The Brexit Party

A leave alliance is still being touted by Nigel Farage in the Express.

NIGEL FARAGE today gives Boris Johnson a final ultimatum and warns the “clock is ticking” to secure a Leave alliance that will “finish off Labour for a generation”.
The leader of the Brexit Party defied calls to step back – some from his own allies – and said Mr Johnson has until Thursday to compromise, when General Election candidates need to hand in their nomination papers. Otherwise, he warned, his party will field candidates in every seat in England, Wales and Scotland and Mr Farage warns the “die will be cast” for a split in the Leave vote. He has also challenged the Prime Minister to a televised debate.

And the Mail claims talks have been held.

Senior allies of Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson have held secret last-minute talks in an effort to strike a deal that would stop the Brexit Party splitting the Tory vote and letting Jeremy Corbyn  into Downing Street.
The Mail on Sunday can reveal that a close confidant of Mr Farage has held talks with senior Tory ‘power brokers’ over a deal to pull the vast majority of Brexit Party candidates out of the Election.
In return, Mr Johnson would promise to strike a harder deal with Brussels after winning a majority.

Labour Party

Meanwhile, there has been close examination of the proposals put out by Labour.  The Times reports the Tories’ opinion.

The Conservatives have accused Labour of planning a spending spree of up to £1.2 trillion as they seek to destroy Jeremy Corbyn’s credibility on the economy.
Analysis overseen by Sajid Javid, the chancellor, claims Labour has committed to spending an extra £650m a day, a figure he says threatens to bankrupt the country. His claim came as the outlook for UK debt was downgraded to a “negative” rating.

The Express quotes a report by the treasury.

LABOUR could cost taxpayers’ an extra £1.2trillion according to a Treasury report.
The report looked at Labour pledges made at the last election and those made since. Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill last week blocked plans to publish the analysis by Treasury chiefs. Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell was reported to have “hit the roof” when an official called to give him advance notice.
Labour claimed the publication would constitute an “abuse of power” due to the sensitive political nature of the document ahead of the general election.

The current chancellor worked on the Opposition’s plans, reports ITV News.

Labour’s policies would cost £1.2 trillion over five years, the Conservative Party has claimed as it gears up for the second week of the General Election campaign.
Analysis of the opposition’s pledges, overseen by Sajid Javid, suggests Jeremy Corbyn’s party is committed to spending £650 million a day, the Sunday Times reported.

And the Prime Minister chimed in with his opinion in the Mail.

Boris Johnson on Sunday moves his Election campaign up a gear by accusing Jeremy Corbyn of plotting to land Britain with a £1.2 trillion bill – equivalent to an extra £43,408 for every household in the country.
The astonishing figure, based on the additional cost of Labour’s policies over a five-year Parliament, is contained in a Tory dossier produced despite furious objections from Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell over the use of civil servants in its creation.

The Sun says the plans will cost us all.

LABOUR’S election promises will cost taxpayers an extra £1.2trillion, an explosive report reveals.
If it comes to power, the party’s splurge would more than double the debt of every family in the country.
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell would have to boost spending by almost a third to meet his reckless commitments, the secret analysis reveals.

The Independent says the party’s manifesto will be radical.

Labour is to present its most radical manifesto ever in the coming days with plans to introduce a universal basic income and drastic measures to tackle the climate emergencyJohn McDonnell has said.
In an interview with The Independent, the shadow chancellor insisted his party will pilot the contentious welfare scheme and suggested Heathrow expansion will be blocked as the party aims to achieve net-zero emissions by the 2030s.
Claiming Labour will “turn around” its poll ratings, Mr McDonnell also said he would hold a Budget within weeks if his longtime ally Jeremy Corbyn becomes prime minister after the first December election in nearly a century.

Huffington Post claims an exclusive over a row between two senior party members.

Labour Party rift between John McDonnell and party chiefs has deepened amid claims a controversial selection battle was “fixed”.
Kate Osborne, a Unite official said to be favoured by digital campaigns chief Karie Murphy, has been imposed as candidate for the safe seat of Jarrow.
HuffPost UK understands Jeremy Corbyn and shadow chancellor McDonnell wanted ex-political advisor Simon Fletcher on the shortlist but it is thought they were overruled by Murphy and general secretary Jennie Formby.

Another policy highlighted in the Independent concerned fox hunting.

Labour have been running an under-the-radar campaign against the Tories over fox hunting, by using targeted Facebook adverts to highlight the party’s support for the bloodsport.
Fox hunting was a stealth issue at the 2017 general election: though rarely covered by broadcasters during the campaign, pollsters were later surprised to discover that it was one of just a handful of Tory policies voters remembered.

And the Times says the party’s stance on Kashmir has driven away Indian nationals.

Indian nationalists in Britain have pledged to canvass on behalf of Conservative election candidates after anger over Labour’s stance on the divided region of Kashmir.
The controversial move by the Overseas Friends of the BJP (OFBJP) comes amid an increasingly bitter battle for the Asian vote.
The pressure group — which backs the governing Bharatiya Janata Party of Narendra Modi, the Indian prime minister — claims an estimated 900,000 Hindu and Sikh voters of British-Indian origin could play a decisive role in as many as 40 constituencies.

The Sun reports criticism of the Labour leader for his failure to attend last evening’s Festival of Remembrance.

JEREMY Corbyn has been slammed for failing to show at Festival of Remembrance to honour Brit hero soldiers.
The Labour leader’s absence sparked outrage among members of the public – who blast the move as “a spectacular own goal” by the party.
Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry was at the event but no shows by Corbyn and his right hand man John McDonnell left many furious.
Joanne Henry tweeted: “What a disgrace, Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell couldn’t be bothered turning up to remember our fallen heroes.

The polls

Pollsters have been active – and will continue to be so until the election.  The Independent reports;

A slump in Labour support since the last election has seen Jeremy Corbyn’s party fall behind the Tories in its northern strongholds, a massive new poll of more than 11,000 people has found.
Both Labour and the Conservatives have lost ground in all regions of Britain since the 2017 vote, as Liberal Democrat and Brexit Party support surges in an election dominated by relations with the EU.
But the YouGov findings make the grimmest reading for Mr Corbyn, who sees Boris Johnson’s Conservatives establish a lead in the northwest and Yorkshire and Humber regions and challenge Labour for supremacy in the northeast.

And there’s a message in the Express for those who think the Brexit Party will take votes from the Tories.

SIR JOHN CURTICE has said the polling data suggests the Brexit Party will win more votes from the Tories as opposed to Labour.
Several Brexit Party candidates including Peter Udale (Cotswolds) and Philip Walling (Workington) have withdrawn and urged others to do so as well in order to avoid splitting the Brexit vote. Party leader Nigel Farage will not be standing.
Writing in the Telegraph, polling expert Sir John said: “On average the polls currently suggest that while 20 per cent of those who voted Leave are minded to vote for Nigel Farage, just one per cent of those who backed Remain would do so – and these are likely folk who have since changed their minds about Brexit!

The Guardian reports on the votes given to the two main parties

Here are two numbers to bear in mind this election season: 83% and 23%. The first is the combined haul of the Conservatives and Labour in the 2017 general election, the highest since 1970. The second is their combined share in this year’s European parliament elections, the lowest in a nationwide poll since the mass franchise was introduced. In two years, the big two parties went from a once-in-a-generation high to an all-time low.
As another election approaches, they are both working to claw these losses back. Downing Street awaits for the party best able to recover its lost support. Welcome to the “big squeeze” election.

The Mail claims the Tories have not been hurt in the polls.

Boris Johnson‘s uncertain start to the Election campaign has not harmed his party’s poll ratings, with the Conservatives maintaining their 12-point lead from last week.
The party’s early ‘wobble’ – with gaffes such as Jacob Rees-Mogg suggesting that victims of the Grenfell Tower inferno should have ignored fire brigade advice to stay in the building – has not hit their support.
Their headline figure is 41 per cent, with Labour on 29 per cent – both up one percentage point from last week – with the Liberal Democrats up two points on 16 per cent.

But the Independent says voters are not convinced by the PM’s promises.

Boris Johnson‘s pledge to use the election to “get Brexit done” is failing to convince voters, according to a new poll which shows the majority think a Christmas poll will not resolve the deadlock.
Less than a third of people (29 per cent) believe an election will break the Brexit logjam, compared with an overwhelming 56 per cent who believe a new parliament is unlikely to make progress.
The exclusive survey by BMG Research also reveals that a majority would rather stay in the EU than leave with the prime minister’s deal if offered the choice in a Final Say referendum.

Remainers

George Soros could be investigated, says the Mail.

The billionaire financier known as ‘the man who broke the Bank of England’ is facing a possible investigation into nearly £3 million that his foundation channelled into a campaign aimed at bringing down Boris Johnson.
Tories have called for an urgent Electoral Commission probe into George Soros’s American organisation after The Mail on Sunday discovered that it funnelled money into a campaign trying to block Brexit at the ballot box.
His New York-based Open Society Foundation sent the money to the pro-EU Best for Britain group via a London outpost, circumventing a ban on foreign donations to political organisations.

EU

There are still rumblings about an enhanced EU army, reports Breitbart.

Nigel Farage criticised Emmanuel Macron for claiming that NATO is suffering “brain death” because the U.S. is “turning its back on [Europe]”, saying the French president is looking for “any excuse” to build his own “Walter Mitty” EU army.
In an interview with The Economist published on Thursday, President Macron claimed that “what we are currently experiencing is the brain death of NATO.”
Implying that it was time for Europe to build its own army, Macron continued that the EU “should reassess the reality of what NATO is in the light of the commitment of the United States.”

Conservative Party

Will we get more GPs under a Tory government?  The Times wonders.

The Conservatives have been accused of making “empty” promises about the NHS after pledging to create 50m more GP appointments every year.
Matt Hancock, the health secretary, said the additional appointments would be made possible by recruiting an extra 6,000 family doctors.
But the party came under fire yesterday over its latest pledge after failing to deliver on its previous one in 2015 to recruit an extra 5,000 GPs.
Since then, the number of family doctors has actually fallen by more than 1,600.

BBC News also reports on the NHS promises

The Tories say they will deliver 6,000 more doctors in general practice in England by 2024-25 to increase patient appointments, if they win the election.
They claim they will reach that target through additional doctors working and training in surgeries, international recruitment and better retention.
However, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said a previous Tory pledge to recruit 5,000 GPs by 2020 had not been met.

And Sky News also reports that voters are sceptical.

Fewer than one in three voters believe the Tories are planning to increase spending on public services, suggesting one of the main campaign messages is yet to break through, according to a new YouGov poll for Sky News.
The two biggest parties outlined their spending promises this week, with both pledging to increase investment.
The Tories plan to push up investment spending – money for new hospitals schools and transport – by £20bn a year, while Labour would raise it £55bn a year.

Both the chancellor and his shadow have promised to spend big after the election, says the Times.

The first week proper of the election campaign has been the battle of the big spenders. Sajid Javid and John McDonnell have made promises running into hundreds of billions of pounds, although the Tories are determined to show that, in this wielding of the Whitehall chequebook, they can be trusted while Labour would lead the country into bankruptcy.
Javid had hoped to start the week by releasing costings by Treasury officials of Labour’s spending plans but was frustrated by Sir Mark Sedwill, the cabinet secretary.

LibDems

The LimpDems have announced some of their policies to ITV News.

Armed Forces veterans who were born outside the UK would be exempt from paying settlement fees under Liberal Democrat proposals for government.
The party has vowed to end the “excessive” indefinite leave to remain fees for former service personnel and their families applying to take up their right to settle in Britain.
Its analysis suggests the processing fees for such applications have increased three-fold since 2007 – from £750 to £2,389 – which would set a family of four back by almost £10,000.

And the party is aiming to attract young mums, reports ITV News.

Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson has proposed “free universal childcare” for babies aged nine months until they start school.
Under the plans, working parents could receive 35 hours of free childcare per week.
The Lib Dems have also pledged to provide every child aged two to four with 35 hours of free childcare for 48 weeks of the year.

Flooding

Elsewhere, the terrible flooding in the north of the country is highlighted in the Telegraph.

All of the 700 or so residents in a small village in South Yorkshire have been told to evacuate their homes for their own safety, as a seventh “danger to life” flood warning was issued on Saturday morning.
The latest warning was declared by the Environment Agency (EA) for the village of Fishlake, just north of Doncaster at around 1am, after a prolonged period of “biblical” rain overtopped sea defences at the River Don.

ITV News says warnings are still in force.

Flood warnings remain in place across parts of northern England and the Mid, after the woman who died after being swept away was named as former High Sheriff of Derbyshire.
Annie Hall’s body was found in the early hours of Friday after she was swept away by water in Darley Dale, near Matlock.
It came as parts of the Midlands and northern England were battered by a month’s worth of rain in one day.

NHS

Obesity-related problems are hitting the NHS, says the Telegraph.

Record numbers are being treated on the NHS for obesity-related conditions, with cases rising by almost one quarter in just a year.
The figures show the number of hospital admissions specifically linked to excess weight has tipped 1 million for the first time, with spiralling cases among toddlers and young children.
The head of the NHS last night described the trends as “startling,” warning that the figures were the tip of “a very large iceberg” in an epidemic threatening to cut short thousands of lives.

And junkie pensioners are also being admitted, reports the Times.

Pensioners aged 90 and over are being admitted to hospital after taking cocaine. Ten nonagenarians were admitted with mental disorders “due to the use of cocaine” last year, compared with two a decade ago, NHS Digital figures reveal.
A decade ago, 45 people a year aged 60 or over were treated in hospital in England for cocaine-related disorders. The number treated has soared to 379.

The number of NHS patients being treated in private hospitals is soaring, says the Guardian.

The number of NHS patients having surgery in private hospitals has nearly trebled since 2010, sparking accusations that for-profit companies are benefitting from an “enfeebled” health system under the Conservatives.
NHS figures obtained by the Guardian show that it paid for 214,967 people in England to have an operation in a private hospital in 2009-10, Labour’s last year in power. The figure soared to 613,833 last year, a 185% rise in nine years.
The figures come as NHS trusts are increasingly forced to send patients to for private surgery because they are too busy and understaffed to do the operations themselves.

Education

Top educationalists are coining it in, reports the Times.

Head teachers and academy trust leaders in the state sector are collecting “fat cat” pay packages with some pocketing nearly half a million pounds a year, a Sunday Times investigation has found. Perks can include company BMWs and all-expenses hotel stays.
In 112 academy trusts — more than a third of those examined — 128 staff were paid more than the prime minister’s salary of £150,000, and 39 staff in 34 trusts were paid more than £200,000, according to the findings of the biggest investigation to date into school leaders’ pay. Six of the top-paying trusts operated just one school.

The Sun highlights four particular school heads.

FOUR school heads are earning more than £200,000 a year, figures show.
They top a list of 1,570 senior teachers being paid six-figure salaries.
Three run local authority-funded secondary schools but one heads an academy, Whitehall data shows.
However, the growing list of six-figure earners — which is up from 1,275 three years ago — is ­dominated by senior staff at academy schools, which get their cash directly from the Government.

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