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Tuesday 5 November 2019

The Tories election slogan is “get Brexit done”. This morning, Labour unveils its own “get Brexit sorted” tag line. Good grief.

Keir Starmer has been burning this morning’s airwaves recalling discussions he’s had with Michel Barnier over how long a re-negotiation of the deal would take, only six months apparently. Labour claim that we won’t have to wait too long for Brexit to be resolved.

As always, Starmer’s not being honest. It will take a considerable amount of time to execute Labour’s convoluted plan. The only scenario whereby they’d be pursuing a second referendum would be in a motley coalition with the Lib Dems who want Brexit reversed from the outset. And if we know one thing about Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour, nothing is done quickly.

The unpleasant whiff of fake news steaming from Starmer’s claims permeate through all of Labour’s messaging. On Radio 4 this morning, the BBC’s fact checker (yes, the BBC) explained that Corbyn’s obsessive warning the price of NHS prescribed medicines could soar in the event of a US trade deal is based on the completely unrealistic prospect of healthcare being privatised and replaced with an American private insurance-based system.

Similarly, the Lib Dems are trying to sell Remain as a dividend. The UK exchequer will benefit from a £50bn cash injection over the next five years due to accelerated economic growth, they claim. That’s £10bn a year, the net amount we pay to Brussels every twelve months. Stupid and dishonest campaigning in equal measure.

The public see through the lies. Boris has a comfortable lead in the polls. The latest survey has the Conservatives on over 35 points, with Corbyn’s Labour languishing behind in the mid-20s.

The PM has written to Jeremy Corbyn (see above) demanding the Labour leader explain the implications of the party’s preferred Brexit deal and what it would mean for key issues such as freedom of movement. Johnson has identified one of the many weak spots in Labour’s campaign and is keen to press Corbyn into giving answers he doesn’t have.

Labour’s policy of a four-day working week has been put under the magnifying glass too. The Times reports it would cost the tax-payer £17bn because of the impact on the public sector wage bill. A study by the Centre for Policy concludes: “It could at worst mean a possible £45bn hit to the public sector, assuming a fall from 42.5 hours to 32 hours and no increase in productivity.”

But it’s not all doom and gloom for Labour HQ. Postal union, The Communications Workers Union has been accused of doing Corbyn a favour in trying to wreck the election by refusing to deliver millions of postal votes over a pay dispute. Ironically that may favour the Leave side, postal votes are notoriously vulnerable to fraud. The Left has mastered the art.

Finally, after enemy of Brexit John Bercow finally left the position of Speaker, Lindsay Hoyle has been appointed to replace him. He has been described as a “man steeped in politics” and has a strong history in the Commons – his father was also a Labour MP. The mild mannered Hoyle can surely be no worse than bully Bercow.