Brexit: UK set for December general election as Corbyn lifts Labor opposition to bill – live news – The Guardian,

Brexit: UK set for December general election as Corbyn lifts Labor opposition to bill – live news – The Guardian,

Newnight’s Nicholas Watt says it is not yet certain that the December election will go ahead. He explains:

Nicholas Watt(@ nicholaswatt)

Senior Labor figure tells me: don’t assume this election is definitely on. Big push by some Labor whips for party to vote against program motion, hoping thatBoris Johnsonwould pull the bill at that point

October 29, 2019

Nicholas Watt(@ nicholaswatt)

So it could be shades of last week and PM’s# brexitlegislation if scenario sketched out by senior Labor figure comes to pass. Bill would secure its second reading and then come to a standstill if program motion is voted down

October 29, 2019

Nicholas Watt(@ nicholaswatt)

There is an almighty battle going on in the Parliamentary Labor Party with many MPs opposed to December election. ‘Fingers crossed,’ oneLaborMP tells me after learning of hopes that program motion might be voted down

October 29, 2019

Nicholas Watt(@ nicholaswatt)

The problem for Labor MPs trying to block the election is the clarity with which Jeremy Corbyn endorsed a December election in his interview with my colleague Iain Watson in front of the shadow cabinet@ iainjwatson@ jeremycorbyn

October 29, 2019

We will find out shortly, because the debate on the program motion is about to start.


Here is the Evening Standard’s take on Labor’s decision to back an early election. The Standard, of course, is edited by the former Tory chancellor George Osborne.

George Osborne(@ George_Osborne)

Today’s second edition@ EveningStandardas Corbyn u-turns and backs December election (

October , 2019

OBR to publish new economic forecasts during election so voters can better understand ‘fiscal policy options’

One of the joys of an election is the unexpected event that has the potential to derail campaign planning. The 2019 general election was only confirmed (effectively) about two hours ago, butBoris Johnsonhas already received his first election setback; in a surprise announcement, the Office for Budget Responsibility has announced that it plans to publish revised economic forecasts on 7 November.

Robert Chote, the OBR chair, has revealed thisin an open letter to the Treasury (pdf).

Normally the OBR publishes revised economic forecasts twice a year, accompanying the budget and the spring / autumn statement (the timing of the budget determines which it is). Chote says the OBR started working on new forecasts when the Treasury announced a budget for 6 November. But that budget has been cancelled.

There were suspicions that one reason for the cancellation of the budget was that it would involve the government having to publish OBR figures showing that there was less scope for tax cuts and spending increases after the election than the Tories might like to admit. Chote does not address this point directly. But he says that, since the OBR last published a forecast in March, government borrowing has increased more than expected and there has been a “rapid growth” in public spending. He goes on:

Given the importance of these changes for public understanding of the baseline against which the government will need to judge its fiscal policy options, we believe that it would be useful to explain publicly the impact that they would have had on our March forecast, had they been known at the time.

If any of the parties are planning extravagant promises on tax and spending, the new OBR figures may cast extra doubt on their credibility.

But the OBR analysis is not likely to undermine the arguments in favor of Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal.One report (pdf)has argued it would be much worse for the economy than Theresa May’s deal over the long term. But Chote says that the OBR forecasts only cover a five-year horizon, and that the impact of the new deal, compared with the previous one, would be “relatively modest”.


No 10 rules out changing franchise for general election

Peter Walker

Downing Street has set out its red lines ahead of the debate on calling a December election. In brief – the government seems open to a 10 or 11 December date, but is dead set against amendments extending the vote to 16 – and 17 – year-olds or EU nationals.

On the date, while the Lib Dem hope for a 9 December poll, Boris Johnson’s spokesman said this would require parliament to dissolve at the start of Friday this week, so as to allow the necessary 25 working days between dissolution and polling.

This would make it “very difficult” for both the election bill and a separate bill on budgets for the suspended Northern Ireland assembly to pass through the Commons and Lords and receive royal assent in time, the spokesman said .

Also, 9 December is a Monday, meaning election preparations would take place of the preceding weekend, which would be logistically difficult and costly, he added.

However, it seems the government could compromise on 10 or (December.

In contrast, there seems no possibility of compromise on adding younger voters or EU nationals, with Johnson’s spokesman saying that longstanding convention dictates that changes to the franchise only happen after extensive consultation. He said:

The election law on the franchise should not be changed days before the calling of a general election. The Electoral Commission warns against changing electoral laws less than six months before an election.

Adding 16 – and 17 – year-olds would be “administratively impossible to deliver in the time available”, he said, warning also that adding EU nationals would bring “administrative chaos”.

The latter point seems less certain given that EU nationals can already vote in local elections, and so many are registered.

But the No 10 spokesman added: “It would also mean EU nationals in the UK enjoying wider voting rights than UK nationals in any other country other than Ireland.”

Updated (at 8.) am EDT

These are from theLabor (MP) Barry Sheerman.

Barry Sheerman(@ BarrySheerman)

Sheer madness to hold a General Election in December & on Boris Johnson’s agenda!

(October) , 2019

Barry Sheerman(@ BarrySheerman)

I hear Labor frontbenchers & whips resigning over decision to vote for December election.

(October) , 2019

Barry Sheerman(@ BarrySheerman)

A clear majority of our Shadow cabinet were against a December election yesterday but Jeremy Corbyn has been persuaded to override them after interventions from Seamus Milne & Karie Murphy!

(October) , 2019

I’ve asked Labor if it can confirm or deny what Sheerman is saying about resignations, but have not had a reply yet.

Heidi Allen to stand down, saying she has had enough of ‘nastiness and intimidation’ MPs face

Heidi Allen,the former Conservative MP who defected to Change UK and then ended up a Liberal Democrat, has announced that she won’t be standing again in her South Cambridgeshire constituency.

Heidi Allen MP(@ heidiallen 75)

Letter to my constituents explaining why, what ever the outcome tonight, I won’t be standing again to be the MP for South Cambridgeshire.

(October) , 2019

Inan open letter to her constituents,she says she is “exhausted by the invasion into my privacy and the nastiness and intimidation that has become commonplace ”.

Most general elections get described as the most important the country has faced for a generation or so. Here is the academicMatthew Goodwinmaking a case for why this might be true this time around.

Matthew Goodwin(@ GoodwinMJ)

Britain looks set for the most consequential election in its entire postwar history. Brexit, a 2nd referendum, Johnson’s embryonic premiership & Corbyn’sLaborhang in the balance. As Nixon once said: “There’s nothing wrong with this country which a good election can’t fix!”

(October) , 2019


Ruth Davidson abandons plan to join PR firm while still serving as MSP

Libby Brooks

Former Scottish Conservative leader (Ruth Davidson) has confirmed that she will not take up her new post at an international communications firm while she continues to sit in the Scottish parliament .

Davidson faceda storm of criticismafter the announcement last Thursday that she intended to take up an appointment as a senior adviser to Tulchan Communications – their managing partner is the former Conservative party chair Andrew Feldman, a close ally of David Cameron – before stepping down as an MSP in 2021. It was reported that Davidson would be paid £ 50, 000 for 24 days’ work a year.

In a statement released on Tuesday morning, as the Holyrood parliament returns after its autumn recess, Davidson said:

The debate in Scotland about my taking an advisory role with Tulchan Communications has become increasingly contentious. I, and Tulchan, have therefore agreed not to proceed with the appointment.

She continues to insist that she does not believe the role amounted to a conflict of interest, continuing:

I sat down with Scottish parliamentary officials in advance to go through the code of conduct, in detail, in order to avoid any conflict and to ensure I would be working within the rules at all times. The role reflected this.

The consensus view from political opponents and commentators is that working to improve businesses ’understanding of the cares and concerns of people is somehow incompatible with my role as an MSP. So if I am asked to choose between Holyrood and this role, then I choose the parliament I have dedicated the last nine years to, eight as party leader, a decision Tulchan supports.


Corbyn says Labor will fight its biggest campaign ever

Jeremy Corbyn has just delivered a clip for broadcasters confirming Labor’s decision to back an early election and saying the party is “totally determined” to win it. He was surrounded by members of his shadow cabinet, most (but not all) of whom looked happy about the decision.

Repeating the points he made in the statement released earlier (see10. 52 am), Corbyn said the party would not back an early election until a no- deal Brexit had been taken off the table. But following the confirmation from the EU that there will be an extension, the party was now ready to back one, he said.

(This marks a discreet climbdown from Sunday, when the party was saying thata Brexit extension on its own would not be enough to persuade it that no deal had been taken off the table.)

Corbyn saidLaborwould fight its biggest campaign ever. He said:

So we are going to go out there, with the biggest campaign this party has ever mounted – totally united, totally determined – and I’m absolutely looking forward to going to every part of the country with my wonderful shadow cabinet team here and all the fantastic Labor activists to give message of hope where there isn’t one with this government.

He sidestepped a question about whether the party would insist on any conditions before it backed the government bill, implying it wouldn’t, and instead said he could not wait for the campaign to start.

I can’t wait to get out there on the streets. In every town and village in this country, Labor will be there, giving a message of real hope where this government offers nothing.

And when asked if any of his team had doubts about the decision, he replied:

Do you know what, the Labor party loves a debate. But they also love the end of a debate. And this is the end of the debate, and we are going out there to win.

Jeremy Corbyn surrounded by his shadow cabinet
Jeremy Corbyn surrounded by his shadow cabinet Photograph: BBC


There is one urgent question today.

Labor Whips(@ labourwhips)

One UQ at 1230 to@ LauraPidcockMPto ask@ andrealeadsomto make a statement on the Government’s plans for workers’ rights after the UK leaves the EU.

No Statements.

(October) , 2019

The Labor decision to back an early election meansBoris Johnsonis going to get his way, and the bill calling for a poll in December is going to pass. Labor is still planning to push various amendments, but it has agreed to an early election in principle and none of these amendments are being described as red lines.

But MPs will still have to debate the bill. A complicated business motion (pages 6 to 9 onthe order paper) has been tabled, saying the whole process should take six hours, with the second-reading vote coming four hours after the start of proceedings .

Unusually, the business motion limits the ability of MPs to amend the bill by saying that that there should be a limit on the number of votes allowed by the Speaker and that amendments moved by ministers should take priority.

TheLabor (MP) Stella Creasyhas tabled her own amendment to the business motion that would open up the process and allow amendments to be voted on as usual.

Stellacreasy(@ stellacreasy)

Government trying to stop amendments to their bill ramming through changes to how elections called – they want it all done in one day with no option for any changes from anyone and have tried to amend the basic rules of parliamentary process accordingly. Shameful. Just shameful.

(October) , 2019

This means the opening of the proceedings will be dominated by a row about process, because the business motion has to be agreed before the second-reading debate can start.


These are from Sky’sLewis Goodall.

Lewis Goodall(@ lewis_goodall)

UnderstandLaborare to whip for a general election. Not confirmed from leadership yet though.

(October) , 2019

Lewis Goodall(@ lewis_goodall)

Understand that the whip is to vote for an election for * any * of the dates proposed.

(October) , 2019

Lewis Goodall(@ lewis_goodall)

Here is the whip Labor MPs have received: “Colleagues need to be on the estate by midday. We are on HEAVY RUNNING THREE-LINE WHIP. There may be votes throughout the day with the possibility of a late finish. All must remain until conclusion of business. ”

(October) , 2019

From the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg

Laura Kuenssberg(@ bbclaurak)

Labormight still back an amendment to hold the election on the 9th, but the bigger principle decision has been made, they are backing a December election

(October) , 2019

Britain set for December election as Corbyn lifts Labor’s opposition to bill

Laborhas just released this statement from Jeremy Corbyn . This is what he told the shadow cabinet this morning.

I have consistently said that we are ready for an election and our support is subject to no-deal (Brexit) being off the table.

We have now heard from the EU that the extension of article 50 to 31 January has been confirmed, so for the next three months, our condition of taking no deal off the table has now been met.

We will now launch the most ambitious and radical campaign for real change our country has ever seen.

In this statement Corbyn is not saying anything aboutthe conditions he flagged up yesterday for Labor supporting an early election.That implies the party is not insisting on firm red lines, and that it will support the bill – meaning the early election is definitely on.

Updated (at 7.) am EDT

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