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General election news – live: Boris Johnson under fire over false extra nurses claim, amid condemnation of ‘appalling’ Rees-Mogg

General election news – live: Boris Johnson under fire over false extra nurses claim, amid condemnation of ‘appalling’ Rees-Mogg

Boris Johnson has been accused of “deceit” after his promise of 50,000 more nurses for the NHS turned out to include almost 19,000 existing nurses the government simply wants to retain. His culture secretary Nicky Morgan was mocked for “really odd maths” as she struggled to explain the manifesto pledge.

It comes as the general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union said Jacob Rees-Mogg’s comments that Grenfell victims lacked “common sense” were “disgusting” and “appalling”.

Labour, meanwhile, is unveiling plans for a private renters’ charter to give tenants more rights over landlords. The Lib Dems are warning that Britain risks becoming “Donald Trump’s poodle” if the Tories win a majority at the general election.

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2019-11-25T12:03:20.556Z

Majority of young people say they’ll vote Labour

Our friends at Statista have taken a look at the latest voting intention numbers based on age. As you might expect, there’s a significant split – with 51 per cent of 18 to 29-year-olds saying they will vote Labour, and 66 per cent of the over 70s saying they will vote for the Tories.

Election voting intention by age group (Statista)


2019-11-25T11:54:53.020Z

‘Bring back Ceefax’: Count Binface unveils manifesto pledges

Count Binface – the comedy candidate standing against Boris Johnson in Uxbridge – has released his election manifesto.

Promising that it’s all full-costed, the man who was Lord Buckethead at the last election is pledging to rename London Bridge ‘Phoebe Waller’, ban speakerphones on public transport and bring back Ceefax immediately.


2019-11-25T11:41:15.183Z

No 10 welcomes Hong Kong leader’s vow to ‘reflect’ on election results

Downing Street has said it remains “seriously concerned” at the situation in Hong Kong but welcomed chief executive Carrie Lam’s commitment to “reflect” on the election results.

Victory for Wu Chi-wai, leader of the city’s biggest pro-democracy party, is being seen as a clear rebuke to city leader over her handling of violent protests.

The prime minister’s official spokesman said: “We welcome the fact Carrie Lam has acknowledged the dissatisfaction in Hong Kong and has committed to reflect on the result of the election.

“We are pleased that this weekend’s vote took place peacefully but remain seriously concerned by the ongoing situation and continue to urge calm. Political dialogue is the only way forward and we want to see the Hong Kong authorities agree a path to resolve the situation.”

Foreign secretary Dominic Raab said there is now an opportunity to “find a way through the crisis” in Hong Kong after a landslide win for the opposition in local elections.

Raab said: “I welcome the Hong Kong government facilitating these elections, which were an important opportunity for the people of Hong Kong to make their voices heard.

“We don’t want to see any more violence. It was reassuring to hear Carrie Lam commit to reflecting seriously on the message delivered by the people of Hong Kong.”


2019-11-25T11:34:12.253Z

The key seats that will decide the general election

With more talk of tactical voting today, there’s plenty of intriguing marginal constituencies to watch out for as polling day approaches.

Our associate editor Sean O’Grady has taken a closer look at some of the most crucial battles.


2019-11-25T11:18:07.076Z

Blair says Corbyn winning majority would ‘pose a risk’ to UK

Former prime minister Tony Blair has said a Labour majority, however unlikely, would “pose a risk” to the country.

He also spoke out against a Tory majority, telling an audience at a Reuters Newsmakers event in London: “Both as majority governments pose a risk.”

He continued: “I don’t think a majority government of either side is a good thing.”

Attacking the rise of populism worldwide, Blair said: “In Britain populism focused on a policy, Brexit, which may be permanent. This policy has become the defining feature of the main party of government in Britain for around 200 years – the Conservative party.

“But then there is a populism of the left, and here the main opposition party of the past 100 years, the Labour party, has been taken over by left-wing populism.”

“In June 2016 we were a reasonably successful and influential power … fast forward to today and we’re a mess. The buoyancy of the world economy has kept us going. But should that falter we’re in deep trouble.”


2019-11-25T11:04:26.583Z

Mayor cites ‘pattern of failure’ by Uber following London licence refusal

One of the big stories of the day so far is Transport for London’s shock decision to refuse Uber a new licence to operate in the capital.

Could it become an election issue? We’ve had no response from any of the parties’ big hitters so far.

But London’s Labour mayor Sadiq Khan has issued a statement saying he supports the decision and said TfL had identified a “pattern of failure” when it comes to passenger safety.


2019-11-25T10:42:35.006Z

Corbyn meets waspi women – and promises to ‘right the wrong’ over pensions

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has been speaking to a group of “waspis” (women against state pension inequality) in Renishaw, north-east Derbyshire.

Labour has admitted its promise to give payouts to the three million women born in the 1950s – done out of their pension at 60 by changes in retirement age – may cost as much £58bn. 

He told them: “I’m very proud that we’ve got that clearly in our manifesto and I’ll be very proud to go into government and say ‘this is the policy on which we’ve been elected and this is the policy that will now be carried out to right the wrong and the injustice that’s been done to all of you’.

“I will do absolutely everything I can to make sure we win the election on December 12 and put that pledge into practice.”

Corbyn added: “People understand the injustice that’s been done to you and the need for the country as a whole to accept the moral responsibility for putting it right.”

Jeremy Corbyn meets women in Derbyshire (Getty)


2019-11-25T10:36:04.590Z

Tactical voting could wipe out Tory majority, says Gina Miller 

Gina Miller has warned that talk of a Tory landslide is premature, and claimed tactical voting could still ruin Boris Johnson’s dream of a majority. 

Analysing the most recent poll of polls, the anti-Brexit campaigner’s Remain United team have found that the poll of polls Conservative lead over Labour of 13.1 per cent is actually lower than the 15 per cent recorded at the same time in the 2017 election campaign under Theresa May. 

Miller said: “People are getting despondent when they read the headlines forgetting that in 2017, the 15 per cent lead was supposed to translate to a 100+ seat majority for Mrs May.

“Remain United’s data points to a Boris Johnson majority of 70 seats, BUT this could shrink to zero with pro-Remain smart tactical voting, as it did in 2017.”


2019-11-25T10:09:49.853Z

It’s … David Gauke’s dad

Independent candidate David Gauke has posted a rather nice video on Twitter with a family-related plot twist at the end.

The former Tory minister appears alongside Jim, a “dismayed longstanding Conservative”, whom Gauke says is now backing him.

“I am dismayed what has happened to the Conservative party now,” he says. “I could not vote for the Conservative party now, or the Labour party of course. Where I live I would have to vote Liberal Democrat.”

Jim adds that if he were living in Gauke’s constituency, he would “certainly” vote for him.

Gauke replies: “Thanks Dad.”

Jim was actually his father all along!

“You’re welcome son.”


2019-11-25T09:57:26.516Z

Tory claims not meeting ‘standards we expect’, says fact-checking group

The independent fact-checking organisation Full Fact has pulled Boris Johnson up on his claim that his ministers would increase day-to-day government spending by only £3bn.

The figure is small compared to Labour’s promised £83bn increase in spending, paid for by higher taxes on big businesses and the highest 5 per cent of earners.

But Full Fact said the Tories had not explained how every pledge in the manifesto would be funded. Full fact chief executive Will Moy said the party could “do more to meet the standards we expect” when it came to providing voters with “accurate and honest” information in the run up to polling day.

The organisation also poured scorn on the Tories’s estimate that retaining, recruiting and training nurses for the NHS in England will cost £879m in 2023/24.

“While it’s not clear how this has been calculated, that clearly isn’t the total cost of eventually having 50,000 more nurses on the NHS,” it stated.


2019-11-25T09:49:56.690Z

Tory social care pledge ‘couple of billion short’, says expert

Sally Warren, director of policy at the King’s Fund, said the Conservatives’ funding pledge for social care – which was already announced before the manifesto unveiling – is “a couple of billion pounds short a year” of what the sector needs.

Warren, who is a former director of social care policy at the Department of Health, told the Today programme: “The money we’ve seen from the Conservatives yesterday is not going to be enough to continue to meet demographic pressures as our population ages over the next five years.

“So the money isn’t enough and all the money would be doing would be to continue funding the current system, and that current system is widely seen to be very unfair for people who need to use it, and it has been struggling to be able to have enough funding to deliver high quality care.

On how big the gap is between the Tories’ promise of an extra £1bn a year over the next five years and the amount that is needed to help the sector, Warren added: “It’s probably a couple of billion pounds short a year.”


2019-11-25T09:38:10.760Z

Minister forced to deny nurses pledge is ‘nonsense’ – and mocked by GMB hosts

Culture secretary Nicky Morgan has been challenged on the Tories’ pledge to deliver 50,000 extra nurses for the NHS in England.

Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan suggested the fact that almost 19,000 of those nurses already work for the NHS (and would be retained) meant viewers would think the claim was “complete nonsense”.

The cabinet minster replied: “There are other ways nurses come in to the NHS. There be overall, and we’re very, very clear on this, 50,000 more nurses if you look in 10 years’ time.”

Host Susannah Reid then said: “But it’s not more nurses.”

She added: “Isn’t it a bit like saying, on Good Morning Britain tomorrow morning there will be three more presenters – and then tomorrow you have exactly the same number of presenters because you managed to persuade me, Piers and Charlotte to carry on doing the job.”

Strangely, Nicky Morgan appeared to accept the analogy, stating: “The fact is the three of you have been encouraged to come in on Tuesday morning, and not just in on Monday morning.”

Reid laughed at the “really odd maths going on”, while Piers Morgan scoffed: “Nicky, Nicky – even as you said that sentence you knew that was a wrong avenue to go down, didn’t you?”


2019-11-25T09:21:56.196Z

Private renting can become ‘better choice’, says Labour

Shadow housing secretary John Healey has said the housing market is “failing” to provide decent accommodation, as he discussed Labour’s plan to reform the private rental sector.

Healey told the BBC: “We need to make this market fairer, we need a government, unlike the Conservatives, that is prepared to stand up to the vested interests in the property market, and we need basic minimum standards across all private rented homes, which is why we’re bringing in the idea of a new property MOT.”

On the backlash from landlords towards Labour’s policies, he added: “When we say one in four are in poor condition, damp, cold, in disrepair or even unsafe – this is a market which is clearly failing, it requires a government to step in.

“And I’d say to the landlords, look in Germany the rights and rules are stronger but the private rented sector is at least twice as big as it is here in Britain, so it can work for tenants, it can work for landlords and we can make private renting a better choice for those who want to or need to base their home in a private rented property.”

On a future Labour government’s proposed selling properties at a discount scheme to key workers, Healey said: “This isn’t about extra government spending, it’s about using the planning system to require developers to build discount homes that will be available for local people on ordinary incomes – we’ll build at least 50,000 of those over the parliament.”

He added: “And these would be discount homes, with the discount baked into the home so that it helped that first time buyer and future first time buyers as well.”


2019-11-25T09:16:07.370Z

Labour promises to put bad landlords out of business

Jeremy Corbyn is in the East Midlands today, and he is expected to discuss Labour’s pledged to take on “dodgy” landlords and introduce a charter of renters’ rights.

The party will announce details of a new national “property MOT” to deal with what they say is the problem of squalid private rental housing.

Under the plans, there would be a legal requirement for landlords to complete an independent annual inspection to ensure homes are up to scratch, and if landlords let out sub-standard properties or flout the rules they will face fines of up to £100,000 and forced repayment of rent to tenants.

More details here.


2019-11-25T09:09:30.010Z

Almost 2.5 million private renters could miss out on chance to vote

Some 2.4 million people living in private rented homes could miss out on their vote in the election next month, campaigners have warned.

In 96 parliamentary constituencies across England, the number of unregistered private renters is believed to be higher than the majority of the victorious candidate in the 2017 election, according to calculations by the campaign group Generation Rent.

Using figures from the census, Electoral Commission and English Housing Survey, Generation Rent estimated that there are at least 5.7 million eligible voters living in private rented accommodation, but only 3.3 million of them are on the electoral roll for their current address.


2019-11-25T09:06:19.916Z

Labour ‘waspi’ pension commitment ‘breaks manifesto promises’

The director of the respected Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has criticised Labour’s promise to compensate more than three million “waspi” women who lost out on years of state pension payments when their retirement age was raised.

The “waspi” term refers to the campaign group Women Against State Pension Inequality.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Paul Johnson said the policy’s estimated cost of £58bn is “a very, very large sum of money indeed”.

He added: “I think there are two interesting things about that – one is the sheer scale of it, and of course it immediately breaks the promises they made in their manifesto just last week only to borrow to invest.

“So, they would need even more than their £80bn tax rises if they wanted to cover that.”

“The other, I suppose, is just a statement of priorities or decisive lack of priorities, because there’s so much money for so many things, but they’re not finding money, for example, to reverse the welfare cuts for genuinely poor people of working wage.”

“Whilst some of these waspi women really have suffered hardship as a result of not realising that this pension age increase is happening, although it was announced back in the early 1990s, many of them are actually quite well off.”


2019-11-25T08:58:07.220Z

Rees-Mogg’s Grenfell remarks ‘disgusting’, says fire brigades union

Matt Rack, the general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, said Jacob Rees-Mogg’s comments that Grenfell victims lacked “common sense” were “disgusting”.

“To suggest they should’ve ran through smoke is an appalling thing to say.”

The Commons leader was not in Telford for the Conservatives’ manifesto launch yesterday – leading many to speculate he has been kept away from the campaign because of the outrage over the recent remarks.


2019-11-25T08:43:15.040Z

PM accused of ‘fake’ pledge to deliver 50,000 more nurses

Boris Johnson has been accused of “deceit” over his plans for the NHS, after his promise of “50,000 more nurses” turned out to include 18,500 existing nurses who the government hopes to persuade to remain in the workforce.

Our political editor has all the details.


2019-11-25T08:36:32.540Z

UK will be ‘Trump’s poodle’ if Johnson wins majority, Lib Dems warn

Britain risks becoming “Donald Trump’s poodle” if Boris Johnson wins next month’s election and pushes through his “extreme” Brexit plan, Lib Dem foreign affairs spokesman Chuka Umunna has warned.

Umunna accused the prime minister of importing Trump-style populist, nationalist politics into the UK and warned that a Conservative victory on 12 December would give him “carte blanche” to continue it.


2019-11-25T08:31:24.880Z

Both big parties offering ‘fantasies’, says Blair

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn are peddling fantasies, former PM Tony Blair will say on Monday, offering his support to “mainstream” politicians.

In a speech today Blair will criticise Britain’s main parties for offering voters a stark choice, wanting to win “on the basis that whatever your dislike of what they’re offering, the alternative is worse”.

Blair will say many in Britain are “scratching their heads, changing their minds, floating and unsure” before the election.

“The unifying sentiment is a desire, bordering on the febrile, to end the mess, to wake from the nightmare,” he will say, according to extracts from his speech.

“This desire, though completely understandable, is in danger of leading us into a big mistake; and frankly we cannot afford another of those.”

Blair will accuse both parties of offering up a fantasy to voters – the Conservatives suggesting they will get Brexit done when the reality is that they will start new talks on a future relationship which “could last for years”.

Equally, he will say that Labour, under Corbyn, is offering a “revolution” at this election. “The problem with revolutions is never how they begin but how they end.”

He will call for people to look at the election seat-by-seat and back moderate candidates, saying he has been campaigning for such politicians in the Labour party.

“The polls predict a Conservative victory and put the chances of an outright Labour victory as negligible,” he will say. “But I wouldn’t trust Boris Johnson with a blank cheque.”

Social media is an increasingly important battle ground in elections – and home to many questionable claims pumped out by all sides. If social media sites won’t investigate the truth of divisive advertising, we will. Please send any political Facebook advertising you receive to digitaldemocracy@independent.co.uk, and we will catalogue and investigate it. Read more here.

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