Boris Johnson on Sunday moves his Election campaign up a gear by accusing Jeremy Corbyn of plotting to land Britain with a £1.2 trillion bill – equivalent to an extra £43,408 for every household in the country.
The astonishing figure, based on the additional cost of Labour’s policies over a five-year Parliament, is contained in a Tory dossier produced despite furious objections from Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell over the use of civil servants in its creation.
Meanwhile, The Mail on Sunday today reveals that one of Nigel Farage’s oldest political allies has been trying to strike a last-minute deal with the Conservatives to avoid splitting the Tory vote.
Boris Johnson today moves his Election campaign up a gear by accusing Jeremy Corbyn of plotting to land Britain with a £1.2 trillion bill – equivalent to an extra £43,408 for every household in the country
The astonishing figure, based on the additional cost of Labour’s policies over a five-year Parliament, is contained in a Tory dossier produced despite furious objections from Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell over the use of civil servants in its creation
The plan is for the Brexit Party leader to abandon his controversial intention to field candidates in 600 seats in return for changes to Mr Johnson’s agreement with Brussels. Former Ukip treasurer Andrew Reid has
been holding the ‘heated’ talks with Tory power brokers ahead of Thursday’s deadline for candidates to register for the Election.
Last night Mr Farage insisted that he was not asking for much but warned that the clock was ticking down.
As Mr Johnson launched his concerted fightback following a ‘wobbly’ start to the Tory campaign:
lA Mail on Sunday poll showed that support for the Brexit Party has nearly halved over the past week, as the Conservatives maintained a 12 point lead over Labour;
lMr Corbyn faced claims that one of his key aides, Andrew Murray, held a series of meetings with a communist spy at the height of the Cold War;
l A survivor of the IRA’s Poppy Day massacre condemned Mr Corbyn for signing a Commons motion saying the violence in Northern Ireland stemmed ‘primarily from the long-standing British occupation’. Stephen Gault, whose father was one of a dozen people murdered on Remembrance Sunday at Enniskillen in 1987, said that, as a ‘sympathiser for terrorism’, Mr Corbyn should not be allowed to become Prime Minister.
lLabour faced further embarrassment over remarks by one of its candidates making light of domestic violence;
lTony Blair offered support for a Liberal Democrat candidate who left Labour in protest at his failure to stamp out antisemitism;
lMr Blair also tried to act as peacemaker at the feud-hit People’s Vote campaign for a second referendum;
lThe Tories demanded an investigation by the Electoral Commission into nearly £3million of overseas money funnelled to a group running an anti-Brexit tactical voting campaign by US-based financier George Soros;
lFormer Attorney General Dominic Grieve refused to comment on claims that a buried Commons report on Russian interference in UK politics included allegations of an attempt to compromise Mr Johnson by a Russian businessman;
lThe Government revealed plans to hand a discount railcard to all Armed Forces veterans.
The Mail on Sunday reveals that one of Nigel Farage’s oldest political allies has been trying to strike a last-minute deal with the Conservatives to avoid splitting the Tory vote
The unveiling of the full cost of Labour’s plans comes as Tory HQ tries to move on to the front foot after the start of the campaign was blighted by gaffes, including Jacob Rees-Mogg suggesting that victims of the Grenfell Tower should have ignored fire brigade advice to stay put, and Welsh Secretary Alan Cairns being forced to resign over his former aide’s role in a rape trial.
However Labour have also been hit by controversies surrounding several candidates. Mr Blair waded in to the antisemitism row rocking the party by backing Luciana Berger, a Jewish candidate fighting the Golders Green seat for the Lib Dems. He condemned the fact she had been driven out of Labour over Corbyn’s failure to tackle the scourge and wished her ‘very well’ at the polls.
Chancellor Sajid Javid said that Mr Corbyn’s spending plans would cost the country an extra £650 million a day, or almost £5 billion a week, and push total Government spending up by 30 per cent.
The £1.2 trillion figure is more than the GDP of Denmark, Ireland and Austria combined, and would fund the NHS for more than nine years. Labour’s spending commitments include £196 billion for renationalising rail, water and postal services, £7 billion for free bus travel for the under 25s, £30 billion for home insulation and refurbishments, £85 billion to institute a four-day working week, £4.5 billion to pilot a Universal Basic Income and £8.7 billion to guarantee all energy workers a job as greener technology replaces power stations.
But the Tories release their 35-page dossier after the costing of Labour’s plans triggered a major political row. Mr McDonnell said it was an abuse of power for Tory leaders to use Treasury officials to produce the figures, and Cabinet Secretary Mark Sedwill blocked civil servants from publishing the figures, saying it would be in breach of election guidelines.
Mr Johnson has also unveiled generous spending commitments on the NHS, the police and benefits which have led to arguments behind the scenes over the extent to which the Conservatives should relax spending rules.
Mr Javid is among those warning that the party should not put at risk its hard-won reputation for competent economic management.
Tory aides say that Mr Johnson will put in an energetic campaigning performance over the coming weeks which will expose Mr Corbyn’ fallibilities. The Labour leader appeared tired and confused when he was interviewed on television yesterday about Tory spending plans. He muddled the figure 500 with 5,000 when discussing extra doctors, asked for the interview to be reshot and then said to his interrogator about his mistake: ‘It’s only one nought.’
Mr Javid said last night: ‘The true cost of Corbyn is a staggering £1.2 trillion. Now is the time for responsible investment not reckless borrowing. We simply cannot afford Corbyn’s spending spree that would saddle our children with huge amounts of debt and undo all the hard work of the British people in recent years.
‘Every time Labour get into power they spend beyond their means, leaving our country on the brink of bankruptcy.
‘Corbyn’s Labour is planning to embark on a record – and truly frightening – spending splurge. As one of Corbyn’s most senior allies has warned: ‘The British people will pay for this.’
‘A vote for Corbyn’s Labour would mean the chaos of another two referendums and frightening levels of debt that would take us decades to pay off. Only a majority Conservative Government would get Brexit done and spend money sensibly on people’s priorities.
‘We simply cannot afford the cost of Corbyn’.