Happy St George’s Day
from UKIP Daily
Several of the media report conflicting polls. The Telegraph claims the Tories’ lead on the NHS is disappearing.
Labour’s lead over the Tories on who is best trusted with the NHS has almost disappeared, an opinion poll for The Telegraph has revealed.
Forty per cent of voters are confident Labour would handle the health service well – almost identical to the 38 per cent who think the same of the Tories.
It is a marked contrast to previous general election campaigns when Labour has enjoyed a double-digit lead over their political rivals on the topic.
The finding is a major challenge for Jeremy Corbyn as he puts his party’s record on the health service at the centre of his bid to win power.
The Mail claims the Conservatives’ lead is shrinking.
Theresa May’s hopes of winning a landslide Election victory suffered a major blow last night after her poll lead plummeted to 11 per cent amid the row over her tax and pension plans.
A Survation poll for The Mail on Sunday put the Conservatives on 40 per cent, followed by Labour on 29 per cent and the Lib Dems and Ukip level on 11 per cent.
It means Mrs May’s lead over Jeremy Corbyn has nearly halved in four days: a poll immediately after she called the Election gave the Tories a 21-point advantage.
Polling expert Professor John Curtice said the Survation figures would give Mrs May a Commons majority of 46, an improvement on her current working majority of 17, but way below some forecasts of a 140-seat majority.
The Tories have more than doubled their lead over Labour to 19 points since Theresa May called a snap general election last Tuesday, according to a new poll that suggests the Conservatives are heading for a landslide victory on 8 June.
The survey by Opinium for the Observer, conducted on Wednesday and Thursday of last week, puts the Tories on 45% (up seven points compared with the previous week), while Labour is down three points on 26%.
The leap in backing for the Tories, and Labour’s fall, mean the gap between the two main parties has widened from nine points to 19 points in a matter of days – levels of support which, if replicated on polling day, could secure a Commons majority for May of around 100 seats.
The poll also shows support growing for the anti-Brexit Liberal Democrats, who are up four points on 11%, and a dramatic fall in backing for Ukip, which is down five points to 9%, from 14% the week before. Backing for the Lib Dems suggests that the party’s clear anti-Brexit strategy is appealing to hardcore Remain voters.
The Conservative lead is also reported in the Mail.
Theresa May could come into the General Election on June 8 with a 50 per cent lead, according to an opinion poll.
The Sunday Mirror poll, carried out by ComRes, put support for Labour at just 25 per cent, half that of the Conservatives.
The polling company said it was the first time any political party has achieved 50 per cent support since April 2002 – and the first time the Tories have reached that mark since January 1991.
The survey showed support for the Conservatives has strengthened since the Prime Minister’s decision to call a snap election – rising four points on the previous week – while Labour was unchanged.
And the Mirror also has the Conservatives in a commanding lead.
Theresa May has hit the magical 50 per cent of the vote which would deliver a landslide victory to the Tories on June 8.
In a sensational Sunday Mirror ComRes poll today the Conservatives have pulled a further four points ahead of Labour since a survey last Sunday.
Labour remains on 25 per cent. If those figures were mirrored on election day, Prime Minister Mrs May would be left with a thumping overall majority of more than 200 – while Jeremy Corbyn would lose at least 90 MPs.
If Mrs May pulls that off it means she would beat the 418 seats Tony Blair won in the 1997 landslide that ushered in 13 years of New Labour rule.
In terms of policy, the Express reports on the possibility of HS2 being scrapped.
THE PRIME Minister will consider scrapping the Government’s flagship High Speed rail scheme HS2 after being lobbied by hostile MPs to ditch the £56billion project in the Conservative Party manifesto.
Conservative MP George Freeman, the Prime Minister’s policy chief who is helping to draw up the party’s manifesto, told a group of Tory MPs on Wednesday that cancelling HS2 is up for consideration.
The MPs, led by Andrew Bridgen and Cheryl Gillan, had argued that the task of dealing with Brexit meant the bill needed to approve the second phase of the scheme between Birmingham and Crewe would be delayed – adding at least an extra £10 billion to the project’s ballooning budget.
The Conservative Party has also proposed a cap on energy bills, says the Times.
Theresa May will attempt to capture the political centre ground by slashing £100 from the energy bills of 17m families and granting new rights for workers.
The prime minister will use the Conservative manifesto, to be published on May 8, to cap the gas and electricity bills for the seven out of 10 households that pay standard variable tariffs — dubbed a rip-off by watchdogs.
The policy is a centrepiece of a manifesto that will set out a bold social vision for Britain that parks Tory tanks on terrain usually occupied by Labour.
Senior ministers say May will also outflank Jeremy Corbyn with reforms to workers’ rights to protect them against rogue bosses.
The Times claims the Labour leader is under pressure.
Jeremy Corbyn “struggles to cope” with the demands of frontline politics and works in conditions of “chaos”, according to a key insider who spent a year at the heart of the opposition leader’s team.
Harry Fletcher, the Labour leader’s former communications and strategy adviser, detailed the “fraught, tense and unhappy” atmosphere in Corbyn’s office and growing disorder.
Describing the chaos when he joined, he writes in today’s edition of The Sunday Times: “There was no diary, no schedule, few or no regular team meetings.
Nobody knew what their job was. We discovered in passing one day that there were tens of thousands of unopened emails to Jeremy that no one had ever read.”
And in a Labour marginal seat, voters are split, says the Mirror.
Voters in Labour’s most marginal seat City of Chester seem split over Jeremy Corbyn ’s ability to win.
With a majority of just 93 over his Tory rival, MP Chris Matheson has spoken out against his leader and is confident of holding his seat.
But a snap Sunday Mirror survey showed even long-time Labour supporters are uncertain their MP can overcome the Corbyn factor.
Marketing manager and dad-of-two Adam Kirkup, 28, said: “Jeremy is wonderful ideologically but I’m not sure he has a united party behind him. Some of that is down to leadership style. I’d be surprised if he did well but I’d love it.”
The Express reports a mass exodus from Labour.
ONE in seven of those who voted Labour at the last General Election will switch to the Conservatives because of Jeremy Corbyn, a Sunday Express poll reveals.
Party leadership was the main reason for defection on June 8 as the survey put Prime Minister Theresa May 16 points ahead of Labour on 42 per cent, giving the Conservatives a thumping majority of more than 100.
Twenty-six per cent of those questioned by polling company Norstat said they would vote Labour, while 10 per cent opted for the Liberal Democrats.
On policy, Sky News reports that Labour could give us four more Bank Holidays.
A Labour government will seek to create four new UK-wide bank holidays on the patron saint’s day of each of the home nations, Jeremy Corbyn has said.
Speaking today on St George’s Day, the Labour leader said the move would bring together England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, while giving workers a well-deserved break.
But a Conservative source told Sky News that the British economy “would be on permanent holiday if Mr Corbyn got near Downing Street”.
This story is also reported by BBC News.
A Labour government would seek to create four new UK-wide bank holidays, Jeremy Corbyn says.
The holidays would be on each nation’s patron saint day – St David’s Day on 1 March, St Patrick’s Day on 17 March, St George’s Day on 23 April and St Andrew’s Day on 30 November.
Mr Corbyn believes the move will “celebrate the national cultures of our proud nations”.
Labour says the UK has fewer bank holidays than other G20 countries.
Normally, England and Wales have eight bank holidays a year, Scotland nine, and Northern Ireland 10. Labour says the average for G20 countries is 12.
And the Express claims a Labour victory would bring us closer to war.
EUROPE would move one step closer to war with Russia if Jeremy Corbyn was elected prime minister, Nato’s former secretary general Anders Fogh Rassmussen said last night.
The former Danish prime minister warned that Russian internet trollers were already preparing to attempt to influence June’s general elections results by launching fake news attacks from Kremlin-sponsored sites in St Petersburg.
“A firm hand on defence and security is essential if you want to avoid war and conflict. It is the only deterrent that works,” he said.
“If Jeremy Corbyn defied the odds and entered Downing Street, it would put a question mark over Nato unity, Britain’s willingness to act in defence of its own interests, and Europe’s wider security.
Our own party says it will stop Muslims wearing burkas, says the Telegraph.
Ukip will promise on Monday to ban the burka from being worn in public as it shelves a rebrand that was planned before the election.
The party’s first election manifesto pledges will be based on its an “integration agenda” aimed at its core supporters.
Sharia law – the religious rules that form part of Islamic tradition – will be outlawed in the UK under the party’s proposals.
People with evidence of female genital mutilation will be bound by law to inform police, it will be suggested.
It will also call for postal voting to be abolished for most citizens amid fears it is being used for electoral fraud.
The Sun also has the story.
UKIP leader Paul Nuttall will put a ban on wearing full-face veils at the centre of his general election campaign this week.
He will propose action to tackle the rise of Islamic extremism and promote social integration in his party’s manifesto.
It would put Britain in line with France, Belgium and Bulgaria where the burka – which covers the entire body including face – is outlawed.
Mr Nuttall believes garments such as the burka and niqab are a barrier to social harmony and a security risk.
BBC News also reports the policy.
A pledge to ban the full-face veils worn by some Muslim women is expected to be included in the UK Independence Party’s general election manifesto.
Party leader Paul Nuttall will launch what he calls an “integration agenda” on Monday.
He will say wearing the burka and niqab in public is a barrier to social harmony, as well as a security risk.
He will also propose outlawing Sharia law – the religious rules that form part of Islamic tradition.
The party’s manifesto is expected to suggest that anyone with evidence of female genital mutilation will be bound by law to inform police.
And the Express claims that the party will not stand candidates in some seats.
UKIP leader Paul Nuttall has vowed to put “country before party” and not put up candidates in key Labour versus Tory battlegrounds.
Writing for the Sunday Express, Ukip leader Paul Nuttall said it was his duty to “advance the practical cause of Brexit in Parliament, in the country at large and in the negotiating chambers of the European Union.
“That means, to put it in shorthand, adhering to the principle of country before party in the changed political circumstances that pertain today.”
It seems the LibDems will be targeting pro-Brexit Tories, says the Telegraph.
The Liberal Democrats have drawn up a hit-list of pro-EU Tory MPs who they want to unseat as they plot a Brexit purge for the election campaign.
The Telegraph can reveal that four Conservatives in parts of the country which most voted to stay in the European Union have been singled out.
Among those targeted will be Tania Mathias MP, whose Twickenham constituency overwhelmingly backed staying in the EU at last year’s referendum.
According to Lib Dem party analysis just one in three voters in Twickenham wanted Brexit – something the Tories are now promising to deliver at this election.
But the party will not go into any coalition, says the Guardian.
The Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has ruled out any form of coalition with the Tories or Labour after the general election as he sets out a bold ambition to attract enough Remain voters to form the main opposition party in parliament.
In a dramatic shift of strategy for a party that entered coalition with the Conservatives in 2010 in the “national interest”, Farron said in an interview with the Observer that there will be “no deal, no deal with anybody” under any circumstances.
He insisted that both the Tories and Labour
were intent on driving through a hard Brexit, which would include taking the UK out of the single market, and that his party had a duty to offer a distinct alternative, including a policy that would keep open a possibility of the UK staying in the EU.
Elsewhere, voters go to the polls for the first round of the elections in France. The Telegraph gives us a snapshot.
As the countdown commences to France’s most unpredictable presidential election in modern times, a small town in deepest Burgundy has become the focus of intense national scrutiny because it always reflects the national vote.
Donzy, population 1660, is France’s electoral equivalent of Basildon, seen as Britain’s ultimate political bellwether, having voted for the winning party at each general election since it became a constituency in 1974.
Surrounded by farms producing goat’s cheese and foie gras, the medieval town is in many ways textbook “France profonde”, boasting a church, two doctors, a butcher, two bakers, three cafes, three schools and a retirement home. There are two factories making drinking straws and umbrellas on the outskirts and a football pitch.
The Sun is talking of civil war in France.
OUTSPOKEN Marine Le Pen’s presidential campaign chief has claimed France could erupt into civil war if it is the target of any more terror attacks.
Jean Messiha also told BBC Newsnight that a continuation of ‘feeble’ leadership will result in ISIS tightening its grip within the country leading to even bigger attacks.
He spoke out as voting in the presidential election got underway in colonies around the world.
Mr Messiha said: “She [Le Pen] is the only one who can heal the division in this country because she is the only one to call for authority back in the streets of Paris and the state must use its authority to restore state power in the streets.
And Breitbart discusses gun control.
The strict French gun control that makes it extremely difficult for law-abiding citizens to defend themselves has proven little more than a paper tiger when it comes to prohibiting terrorists and public attackers from acquiring the guns they need to kill innocents.
The April 20 attack on a police patrol on the Champs Élysées illustrates this perfectly in light of the fact that the alleged attacker–Karim Cheurfi–was previously jailed for shooting at officers with a .38 Special revolver. The Daily Mail reports that Cheurfi was imprisoned “in 2005 for trying to kill two policemen” and wounding a third person with the revolver.
On Thursday he allegedly used a Kalashnikov to kill two officers. He was then shot dead, and upon searching his car, police discovered more weapons, “including a pump action shotgun.”
In the rest of the EU, the Independent claims the General Election is a ‘power grab’ by the Prime Minister.
The European Parliament’s Brexit chief has accused Theresa May of a “power grab” motivated by “opportunism” after the Prime Minister decided to call an early general election.
Guy Verhofstadt, the Parliament’s Brexit coordinator, dismissed Ms May’s claim that an election was needed to enable her to secure a better deal with the EU as “nonsensical”.
“What has been billed as a ‘Brexit election’ is an attempted power grab by the Tories, who wish to take advantage of a Labour party in seeming disarray to secure another five years of power before the reality of Brexit bites,” Mr Verhofstadt wrote in The Observer.
The Guardian has a similar story.
Theresa May’s claim that she will be strengthened in the Brexit talks by a general election victory has been dismissed as nonsense by the European parliament’s Brexit coordinator, who has condemned the prime minister as a political opportunist.
In an outspoken attack, Guy Verhofstadt suggests the prime minister was motivated by party political considerations rather than the national interest in calling a poll for 8 June.
Writing in the Observer, the former Belgian prime minister, who will play a key role in the coming Brexit negotiations, describes the election announced by May on Tuesday as “an attempted power grab by the Conservative party, who wish to take advantage of a Labour party seemingly in disarray to secure another five years of power, before the reality of Brexit bites”.
And the Express reports a fresh demand from Brussels will be rejected.
THERESA May is to reject a fresh demand from Brussels for EU migrants in Britain to be guaranteed EU rights for the rest of their lives, senior sources said today.
Leaked documents revealed that EU negotiators are preparing to open Brexit talks with an insistence that EU employment rights will continue in perpetuity for three million migrant workers already settled in the UK.
The move would guarantee pension rights and job security as well as maintaining controversial rules that mean foreign workers can claim child benefit for youngsters living overseas.
In terms of overseas trade, a financier has claimed we could do very well from Brexit, reports the Express.
BRITAIN could wipe out any trade costs incurred from leaving the European Union on day one of Brexit and end up substantially better off in one fell swoop, a leading trade expert has revealed today.
Top financier David Coker told express.co.uk that Theresa May should ditch the Brussels single market and instead seek membership of the lucrative North America Free Trade Association (NAFTA).
He said the increase in UK exports that would result from more trade with its three other members – the US, Canada and Mexico – could easily “wipe out” any deficit caused with Europe.
Mr Coker, a former Vice President of Deutsche Bank and high ranking official at the global credit ratings agency Moody’s, made the remarks after a top Republican said Donald Trump was ready to seal a deal with the UK.
Away from politics, the Sun reports an increase in health problems.
HOSPITAL patients enduring a 12-hour “trolley wait” has soared in twelve months, shock figures show.
A desperate shortage of beds saw urgent cases held in corridors and side rooms rose by 80 per cent in a year.
Accident and emergency cases where the stricken patients were left for more than 12 hours rose to 339 in February this year.
It compares to 188 twelve months ago and just THREE in February 2011 where patients spent more than 12 hours from the decision to admit to admission.
The latest NHS figures where patients were left waiting more than four hours from the decision to admit to actual admission also rose.
And the Morning Star carries a story about a medical cover-up.
NHS ENGLAND and a medical watchdog both sought to cover up evidence that medical implants have left hundreds of women in debilitating pain.
The minutes of an October meeting between NHS England and Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency officials show them agreeing to “avoid media attention” being given to safety issues.
There is a huge lack of data on the complications caused by the fitting of a mesh device — used to treat pelvic organ prolapse and incontinence after childbirth, a report from a working party led by NHS England admitted.
It said published studies do “not tell the whole story” and there are gaps in NHS knowledge about safety.