The battle to win this election will be fought on many fronts and there will be many, many trees.
The Conservative Party said they will triple tree-planting rates if they win the general election, while theLiberal Democratspromised they will plant twice as many trees as the Tories.
Boris Johnson announced a 640 million Nature for Climate fund which would increase tree planting in England, with the Government aiming to work with the devolved administrations to boost tree-planting rates to 30, 000 hectares every year, which the party said could mean 30 million more trees.
But the Liberal Democrats said they will plant 60 million trees every year, describing it as “the largest tree-planting program in UK history”. Party leader Jo Swinson planted a tree in North London at a campaign event this morning to highlight the party’s pledge.
As reported by Frances Perraudin this morning, the UK is one of the least forested countries in Europe, with just 10% of England covered by woodland, compared with 31% of France and 37% of Spain.
The Brexit party MEP Ben Habib has said he thinks staying in the European Union would be better than going ahead with Boris Johnson’s withdrawal agreement.
Habib sees the prime minister’s deal as “much worse” than remaining in the bloc and that Johnson needs to be steered away from his plan.
Habib told Sophy Ridge on Sky: “What we really need to do is get the prime minister to pivot away from the withdrawal agreement.” He added: “I see the withdrawal agreement as much worse than remain, frankly, ”and that under Johnson’s deal Northern Ireland would be“ bereft ”.
Asked if it is the official Brexit party position that remaining in the EU is better than the prime minister’s deal, he said: “That may or may not be our position. That’s certainly my view. ”
Explaining his party’s decision not to stand in Tory-held seats, Habib said his party feared creating a hung parliament or giving power to theLaborparty. “The key for us was to try and get a leave-sympathetic majority of parliamentarians in parliament, and we could have cut that cake in a number of different ways, but the way we decided to do it was simply simply down against the Tories in those 317 seats, ”he said.
When asked why the Brexit party was still standing in marginal seats held by Labor MPs, he said: “What we’d hoped was that the Tories would respond positively to the enormously generous offer that we made two weeks ago which was for them to stand down in the 150 – odd seats that they haven ‘ t won for over a hundred years in the Labor heartlands. ”
The shadow cabinet and other senior figures are slowly arriving at the party’s clause V meeting in London, and have had their own messages for protesters calling onLaborto back freedom of movement. But who had the best response?
The leader of Unite the Union, Len McCluskey, arriving moments after Jeremy Corbyn and the shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, approached protesters and shouted over them: “I’m going to support free movement, and I support migrant workers. ”
The shadow home secretary, Diane Abbott, said: “End racism.”
The shadow health secretary, Jonathan Ashworth, spoke briefly about Labor’s immigration policy, saying: “We need to make sure we’ve got international staff – nurses and doctors who continue to work for the NHS. ”
Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn have both thanked emergency services after a large fire at a student accommodation building in Bolton.
Images posted on social media showed firefighters tackling the blaze on the top floors of a six-storey building. One witness described the fire as “crawl [ing] up the cladding like it was nothing”.
If you are looking for a break from the hectic news cycle this morning, check out the Guardian’s Gary Younge. In the first of a three-part series he returns to his home town, Stevenage, to see how the bellwether constituency views the election.
This is a tale of two Lewises. One, Lewis Silkin, was the minister for town and country planning in Labor’s’s post-war government. Stevenage, the country first new town built in 1946, was his baby. He envisioned it becoming a “gay and bright place” that would take the community-minded “spirit of the slums” and place it in the middle of the countryside with wonderful amenities and good municipal houses with gardens front and back.
The other is Lewis Hamilton, Formula One champion and Stevenage’s most famous son, who misspoke during the Sports Personality of the Year awards last year. In an unscripted moment, he said: “It really was a dream for us all as a family to do something different. For us to get out of the slums. ”He immediately corrected himself and later apologized.
Somewhere up there Silkin stared down mouth agape, while back in Stevenage many looked on askance. Stevenage has no slums. That was the whole point. But it has seen better days.
The police are assessing two allegations of electoral fraud after claims the Tories offered peerages to senior Brexit party figures to persuade them to stand down in the general election.
TheLaborpeer Lord Falconer has written to the Metropolitan police commissioner and director of public prosecutions calling for an investigation into what he said were “exceptionally serious allegations”.
Falconer said these allegations should be investigated as a matter of urgency in order to maintain public confidence in the integrity of the election.
The Met said: “The MPS [Metropolitan Police Service] has received two allegations of electoral fraud and malpractice in relation to the 2019 general election.
“The MPS special inquiry team is responsible for investigating all such criminal allegations. Both allegations are currently being assessed.
“The MPS will not be providing comment about individual cases.”
The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, has refused to back freedom of movement ahead of Labor’s clause V meeting on Saturday.
Burnham described immigration as a “difficult” issue on Sky News’s Sophy Ridge show as there were “still different perspectives” within theLaborparty. “But I think they’re right to be talking about a practical deal that keeps us as close to Europe as possible,” he said.
When asked whether he thinks Labor should back a position where free movement of people ends after Brexit, Burnham said: “I think the public voted for change in the way the immigration arrangements work with Europe.
“To deny that I think would be to deny what many people were saying when they went to vote in 2016, and that’s just in my view, a fact. And it doesn’t help politicians, it doesn’t help parliament, if they look like they’re kind of cocooned away from that public view.
“But I think what we shouldn’t do is introduce wholesale change. Just some greater management of the system. ”
Burnham added he saw evidence of free movement allowing the undercutting of wages, where people were brought in by agencies from other European countries. “Those are the issues that need to be addressed,” he said.
TheLiberal Democratshave been criticized for their selective use of polling data on leaflets.
The factchecking charity Full Fact has warned that attempts to mislead voters by using polling data to claim electoral advantage over rivals could have long-term implications for trust in politicians.
Lisa O’Carroll, the Guardian’s Brexit correspondent, reports that leaflets across the country show the Liberal Democrats appear to be using bar charts to press home a message that they have a good chance of winning, even in seats where the likes of the Tories’ Jacob Rees-Mogg orLaborstalwarts are seen as unlikely to be dislodged.
In some leaflets the party omitted spectacular results for the Brexit party in bar charts showing the European election results, while in others it projected local election results to forecast wins in the general election.
The party has alsobeen criticized for using data from Flavible, an obscure company that is not a member of the British Polling Council.
Updated (at 5.) am EST
Good morning, I’m Aamna Mohdin and welcome to the politics live blog. We’re liveblogging every weekend as well as weekdays during the election. Lucky you!
All eyes will be on Labor’s manifesto, which Jeremy Corbyn vowed would “knock your socks off”. The manifesto will be finalized in today’s clause V meeting and immigration has re-emerged as a key battleground.
The Daily Telegraph reported that Corbynfaces a frontbench split, referring to claims that a draft version of Labor’s manifesto contains a commitment to freedom of movement. The newspaper quoted a shadow cabinet source as saying: “If we maintain a close relationship with the single market then we are going to have to maintain freedom of movement. That’s a given. ”
The Independent reported that policies of extending free movement and giving foreign nationals the right to vote in all UK elections, which passed at the party’s annual conference on Saturday, are expected to bewatered down or scrapped.
Meanwhile, Wiley, the so-called godfather of grime, has come out in support of Corbyn. The endorsement follows reports that some of the artists involved with the Grime4Corbyn movement, which launched two years ago with the aim of connecting energized fans with the Labor leader’s politics, nowquestion the effectiveness of the campaign.
I ‘ ll be bringing you all the action and keeping you updated on all the developments. To send me your tips and favorite Wiley songs, your best bet is to tweet me@ aamnamohdin