Friday , April 16 2021

General election: Johnson 'not fit to be PM' because he's selfish, dishonest and divisive, says Swinson – live news – The Guardian, Theguardian.com


Nigel Farage, the Brexit party leader , has said he thinks Labor now accepts it cannot win the election. Speaking at a campaign event at a golf driving range earlier, and referring toreports that Labor has changed its campaign strategy, Farage said:

I think the truth of it is, they realize they are now fighting a defensive battle, they know they can’t win the election.

This is now a defensive strategy to try to hold the seats that they have held for decades, it’s almost an acceptance that they have lost the election.

Nigel Farage playing golf on a range at One Stop Golf in Hull.
Nigel Farage playing golf on a range at One Stop Golf in Hull. Photograph: Owen Humphreys / PA

Libby Brooks

Wintry sun is shining in East Renfrewshire, but the cold not discouraging the canvassers. This constituency, south of Glasgow, was once a safe Labor seat for Jim Murphy. It is home to Scotland’s largest Jewish community, returned a high remain vote in the EU referendum, and – according to last night’s YouGov poll – will be one of only two seats which the SNP will win from the ScottishConservativesnext month.

At a hustings organized by the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council on Wednesday night, theLaborcandidateCarolann Davidsonwas blunt with the audience, reportedly telling them:

I won’t ask for your vote. We don’t deserve it. The Labor party from the leadership down has failed you … I am here tonight to reassure your community.

Paul Masterton, for the Tories, describedJeremy Corbynas “a threat to this community”, while his SNP challengerKirsten Oswalddescribed the Labor leader’s handling of antisemitism as “disgraceful”.

Today Labor activists described Jewish voters telling them directly that they could not support them while Corbyn remains leader, while more broadly they are losing votes on two fronts: unionist voters to Tories and anti-Tory voters to the SNP.

But SNP activists also note that the race remains very tight, and worry about people’s exhaustion with Brexit impacting on turnout.

Meanwhile, local Jewish groups welcomed the Labor candidate’s honesty, but emphasized that the the party leadership had to be held to account too. They told the Guardian that anxiety and nervousness remained around the prospect of a Labor government.

DUP’s Nigel Dodds calls for inquiry into handling of Brexit negotiations

At the DUP election manifesto launch this morningNigel Dodds, the DUP’s deputy leader, called for an inquiry into the handling of the Brexit negotiations. He said:

After this is done there should be a full proper inquiry set up at a high level into what went wrong with the British government negotiations. How can we have such a catastrophic conduct of negotiations in the most important issues of our time?

There are remainers who would also like to see an inquiry into Brexit, going much further, but there is no sign at the moment of either man party expressing an interest in the idea.

Labor received the most money in political donations in the second week of the election campaign, according tofigures published by theElectoral Commission.Donations of more than £ 7, 500 have to be reported and in the period between 13 November and 19 November more than £ 9m was donated in this way – up from £ 6.5m the previous week.

Labor received the most at £ 3.5m, ahead of the Conservatives with £ 3m and the Brexit party with £ 2.3m. TheLiberal Democratsreceived £ 251, 00 0, Plaid Cym ru £ 70, 00 0, the Greens £ 37, 750 and the SNP £ 10, 00 0.

As the Press Association reports, the single biggest donation was £ 3m from the Unite union to Labor.

TheConservativesreceived 61 donations over £ 7, 500, the largest being from hedge fund manager Jonathan Wood, who gave £ 250, 00 0. Two former Tory-backing businessmen donated to the Brexit party: Christopher Harborne, who gave £ 2m, and Jeremy Hosking, who gave £ 250,

Donations in second week of campaign
Donations in second week of campaign Photograph: Electoral Commission

Updated

When Boris Johnson raised the possibility of building a bridge between Northern Ireland and Scotland,one engineer said the idea was “bonkers”.

But, as the BBC’sMark Devenportpoints out, it is (tentatively) in the DUP manifesto.

Mark Devenport(@ markdevenport)

Scanning through infrastructure section of@ duponlinemanifesto – party wants to scrap HS2 & spend money instead on improving Scottish A 77 (which serves NI crossing) (if feasibility study is positive) on NI to Scotland bridge

(November) , 2019

The manifesto ishere (pdf). And this is what it says about the bridge.

If the feasibility study on a bridge between Northern Ireland and Scotland concludes positively, this should also be pursued with the national government and devolved institutions working together to take it forward.

Updated

The Brexit party leader Nigel Farage touring an indoor market in Hull today.
The Brexit party leader Nigel Farage touring an indoor market in Hull today. Photograph: Oli Scarff / AFP via Getty Images

This is very good on howBoris Johnsonfights elections. It is a clip fromMatthew McGregor, who worked for Labor on the Ken Livingstone campaign in 2008, when Johnson beat Livingstone for the London mayoralty.

Arj Singh(@ singharj)

Great insight into Boris Johnson’s election strategy from@ mcgregormt, who fought him in 2008: “A very, very big character outside of election time and then in campaigns he makes himself as small a target as he possibly can.”

Listen to the podcast here:https://t.co/uryruUEjjRpic.twitter.com/oqxwDk6OcR

November 28, 2019

This morningJo Swinsonwas also asked aboutthe YouGov MRP polling analysissuggesting the Lib Dems may gain just one seat at the election. She claimed it showed there was still “a huge amount to play for”. She explained:

What this poll shows is that there are 134 seats where either theLiberal Democratsare in first or second place as things stand. That shows there’s a huge amount to play for.

Jo Swinson during a roundtable on homelessness at Crisis’ Skylight Center in east London this morning. Photograph: Aaron Chown / PA

Updated (at 9.) am EST

Swinson says Johnson ‘not fit to be PM’ because he’s selfish, dishonest and divisive

Jeremy Corbyn has not sought to make Boris Johnson’s character an election issue. He has been fiercely critical of Johnson’s policies, but he prides himself on being someone who does not resort to personal character assassination. He has summed up his attitude using the Michelle Obama’s line “When they go low, we go high” (although that’s a better slogan than it is a guide tohow her husband won the 2012 election– but that’s another story.)

But the Liberal Democrats are targeting Johnson personally. Chuka Umunna, the party’s foreign affairs spokesman, delivereda speechlambasting him on Monday, and this morningJo Swinson, the party leader, followed that up with a speech entitled “the problem with Boris Johnson”. She said he only cared about himself.

Boris Johnson only cares aboutBoris Johnson. He will do whatever it takes, sacrifice whatever or whoever is needed to get what he wants.

This is a man who decided which side to support in the EU referendum by game-playing what would be most likely to get him the keys to Number 10.

His life has been about becoming prime minister. Not out of some burning desire to make people’s lives better, but out of some sense of Etonian entitlement, because it’s what people like him get to do.

Boris Johnson doesn’t care about you and your family. Just take the case of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe. A British mother wrongfully imprisoned, a small child devastated, separated from her mum. When he was talking about that case, his words would be used against Nazanin at her trial.

Swinson said Johnson was “not fit to be prime minister after lying to the Queen” over prorogation. She went on:

Boris Johnson is not fit to be prime minister not just because he doesn’t care, not just because he lies, but also because he is complicit in stoking division and fear in our communities.

Why else would Britain’s biggest racist, Tommy Robinson, be supporting him?

Honestly – such an endorsement would shame any decent person but Boris Johnson has no shame when it comes to the language he uses about race.

Whether this will make much difference is another matter. Negative campaigning can be effective, but Johnson, like Donald Trump, seems to be unusually impervious to this sort of criticism. Some people loath him because of his multiple character flaws. But other people don’t seem to mind …

Jo Swinson giving a speech on Boris Johnson this morning in London.
Jo Swinson giving a speech on Boris Johnson this morning in London.
Photograph: Tolga Akmen / AFP via Getty Images

Updated

Conservative candidates in the general election have been issued with a detailed dossier on how to attackLaborand Liberal Democrat rivals, which contains numerous rehashed and potentially misleading claims, the Guardian can reveal. My colleaguesHilary OsborneandRichard Partingtonhave the story here.

Updated

McCluskey says it was ‘wrong’ and ‘extraordinary’ for chief rabbi to criticize Corbyn as he did

On Tuesday, when responding tothe Times article by the chief rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, saying he had allowed the “poison” of antisemitism to take root in Labor, Jeremy Corbyn was careful not to criticize Mirvis personally, or to question his right to speak out. InsteadCorbyn just stressed his opposition to antisemitism , and explained what he had done to tackle the problem.

But on the World at One at few minutes agoLen McCluskey,the Unite general secretary and Corbyn’s most influential ally in the union movement, went a bit further. He said that he disagreed with Mirvis; but he also implied that Mirvis was wrong to speak out in this way during an election. Commenting on the chief rabbi’s article, McCluskey said:

I think that was wrong, and quite extraordinary that a religious leader should come out and say that …

The reality is this; everybody should be concerned and sorry about the type of hurt that has been caused [to] the Jewish community. And Labor has fought, Jeremy has fought, I’ve fought all my life against antisemitism. Labor has now very robust procedures to deal with anybody. We don’t want a single antisemite in theLaborparty. So that is the message.

When it was put to him that Mirvis would not have spoken out if he did not think there was a problem, McCluskey replied:

I’m sure that’s what he believes, if he said it. I just absolutely fundamentally disagree with him.

Len McCluskey, the Unite general secretary.
Len McCluskey, the Unite general secretary. Photograph: Ollie Millington / Getty Images

This is whatSajid Javid,the chancellor, said this morning about the IFS criticism of the Tories’ election plans. (See9. 50 am,10 amand10. (am.)In response to claims that the party was not being “honest” about its plans, he said:

We have also clearly set out exactly how we are going to fund them.

We have a very detailed costings document – the most detailed I would say that any party has published in any British election – so I’m very confident about that.

The claim that the Conservative party’s manifesto costings document is “the most detailed” ever is dubious. Thedocument (pdf)runs to nine pages, and does contain costings for the manifesto promises. Butthe Labor equivalent (pdf)runs to 40 pages and it includes an analysis taking into account behavior responses (ie, how changes to tax rates will impact on the number of people paying those tax rates, and the likely consequences for the exchequer). The Tory document does not contain this level of detail.

Updated

Tory Brexit plan will lead to British firms producing ‘not for Northern Ireland’ goods, claims DUP

Unionists in Northern Ireland are united in opposition to Boris Johnson’s proposed Brexit deal,Nigel Dodds, the DUP’s deputy leader, said this morning. Speaking at the launch of his party’s election manifesto in Belfast, he said unionists would not accept plans that would effectively create a customs border in the Irish Sea. He said:

There can be no borders in the Irish Sea.

We will work to try to get a sensible Brexit deal.

But it cannot erect new barriers.

We need our people to come together, not create more division.

The DUP’s manifesto is also explicit on this. It says:

The east-west checks as proposed would lead to excessively bureaucratic burdens for trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland and consequently higher prices and less choice for consumers as GB businesses opt for ‘not available in Northern Ireland’ .

Nigel Dodds at the DUP manifesto launch in Belfast.
Nigel Dodds at the DUP manifesto launch in Belfast. Photograph: Paul Faith / AFP via Getty Images

Updated

Severin Carrell

Severin Carrell

Thelatest Scottish opinion pollhas given Nicola Sturgeon a mid-campaign boost by puting the Scottish National party at 44%, its highest rating since the 2017 election. The Ipsos Mori poll for STV has more grim news for Labor, putting its support at 16%.

The Ipsos poll also found the Conservatives have secured 26% of the vote, consistent with other recent polls, while theLiberal Democratshave failed to capitalize on Scotland’s strong pro-European sentiment, polling at just 11%.

Only six months after the Brexit party won a Scottish seat in the European parliament with 14 .8% of the vote, Ipsos found its support in Scotland now too low to be effectively measured: it puts it at under 1%.

The Ipsos poll, one of the few done by random telephone surveys, has a chink of light for Labor and the Lib Dems. It said 23% of the 1.0 46 voters it polled last week have yet to make up their mind. While 84% of Tory and SNP voters have decided, only 73% of (Labor) supporters and 66% of Lib Dems were sure which way they would vote.

Even so, it suggests recent polls forecasting another dire election for Scottish Labor are correct.

Yesterday’s YouGov poll for the Times predicted Labor will only retain two of its seven seats, in Edinburgh South and Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill. Others say Labor can only save Edinburgh South, a seat held by the Scottish party’s most vehement critic ofJeremy Corbyn, Ian Murray.

Ipsos asked respondents to spontaneously list the most important topics for them at the election: 72% of Tories and 79% of Lib Dems put Brexit first; 67% of Labor voters prioritised the NHS, followed by Brexit, and 55% of SNP voters put Brexit first, with 46% mentioning independence and (% the NHS.)

It said Sturgeon was the only party leader not to have a negative satisfaction rating, but voters were split (% to) % on whether she was doing a good or bad job.Boris Johnsonhad a net satisfaction rating of – 52, with 23% of Tory voters disliking him, while Jeremy Corbyn was – 47, with 41% of Labor voters dissatisfied with him.

Jo Swinson, the Lib Dem leader, appears to be less unpopular in Scotland than other UK polls suggest. While 25% of voters had no opinion of her, her net satisfaction rating was the best of the UK leaders at – 21%.

Nicola Sturgeon at the SNP manifesto launch yesterday.
Nicola Sturgeon at the SNP manifesto launch yesterday. Photograph: Robert Perry / EPA

Boris Johnson watching students Ruby Culter and Matthew Upright performing a science experiment during his visit to Chulmleigh College in Devon.
Boris Johnson watching students Ruby Culter and Matthew Upright performing a science experiment during his visit to Chulmleigh College in Devon. Photograph: POOL / Reuters

Q: The IFS says some of the Waspi women who will benefit from your £ 58 bn compensation are quite well off. And getting rid of tuition fees will help the rich rather than the poor. Are you happy about your manifesto choices, when you could be spending more reversing benefit cuts.

Corbyn says the Waspi women were very badly treated. This is a specific cohort of people. Some of them have been driven into stress and deep debt by what happened. He says he has met them. They are living difficult lives. Some tried to go back to work, and were told to try apprenticeships. He says he thinks the treatment of them has been “disgraceful”. It is moral duty to pay them.

Corbyn says the question challenges the principle of universality. He says he wants education to be a right for everyone.

He will end universal credit, the two-child policy, the rape clause, and the wait to get benefits, he says.

Q: Your tree- planting policy implies 190 trees being planted every minute. Is it realistic?

Corbyn says he is not talking about one person doing the planting. It is a massive commitment, he admits.

Q: Do you support the Southampton airport extension?

Corbyn says any airport expansions underLaborwill have to meet tests of sustainability, air pollution, noise pollution and traffic.

He says rail connectivity has improved. He has looked at prices for going to Berlin. A train fare costs £ 200. But you can fly for £ 19. That’s not right, he says.

He says his green manifesto, a Plan for Nature, is a serious plan. But government cannot implement it on its own. It needs communities to help, he says.

And that’s it. The Q&A has finished.

Jeremy Corbyn with Labour’s environment manifesto, a Plan for Nature.
Jeremy Corbyn with Labor’s environment manifesto, a Plan for Nature. Photograph: Glyn Kirk / AFP via Getty Images

Updated (at 7.) am EST

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