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Boris Johnson election news live: Latest polls and updates as BBC demands Tories pull ‘completely unacceptable’ ads – The Independent

Boris Johnson election news live: Latest polls and updates as BBC demands Tories pull ‘completely unacceptable’ ads


Friday 29 November 2019 14:58

The BBC has demanded the Conservatives pull campaign adverts posted on Facebook that uses edited snippets of its news output, with the broadcaster and the party still at loggerheads over the prime minister’s refusal to confirm an interview with Andrew Neil

It comes as Boris Johnson has refused to say how many children he has during an appearance on LBC. Asked by host Nick Ferrari if he was “fully and wholly involved” with all of his children, Mr Johnson said: “I love my children very much but they’re not standing at this election.”

Mr Johnson was branded “a coward and a bully” by Labour after the Conservatives complained to Ofcom about the Channel 4 climate change debate. A new survey shows Labour cutting the Tory lead – further evidence of a narrowing in the polls.

Tory volunteer chased with a sledgehammer


Andrea Jenkyns, the Conservative candidate Morley and Outwood, said one of her campaign volunteers was assaulted and chased with a sledgehammer.


She said the incident had been reported to the police. “Absolutely vile behaviour … No one deserves this. Disgusted,” she tweeted.


‘If Labour had another leader … Labour would steamroller this’


The latest blogpost by Lord Ashcroft, the Conservative donor and pollster, makes for interesting reading. He has revealed some of the comments made about the party leaders from his latest focus groups in Scotland.


Jeremy Corbyn did not appear to gain many positive responses. One person said: “He doesn’t come across very well. He just dodges questions. I find him quite a strange man.”


Another: “If Labour had another leader, a capable individual, Labour would steamroller this.”


On Corbyn’s interview with Andrew Neil, one participant told him: “It was worse than Prince Andrew.”


Discussing Boris Johnson, there were also plenty of negative comments. “He’s not the sort of person you can trust. He’s cheated on his wife, he’s a philanderer. I know that’s nothing to do with politics, but I wouldn’t trust him.”


Another Scot said: “If that man represents Britain, I feel much less likely to want to be British. Having him down there makes me want to detach myself from that.”


On Nicola Sturgeon, one participant said: “In her mind she just thinks ‘Freedom!’ She has the bagpipes playing in her head all the time.”

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BREAKING: Police scrambled to London Bridge


Emergency services have been called to London Bridge amid reports of shots being fired.


BBC correspondent John McManus told BBC News that he had heard several gunshots on London Bridge.


“Just a few minutes ago I was walking across London Bridge on the south bank to the north bank of the bridge,” he said. “There appeared to be a fight going on on the other side of the bridge, with several men attacking one man.”


Various social media users also reported hearing gunshots in the area. One video shows what appears to be police pulling equipment out of a vehicle nearby.


Those in the video can be heard saying: “They’ve actually got guns out. They’ve got the guns out.”


You can follow our live coverage below:


David Gauke endorsed by tactical voting groups


The former Tory minister David Gauke says he is “delighted” now all three major Remain tactical voting organisations have endorsed him.


He is standing as an independent in South West Hertfordshire – and the People’s Vote campaign group have recommended anti-Brexit voters give him their vote next month.  


Gauke said: “This means that now all three of the major tactical voting sites have urged voters in South West Herts to lend me their support so I can fight for them in Westminster, helping to bring about a confirmatory referendum and campaigning for Remain.”


Labour up in the polls: a direction of travel?


Following the two point boost in the latest Panelbase survey, The New Statesman’s Stephen Bush says there’s “a clear direction of travel in polls now” – in Labour’s favour.


What sort of lead might take us into hung parliament territory? Earlier this month a Conservative source told The Sunday Times: “If you’re in the seven to 10 range it’s squeaky bum time.”


Labour cuts into Tory lead, latest poll shows


The latest survey by Panelbase provides more evidence of a narrowing in the polls: Labour are up two points on 34 per cent, cutting the Tory lead from 10 points to eight.


It follows a series of polls this week in which Labour reduced the gap. The findings are likely to worry Tory strategists and fuel their fears of a repeat of 2017.


PM criticised after admitting no-deal Brexit still a possibility


Labour has described Boris Johnson’s Brexit promises as “an utter sham” after he suggested in a press conference that no deal planning would continue – despite his pledge to leave the EU with a deal by the 31 January.

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Sir Keir Starmer said : “This is a stark admission from Boris Johnson that a no deal Brexit is still on the table.


“His ‘get Brexit done’ rhetoric is an utter sham.”


Boris Johnson caught up in row over ‘throat gesture’

In a radio interview on LBC, the prime minister was caught on camera doing what appeared to be a gesture to cut off a caller asking about social care policy.

The footage provoked outrage on social media, as it appeared the PM was trying to dodge the question.

However – Mr Johnson noticed the gesture on a TV in the studio and commented live on air: “The reason I was momentarily distracted is because I was looking at the TV screen and there was a picture of me drawing my hand across my throat.

“But that was only because I was imitating you. I was suddenly mystified to see this picture of myself.”

Nick Ferrari, the presenter, later tweeted: “To clarify the PM’s gesture this morning on LBC, this is sign language between me and my producer to signify he needs to stay quiet in my ear.

“It’s been in common use for over 10 years. End of.”



BBC refuses to allow Boris Johnson on Andrew Marr show unless he agrees to Andrew Neil grilling

The BBC has refused to allow Boris Johnson to appear on its Andrew Marr programme unless he also agrees to be grilled by Andrew Neil.

No 10 had attempted to defuse the growing controversy over the prime minister’s refusal to appear before the BBC’s most-aggressive interviewer by offering to appear on the rival show, on Sunday morning.

But a BBC spokesperson told The Independent: “The BBC has refused the Conservatives offer to put the prime minister on the Andrew Marr programme until he agrees a date for Andrew Neil.”

 (Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/PA Images)

School inspectors to carry out ‘no-notice’ checks if Conservatives win general election

School inspectors will carry out “no notice” checks if the Conservatives win the general election, as Boris Johnson makes the future of Ofsted an election issue.

Labour has pledged to abolish the inspectorate, blaming it for “high levels of teacher workload and stress” which is driving staff out of the profession.

But the prime minister will instead vow to give Ofsted greater powers and higher funding, arguing that is the way to improve discipline and raise school standards.

PM: ‘I do not set out to mislead the electorate


Boris Johnson has tried to explain his comment that the monarchy was “beyond reproach”. He made the remark when asked for his view on the state of the monarchy in the wake of the controversy surrounding the Duke of York.

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The PM said: “On the monarchy, the monarchy is the Queen. That in my view, she is beyond reproach. There is a distinction between the monarchy and the royal family and everybody will readily appreciate that.


“It is an obvious definitional (sic) distinction.”


Asked about whether Jacob Rees-Mogg had a future in his team, Johnson said any comments on a future government would be seen as “measuring up the curtains” at Downing Street. He said Rees-Mogg was “in good health, to the best of my knowledge”.


Asked about the idea of trust and lies, he said: “I do not set out to mislead the electorate.”


The PM also denied that he was “running scared” by dragging his heels on committing to an interview with Andrew Neil. In response to a question by the BBC correspondent John Pienaar, he said: “Here I am submitting happily and jointly to your interrogation and there can be no more fearsome interviewer than yourself.”

Boris Johnson’s father says ‘absurd’ to call PM a liar


Stanley Johnson has been speaking on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme about the trust issues his son faces.


Replying to one viewer’s comment describing the prime minister as “Pinocchio”, Johnson Sr. replied: “Pinocchio? That requires a degree of literacy which the great British public doesn’t necessarily have.”


Asked what he meant, he said: “They couldn’t spell Pinocchio if they tried, I should have thought.”


Turning more serious he says: “I think it is utterly absurd and wrong that you can read out, on air, a tweet, coming in from one of your readers, on air, that calls the prime minister a liar. I think it’s amazing you can do that.”


PM claims his old columns are ‘twisted and distorted’ out of context


Boris Johnson has been asked again about his remarks on single mothers in a Spectator column (he described the children of single mothers as “ill-raised, ignorant, aggressive and illegitimate” in the unearthed piece).


He told reporters: “Out of millions of words I’ve written everybody is able to find some that they can cull from the text, and twist them and distort them in whatever way they choose.”


Johnson later addressed it by saying: “I’ll just repeat my point – you can always find bits and pieces that seem to mean one thing, in fact almost invariably the article in question is saying something very different.”


Boris Johnson at press conference in London (Reuters)


PM says he will bring Brexit bill ‘back before Christmas’


Boris Johnson is speaking at campaign event alongside the former Labour MP and Vote Leave campaign colleague Gisela Stuart – backing him at the election.


“A vote for Boris Johnson is a vote to get Brexit done,” says Stuart.


Johnson says he wants to bring his Withdrawal Agreement Bill “back before Christmas” and get the UK out of the EU by 31 January.


Johnson warned that a hung parliament would lead to Brexit being further “delayed, denied”.


“If there is another hung parliament after this election, then the deadlock will continue,” said the PM. “The probability would be that Jeremy Corbyn would be in Downing Street propped up by Nicola Sturgeon.


“But if there is a Conservative majority government, then we can deliver on the change people voted for.


“Our first move would be to bring the Withdrawal Agreement back before Christmas and then leave the EU on January 31. No ifs, no buts – we’ll get it done.”


Boris Johnson flanked by Michael Gove and Gisela Stuart (AP)


Sturgeon wants hung parliament to thwart Johnson


Nicola Sturgeon has said she is hoping for a hung parliament in the early hours of 13 December.


Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Women’s Hour, the SNP leader said: “I absolutely would never countenance the SNP doing anything that would allow Boris Johnson to walk through the doors of No 10.


“I will do everything I can to make sure that Boris Johnson is not calling the shots on 13 December.”


Sturgeon also said there would be no formal coalition with Labour – but suggests there could be some informal arrangement that might allow Jeremey Corbyn to become PM.


“I’m not a great fan of Jeremy Corbyn,” she said.

‘I am not going to put them onto the pitch’: PM shuts down questions on his children


Our correspondent Lizzy Buchan has more on Boris Johnson’s refused to say how many children he has during his LBC interview.


The PM has four children with his ex-wife Marina Wheeler and a daughter from an extra-marital affair, but he is also believed to have fathered another child outside of his marriage.


You can watch Johnson’s awkward encounter with Nick Ferrari here:



Sturgeon says ‘debate to be had’ about future of monarchy


The SNP have clarified the party would keep the monarchy in an independent Scotland after Nicola Sturgeon has said there is “a debate to be had” over its future in the wake of the controversy over the Duke of York.


Andrew stepped down from public duties after mounting pressure following his BBC Newsnight interview about his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.


In an interview on ITV, Sturgeon said a debate about the monarchy should not be a distraction from Epstein’s victims. However, when asked if the issue made her consider whether the monarchy is fit for purpose, she replied: “I think it raises a number of questions.


“I think there is a debate to be had about the longer term future of the monarchy, one of the things though in the context of Prince Andrew that I feel very strongly about is that a debate about the monarchy shouldn’t be a distraction from Epstein’s victims and how they now get whatever justice they can get and get the truth and the ability to move on.


“And I think while, yes, there is a debate to be had about the former, I don’t think it should become conflated with that or be used in any way to sort of take attention from that.”


A spokesman for the SNP said: “SNP policy is to keep the monarchy in an independent Scotland.


“The First Minister was reflecting the general discussions that have taken place in recent weeks on issues such as the size of the monarchy. The FM shares the admiration that the Queen is held in across the UK and has no intention of changing of SNP policy.”

Tory video ‘distorts our output’ BBC tells party chairman


Here’s the Tory election video that’s causing so much trouble. The BBC has written to party chairman James Cleverly demanding they pulls the ads appearing on Facebook that use edited snippets of its news output.


The Tory promotional material “distorts our output,” could “damage perceptions of our impartiality,” and was “completely unacceptable,” the broadcaster has said.


PM claims ‘no evidence’ of Russian interference in British politics


LBC caller Noel asked about recent reports of donors linked to Vladimir Putin giving to the Tory Party, and why the security committee report has not yet been released.


Johnson said: “What I can tell Noel is that I know absolutely no evidence that Russia or indeed any other power has successfully or otherwise interfered in (pause) the politics of this country.”


Ferrari said: “Why did you take so long to get to that word?” and asked what he was worried about in the report.


Johnson said: “Seriously, there’s nothing. Obviously, I can’t discuss intelligence matters.”


Asked about whether he will take part in an interview with veteran journalist Andrew Neil, something he has yet to commit to, he said: “I’m much happier frankly to talk about my policies, what we’re doing for the people of this country rather than endless debates about media and process.”

Boris Johnson refuses to say how many children he has


The prime minister has been asked bluntly by LBC’s Nick Ferrari: “How many children do you have?”


Johnson said: “I love my children very much – they are not standing at this election.”


Asked by Ferrari if he was “fully and wholly involved” with all of his children, Johnson repeated: “I love my children very much but they’re not standing at this election. With great respect to you Nick, I’m not going to [discuss it] at all.


“I’m not going to put them onto the pitch in this election campaign, when I think what people want to hear is what my plans are for the country, what this country is determined to do, and how we’re going to take the country forward.


“That is the way all parties should be judged.”


Asked if the country could expect the “pitter and patter of tiny feet” if Johnson and partner Carrie Symonds remain in Downing Street, the PM replied: “I’m going to make the same point, I’m not going to get into discussions.”


Boris Johnson on Nick Ferrari’s LBC show (PA)




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