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Boris Johnson’s Conservatives sought to undermine the Labour Party’s credibility on the economy, saying the opposition’s spending plans would cost 1.2 trillion pounds ($1.5 trillion) over five years. The analysis by the governing party — branded a “ludicrous piece of Tory fake news” by Labour’s finance spokesman, John McDonnell, was carried on the front covers of the Sunday Times, Sunday Telegraph and Mail on Sunday.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid tells Sunday Times that Labour plans would leave U.K. on “the brink of bankruptcy”McDonnell promises Labour’s manifesto will be fully costedYouGov poll in Sunday Times puts Tories 13 points ahead of Labour; Opinium poll gives them a 12-point lead
Business Minister Slams Labour’s Spending Plans (8:40 a.m.)
Business Minister Kwasi Kwarteng slammed the Labour Party’s spending plans, accusing them of “promising the earth.” He confirmed that Tory analysis of the main opposition’s policies – including a four-day working week and nationalization of energy infrastructure and water utilities – show they’ll add up to 1.2 trillion pounds.
“All those things are going to have to be paid for, and Labour’s policies don’t add up,” Kwarteng said in a Sky News interview. “We’ve shown that they are reckless in their spending. It’s a huge amount of money that we can’t afford.”
Challenged repeatedly what the equivalent total is for the Conservative Party, he was unable to do so. He said that the government gave details in its budget, and that Tory spending plans “are not nearly as astronomical” as Labour ones.
Kwarteng also urged Brexit Party Leader Nigel Farage to “step aside” now that Boris Johnson has negotiated a deal to take the U.K. out of the European Union.
Labour to ‘Bankrupt U.K.’ Javid Tells Papers (Earlier)
Labour spending plans will cost the country 1.2 trillion pounds over the next five years, the Sunday Telegraph reported, citing a 36-page dossier prepared by the Conservative Party. The story is also carried in the Sunday Times, which cites Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid as saying the plans are a “truly terrifying spending splurge” which would leave the U.K. “on the brink of bankruptcy.”
McDonnell, for his part, issued a statement dismissing the dossier as “Tory fake news,” and promising his party’s manifesto would be “fully costed.”
“This ludicrous piece of Tory fake news is an incompetent mishmash of debunked estimates and bad maths cooked up because they know Labour’s plans for real change are popular,” McDonnell said. “Labour will tax the rich to pay for things everyone needs and deserves, like decent housing, health care and support for our children. We will also use the power of the state to invest to grow our economy, create good jobs in every region and nation and tackle the climate emergency.”
Polls Give Conservatives Double-digit Lead (Earlier)
Three polls give Boris Johnson’s Conservatives a double-digit lead over Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party.
A YouGov poll in the Sunday Times puts the Tories on 39%, unchanged from its previous survey, with Labour down a point on 26%. The Liberal Democrats are up a point on 17% and the Brexit Party are up 3 points on 10%.
Late Saturday, Opinium released the results of its latest poll, giving the Tories a 12-point lead. That margin was down four points from its previous survey last week. Opinium put the Conservatives on 41%, Labour on 29%, the Lib Dems on 15% and the Brexit Party on 6%. A survey by Deltapoll for the Mail on Sunday had the same numbers for the Tories and Labour, with the Liberal Democrats at 16%. The Brexit Party lost 5 percentage points from the previous poll to 6%.
One poll, however, gave a smaller lead for the Tories. The BMG survey for the Independent on Sunday put the Tories on 37%, with Labour on 29%, the Liberal Democrats on 16% and the Brexit Party on 9%.
Secret Report Named Russian Tory Donors: Times (Earlier)
Nine Russian donors to the Conservative Party are identified in a report from Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee that the government last week refused to release, the Sunday Times reported.
Bloomberg last week revealed that the report raised concerns over the threat of Russian interference in British elections but found no “smoking gun” evidence of Kremlin-sponsored meddling.
A row over the government’s refusal to publish the report dominated Parliament’s final day before the body was dissolved for the Dec. 12 election. The government insists that it needs more time to ensure that secret sources of information aren’t inadvertently revealed. People familiar with the report are equally insistent this work has already done.
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To contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at [email protected], Andrew Davis, Sara Marley
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