Labour’s Jess Phillips has appeared to advise the party’s leadership on how to respond to the chief rabbi Ephraim Mervis’ intervention.
Michael Gove has said he feels a “certain sense of sadness” about Michael Heseltine’s views on the Conservative Party.
However, he said he “respectfully disagreed” with the peer on Europe and described him as a “longtime advocate” of further integration with the EU. Gove then said Heseltine was “wrong” to advise people to vote Liberal Democrat.
I think that the most important thing at this General Election is the choice between the two alternative prime ministers – Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn – and I think that Boris would undoubtedly ensure that we got Brexit done and avoid the dangers of two referendums, whereas Jeremy Corbyn, as we know by the words of the Chief Rabbi today, poses a threat to more than just our economy.
On the chance of securing a trade deal, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster said:
First of all, we’ve heard this scepticism before, it’s the sort of default position of many commentators. It’s also the case that we have a Political Declaration which accompanies the Withdrawal Agreement that sets out the broad structure of the agreement that we’d want, and it’s pretty clear the sort of agreement that would work in the EU’s interests and the UK’s interests.
It would be a free trade agreement with friendly co-operation – co-operation on security, on science and on education.
Pressed on whether services would have access to the EU freely, Gove said: “Well, at the moment we do not have a single market in services even within the European Union.”
Asked whether services would be better or worse than at present, he added: “It would depend on the individual sector. But I think what we are likely to get, and I think this is certainly what Europe wants as well, is a no tariffs, no quotas, no quantitative restrictions as part of that free trade agreement.”
DUP parliamentary candidate Jeffrey Donaldson has warned that the Tory Brexit deal would “destabilise Northern Ireland’s relationship with the rest of the UK” and be “disadvantageous” to the Northern Ireland economy.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he added:
Clearly there isn’t a single major party in Northern Ireland that supports the prime minister’s Brexit deal, and that’s a major problem for us because if this deal is imposed, I believe it will create further instability and we certainly don’t need that. We believe the prime minister needs to look again at this idea of creating a border in the Irish Sea.
He reiterated that a Corbyn-led Labour government would be “disastrous” for the UK and said the party would look “very carefully” at joining forces with a Labour government that its current leader was not involved in.
Conservative party grandee Michael Heseltine has urged voters to back the Liberal Democrats to stop Brexit being delivered by Boris Johnson.
Speaking last night alongside former Tory MPs David Gauke, Dominic Grieve and Anne Milton in Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire, Heseltine was reported to have said:
I’m telling them to vote for what they believe and what the Conservative party has stood for all my life and certainly all of theirs – and to put country first. And what I think that means in practical terms is they either vote for the defrocked Conservative candidates, of which we have three excellent examples here, or they vote Lib Dem.
On BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning, the former deputy prime minster asserted that Jeremy Corbyn had no chance of becoming prime minister and that “traditional reds under the beds” scares came about in every election.
The 86-year-old former deputy prime minster said a more pressing question was whether Corbyn would be leader of the Labour party by Christmas, though he appeared to urge people against voting for the Tories.
Anyone who might form a temporary coalition will insist that it’s not Jeremy Corbyn. The real issue is what is at stake. It is the prosperity and world influence of this country. Our relationships with our neighbours in Europe. This is transcendently the overarching issue at stake in this election and I cannot vote or support people who are going to make this country poorer and less influential.
The peer has long supported a second referendum, due to the lies made during the 2016 vote by influential Brexit supporters.
He recognised that the Liberal Democrats – with their ”Stop Brexit” pledge – are not going to win the election, although he is voting for the party, and warned of the consequences of Johnson winning a majority.
It’s complete nonsense to suggest that [Brexit] can be done by Christmas. All you can do by Christmas is to pass legislation to enter into negotiations. It’s preposterous. We are in for another year of uncertainty and a possibility of a no-deal exit at the end of it. That’s the reality of what we’re facing if Mr Johnson gets an overall majority.
Visible action must accompany stands against antisemitism, says Archbishop of Canterbury
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has said nobody can afford to be “complacent” about antisemitism, reiterating that political parties must avoid worsening a “perception of fear” and calling on them to offer reassurances.
The cross-bench peer Rabbi Julia Neuberger has said the UK could become a less comfortable place for Jews to live if Jeremy Corbyn came to power.
She said she agreed with the chief rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, that the Jewish community is gripped by anxiety ahead of the general election due to an “unwillingness” of the Labour leadership to tackle a creeping “insidious antisemitic tone”.
“People in the Jewish community have seen that unwillingness and asked what is going on, why are they not gripping it?” she asked.
The interviewer cited recent polls suggesting 87% of Jews believe Corbyn is antisemitic and almost half would consider emigrating from the UK if he became prime minister, to which Neuberger replied:
I think the anxiety is that if in opposition Jeremy Corbyn and his top team do not tackle the antisemitism which has for instance been shown against Labour MPs. If they’re not willing to tackle that, apologise for it and sympathise then something is going very wrong. A political party where some of its MPs leave because of antisemitic taunting, and still cannot deal with it, makes people feel very uncomfortable. The other part of it is what you see on social media, people who claim to be Corbyn supporters saying the most appalling things about Jews.
The author said that although UK remains a good place to live as a Jew, that is shifting and if Labour under Corbyn comes to power then “this comfortable place to live may become less comfortable”.
“People will look for ways of moving or having a place somewhere else, or whatever they can possibly do to mitigate what feels oppressive, uncomfortable, dangerous.”
Asked why non-Jews potentially more concerned with austerity and benefit cuts should care enough to not vote Labour, Neuberger said: “If a section of the population is feeling uncomfortable because of racism, that is serious.”
The former Labour MPs Luciana Berger and Ian Austin have spoken out in support of the condemnation of Jeremy Corbyn from the UK’s chief rabbi of the UK.
Former envoy to EU decries the government’s ‘diplomatic amateurism’
Meanwhile, Britain’s former envoy to the EU Sir Ivan Rogers has issued a scathing verdict of the government’s “diplomatic amateurism”, saying Boris Johnson is sowing the seeds of “the biggest crisis of Brexit to date”.
In a lecture in Glasgow, Rogers said Johnson was repeating Theresa May’s “strategy errors” and would soon find himself “unwisely” boxed in by his campaign promises.
Labour accused of ‘poison sanctioned from the top’ by chief rabbi
The chief rabbi has accused Jeremy Corbyn of allowing a “poison sanctioned from the top” to take root in Labour, saying Jews are justifiably anxious about the prospect of the party forming the next government.
Ephraim Mirvis, the spiritual leader of the UK’s 62 orthodox synagogues, made the rare political intervention on the day that the Labour party is planning to unveil its race and faith manifesto in Tottenham this morning. Corbyn, Diane Abbott and Dawn Butler will attend.
Writing for the Times, Mirvis said it was not his place to tell people how to vote but argued that the way in which the Labour leadership had dealt with anti-Jewish racism was “incompatible with the British values of which we are so proud – of dignity and respect for all people” and that in this election the “soul of the nation” was at stake.
Labour has always strongly denied any suggestion that Corbyn has failed to get to grips with allegations of antisemitism in Labour, pointing to his record as an anti-racist campaigner and moves to overhaul the party’s complaints process.
The rabbi wrote: “The party leadership have never understood that their failure is not just one of procedure, which can be remedied with additional staff or new processes. It is a failure to see this as a human problem rather than a political one. It is a failure of culture. It is a failure of leadership. A new poison – sanctioned from the top – has taken root in the Labour party.”
Good morning politics early birds, welcome to our rolling coverage of the day’s news and today, we’re talking about money.
The huge gap in the spending promises of the two major parties is the main topic of debate today, after it emerged that Labour was committing 28 times as much in public spending as the Conservatives.
Jeremy Corbyn defended his multibillion pound general election spending pledge on public services, saying that even with the increased spending of £83bn a year that he has promised, the UK would still spend less on public services than France or Germany. Zoe Williams writes that Labour has outlined its promises, now its job is to make those promises seem real.
Meanwhile, the Resolution Foundation thinktank has released analysis showing that child poverty is at risk of rising to a record 60-year high under a Conservative government because its manifesto retains the coalition’s benefit cuts. The analysis says the number of British children living in relative poverty would increase from 29.6% in 2017-18 to 34.5% in 2023-24 under a Boris Johnson-led government. Though it adds that Labour’s £9bn of extra spending on social security would mean 550,000 fewer children in poverty but would not lead to current poverty rates falling.
I’ll be with you for the first hour of the live blog before I send it in the direction of my esteemed colleagues. You can get in touch with me on Twitter or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org).