist language, while Mr Johnson hit back by saying that Corbyn’s handling of antisemitism in his own party was a “failure of leadership”.
But there was no breakthrough for either man, with viewers of BBC1’s election debate handing victory to Johnson as the best performer over Mr Corbyn by a highly symbolic margin of 52 per cent to 48 per cent, according to an instant YouGov poll for Sky News.

They disagreed over Brexit, says Sky News.

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn clashed over Brexit in the final head-to-head debate before the 12 December election.
During the live debate, Mr Corbyn said Labour would bring Brexit “to an end” by negotiating a new deal and putting it back to the public in a referendum, alongside a Remain option.
Mr Johnson said he had “a wonderful deal”, and would use it to take the UK out of the EU on 31 January.
Other topics covered included the NHS, security and Northern Ireland.

It is generally accepted that the Prime Minister came out on top.  The Express quotes a post-debate poll.

BORIS JOHNSON trounced Jeremy Corbyn last night in their final live television clash of the battle to be Britain’s next prime minister.
In a fiery head-to-head debate, the Tory leader forced his Labour rival onto the backfoot over Brexit, the economy, national security and the NHS. A snap YouGov poll immediately after the crucial hour-long encounter declared Mr Johnson the winner by a decisive margin of 52 percent to 48 percent. On who came across as most prime ministerial, 54 percent in the poll backed the Tory leader against 30 percent for Mr Corbyn.

The Mail says he ‘roasted’ Corbyn.

Boris Johnson was tonight declared the winner of the final election TV showdown after roasting Jeremy Corbyn over Brexit, supporting the IRA, stealth taxes and ‘overthrowing capitalism’.
A snap YouGov poll found the PM performed better in the primetime BBC One clash by 52 per cent to 48 per cent – ironically mirroring the 2016 referendum and a result that will delight Tory strategists.
During a bruising hour-long session, chaired by Nick Robinson, Mr Johnson appealed for the public to back him on Brexit on December 12 so the country can move on.

The Sun says the verdict was similar to the referendum result.

THE PUBLIC thought Boris Johnson narrowly won tonight’s BBC debate by 52 per cent to 48 per cent – just like the 2016 referendum.
The PM went head-to-head against the Labour boss for the final time before polling day next Thursday, and most voters thought he won, a snap poll revealed.
YouGov’s instant analysis gave the same result of the Brexit vote back in 016 – with just over half of Brits thinking the PM came out on top.
Chris Curtis, YouGov’s Political Research Manager, said: “Our snap poll shows that the public remains divided on who won the debate, just as with last month’s head-to-head, with most Labour voters thinking Jeremy Corbyn won, most Conservative voters thinking Boris Johnson won, and very few people changing their minds.

The Labour leader was challenged on the IRA, says the Telegraph.

Jeremy Corbyn was confronted over his support for the IRA on Friday night and forced to deny he had plans to disband MI5 as he and Boris Johnson clashed for the final time before the general election.
The Prime Minister was applauded as he said he would not be “lectured” on the Union by a man who had spent “all his political life” campaigning to break it up, as well as backing those attempting “violently to destroy it.”

Labour’s Brexit policy was also queried, says the Times.

Boris Johnson repeatedly mocked Jeremy Corbyn’s “mystery” Brexit deal in a final TV election debate that instant polling suggested had failed to hand Labour a breakthrough.
The Conservative leader said Mr Corbyn’s neutral stance on Brexit was “a failure of leadership” on the biggest issue facing the country.
He also hit back on claims that his Brexit deal would separate Northern Ireland, accusing the Labour leader of having spent “all his political life supporting the IRA” and campaigning to “break up the Union”.

But there have been accusations of bias against the broadcasters, reports the Sun.

BBC and Channel 4 have been slammed for “hysterical” election bias after empty chair stunts and fake smears that Boris Johnson made a racist comment on camera.
The broadcasters have been accused of letting a “sense of entitlement” drive “hysterical” rows with politicians over the race blunder and Andrew Neil’s on-air challenge to Mr Johnson for an interview.
Senior media figures warned that broadcasters risked breaching their obligation to remain impartial during the election by attempting to embarrass leaders into granting interviews.

Labour Party

Anti-semitism accusations against Labour candidates haven’t dissipated, says the Telegraph.

At least 30 Labour candidates have been accused of anti-Semitism, defended members facing allegations or have downplayed the problem, an analysis by The Daily Telegraph has found.
They include 19 who are standing to become MPs for the first time, half of whom have had anti-Semitism allegations aimed at them personally.
There are six backbench Labour MPs standing for re-election who have faced accusations, including one who liked a Facebook post which claimed that Theresa May was pursuing a “Zionist slave masters agenda.”

Racist language is highlighted in the Independent.

Jeremy Corbyn has said the use of “racist” language is a “failure of leadership” as he took aim at Boris Johnson.
In an apparent reference to comments the prime minister has been criticised for in the past, the Labour Party leader said a failure of leadership is “when you use racist remarks to describe people in different countries or in our society”.
He added: “I will never do that and my party will never do that.”
Mr Corbyn was retaliating to a comment made by Mr Johnson during a BBC election debate on Friday evening, in which he said the Labour politician’s “unwillingness to stand up for Jewish people in the Labour Party” was in his view “a failure of leadership”.

A report brandished by the Labour leader disputes a claim by the PM.  The Times says:

Jeremy Corbyn has revealed a leaked Treasury report which undermines Boris Johnson’s claim that under his Brexit deal there would be no checks on goods moving between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.
The document, produced by the Labour leader before his television debate with Mr Johnson yesterday, is an analysis of the challenges that the prime minister faces in delivering his pledge to give Northern Ireland “unfettered access” to the rest of the UK market.
Labour says that it exposes uncomfortable trade-offs between friction-free trading, future free-trade deals and the legal and constitutional implications of the renegotiated deal.

The Morning Star claims the PM has misled the country.

JEREMY CORBYN revealed documents exposing Boris Johnson’s “falsehoods” over his Brexit deal today — including his assurances that there would be no customs border in the Irish Sea.
The Labour leader accused Mr Johnson of “deliberately misleading the country” over his Brexit deal.
During a press conference in the central London office of public-sector union Unison, the Labour leader held up 15 pages of secret documents from the Treasury.
Mr Corbyn said, while holding copies of a set of confidential presentation slides titled Northern Ireland Protocol — Unfettered Access To The UK Internal Market: “This is cold, hard evidence that categorically shows the impact a damaging Brexit deal would have on large parts of our country.”

And the Labour leader has another document which, it is claimed, is from Russia, says the Independent.

Leaked classified documents detailing plans for a post-Brexit US trade deal – which Jeremy Corbyn claimed showed a Tory plot to “sell off the NHS” – may have been posted online by a Russian campaign, it has emerged.
The 451-page dossier, which the Labour leader unveiled during a press conference on Wednesday, is believed to have been posted to a politics forum on social media website Reddit back by a user named “gregoratior” back in October.

Voters are demanding to know where he got the document reports the Express.

FURIOUS voters have demanded Jeremy Corbyn reveal how he obtained Government documents he claimed proved Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal would lead to customs checks between the UK and Northern Ireland and that he would sell off the NHS in an exclusive poll after the Prime Minister branded the papers “nonsense”.
Up to 97 percent said Mr Corbyn should reveal the source of the documents, amounting to 4,296 of the vote.

The Sun says the document definitely came from Russia.

JEREMY Corbyn’s leaked NHS documents used to smear the Tories DID come from Russia, it has emerged.
The leaked papers were this week linked to a Kremlin fake news campaign amid fears of Russian interference in the general election.
The dossier, said to show Boris Johnson would sell the NHS to Donald Trump, was ripped off the online forum Reddit.
But Reddit’s security team have now confirmed they believe the documents WERE from Russia.

Was it a deliberate leak?  The Telegraph says maybe.

Classified Government documents used by Labour to attack the Conservatives on the NHS appear to have been leaked as part of a campaign “originating from Russia,” according to the site on which they were first leaked.
Reddit, the online discussion site, has revealed it has banned 61 accounts it believes could be part of a  disinformation campaign that was first uncovered in June.
It added that one of the accounts had in “late October” posted the documents, which contained details of meetings between US and UK officials on a potential post-Brexit trade deal.

And in other election news, if Labour gets into power, all buses will become electric, reports BBC News.

Labour plans to make the entire UK bus fleet electric by 2030 with a £4bn investment, if it wins the general election.
This would reduce bus emissions by more than 70%, cutting air pollution and helping to tackle climate change, the party said.
But Conservatives claim the plans are part of “Labour’s war on the motorist”.
More than 3,000 bus routes have been cut or reduced over the past decade, campaigners said in October.

Conservative Party

The Express reports a plot to unseat the Prime Minister.

BORIS JOHNSON risks losing his seat in the upcoming general election as pro-Remain parties are urging Jo Swinson not to stand a candidate in the Prime Minister’s Uxbridge seat as part of a plot to oust him from Parliament.
Pro-Remain parties have clubbed together in an attempt to block Boris Johnson from returning to Downing Street. They have written a letter to Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson urging her not to stand a candidate in the Uxbridge and Ruislip South seat to give the Labour candidate a stronger chance of overturning Mr Johnson’s majority – which he currently holds by just over 5,000 votes. The Remainers believe there is a “real chance” to oust the incumbent Prime Minister, something that has never happened during a UK general election.

And the Tories could be planning to ditch kilogrammes, says the Mail.

Boris Johnson has revealed plans to bring back pounds and ounces once Brexit is done as he attacks Jeremy Corbyn as ‘the most extreme Left-wing candidate produced by the Labour Party in a century’ entering Number 10.
In a wide-ranging interview with the Daily Mail, the Prime Minister laid out his post-election blueprint to lift the EU ban on imperial measurements and hark back to the old system.
He said: ‘We will bring back that ancient liberty. I see no reason why people should be prosecuted.’

Will there be checks on goods between Britain and Northern Ireland?  The Sun reports the PM’s answer.

BORIS Johnson has dismissed Jeremy Corbyn’s “secret document” as “nonsense” – and vowed there will be “no checks” on goods going from Northern Ireland to Britain and back after Brexit.
This morning the leftie boss tried to distract voters from the anti-semitism storm engulfing him with another dossier from the Government.
Mr Corbyn told reporters in central London this morning that the document reveals the government privately admitted that “there will be customs declaration checks between Northern Ireland and Great Britain”.


The LibDems aren’t doing well, says the Times.

The Liberal Democrats are failing to break through in key marginal seats because many Remain voters believe it is time to “get Brexit done”, swing voters in London and the South have suggested.
Jo Swinson, the party’s leader, has not impressed this crucial section of the electorate and her promise to “revoke” Article 50 and cancel Brexit is almost universally unpopular because it is seen as undemocratic, according to focus groups.

And their leader has given up the prospect of getting the keys to No. 10, says Yahoo News.

Remember when Jo Swinson was going to win a majority? It was just a few short weeks ago that the Liberal Democrat leader was all over TV, managing to keep a straight face while attempting to brazenly mislead the public, a skill she presumably perfected in the coalition government. If recent polls are anything to go by, she now looks more likely to win a Bafta for that performance than she does to make substantial electoral gains.
No surprise, then, that the party has changed tack, instead pitching itself as the only way to prevent a Tory majority and block a hard Brexit.


Post-Brexit negotiations will be tough, says the Independent.

EU leaders have scrapped plans to try and finalise a trade deal with the UK by the end of 2020, in a major blow to Boris Johnson’s claims that he can “get Brexit done”.
An early draft of the EU’s negotiating guidelines seen by The Independent had said that “negotiations should be organised in a way that makes the best possible use of the limited time available for negotiation and ratification by the end of the transition”.
But in a new leaked version of the European Council’s conclusions, due to be published by leaders at a summit in Brussels next week, the stipulation to complete the deal quickly has been completely removed.

The Express also reports problems with trade talks.

BRUSSELS has repeatedly distanced itself from Boris Johnson’s Brexit trade talks timetable in fresh signs Britain could opt for a no deal.
Despite the Prime Minister’s current deal passing its second reading in the House of Commons before the general election was triggered, the EU has hinted at a refusal to fast-track the Tory leader’s post-Brexit trade deal. A leaked document shows they plan to move “swiftly” to the next phase of the negotiating process after the major December 12 ballot. But that same document, obtained by The Guardian, makes reference to “making the best possible use of the limited time available” and was dropped from another version of the text.

And the Guardian also claims a trade deal will not be easy.

EU member states have signalled a refusal to be bounced into Boris Johnson’s fast-track timetable to strike a post-Brexit trade deal.
If he wins a majority, the prime minister has vowed to take the UK out of the EU on 31 January and agree a trade deal with the bloc within 11 months, an unprecedentedly short time for such a complex negotiation.
Johnson, who has built his election campaign around the misleading slogan “Get Brexit done”, has promised not to extend the 11-month transition period, seen by many as far too short to agree a future relationship with the EU.

Council taxes

Councils are demanding more and more of our money, says the Times.

Families have been hit by a huge rise in local “stealth” taxes over the past decade as councils introduce garden and bulky waste removal charges and raise the cost of funeral services, pest control and even public lavatories.
Analysis by The Times of council accounts shows that revenue from environmental, regulatory and planning charges has increased by almost 50 per cent to £2.3 billion since 2009.
Last year, revenue from these charges increased by more than two and a half times the rate of inflation as councils scrambled to raise cash after ten years of austerity.

Rail travel

The Times reports increasing problems on the railways.

Delays on railways caused by bad weather, track faults and signal failures have increased by almost 12 per cent in the past year, new data shows.
Figures released by the Office of Rail and Road, the watchdog, showed that delays attributed to Network Rail rose by more than 17,000 hours in 2018-19 compared with a year earlier.
Almost six in every ten delays over the past year were blamed on issues out of train companies’ control.

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