That’s all of us tonight. Thanks for reading and commenting. Here is a summary of the day’s events:
- The prime minister launched the Conservative Party’s election campaign, saying he did not want the vote, but felt he had no choice but to call it. Boris Johnson, whose reliability has been questioned by some who have worked with him, gave a speech in Birmingham that was riddled with misleading and outright false claims. Johnson had previously used the number 10 as the backdrop for a speech in which he made several similar claims.
- The debate over the leadership of the Labor Party under Jeremy Corbyn threatened to flare up again when the party’s deputy leader, with whom it has often clashed, announced he was stepping down. Tom Watson will leave his post within the party and will not seek re-election to the House of Commons. He said the decision was “very personal.” Read the full story about that in our splash:
- The Welsh secretary resigned when faced with questions about what he knew about a former assistant’s alleged role in the failed rape trial. There have been calls for Boris Johnson to drop Alun Cairns as the Conservative Party candidate as the issue threatens to overshadow the launch of the party’s election campaign.
- Tory MP Andrew Bridgen has apologized for comments about survivors of the Grenfell Tower disaster. Bridgen was seeking to defend his party colleague, Jacob Rees-Mogg, who had suggested that the people who died in the tower lacked the “common sense” to ignore the advice of the fire brigade and walk away.
- Jeremy Corbyn said he would be a very different type of prime minister to Boris Johnson. The Labor leader set out 10 goals for the government he hopes to form when he delivered a campaign speech in Telford. Corbyn refused to confirm John McDonnell’s claim that both would have to retire if Labor lost, saying the billionaires were in a “very strong position to pay a lot more taxes”.
- Three of the smaller opposition parties have announced an electoral pact in parts of the UK. The Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and the Greens finalized a plan to step aside 60 seats in England and Wales. Scottish Labor rules out a post-election pact with the SNP.
- The Green Party launched its campaign in Bristol, where it has significant support. The local party believes it has a good chance of ousting Bristol West Labor incumbent Thangam Debbonaire in 79% of the remaining constituency.
- Brexit is the UK’s “biggest mistake” since the war, according to the recently retired Commons Speaker, John Bercow. He said the Brexit crisis will not be resolved anytime soon.
The Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and the Greens have finalized a plan to step aside 60 seats in England and Wales in the general election. pedro walker and heather stewart write.
The alliance intends to give freedom of action to a party in favor of permanence in each constituency.
The agreement, which does not include Labour, covers 49 seats in England and 11 in Wales. It was done under the banner of a multi-party group called Unite to Remain, which has spent several months trying to negotiate the plan.
A so-called progressive alliance plan, which also included Labour, was attempted before the 2017 election, but only a handful of seats were arranged, partly due to the difficulty of getting local parties to agree.
Lib Dem leader, jo swinsonhas said:
We are delighted that an agreement has been reached. We would like to thank Unite to Remain for making this possible. This is a significant moment for all the people who want to support the permanence of the candidates throughout the country. We look forward to sharing the details of the seats tomorrow.
The outgoing deputy leader of the Labor Party, tom watsonsays his decision to resign and leave parliament was “very personal”.
Watson, who has represented West Bromwich East since 2001 and is one of Labour’s most recognizable figures, denied that the move was the result of concerns about the leadership of the party under jeremy corbynwith whom he has often clashed.
I want every Labor supporter who campaigns for the Labor team to make sure we get to elect a Labor government.
Former Derby North MP, chris williamson, resigned his membership of the Labor Party and announced that he will stand as an independent in the general election. The party’s national executive committee ruled today that they would not back it.
In the letter to the General Secretary of Labour, jennie formbyWilliamson wrote:
I am appalled that Labor Party officials have enabled and carried out what I believe to be a witch hunt against hundreds of socialists loyal to Jeremy Corbyn and his transformative, socialist, anti-imperialist worldview.
Many of the victims of this witch-hunt have been Jewish socialists, whose anti-Zionism is anathema to the apartheid apologists who ostensibly influence Labor domestic and foreign policy.
harvey proctorThe former Conservative MP who was falsely accused of being part of a VIP pedophile ring in Westminster, said Watson “has done his constituents a huge favour” by resigning.
Proctor, who served in the House of Commons in the 1970s and 1980s, has now abandoned plans to run against Watson in next month’s general election. He said:
By retiring, Tom Watson has done his constituents a great favor. The next parliament will be a healthier place without him. He will no longer be able to use public office to promote false accusers for personal and political ends.
Although this is not the end for Tom Watson, I feel vindicated. I can now confirm that I will not be running in the West Bromwich East constituency in the general election.
daniel janerthe son of Lord Janner- one of the victims of the VIP abuse investigation caused by carl beech – saying by tom watson position had become “untenable.” Janner has been a fierce critic of Watson, whom he previously accused of putting “pressure on the police.”
Tom Watson stoked the post-Savile hysteria that hurt falsely accused innocent prominent figures like my late father Lord Janner. His position had become untenable. He has withdrawn because he would have been defeated.
Getting back to Labour, here’s a little reaction to the news from deputy party leader, tom Watson, is standing.
And from the conservatives:
In his letter to Watson, the Labor leader, jeremy corbyn has said:
Few people have given as much to the labor movement as you and I know that many thousands of members and unionists you have inspired and worked with over the years will be very sorry to see you go.
This is the full letter:
Johnson concluded his speech by thanking supporters and telling them: “I’ll see you at the barricades.”
The prime minister repeated the claim that Corbyn has made a deal with the SNP. We cover the provenance of that here.
And he said he did not know what Corbyn wanted to achieve in the renegotiations with the EU. Writing for The Guardian in September, the Labor leader described what he wanted to see in his Brexit deal:
And the party supported a motion at their conference that said:
The work leave deal would include a new customs union between the UK and the EU, a close relationship with the single market, the protections of the Good Friday deal with no strict borders, the guarantee of permanent rights for three million citizens of the EU in the UK and one million UK citizens in Europe, guarantees of workers’ rights and environmental protection, and membership of key bodies to ensure joint cooperation in areas such as climate change, the fight against terrorism and drugs.
Johnson has said that Corbyn wants “unlimited and uncontrolled immigration”.
Labor have expressed their support for such a thing. At its conference, the party endorsed a policy that would protect the current principle of free movement rights enjoyed by EU citizens and extend them; although it is not entirely clear to what extent. He has also pledged to close all immigration detention centers and end “no recourse to public funds” policies.
Here is the full movement.
tom watson is resigning from parliament and stepping down as deputy leader of the Labor Party, reopening debate over the leadership of the party under jeremy corbyn.
Watson, who is one of the best-known figures in the Labor Party, has represented the West Bromwich East constituency since 2001.
He has repeatedly clashed with Corbyn, including over the Labor leader’s stance on Brexit and his handling of anti-Semitism, and the party’s conference in Brighton in September was overshadowed by a failed bid to abolish his post.
Johnson has also attacked the leader of the Brexit party, nigel farage:
And Johnson makes further claims about the number of police officers he plans to recruit. We cover that here.
Johnson claims that “40 new hospitals (have been) given the green light” as part of Tory policies.
This statement is false. The government has announced six improvements to hospitals. Dozens of other hospitals have received money to develop upgrade plans, but not for the upgrades themselves. Full Fact has a good explanation here.