Summary of Thursday's developments

John McDonnell has disclosed that Labour will not negotiate with smaller parties in the event of a hung parliament next week.

The shadow chancellor told The Financial Times: “We will implement our negotiation, no deal, no coalitions.

“We’ll roll out our programme and let’s see if the Lib Dems vote against the real living wage at 10 an hour, let’s see if the SNP vote against the proposals we brought forward for ending austerity.”

Business leaders are calling for a number of commitments from the next government to help firms deal with Brexit.

The Institute of Directors said details on international trade must be a priority in the coming months.

The group said companies should be given an “adjustment period” before any new relationship with the EU comes into effect.

Meanwhile, analysis suggests that none of the main political parties have a properly evidence-based strategy to meet their ambitions on education policy.

The Education Policy Institute (EPI), funded by the Nuffield Foundation, carried out an analysis of the manifesto education plans of the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Greens and the Brexit Party, assessing how their policies would affect England.

Researchers found that although all parties have made bold pledges about reducing opportunity gaps and raising educational attainment, the policies in their manifestos are unlikely to deliver on these aspirations.

Lib Dem candidate Thomas Brake on his party’s election hopes.

“There are 120 seats around the country where the Liberal Democrats are second…. In those seats we have a real chance of defeating the Conservatives.”

Lib Dem candidate @thomasbrake predicts his party will have “more” MPs than their current 21 after next week’s vote#Newsnight

— BBC Newsnight (@BBCNewsnight) December 5, 2019

Friday’s Mirror front page

MIRROR: How can anyone trust him? #tomorrowspaperstoday

— Neil Henderson (@hendopolis) December 5, 2019

Labour and Cooperative candidate Annaliese Dodds insists the party will hold a second Brexit referendum if elected.

.@AnnelieseDodds says the Labour Party will hold another EU referendum if elected into government. #bbcqt

— BBC Question Time (@bbcquestiontime) December 5, 2019

Friday’s i front page

I: Crunch time for Corbyn #tomorrowspaperstoday

— Neil Henderson (@hendopolis) December 5, 2019

Lib Dem candidate Ed Davey on averting the climate crisis.

The Lib Dems' @EdwardJDavey says Brexit won't help us tackle the climate crisis. #bbcqt

— BBC Question Time (@bbcquestiontime) December 5, 2019

The singer Jamelia on Labour’s election strategy after attending the party’s rally in Birmingham.

“I’ve never voted before and I think that Jeremy Corbyn has actually galvanized people like myself to register to vote and to ensure that they are part of this decision.”@nicholaswatt catches up with @Jamelia at a Labour rally in Birmingham tonight #Newsnight | #GE19

— BBC Newsnight (@BBCNewsnight) December 5, 2019

The SNP candidate Ian Blackford has reiterated the party’s call for another referendum on Scottish independence.

SNP's @IBlackfordSNP says Scotland wants another independence referendum to escape the impact Brexit. #bbcqt

— BBC Question Time (@bbcquestiontime) December 5, 2019

Conservative chairman James Cleverly speaking about the UK’s EU membership on Question Time.

“Unless you have a plan for Brexit you can’t have a credible plan for anything else” @JamesCleverly of the @Conservatives says that being in the EU is stopping the government from helping our public services #bbcqt

— BBC Question Time (@bbcquestiontime) December 5, 2019

More than 100 pro-EU groups have sent a letter to Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson asking her to back Labour in the Prime Minister’s constituency.

The letter promises that if the Lib Dems step back in Boris Johnson’s constituency of Uxbridge and South Ruislip in London, the grass roots groups will pile pressure on Labour to pull back in Esher and Walton in Surrey where Lib Dem candidate Monica Harding is up against Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.

The 134 groups that have signed the “Boot Out Boris” letter “want to change the dynamics of the election”.

The letter to Swinson says: “We know we are asking you a lot to help Labour without any reason to think Jeremy Corbyn will return the favour. But if Johnson wins a majority, he’ll drag us out of the EU. So we implore you to look to the national interest.

“We also know you are already only running a paper candidate in Uxbridge. But we want you to go further and support Labour there.

“A similar letter is being sent to Corbyn asking Labour to support the Lib Dems in Esher and Walton, where you can bring down Dominic Raab.

“But to be clear, we don’t want you to wait for him to say yes. Time is terribly short, so we want you to take unilateral action.”

Boris Johnson has written to Jeremy Corbyn accusing him of a “sly” plan to “fiddle” a second Brexit referendum.

The prime minister has urged the Labour leader to reconsider his Brexit policy and his plan to give full voting rights to all UK residents with Johnson saying it would give two million EU nationals the vote in another referendum.

Johnson said Corbyn’s approach has “already done serious harm to trust” in politics, adding that cancelling the result of the 2016 referendum before it has been implemented would do more damage.

Labour has said it will “give the people the final say” on Brexit, that within three months of coming to power a Labour government would secure a “sensible deal”, and within six months they will put that deal to a public vote alongside the option to remain.

Cat Smith, Labour’s shadow minister for voter engagement, said: “The Labour Party believes in democracy. We welcome securing a new and better Brexit deal, and putting it back to the people to have the final say.

“If Boris Johnson had any confidence in his own deal, he would have let it be scrutinised by Parliament, and then put it back before the people for their verdict.”

Friday’s Financial Times front page

Just published: front page of the Financial Times, UK edition, Friday 6 December

— Financial Times (@FinancialTimes) December 5, 2019

Nationalising UK energy companies would delay the UK’s move towards a zero carbon future, according to the chief executive of Scottish Power.

Keith Anderson said investment by the private sector had seen the cost of renewable energy fall over the last decade and that debates about nationalisation would only serve as a distraction from preventing a climate emergency.

A Labour spokesman told the BBC Anderson’s comments are “hardly surprising” as they represent “vested interests”.


A Labour government would set up a network of advisers based in Post Offices to support small businesses if the party wins the General Election.

Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey said the new Business Development Agency would act as a “one-stop shop” offering advice, finance and large-scale government contracts, and is part of a “20-point plan” to support small businesses.

Another Labour policy is to set up a Post Office bank, and a network of business advisers would operate out of larger Post Bank branches to give advice and guidance for local businesses on how to access support and finance.

Labour is also planning a 250 billion UK national investment bank, and network of regional and national development banks, to give small businesses and the industries of the future the funding they need.

The party also wants to give free full-fibre broadband to every business premises, scrap quarterly reporting for businesses with a turnover of under 85,000, and reform business rates.

On the Labour proposals to support small businesses, International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said: “Despite what they claim, Labour are not on the side of small businesses.

“Their plans to raise corporation tax and introduce a four-day week will hit businesses hard.

“SMEs don’t need a new quango, they need certainty. All Corbyn’s Labour will bring is higher taxes and uncertainty with no plan for Brexit and the chaos of two more referendums next year.

“Only a majority Conservative government can provide the certainty businesses need, get Brexit done and bring costs down for SMEs by cutting business rates so that they can realise their potential.”

Liberal Democrat business spokesman Sam Gyimah said: “SMEs up and down the country have made it abundantly clear that any form of Brexit - be it red or blue - will harm their ability to hire staff, make it more difficult to export to our closest partners and ratchet up the cost of doing business.

“So while Labour wants to claim that it is on the side of small businesses, its support for Brexit means that ultimately these plans ring hollow. The simple fact is that you cannot be both pro-Brexit and pro-business.

“It is only the Liberal Democrats who will stop Brexit and bring forward a bold vision to support small businesses in the UK, including by scrapping the outdated business rates regime.”

The Liberal Democrats have pledged funding for disadvantaged pre-school children will be tripled if they triumph in the General Election.

The party said funding would be boosted for children aged three and four attending nurseries and other childcare providers.

Introduced by the Lib Dems in 2015, the Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP) gives childcare providers up to 302 extra a year for all disadvantaged children aged three and four they look after, the party said, adding that around 99,000 children a year benefitted from the extra funding.

The Lib Dems said they would triple the EYPP to 1,000 per child, costing between 65 million and 70 million in 2024/25.

It has also pledged to support families on low incomes by investing one billion a year in children’s centres, improving the quality of staff in early years settings by requiring all providers to have a staff training programme, and providing 35 hours of free childcare from the day parents go back to work to the day their child starts school.

Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson said: “The achievement gap between richer and poorer children can best be closed in the early years.

“But under the Conservatives, it’s widening. We cannot allow disadvantaged children to be left behind before they have even started school.

“Liberal Democrats will transform the lives of families with a massive expansion of free, high-quality childcare.

“At the same time, we’ll give nurseries more money dedicated to supporting children from the poorest families and children in care.

“By investing in the early years, we can give every child a great start in life.”

Friday’s Metro front page focusing on Andrew Neil’s challenge to the prime minister

Friday's front page:
SET TO GRILL#tomorrowspaperstoday #bbcpapers #skypapers

— Metro Newspaper UK (@MetroUKNews) December 5, 2019

Tomorrow’s Telegraph splash

The front page of tomorrow’s Daily Telegraph: ‘Corbyn has made Labour a welcoming refuge for anti-Semites. The party is cast in his image’ #tomorrowspaperstoday

— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) December 5, 2019

Friday’s Times front page focusing on the Brexit party

Brexit Party defectors urge Farage to withdraw#TomorrowsPapersToday @hendopolis

— The Times Pictures (@TimesPictures) December 5, 2019

Labour has complained to the BBC’s director general, Tony Hall, accusing the broadcaster of “slanted and biased” election coverage.

The party claims to have examples of where Labour’s leadership and policies have faced “more negative treatment” and “harsher scrutiny” by the BBC compared to those of the Conservative Party.

Labour’s co-campaign coordinator Andrew Gwynne also raised concern about Boris Johnson’s “failure” to be interviewed by BBC’s Andrew Neil.

A BBC spokesman said: “The BBC will continue to make its own independent editorial decisions, and is committed to reporting the election campaign fairly, impartially and without fear or favour.”

Here is the letter in full from Gwynne:

“I am writing to raise the Labour Party’s serious concerns over the BBC’s coverage of the General Election campaign, which we believe has repeatedly shown bias in its reporting of the Labour Party and its leadership, and demonstrated a worrying failure to meet the BBC’s obligations to fairness and impartiality.

“That bias has been reflected in the framing, content and balance of BBC reporting during the campaign. We have recorded numerous examples of more negative treatment, harsher scrutiny and slanted editorial comment about Labour’s leadership, policies and record, as compared with those of the Conservative Party, and submitted them to the BBC.

“Up to this point, there has been no substantive response, even though the time to address the evidence of bias is fast running out.

“In terms of balance and fairness, we have particular concerns over the Andrew Neil interviews.

“It now appears that the BBC has accepted the Conservative breach of the debates programmes package, agreed with both parties, and allowed the Conservative leader to choose an alternative interviewer.

“Despite our concerns about Andrew Neil’s well-known conservative political leanings, we agreed to Jeremy Corbyn’s participation on the clear understanding that Boris Johnson had agreed the same terms: namely, a four-programme debates package, including a Neil interview, designed with legal oversight to ensure fairness, balance and impartiality across the campaign period.

“Instead, the BBC allowed the Conservative leader to pick and choose a platform through which he believed he could present himself more favourably and without the same degree of accountability.

“This clearly broke the agreement the Labour Party made with the BBC in good faith.
“But despite raising this repeatedly with BBC editorial management, no proposal has been made to redress the imbalance that has been created.

“This imbalance is compounded almost daily by the fact that a significant amount of BBC content, on TV, radio and online, including bulletins, commentary and newspaper reviews, draws on the content and political agenda of the Conservative Party-supporting press.

“The BBC does not have a role as a protagonist in the General Election.

“If the Conservatives are allowed to ‘play’ or manipulate the BBC, and this behaviour goes unchecked, then the corporation will have effectively been complicit in giving the Conservative Party an unfair electoral advantage.

“I would therefore urge you to ensure that this unfairness is urgently corrected, and that the Labour Party is treated fairly and even-handedly, in relation to the governing Conservative Party in particular, in what is left of this campaign.

“I attach our previous letter to your colleague Fran Unsworth, and an updated set of examples of your slanted and biased coverage of the campaign.”

Friday’s Guardian front page

Guardian front page, Friday 6 December 2019: The rising toll of measles: nearly 10m cases and 142,000 deaths

— The Guardian (@guardian) December 5, 2019

Addressing a rally of party faithful in Birmingham about Labour’s manifesto pledges, Jeremy Corbyn appeared to mimic a line of questioning he received on Andrew Neil’s BBC show.

Speaking to a room of 800-1,000 people, the Labour leader said: “So when people say to me, ‘how are you going to pay for all this, Mr Corbyn?’

“’How are you going to pay for it, Mr Corbyn? Come on, answer it, answer it, answer it!’ he added, drawing laughs from the crowd.

“’You’ve got no answer for it, have you?”’

He said: “We’ve got our grey book and every single line of our manifesto has been read through, carefully, and fully costed.”

Corbyn also insisted there was “no place whatsoever” for anti-Semitism within Labour.

He said: “I remember when Enoch Powell was in the West Midlands, I remember the viciousness of that whole period.

“I simply say this: in our society, in our moment, there is no place whatsoever for anti-Semitism, Islamophobia or racism.

“So in the last weeks of this election campaign, when everything will be thrown at us by those that are rich and powerful, we’re going to be out there on every street, every town, every city, with our message.

“A message of hope, a message of inclusion, a message of a society that is based on the needs of all of us and of social justice for all.”

Donald Tusk, the former European Council president, told The Guardian the Brexit campaign is an example of “the unprecedented readiness to lie” in modern politics.

He said Brexit has been “one of the most spectacular mistakes” in the history of the EU and “the most painful and saddest experience” of his time in office.

Labour has complained to the BBC’s director general, Tony Hall, accusing the broadcaster of “slanted and biased” election coverage.

The party claims to have examples of where Labour’s leadership and policies have faced “more negative treatment” and “harsher scrutiny” by the BBC compared to those of the Conservative Party.

Labour’s co-campaign coordinator Andrew Gwynne also raised concern about Boris Johnson’s “failure” to be interviewed by BBC’s Andrew Neil.

Gwynne said the party agreed to Jeremy Corbyn’s interview with Neil based on the “clear understanding” that Johnson had agreed the same terms.

“Instead, the BBC allowed the Conservative leader to pick and choose a platform through which he believed he could present himself more favourably and without the same degree of accountability,” Gwynne said in the letter.

A BBC spokesman said: “The BBC will continue to make its own independent editorial decisions, and is committed to reporting the election campaign fairly, impartially and without fear or favour.”

At The Custard Factory, Jeremy Corbyn said he is “inspired” by the ambitions of the children he’s met - but also saddened by the difficulties they and their “stressed-out” teachers have faced as they struggle with a “lack of funds”.

“None of this is necessary, none of this is right,” he added.

All of this is part of Labour’s promotion of education proposals which include capping class sizes by recruiting 20,000 extra teachers.

Nigel Farage has criticised the three MEPs who abandoned his Brexit party today seven days before polling day in an interview with Andrew Neil.

Annunziata Rees-Mogg – sister of the Commons leader, Jacob Rees-Mogg – Lance Forman and Lucy Harris all resigned the whip to back Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal.

Ahead of Jeremy Corbyn taking the stage at the Labour rally in Birmingham, the singer Jamelia spoke about how her daughter almost died as a newborn but because of the NHS, she is alive.

The television presenter said her daughter is nearly two and “all she wants for her birthday is a Labour government”.

The Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn arrives on stage at the Custard Factory in #Birmingham #GE2019

— Chris Mason (@ChrisMasonBBC) December 5, 2019


Jeremy Corbyn is due to speak shortly at The Custard Factory in Birmingham.

Crowd gathering... #GE2019

— Chris Mason (@ChrisMasonBBC) December 5, 2019


Andrew Neil said the prime minister tells us he has always been an opponent of austerity but we would ask him for evidence of that.

In the final part of his monologue, he said: “And we would want to know why an opponent of austerity would bake so much of it into their future spending plans.

“We would ask why, as with the proposed increase in police numbers, so many of his promises only take us back to the future, back to where we were before austerity began.

“Social care is an issue of growing concern. On the steps of Downing Street in July he said he’d prepared a plan for social care. We’d ask him why that plan is not in his manifesto.

“Questions of trust. Questions we’d like to put to Mr Johnson so you can hear his replies. But we can’t, because he won’t sit down with us.

“There is no law, no supreme court ruling, that can force Mr Johnson to participate in a BBC leaders’ interview. But the prime minister of our nation will, at times, have to stand up to President Trump, President Putin, President Xi of China.

“So it was surely not expecting too much that he spend half an hour standing up to me.”


More from Andrew Neil on his intervention which came after his interview with Nigel Farage.

He said: “Can he be believed when he claims another 34 [hospitals] will be built in the five years after that?

“Can he be trusted to fund the NHS properly, when he used a cash figure of an extra £34bn?

“After inflation, the additional money promised amounts to £20bn.

“He vows that the NHS will not be on the table with any trade talks with America. But he vowed to the DUP, his unionist allies in Northern Ireland, that there would never be a border down the Irish Sea.

“That is as important to the DUP as the NHS is to the rest of us. It is a vow his Brexit deal would seem to break.”


Here is the full transcript of Andrew Neil’s challenge to Boris Johnson to commit to an interview with him with just one week before polling day.

Talking about his leader interviews, the veteran broadcaster said: “There is of course still one to be done - Boris Johnson, the prime minister.

“We have been asking him for weeks now to give us a date, a time, a venue. As of now, none has been forthcoming.

“No broadcaster can compel a politician to be interviewed. But leaders’ interviews have been a key part of the BBC’s prime-time election coverage for decades.

“We do them on your behalf to scrutinise and hold to account those who would govern us. That is democracy.”

Neil added: “We’ve always proceeded in good faith that the leaders would participate. And in every election they have. All of them. Until this one.

“It is not too late. We have interview prepared. Oven-ready, as Mr Johnson likes to say.

“The theme running through our questions is trust, and why at so many times in his career, in politics and journalism, critics and sometimes even those close to him have deemed him to be untrustworthy.

“It is of course relevant to what he is promising us all now.

“Can he be trusted to deliver 50,000 more nurses? When almost 20,000 in his numbers are already working for the NHS.

“He promises 40 new hospitals. But only six are scheduled to be built by 2025.”


Reaction to Andrew Neil issuing a direct challenge to Boris Johnson to face him one-on-one, and the prime minister yet to agree a date for the BBC interview.

No other prime minister in modern history has ducked the set piece election interviews in the way that Boris Johnson has.

— Lewis Goodall (@lewis_goodall) December 5, 2019


Jeremy Corbyn did not directly respond to the question over whether he would resign if Labour does not win next week’s election.

It comes after Lord Falconer called for him to resign if Labour are unsuccessful while Len McCluskey, from the Unite union, said Corbyn should remain.

Corbyn told ITV: “I am leading the party to win the election, I am utterly determined to win the election.”

At a Liberal Democrat campaign rally in Edinburgh, which featured a “topple Boris” coconut shy, a “Swinzone” selfie area and rather unseasonal free ice cream, Jo Swinson told activists she was glad to be back in Scotland and attacked the government still sitting just down the road at the Holyrood parliament.

“The SNP try to pretend that if you’re against independence, you’re somehow against Scotland. They are wrong,” she told the audience, before taking the SNP government to task for their record on health, education and policing.

“It’s been a tough week for the SNP headline-wise, with the ongoing infections crisis at Glasgow’s flagship hospital, poor results in the Pisa schools study, and the resignation of the chair of the Scottish Police Authority, Susan Deacon, as she criticised police accountability and governance as ‘fundamentally flawed’.”

To laughter, she added: “Boris Johnson says he is committed to our family of nations. But we all know that he’s never been much of a family man.”


Corbyn was asked by ITV what his stance on Brexit was.

He responded: “A credible leave option maintains credible trading relations with Europe, the sale and manufacture of goods, a customs agreement that protects the Good Friday agreement.

“We would support either remain or leave with the economic relationship with Europe intact.”

The Labour leader added he would not support Scotland having a second referendum on independence.


Corbyn has reiterated his apology over the antisemitism allegations that have engulfed his party.

He told ITV: “Antisemitism is a vile evil. I have spent my life campaigning against racism.

“Where there has been a delay in processing [cases], I apologise to the people who suffered as a result of it.”


On safety and security following the London Bridge attack last week, Jeremy Corbyn told ITV “what concerns me is automatic release” for people convicted of serious offences.

He added his priority is a “properly funded prison service and probation service” which is able to intervene.


In an interview with ITV’s Tonight programme, Jeremy Corbyn responded to his standing in the opinion polls.

He said: “I never comment on opinion polls.

“I behave as leader of the party. Yes, I have had a lot of attacks from the media.

“I don’t indulge in personal abuse.”


Andrew Neil issues interview challenge to Boris Johnson

Andrew Neil has urged Boris Johnson to commit to a BBC interview with him to face questions on why people have “deemed him to be untrustworthy”.

At the end of an interview with the Brexit party leader, Nigel Farage, Neil – who was Johnson’s former boss at the Spectator – said: “It is not too late. We have an interview prepared. Oven-ready, as Mr Johnson likes to say.”

“It is not too late. We have an interview prepared. Oven-ready, as Mr Johnson likes to say”

Andrew Neil issues a challenge for Boris Johnson to commit to an interview with him, to face questions on why people have “deemed him to be untrustworthy”

— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) December 5, 2019

Neil said Johnson was the only party leader who had not agreed to be interviewed, adding: “We have been asking him for weeks now to give us a date, time ... as of now none have been forthcoming.

“No broadcaster can compel a politician to be interviewed but leaders’ interviews have been a key part of the BBC’s primetime election coverage for decades … to hold to account, on your behalf, those who would govern us. That is democracy.

“We’ve always proceeded in good faith that the leaders would participate and in every election they have - until this one.”


Talks between trade unions and the Department of Health to prevent industrial action have ended without agreement.

Health workers in Northern Ireland have been taking part in action over pay and staffing levels.

There has been strike action as well as work-to-rule across the week, causing thousands of operations and appointments to be cancelled.

Negotiators from four trade unions which represent health workers and nurses held a three-hour meeting with the Department of Health in Belfast on Thursday.

The Northern Ireland secretary, Julian Smith, who met the unions before their talks with the department, welcomed its fresh offer.

But speaking on behalf of the unions, Anne Speed from Unison said it was “insufficient”.

“Despite the tweet from the secretary of state earlier this evening in the middle of discussions before the meeting concluded, our position is as follows: The department has presented a new position, trade unions have jointly agreed this remains insufficient and falls short of our members’ requirements and mandate that they have given us,” she said.

“Industrial action continues and joint planned trade union action remains in place for December 18.”


Nigel Farage has criticised the MEPs who left the party today to campaign for Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal.

Farage said Annunziata Rees-Mogg, sister to the Commons leader, Jacob, and one of those to walk out, was “wrong” to suggest the Brexit party could put Britain’s departure from the European Union “at risk” by contesting Labour-held seats.

He countered by arguing it was the Tories that were guilty of potentially splitting the leave vote, by contesting constituencies such as Doncaster, Barnsley and Hartlepool where voters were “unlikely” to go blue.

Lance Forman and Lucy Harris also left the party while John Longworth lost the whip on Wednesday for criticising the party’s election strategy.


One of the big developments of the day has been three MEPs leaving the Brexit party and urging voters to back the Conservatives .

One of them, Lucy Harris, said her decision was based on her belief that only Labour and the Tories could win next week’s election.

She told the BBC that Labour’s policy to deliver a second EU referendum would mean making a decision between a “botched-up Brexit deal” and remaining in the EU and that it was therefore “too risky” to do anything other than vote for Boris Johnson.

Earlier, the Brexit Party leader, Nigel Farage, pointed to links between the three MEPs and the Conservatives.


Afternoon summary

We’re cutting taxes on national insurance contributions and on business rates, and I’m certainly not aware of the data you describe. We’re cutting taxes. And in our first budget we propose to do more to cut taxes.

It would have been reasonable to say there is a difference between personal taxes going down and the overall taxes going up. But he didn’t, and instead he just implied the journalists were wrong. Later, the Conservative party had to issue what amounted to a clarification – always a sign that a media appearance has not gone smoothly.

  • Johnson has refused to commit to doing an interview with Andrew Neil. Asked about this at his Q&A, he did not say he would refuse to do the interview, but he gave the strong impression that it is never going to happen. This evening it has emerged that he definitely won’t be doing a sit-down interview with ITV’s Julie Etchingham either. Jeremy Corbyn has given interviews to both Neil and Etchingham – although both generated multiple negative headlines, which of course explains why Johnson is evading this level of scrutiny.

That’s all from me this evening. My colleague Nadeem Badshah is in charge of the blog now.

There is a Jeremy Corbyn rally at 7pm. The Andrew Neil interview with Nigel Farage is going out at 7pm too. And Julie Etchingham’s interview with Jeremy Corbyn is being broadcast at 7.30pm.


My colleague Hilary Osborne has written a Factcheck piece on who is responsible for the increase in homelessness, following comments made by the chancellor, Sajid Javid.


On Boris Johnson not appearing on the Tonight programme, a spokesman for ITV said: “The ITV News team making the Boris Johnson Tonight film made the original bid for the prime minister when the election was called.

“They have contacted his press team on repeated occasions with times and dates offered to film an interview.

“Boris Johnson’s team have today confirmed he will not be taking part.

“The programme will instead feature a profile of the prime minister using fresh interviews with other contributors and archive footage.”


Boris Johnson won't do ITV interview with Julie Etchingham

My colleague Jim Waterson’s reaction to the news that Boris Johnson will not be following suit and taking part in an interview with ITV News.

ITV said: “Every other leader of Great Britain’s main political parties that has been approached has done an interview for Tonight.”

The prime minister has faced mounting criticism of his refusal to be interviewed by Andrew Neil on the BBC.

This is the same interview slot that caused Jeremy Corbyn the kerfuffle with the damn Queen's Speech story. Hard to conclude that a lesson from this election is if you're a politician and you don't want to be scrutinised on telly then that's fine and there's not much downside.

— Jim Waterson (@jimwaterson) December 5, 2019


Nicola Sturgeon has said she believes tactical voting could be key to stopping Boris Johnson getting a majority and that “people are thinking very carefully” about how to vote.

Scotland’s first minister said she felt there may be more tactical voting at this general election than ever before as she urged voters to oust Conservative MPs in Scotland by voting for the Scottish National party.

She said: “The way to escape that mess and to focus on building a better Scotland is to make sure that the Tories and Boris Johnson don’t get that majority they’re looking for.

“In this election people are thinking very carefully, I think there will be potentially more tactical voting than we’ve seen in previous general elections, and in Scotland if you want to vote tactically to stop the Tories, then the way to do that is to vote SNP - we’re the challenger in all the Tory-held seats.”

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon campaigning in Edinburgh.
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon campaigning in Edinburgh.
Photograph: Russell Cheyne/Reuters


More on the controversy over Boris Johnson taking a selfie with This Morning presenters Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby using a Huawei smartphone, despite security concerns around the Chinese company.

Schofield has waded in on Twitter in response to criticism.

Responding to fans who asked whether he had challenged Johnson over comments which some claim are Islamophobic, the host replied: “YES!!”

Ofcom said it had received 31 complaints about the interview as of this afternoon.

Can I point out that if Mr Corbyn had asked for a selfie, we would have happily obliged.

— Phillip Schofield (@Schofe) December 5, 2019

Labour should have 'humility' to accept Jewish people feel party is antisemitic, says Khan

Earlier in the comments bagillt was asking for some more detail of what Sadiq Khan, the Labour mayor of London, said in his LBC phone-in this morning. Ever keen to oblige, here are some more quotes.

  • Khan criticised Boris Johnson’s response to the London Bridge terror attack, saying it was not the Tories’ finest hour. There were two possible explanations for the Conservative response, he said:

One is, is just shameless politicking?

But two is, Boris Johnson and the Conservatives are going on the offensive because of some of the things they’ve done in last nine years? Let me give you just a couple of examples. One, it was a Conservative government that removed the powers that judges had, for example, when there’s a violent and serious offender, to give them an indeterminate sentence to protect the public. The government did this to reduce prison numbers, to save money. Secondly, it is the case that there is far less rehabilitation in prisons and far less supervision because of massive cuts made by a Conservative government.

So, you can understand why a Tory standing to be the prime minister again wants to turn a defensive posture to an offensive one.

But just pause and reflect how [the victims’ families] are feeling. Just pause and reflect how the three people so seriously injured last week are feeling, to see people in positions of power and influence trying to seek political advantage out of this. On reflection, Boris Johnson and his team will think it wasn’t their finest hour.

  • He said Labour should have the “humility” to accept that Jewish people felt there was a genuine problem with antisemitism in the party. He said:

I’m meeting friends who are Jewish Londoners on a daily basis who feel we are a racist party and we’ve got to accept that. We can’t project an anti-Jeremy Corbyn or an anti-London animus towards somebody who feels we’re antisemitic. They feel we’re antisemitic and I accept that and I think we’ve got to have the humility to realise that a small community in London – and the Jewish community is relatively small – feels really upset, feels really scared and feels really anxious. I think it’s really important that we address that.

  • He said Jeremy Corbyn had campaigned against racism all his life and had never been racist in the way Boris Johnson had. He said:

I can point to things on the record that Boris Johnson has said about people of colour and people with different faiths: on the record, overtly, proudly, being paid for it. [Can] you point to examples where Jeremy Corbyn has said things on the record, in articles, in speeches, for a cheap joke, about people of colour or people of different faiths?


The Conservatives received donations of more than £3m in the third week of the general election campaign - far outstripping the other parties, PA Media reports. The Electoral Commission said the Tories reported donations of more than £7,500 totalling £3.59m in the week from 20-26 November. In contrast, Labour received £521,909, the Liberal Democrats £509,998 and the Brexit party received no donations over 7,500 at all. The Green party reported donations of £100,000, and the Alliance party of Northern Ireland £15,000.


Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, has criticised Boris Johnson for “evading scrutiny” in the general election campaign. At an event in South Queensferry she said:

Boris Johnson has ducked and dived, evading scrutiny throughout this whole campaign and no wonder because everybody knows that if he gets his way he drags Scotland out of the EU against our will, out of the single market and the customs union, plunging us into the next round of Brexit chaos that could cost every person in our country £1,600 and a process that could end with a no-deal Brexit later next year.

She has also unveiled the Scottish National party battlebus. Given that “Stop Brexit” is also a Lib Dem slogan, this is probably the design the Lib Dems should have chosen for their battlebus. (Instead the Lib Dems opted for an enormous picture of Jo Swinson, which was probably a mistake because she has turned out to be less of an asset than the party expected.)

Nicola Sturgeon with the SNP campaign bus in front of the Forth Bridge.
Nicola Sturgeon with the SNP campaign bus in front of the Forth Bridge. Photograph: Jane Barlow/PA


The Conservative party has put out a statement clarifying its position on taxes - ie, saying what Boris Johnson would have said in his Q&A earlier if he had been more honest about the party’s plans. (See 3.57pm.) A spokesman said:

Our manifesto does not propose increasing taxes on UK resident companies and would not put up personal taxes for hard-working Brits.

We have been very clear that we are pausing future corporation tax cuts, and will invest this money into our NHS. We will also introduce a surcharge on those buying UK property from abroad, increase the immigration health surcharge so everyone contributes to our NHS and put up taxes on plastic bags to help our environment.


Boris Johnson's Q&A - Summary

Here are the main points from Boris Johnson’s Q&A in Matlock.

  • Johnson refused to accept that the Conservative party’s own costings show the overall tax burden will increase under their plans. (See 3.57pm.)
  • He rejected claims that his pledge to “get Brexit done” by 31 January was misleading because 2020 would be consumed by Brexit negotiations with the EU. This point was put to Johnson twice, but he refused to accept it. He said the situation would be different after January because the “parliamentary wrangling and bitterness and feuding” would be over. For a good explanation of why Johnson may be wrong, and why 2020 could end up being dominated again by news about a possible no-deal Brexit, do read this Twitter thread from the Economist’s John Peet. It starts here.

Why I am worried about Johnson getting Brexit done, short thread based on my piece in this week’s Economist./1

— John Peet (@JohnGPeet) December 5, 2019
  • Johnson insisted he would get a trade deal with the EU by the end of next year, but refused to say he was giving a “cast-iron guarantee” to that effect. Asked if he would “absolutely promise” to get a trade deal with the EU by the end of the transition period, Johnson said he thought he could.

We already have a deal. And we can come out on January 31 in a state of perfect equilibrium and grace with the rest of the EU because we have a zero-tariff, zero-quota position now, and I’ve absolutely no doubt at all that we’ll be able to make sure that the EU protects its own interests and has a deal with us that ensures that continues for the future.

If you say, ‘can I absolutely guarantee that we’ll get a deal’, I think I can and I’ll tell you why – look at what we achieved ... in three months with the new deal that I did. We did it and it’s a great deal and it will take this country forward and I’m very proud of it.

But when he was asked if that was a “cast-iron guarantee”, Johnson said: “The possibility you allude to simply will not happen.”

  • Johnson refused to commit to doing an interview with Andrew Neil for the BBC. Asked about this, he said:

I’m the first prime minister to have done two, or about to do two one-on-one leadership debates, several hours’ worth of phone-ins, endless press conferences and interviews with all sorts of BBC people called Andrew. And I will continue to submit to the interrogation of the media.

He also said that his communications director, Lee Cain, was the person to speak to for details of his media appearances, but the tone of his answer implied that he did not want, or expect, to do the Neil interview.

  • Johnson defended plans in the Conservative manifesto to pass a law restricting strikes on public transport. He said:

I do think it’s absurd that critical transport mass-transit systems should be capable of being put out of actions by strikes, and other countries around the world have minimum service requirements for public transport - and that’s what I want to see.

  • He said people would be “outraged” if Labour were to allow EU nationals to vote in a second Brexit referendum. He said:

I think the whole proposal from the Labour party is bizarre.

I think people will be outraged by the whole thing and ... to think that it is going to be rigged in some way by getting in millions more voters who’d be very likely to vote one way rather than another, I think that would cause a great deal of public disquiet and I don’t think it’s the right way forward.

Boris Johnson during a visit to the John Smedley Mill.
Boris Johnson during a visit to the John Smedley mill. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA


Earlier I posted some Press Association copy about Boris Johnson taking a selfie with Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby after his appearance on ITV’s This Morning. (See 1.56pm.) The Press Association has subsequently filed this addition.

A Conservative spokesman subsequently denied the phone was the prime minister’s.

But on the show Willoughby said Johnson reappeared after his interview and “he whipped his phone out and he took a selfie” to which Schofield replied: “But he didn’t know he had to press the button …”


Boris Johnson refuses to accept evidence that tax burden would rise under Tories

The most awkward questions for Boris Johnson today came on the subject of tax. Overnight, the Conservatives briefed out a story about how they would hold a budget in February “which will cut taxes for hard-working families” and this morning the Daily Telegraph and the Times both splashed on stories about the Tories offering tax cuts.

But the Tories have already published details of their tax plans, and they show that, although personal taxes would go down in their first budget, the overall tax burden would rise because they have cancelled a planned cut in corporation tax. (In budget terms, that counts as a tax rise.) Overall, the cuts and the increases for 2020-21 effectively balance out, but the tax increase total (£3,320m) is bigger than the tax cut total (£3,195m), making a net increase in the tax burden of £5m.

This is perfectly defensible. You can argue that the personal tax burden is not the same as the overall tax burden. You could also argue that a tax cut forgone is not the same as a tax rise (although economists will tell you that it is).

But Johnson did not do either of these things. Instead, when asked about these figures, he claimed not to know what they were, and refused to accept that the overall tax burden would rise.

The BBC’s political editor, Laura Kuenssberg, first raised this point. She put it to Johnson that he was saying he would cut taxes in February, when overall his manifesto said taxes would go up. Johnson did not accept this. He said:

I don’t know what you are talking about ... We’re cutting taxes on business rates, we’re cutting national insurance contributions for everybody in the country, everybody paying NICs.

When Kuenssberg pushed him on this again, saying that overall taxes would go up, he claimed not to recognise the data. He told her:

We’re cutting taxes on national insurance contributions and on business rates, and I’m certainly not aware of the data you describe. We’re cutting taxes. And in our first budget we propose to do more to cut taxes.

Later Liz Bates from Channel 4 News made the same point, and asked Johnson why he was not willing to admit that taxes would go up when it said so in black and white in his manifesto. He replied:

Because it’s absolutely not right. We have got a manifesto that commits us to cutting national insurance contributions for everybody in the country.

Here is the chart from the Tory manifesto costing document (pdf) showing the party’s proposed tax cuts.

Tory manifesto tax cuts
Tory manifesto tax cuts Photograph: CCHQ

And here is the chart from the same documents showing the proposed tax increases.

Tory tax rises
Tory tax rises Photograph: CCHQ

In an article with the Sun about his daily routine during the campaign Johnson joked that, when he needed to relax at night, he resorted to “a few quadratic equations”. But you don’t need to be able to do quadratic equations to know that £3,320m is more than £3,195m.

Boris Johnson posing for a selfie with workers during a visit to the John Smedley mill.
Boris Johnson posing for a selfie with workers during a visit to the John Smedley mill. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA


Q: What will you say to a voter next year who says, ‘You said Brexit would be over, but I keep hearing about it on the news.’

Johnson says he does not accept that will happen.

Q: Why won’t you admit that taxes will go up under your plans?

Johnson says his priority in his first budget will be cutting taxes, not raising them.

That’s it. The Q&A is over.

I will post a summary soon.

Johnson refuses to commit to doing an interview with Andrew Neil

Q: If there were a second referendum next year, would it be right to give EU nationals the vote?

Johnson says the Labour plan is bizarre. He says Jeremy Corbyn cannot find anyone in his shadow cabinet who would vote for the deal he will negotiate. And he says that trying to rig the referendum would be wrong.

Q: Will you do an interview with Andrew Neil?

Johnson says he would be “very happy do interviews with all manner of people”. He says he has submitted himself to lots of interviews. He says he is the first PM to do two one-on-one debates.

As for questions about the Neil interview, he says the questioner should ask his communications director, Lee Cain.

  • Johnson refuses to commit to doing an interview with Andrew Neil.

Q: We have not heard anything from Jacob Rees-Mogg during the campaign. Will he be in your cabinet?

Johnson says questions like that come under the category of measuring up the curtains. He wants to focus on winning the election.

Q: Do you want to ban strikes on public transport and the tube?

Johnson says it is absurd that critical, mass transport systems can be put out of action by strikes. He wants to have minimum standards for them. That happens in other countries, he says. He says that idea is in the Tory manifesto.

Q: Did the previous Tory governments cut too much?

Johnson says he was running London at the time. He says the Tory government had a mess to sort out. He wants to invest.

Q: So did it cut too much?

Johnson says that is idle speculation. He says Labour would start with an economic crisis, not end with one.

Q: Can you give a cast-iron guarantee that you will negotiate a trade deal with the EU by the end of next year?

Johnson says the prospect of not having a deal won’t arise, but he refuses to give a cast-iron guarantee.

Q: You say today that you will present a budget in February that will cut tax. But overall your plans will raise tax. And you say you will get Brexit done. But the talks will still go on. How can people trust what you say?

Johnson says he does not understand the first point. He is going to cut taxes, he says.

And he says taking the UK out of the EU on 31 January will end the parliamentary wrangling.

When pressed on the point about taxes, Johnson says he does not know what Laura Kuenssberg, who asked the question, was referring to.

Johnson obviously missed these tweets from the Financial Times’ economics editor, Chris Giles.

The @Conservatives are getting a lot of coverage for a “tax cutting” Budget promise in February this morning.

This cannot be true. 1/

— Chris Giles (@ChrisGiles_) December 5, 2019

Their manifesto specifically says very little about taxes or day to day spending, but it promises net tax increases. 2/

— Chris Giles (@ChrisGiles_) December 5, 2019

You cannot honestly claim to be tax cutting if you reduce one tax a little and increase another by twice the amount.

All this would be in the Finance Bill


— Chris Giles (@ChrisGiles_) December 5, 2019


Johnson gets presented with a scarf saying get Brexit done.

Q: Can you guarantee that the NHS will not be vulnerable to other countries or outside bodies?

Yes, says Johnson. He says his charge often comes up. But the NHS is a fantastic thing. He says he is building 40 new hospitals. They will be there in 10 years’ time, as a result of the decisions he is taking. And he wants to have 50,000 more GP appointments.

A healthier population will make for a happier, richer country, he says.

Boris Johnson speaking at the John Smedley Mill Matlock.
Boris Johnson speaking at the John Smedley Mill Matlock. Photograph: Reuters

Johnson's Q&A

Johnson is now taking questions, from workers first. He says he will take media questions later.

A woman says she sent Johnson an email some time ago. She lives at the top of Matlock, where people want to build 400 homes on a flood plain. There have been floods there, she says. Why is this going ahead?

Johnson says he has met a huge amount of people who suffered during the recent floods. “We have got to stop building on flood plains,” she says.

The government is investing in brownfield sites, he says.

He says he will pass this on to Sarah Dines, the Tory candidate for Derbyshire Dales, so she can take this up with the planners.

Q: When Brexit is over, are you going to pull the country back together?

Yes, says Johnson.

He says the wrangling in the country has got worse.

But in the Conservative party people are coming together.

If Brexit is delivered, people will come together, he says.


He now tells an anecdote from his visit to the Red Bull Racing centre yesterday. He says he was told they had managed to reduce the engine size from 2.6 litres to something smaller. But the engines were more powerful.

That leads him on to claiming that this parliament has been holding Britain back like a punctured tyre.

Johnson is now doing his familiar riff about how remarkable exports are. But there is a new, or newish, joke. Britain is the only country to export music to the United States, he says. That’s why they call it One Direction, he says.

Protesters outside John Smedley Mill in Matlock, Derbyshire, where Boris Johnson is speaking.
Protesters outside John Smedley Mill in Matlock, Derbyshire, where Boris Johnson is speaking. Photograph: Hannah McKay/Reuters

Boris Johnson tells a Derbyshire audience the only mathematical alternative to him is Jeremy Corbyn "propped up by Nicola Sturgeon, and I think we all know who'd be wearing the tartan trousers in that relationship".

— Chris Doidge (@BBCChrisD) December 5, 2019

Boris Johnson says he is at the John Smedley factory.

He says he has some John Smedley garments himself.

He starts by explaining why he is having an election. Parliament is “broken down, jacknifed”, he says.

It is the standard stump speech ...

Boris Johnson's campaign Q&A

Boris Johnson is holding a campaign event in Derbyshire. He is at a factory where he is due to take questions from workers.

The former chancellor George Osborne and his former opposite number Ed Balls will reunite for ITV’s election night coverage, the Press Association reports. Since leaving frontline politics Osborne is, among other things, now the editor of the London Evening Standard, while Balls transformed his public image as a contestant on Strictly Come Dancing in 2016. ITV has confirmed that the pair will join the former Scottish Conservatives leader Ruth Davidson, as well as the former Labour home secretary Alan Johnson.


Farage claims Brexit party defectors are linked to Tories

Andrew Neil has already recorded his interview with Nigel Farage, the Brexit party leader. It will be shown on BBC One tonight.

In a clip released in advance, Farage said the three MEPs who announced they were quitting today were all linked to the Tories. He said:

One of them is a sister of a cabinet minister, another one has a boyfriend working for that cabinet minister – fact, and another one is a personal friend of Boris Johnson’s.

Farage was referring to Annunziata Rees-Mogg, Lucy Harris and Lance Forman respectively.

Farage also claimed that Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal was unacceptable. He said:

And I’ll tell you something, Boris Johnson’s deal unamended is unacceptable and I certainly stand by that.

That is not what Farage implied when he announced last month that he would not be standing candidates in Tory-held seats.

Nigel Farage (centre) in Deb’s Diner in Sutton-in-Ashfield yesterday.
Nigel Farage (centre) in Deb’s Diner in Sutton-in-Ashfield yesterday. Photograph: Matthew Cooper/PA


In its submission to the Equality and Human Rights Commission inquiry into antisemitism in the Labour party (see 7.35am and 9.20am) the Jewish Labour Movement claims Jeremy Corbyn has made the party “a welcoming refuge for antisemites”.

Corbyn was asked about this claim on a campaign visit to Peterborough earlier. He rejected it firmly. Asked about the allegation, he replied:

I completely reject that.

When I became leader of the party there were no processes in place to deal with antisemitism.

We introduced an appeals procedure to deal with it and we introduced an education process, so that party members understood the hurt that can be caused by antisemitic remarks or antisemitic behaviour.

I think we’ve got processes in place that have improved it a great deal.

Jeremy Corbyn during a visit to Fulbridge Academy in Peterborough.
Jeremy Corbyn during a visit to Fulbridge Academy in Peterborough. Photograph: Joe Giddens/PA

I’ve posted it already, but I will post it again because it is the most arresting picture of the day, and you could write an entire treatise about celebrity culture, daytime TV and the impartiality of the media on the basis of its implications: Boris Johnson posing for a selfie with Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby after his appearance on their programme, ITV’s This Morning.

Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby posting for a picture with Boris Johnson.
Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby posting for a picture with Boris Johnson. Photograph: Ken McKay/ITV/Rex/Shutterstock

But there is another issue thrown up by the picture too; Johnson is using a Huawei phone. This is from the Press Association.

Boris Johnson has appeared on television using a Huawei smartphone, despite ongoing security concerns around the Chinese company.

Following an interview on ITV’s This Morning, the prime minister used what appeared to be a Huawei P20 – understood to be his own – to take a selfie with presenters Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby.

Willoughby said Johnson reappeared after his interview on the programme and “he whipped his phone out” in order to take the picture.

The incident comes in the midst of a heated debate around the company and allegations of its close links to the Chinese state - critics have argued that Huawei’s telecoms equipment could be used to spy on people in the west - something the company has always denied.

It insists it abides by the laws of each country in which it operates.

The US, which has placed trade restrictions on the firm, has previously suggested that future co-operation with other members of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing partnership – the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – could be jeopardised if the Chinese company was given a role in the UK’s 5G infrastructure.

On Wednesday, Johnson said he would not compromise Britain’s national security over whether to give the telecoms firm a role in building the UK’s 5G network.

The Conservative party refused to comment on the incident.


Jeremy Corbyn after a visit to Fulbridge Academy in Peterborough today.
Jeremy Corbyn after a visit to Fulbridge Academy in Peterborough today. Photograph: Joe Giddens/PA

Boris Johnson is due to hold a campaign event shortly. But, as the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg reports, there’s been a problem.

Protestors have surrounded the Tories’ bus as it arrives at Derbyshire location for Johnson’s next campaign stop

— Laura Kuenssberg (@bbclaurak) December 5, 2019

Bus through now ... no sign of bees sticking themselves to the bus this time

— Laura Kuenssberg (@bbclaurak) December 5, 2019

The academic Simon Usherwood has an interesting Twitter thread on the Brexit party resignations. It starts here.

Some notes on the BXP resignations

tl;dr this is a structural problem for eurosceptics


— Simon Usherwood (@Usherwood) December 5, 2019

And here are some of his posts.

Euroscepticism isn't an ideology, but a frame through which you can make pretty much any ideology work

That's one big reason why it's so popular: you can make it work whatever you believe in


— Simon Usherwood (@Usherwood) December 5, 2019

Hence, parties that are centred around euroscepticism are necessarily broad churches

It's also why their programmes tend to be rather vague too: it might be easy to diagnose a problem, less so to offer a cure


— Simon Usherwood (@Usherwood) December 5, 2019

The result is that differences of opinion are par for the course

This was as true for UKIP as it is for BXP (try this from 2013:


— Simon Usherwood (@Usherwood) December 5, 2019

Q: What would you say to Nigel Farage if he were here?

Forman says he would invite Farage to join them, and to stand down his candidates.

Q: In all but about 20 seats?

Forman suggests it would be better to stand down everywhere.

Sometimes you have to swallow your pride, he says.

He says Farage could be seen as a great statesman if he were to do that.

And that’s it. The press conference is over.

Q: Do you feel Brexit party supporters are now lions led by donkeys?

Longworth says he hates personal attacks. For him, this is all about Brexit. He says it is wrong that the Brexit party is now putting the party ahead of Brexit.

Q: Do you think Nigel Farage’s tactical decisions have jeopardised Brexit?

Rees-Mogg says all four MEPs on the panel have raised concerns about Farage’s strategy. She thinks he wants an independent UK. But she thinks he is going about it the wrong way, and risking the election of a remainer government.

Q: The Brexit party response to your move has been vicious. (See 10.06am.) Have they always had their suspicions about the four of you?

Longworth says he does not think so. He says the problem only started when Nigel Farage decided the party would oppose Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal.

It would have been better to work with Johnson on improving it, he says.

He says he does not think a formal alliance with the Tories would have worked. But at this point he says he thinks, if you support Brexit, backing the Tories is the only option.

Q: Will you stand down as MEPs? And will you work together as a group?

Harris says they won’t stand down. She says they want to be in the European parliament to vote for Boris Johnson’s deal. The Brexit party will vote against it, she says.

Q: [To Longworth] Did the Brexit party strip you of the whip yesterday because they knew you were going to do this?

Longworth says he does not know. He says the Brexit party refused to tell him directly why the whip was being withdrawn. But he says he was in Brussels yesterday for an internal committee vote. He said he was not allowed to tell the Brexit party about what happened, and he thinks that may have been why he was disciplined.

Q: You said you have not discussed this with the Tories. But have the Tories discussed this with you in the past?

Longworth says he has never had any approach from the Conservative party. He says Nigel Farage keeps alleging this, but it is not true.

Annunziata Rees-Mogg says she has had no offers from the Conservative party at all. She says she gets annoyed when people suggest she is acting on behalf of her brother. She isn’t.

I have had no approaches from the Conservative party in any description and I am, frankly, finding it really quite disturbingly old-fashioned that people are suggesting that my brother gets to tell me what to do with my political views – he doesn’t.

We have completely independent views from each other and I am only concerned about Brexit.

I haven’t spoken to anyone about it - they wouldn’t be able to bribe me. This is purely, purely about Brexit.

Harris and Lance Forman both say they have never had offers from the Tories either.


The panel are now taking questions.

Q: Have any of you been offered jobs or honours by the Tories?

John Longworth says they have not even discussed this move with the Tories.

Q: Are you planning to join the Conservatives?

Lucy Harris says this is what they are saying for the moment. But, if invited to campaign for a Conservative candidate, she would.


Brexit party is now 'the very party risking Brexit', says Annunziata Rees-Mogg MEP

Annunziata Rees-Mogg MEP is speaking now.

(This is one Rees-Mogg that CCHQ will be happy to see on the news. Her brother, Jacob, the leader of the Commons, has been invisible during the campaign since he suggested that the Grenfell Tower residents lacked the common sense to ignore the advice to stay put.)

Rees-Mogg says she joined the Brexit party earlier this year, when it looked as if Theresa May was going to deny the country a proper Brexit.

But the party’s success ensured a Brexiter became Tory leader.

When Boris Johnson unveiled his Brexit plan, the Brexit party immediately decided it was unacceptable. Rees-Mogg says that was a mistake.

And she says the fact that the party is standing now in Tory target seats means it could split the Brexit vote, and let in Labour candidates.

The Brexit party are now “the very party risking Brexit”, she claims.

Annunziata Rees-Mogg
Annunziata Rees-Mogg Photograph: Guardian


Boris Johnson's Brexit deal 'only game in town', says former Brexit party MEP John Longworth

John Longworth MEP is speaking at the press conference now.

He says he was always a Eurosceptic. He recalls sitting on a government taskforce on deregulation when Margaret Thatcher was PM, and realising how resistant some government departments were to deregulation.

He says he publicly came out in favour of Brexit during the referendum campaign. At the time he was the director general of the British Chambers of Commerce. He says he was infuriated by the scaremongering coming from the remain campaign about the consequences of Brexit.

He says he joined the Brexit party to ensure Brexit happened. He says if the Brexit party had not been formed, and won seats in the European elections, Theresa May and Philip Hammond would have pushed through a watered-down version of Brexit.

He says, since then, the Brexit party has morphed into something else. It has non-Brexit goals. But Longworth says he is only interested in Brexit.

He says Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal has “the potential to be a great deal”.

I would say it equates to being a little bit better than the Norway deal - but it has the potential to be a great deal.

It is also “the only game in town”, he says.

All the alternatives would lead to article 50 being revoked.

That is why he thinks people should vote Conservative in the election, even if they have to “hold their nose”.

John Longworth
John Longworth. Photograph: Guardian


Sadiq Khan, the Labour mayor of London, was on LBC this morning. As LBC’s Theo Usherwood reports, Khan said that Boris Johnson’s record on racism was far worse than Jeremy Corbyn’s on antisemitism - not least because Johnson has been paid for what he had said in his journalism.

Sadiq Khan says Boris Johnson has done far more racist and Islamaphobic things on the record - “and been paid for it” he adds - than Jeremy Corbyn has done in terms of anti-Semitism.

— Theo Usherwood (@theousherwood) December 5, 2019

Lance Forman, the London MEP, is speaking at the press conference.

He says, if it is acceptable for the Brexit party to stand down in 317 Tory-held seats, it makes sense for the Brexit party to back the Conservative party everywhere.

He says his decision is not prompted by opposition to Nigel Farage. He pays tribute to Farage, saying he has achieved a huge amount.

He also says he is worried about antisemitism in the Labour party.

Lance Forman
Lance Forman Photograph: Guardian

Four ex-Brexit party MEPs hold press conference to explain why they're now backing Tories

The four Brexit party MEPs who have left to back the Conservatives are now holding a press conference in Westminster.

There is a live feed here.

And this is from the Brexit party MEP Michael Heaver.

Brexit Party put country first by standing down in Tory-held seats.

We are fully focused on hammering Corbyn’s Labour and taking the fight to Remainer MPs.

Keep calm and carry on.

— Michael Heaver MEP (@Michael_Heaver) December 5, 2019

These are from the Brexit party MEP Alexandra Phillips on the four defectors.

Sorry to see you go, Lucy..but I hope you'll do the decent thing and resign as an MEP if you can no longer back the party whose millions of supporters helped to get you elected.

— Alexandra Phillips MEP (@BrexitAlex) December 5, 2019

There’s a trend in Glory Hunter politicians switching parties to meet fashion with no recourse to the voter. These 4 spat in the face of Tories when they were getting slammed in EU Elex under PR but shamelessly crawl back as FPTP screws smaller parties. ZERO principle

— Alexandra Phillips MEP (@BrexitAlex) December 5, 2019

Here is the video message from the Brexit party’s “gang of four” explaining why they are now backing the Conservatives.

Video message from four Brexit parties who are now backing the Conservatives.

This is from Lucy Harris, one of the four Brexit party MEPs who has left the party to support the Conservatives.

Brexit Party MEPs @LanceForman , Annunziata Rees-Mogg @zatzi, John Longworth @john4brexit & I strongly believe:

If you want to ensure #Brexit gets delivered you must now vote for Boris Johnson’s @Conservatives & not the Brexit Party

Find out why👉:

— Lucy Harris (@Lugey6) December 5, 2019
Lucy Harris.
Lucy Harris. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters

Johnson apologises for any offence caused by his article comparing women wearing burqas to letterboxes

One measure of the dismal state of our politics is the way political interviewing at this election seems to consist mostly of demanding apologies. With Jeremy Corbyn, it’s for antisemitism. With Jo Swinson, it’s for her record in coalition. And with Boris Johnson - well, there is quite a choice, but racist, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments made by him in newspaper columns tend to come at the top of the list.

(Note to younger readers: election campaigns didn’t always used to be like this.)

Johnson was on ITV’s This Morning a few minutes ago. Two days ago the presenter Phillip Schofield managed to get an apology out of Corbyn. Today he managed the same with Johnson.

Here are the main points.

  • Johnson apologised for describing women wearing burqas as looking like letterboxes. Unlike many of the other comments in previous newspaper articles for which he is being criticised, Johnson wrote this relatively recently, in the summer last year. Asked whether he would say sorry for the offence caused, he replied:

I have already said sorry for any offence that I’ve caused, and I say it again.

Johnson has not always been willing to apologise for these comments. When Fiona Bruce asked him to apologise for these comments in the BBC Question Time leaders’ special two weeks ago, he refused. But on Friday last week, in a phone-in on LBC, Johnson did issued a generalised apology. Asked about Islamophobia in the Conservative party, he said:

I apologise ... Many people who will point out I have said things that have caused offence. Well, I’m deeply sorry for the offence that I caused.

  • Johnson said claims that the NHS would be on the table in trade talks with the US was as implausible as stories about UFOs. When it was put to him that there was a dossier showing the NHS had been discussed in talks, he replied:

And there are photographs that purport to prove there are UFOs. But it is complete nonsense.

Asked to give a “rock-solid guarantee” that no part of the NHS would be sold off, Johnson said he could, repeating the words “rock-solid guarantee”.

  • Johnson said he could promise that Brexit would happen on 31 January if he won a majority.
Boris Johnson posing for a selfie with the presenters of ITV’s This Morning programme, Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby.
Boris Johnson posing for a selfie with the presenters of ITV’s This Morning programme, Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby. Photograph: Ken McKay/ITV/Rex/Shutterstock


On ITV’s This Morning Holly Willoughby asks about crime and safety. A lot of people feel unsafe, she says.

Boris Johnson says he massively reduced crime when he was mayor of London.

He says that Usman Khan, the London Bridge attacker, had to be released.

It is always worth trying to rehabilitate people, he says.

But there are some people incapable of changing, and Khan was probably one of them, he says.

Q: Does it help for a PM to use terms like bank robber and letterbox to describe women who wear the burqa?

Johnson says he has already said sorry for any offence caused, and he says it again.

  • Johnson apologises for any offence caused by his article comparing women wearing burqas to letterboxes.

He says it is worth looking at what the article using those words said. He is proud of his Muslim ancestry, he says.

He says he will have an inquiry into prejudice and xenophobia of all kinds.

Q: You also branded single mothers as irresponsible, and working-class men as feckless, in an article in 1995?

Johnson says this is not the time to talk about any offence given by an article written a long time ago.


Boris Johnson on ITV's This Morning

Boris Johnson is giving an interview to ITV’s This Morning.

He says he loves the NHS. He can give an absolute guarantee that no part of the NHS will be sold off, he says.

Phillip Schofield puts it to him that companies part-owned by Americans already play a big role in providing NHS services.

Johnson says this was a process that happened under Labour, when contracts were outsourced.


According to the Press Association, the other two Brexit MEPs who are resigning are Lance Forman and Lucy Harris.

Forman is an MEP for London and runs a smoked salmon business.

And Harris is an MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber, and an opera singer.

And Press Association also quotes the MEP Annunziata Rees-Mogg explaining her decision to leave the Brexit party. She said:

We need a strong leave-supporting government to deliver the Brexit 17.4m voted for.

The Conservatives are the only option for Brexit supporters and democrats alike.

Farage says he is 'disappointed' his MEPs have quit

The defection of four Brexit party MEPs (see 9.47am) still has not been formally announced, but the Brexit party itself has issued a response. It says three of its MEPs are resigning the whip. It says John Longworth already had the whip removed yesterday.

In a statement Nigel Farage, the Brexit party leader, said:

Whilst we are disappointed that four of our MEPs don’t seem to understand that we both saved the Conservative party from large-scale losses to the Liberal Democrats in the south and south-west of England but we are also hammering the Labour leave vote in its traditional heartlands, making it much easier for the Conservatives to win many of those seats. The only vote on the leave side that is currently being split is in areas such as Barnsley, the South Wales Valleys, Doncaster and Hartlepool, where there is a risk that the Tories will split our vote.

As proof of his claim that the Brexit party will make it easier for the Tories to win Labour seats in leave-voting areas, Farage cited the Survation poll for the Economist two weeks ago, which shows the Tories on course to win the previously safe Labour seat of Great Grimsby ostensibly because the Labour vote has collapsed by 18 points, which is almost exactly what the Brexit party is polling in the constituency.

In the statement, a Brexit party spokesman added:

We also note that one of the MEPs is the sister of a cabinet minister, another has a partner who works in the office of the same cabinet minister and yet another is a personal friend of both Boris Johnson and Michael Gove. In the case of John Longworth, who was for years the firmest advocate of WTO withdrawal that we have ever met, he underwent a metamorphosis into being a supporter of the new EU treaty following two days of meetings in London. We hope that Mr Longworth is well rewarded for his actions.

That means Annunziata Rees-Mogg is expected to defect; her brother Jacob is the leader of the Commons.

Annunziata Rees-Mogg, who is expected to announce she is leaving the Brexit party this morning.
Annunziata Rees-Mogg, who is expected to announce she is leaving the Brexit party this morning. Photograph: Joe Giddens/PA


Four Brexit party MEPs expected to leave party urging voters to back Tories instead

According to a report by David Wooding for the Sun, four Brexit party MEPs will today announce that they are quitting their party and urging people to vote Conservative instead. One of them is John Longworth, the former director general of the British Chambers of Commerce and former Leave Means Leave chairman who yesterday had the whip removed because he had publicly criticised the election strategy being pursued by Nigel Farage, the party leader.

In his report, which Brexit party sources are not denying, Wooding says Longworth and his colleagues fear that the Farage strategy could be putting Brexit at risk. He writes:

Mr Longworth was unavailable for comment last night but an insider said: ‘We can’t support a party that jeopardises Brexit.

‘Too many people are concerned about their own egos rather than the cause we have all been campaigning for: to leave the EU.

‘It has become increasingly clear that unless the Tories win next week, Brexit is doomed. But some of our team are so wrapped up in their own self-interest they can’t see that.’

Wooding says the split follows weeks of infighting among the Brexit party’s MEPs.

The walkout follows weeks of vicious infighting among the Brexit party group in the European parliament.

It was described by one as ‘a toxic battle between the old Ukippers and the old Tories’.

Tempers became even more frayed in October when the party hierarchy decided to oppose Boris Johnson’s deal – within minutes of it being announced.

The Brexit party, which was only properly launched this year, won 29 seats in the European election, making it the biggest single party represented in the European parliament. It triumphed because Theresa May’s failure to pass a Brexit deal, and her decision to accept a Brexit extension, made it hard for Brexiters to vote for the Tories. But at this election the Brexit vote has swung back to the Conservatives, a process that has been encourage by Farage effectively endorsing Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal and refusing to stand candidates in Tory-held seats.

John Longworth, who was a Brexit party MEP until he had the whip removed yesterday.
John Longworth, who was a Brexit party MEP until he had the whip removed yesterday. Photograph: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters


Good morning. I’m Andrew Sparrow, taking over from Matthew Weaver.

Here is a link to the Jewish Labour Movement submission to the Equality and Human Rights Commission inquiry into antisemitism in the Labour party mentioned earlier. (See 7.35am.)

Here is a link to the full document we’ve been reporting on this morning...

— Laura Kuenssberg (@bbclaurak) December 5, 2019

A member of the Scottish National party’s conduct committee, who was due to rule on antisemitism allegations against its former candidate in Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, has herself resigned from the party after being challenged over alleged antisemitism.

Denise Findlay, an SNP activist who tweets as @GraceBrodie, said she had resigned yesterday after SNP officials confronted her over her stance on Israel, shortly before a Channel 4 News report on her tweets.

In a tweet saying she had resigned, she said: “There are tweets where I’m arguing that Israel=Nazi should not be part of the definition of anti-semitism.” That tweet no longer appears in her timeline but she later confirmed on Twitter that was the topic.

Of course but the tweets were exactly on the subject of whether comparing Israel to Nazi should be in the definition of anti semitism I thought it shouldn’t be

— DeniseFindlay (@GraceBrodie) December 4, 2019

Findlay was a prominent supporter of Neale Hanvey, a former leader of the SNP group on Fife council who was sacked as the party’s candidate for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath late last month after two allegedly antisemitic posts came to light.

Hanvey’s membership was also suspended; Findlay had been elected to join the conduct committee which would rule on his membership in October.

Hanvey is still contesting the seat, running as an independent, with many local members ignoring Nicola Sturgeon’s demand that they campaign for the SNP in other seats. Findlay has been backing his decision to continue campaigning, and donated to his election crowdfunding appeal.

The controversy, which has divided the party in Fife, increases the chances of Labour retaining the seat. It is being defended by Lesley Laird, a Corbyn ally who is Labour’s shadow Scottish secretary. Labour is averaging 18% in the polls in Scotland and, until this split, Hanvey was widely tipped to win the seat.

In a statement on Wednesday night, the SNP said:

There is no place for antisemitism in Scotland or in the SNP. All political parties have a duty to show leadership, and we will always take tough action in order to reassure the Jewish community that these matters are taken seriously.

When challenged on her actions, Denise Findlay resigned from the SNP. The views she expressed are entirely at odds with the ethos of this party.

Findlay apologised in a statement to the Courier newspaper in Dundee:

When I tweeted about Israel and compared them to Nazis, I did not know that was antisemitic.

I am profusely sorry and I now fully understand that what I said was hurtful to the Jewish community. I still believe you should be able to criticise the Israeli government for their actions in Palestine. I am not a politician and was not aware of the IHRA definition. I do know now and realise I made a mistake. I am really sorry.


Here’s some reaction to Javid’s remarks on the prospects of a free trade deal by the end of next year.

Fact check
Sajid Javid says UK will get a very 'deep ambitious trade deal' done before end of 2020.
That is the language of Theresa May deal, not the bare bones FTA and is widely
May's deal involves THREE strands - trade (and data), security and cross cutting activities.

— lisa o'carroll (@lisaocarroll) December 5, 2019

What Sajid Javid wasn’t asked, which was a shame, was how his Govt intends to negotiate a complicated system of divergence across all sectors of EU trade in just 11 months, and without losing any market access #BBCR4today

— Tom Newton Dunn (@tnewtondunn) December 5, 2019

Sajid Javid won’t engage in any discussion with how the government will get a trade deal which involves regulatory divergence in a matter of months. He won’t discuss the level of risk of no deal. Tories hope to sneak into No 10 without being scrutinised.

— Charlie Falconer (@LordCFalconer) December 5, 2019

Risk of no-deal Brexit after transition at end of 2020 'extremely remote', claims Javid

The chancellor has also refused to rule out a no-deal Brexit at the end of next year.

Javid was repeatedly asked on the Today programme whether there was a chance of the UK leaving the EU with no deal at the end of 2020.

He said the chances of the that were “extremely remote” but dodged several opportunities to rule it out.

He claimed that outline of a free trade agreement had already been worked out. He said:

By the end of 2020, we will have agreed and finalised the trade deal, a very ambitious, deep, comprehensive free trade agreement. And we will get that done also by the end of 2020.

In the time that we’ve been negotiating over the last 100 days or so, it wasn’t just the exit agreement ... we are also negotiated and worked and agreed the outline of the ambitious free trade agreement.

There is no a single doubt in my mind that it can be agreed within months, and we can get it through parliament by 2020.

Asked what tariffs the car industry would pay under such a deal, Javid said:

Because it’s a deep, comprehensive free trade agreement, it’s zero tariffs, zero quotas, not just for the car industry, an agreement on services, having equivalents on financial services. We’ve set all this out.

Sajid Javid.
Sajid Javid. Photograph: Tom Nicholson/REX/Shutterstock


The chancellor, Sajid Javid, claims that Boris Johnson could still do that interview with the BBC’s Andrew Neil.

Speaking in a round of broadcast interviews on his 50th birthday, Javid told Sky News that “negotiations are still ongoing”.

"Negotiations are still ongoing...I don't decide his media plan."@sajidjavid says discussions are continuing over a possible Boris Johnson interview with @afneil . JM #KayBurley at #Breakfast

— Sarah Hewson (@skynewssarah) December 5, 2019

.@skynewssarah asks Chancellor @sajidjavid whether @BorisJohnson is 'running scared' of agreeing to an interview with Andrew Neil.#KayBurley at #Breakfast

Read more on the #GE2019 here 👉

— Sky News (@SkyNews) December 5, 2019

Neil’s head-to-head with Jeremy Corbyn created days of negative headlines for Labour over antisemitism and funding for Labour’s spending plans.

Corbyn’s team are furious that Johnson appears to be trying to avoid being put under similar scrutiny, insisting they were assured the prime minister had signed up for a similar interview before agreeing to put up their candidate.


70 current and former Labour party staffers submit evidence to antisemitism inquiry

A lawyer representing the Jewish Labour Movement has accused Labour of not fully investigating all cases of antisemitism within the party.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, James Libson, a partner at the Mishcon de Reya law firm, said he had prepared 70 sworn testimonies from Labour party staffers past and present as part of evidence submitted to the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s investigation into allegations of antisemitism in the party.

Libson, when asked whether the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn’s assertion that every case of antisemitism had been dealt with was incorrect, said: “Very much so.”

He added:

There are many, many outstanding complaints, many examples of interference and many examples of double-standards in the way in which complaints are processed.

Asked whether there was evidence that the Labour leader’s office was “interfering” in the investigations process, Libson said:

There has been interference and that interference has unfortunately become institutional.

Institutional in the sense that people affiliated with the leader’s office – and now in the actual unit that are investigating – and that at a more basic level, information is passing between the leader’s office and investigating unit.

He added: “Passed by USB sticks, by WhatsApp groups, secret WhatsApp groups.”

The shadow housing secretary, John Healey, said Labour had “toughened up” its approach to tackling antisemitism.

He told Today:

Having been too slow and too weak at the start, the action being taken now has been toughened up.

An in-house lawyer, special appeal panels to deal with complaints, new fast-track expulsion powers that are being used. I’m confident that cases coming in are being dealt with and if they are coming in they will be dealt with.”

Healey apologised to the Jewish community who he said “feel let down” by the way Labour has handled cases of antisemitism in the party.


The shadow education secretary, Angela Rayner, has tried to get Jeremy Corbyn out of a hole with royalists, by suggesting he may watch the Queen’s speech on catchup.

Corbyn appeared to be caught out by ITV’s Julie Etchingham when asked whether he watched the Queen’s Christmas broadcast. He said: “It’s on in the morning, usually we have it on some of the time.” The speech is broadcast at 3pm.

Challenged about the apparent gaffe, which made the front page of the Daily Express (see below), Rayner told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “That doesn’t mean to say he watches it on Christmas Day. He said he watched it in the morning. He said he also visits a homeless shelter.”

Asked whether Corbyn meant he watched the speech on Boxing Day, Rayner said:

I don’t know, I’m not with Jeremy Corbyn on Christmas Day. What I’m saying is from my own experience sometimes I watch programmes on catchup, sometimes on the time it’s at. Most kids, including my kids, watch [programmes] on YouTube. So it can be confusing about which times people watch something. You don’t have to watch it at the time that is specified in the TV guide.

Asked whether she would be watching the Queen’s speech, Rayner said: “I always do. My kids are named after kings and so I’ve got James and Charles.”


What the papers said

MAIL: ⁦@jeremycorbyn⁩ caught out over Queen #TomorrowsPapersToday

— Neil Henderson (@hendopolis) December 4, 2019

EXPRESS: Speechless! #TomorrowsPapersToday

— Neil Henderson (@hendopolis) December 4, 2019

MIRROR: ⁦@BorisJohnson⁩ is Mr Greedy #TomorrowsPapersToday

— Neil Henderson (@hendopolis) December 4, 2019

THE TIMES: ⁦@BorisJohnson⁩ to offer tax cut after Brexit #TomorrowsPapersToday

— Neil Henderson (@hendopolis) December 4, 2019

THE GUARDIAN: ⁦@realDonaldTrump⁩ leaves NATO talks after ridicule from allies #TomorrowsPapersToday

— Neil Henderson (@hendopolis) December 4, 2019

I: NHS cuts killed my mother #TomorrowsPapersToday

— Neil Henderson (@hendopolis) December 4, 2019

FINANCIAL TIMES: M&G halts trading in £2.5bn fund as high outflows spark sell off fears #TomorrowsPapersToday

— Neil Henderson (@hendopolis) December 4, 2019

Joe Biden’s team clearly loved the footage that appeared to show world leaders laughing at Trump.

The world is laughing at President Trump. They see him for what he really is: dangerously incompetent and incapable of world leadership.

We cannot give him four more years as commander in chief.

— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) December 5, 2019

The day ahead

  • Boris Johnson will head to the Midlands, where he will have a tour of a mill shop and inspect some knitwear.
  • Jeremy Corbyn will also be in the Midlands, where he will visit several schools before hosting a rally in the evening.
  • The Lib Dem leader, Jo Swinson, will visit a care home in Edinburgh before appearing at a rally alongside colleagues from the Scottish section of the party.
  • It’s Nigel Farage’s turn to face off against Andrew Neil. The interview will be broadcast at 7.30pm.


Good morning everyone, it’s a week until election day. After the brief but amusing distraction that was Nato, all attention is back on to the vote and Boris Johnson will resume campaigning today.

Johnson survived the summit relatively unscathed. There had been concerns in the Conservative camp that Johnson’s proximity to the US president might be damaging, stoking voter fears that the NHS might be on the table in US-UK trade deals. But the prime minister managed to avoid almost any public meetings with Trump, though he was caught on camera apparently joking about Trump with other world leaders, something Johnson astonishingly has no memory of. After the video of the interaction did the rounds, Trump called Justin Trudeau “two-faced” and then announced he was leaving early and would not be giving a press conference. Don’t miss Marina Hyde’s or John Crace’s take on yesterday’s events.

Now that all the Nato shenanigans are out of the way, normal programming can resume. Johnson has launched his plans for the first 100 days after he takes office if he wins on 12 December. He says his main focus would be passing the withdrawal agreement to ensure Brexit happens on 31 January. Other priorities include bringing in legislation to end the automatic release of serious violent and sexual offenders at the halfway point of their sentence – which the family of murdered student Jack Merritt have condemned as a kneejerk politicisation of the London Bridge terror attack – and increasing the amount that new immigrants pay to use the NHS.

Labour will be talking about education today as Jeremy Corbyn visits schools, and the shadow education secretary, Angela Rayner, will pledge to recruit 20,000 more teachers, cap secondary class sizes at 30, and spend £7bn on repairs and upgrades to England’s crumbling school buildings. They will also promise free, healthy breakfasts for all primary-age children as part of a multibillion pound plan to “poverty-proof” England’s schools.

OK, thanks for reading along, we’ll be with you all day, so keep hitting that refresh button.



Andrew Sparrow (now); Matthew Weaver and Kate Lyons (earlier)

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