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Brexit news – live: Farage accuses Tories of ‘corruption’ over alleged offer of peerages for election favours

Follow all the latest developments

Andy Gregory
Sunday 17 November 2019 17:30

Nigel Farage has accused the Tories of “corruption” over claims that several Brexit Party candidates were offered peerages and negotiating roles in return for stepping down in the general election race.

Dominic Raab has left the door open for Britain to crash out of the EU without a deal if future Brexit negotiations with the bloc don’t go the government’s way, telling Andrew Marr: “I don’t think it’s remotely likely.”

Jeremy Corbyn reiterated his party’s commitment to a second referendum but refused four times to say whether he backed Leave or Remain, insisting he wants to “bring people together on both sides”.

The Labour leader refused to say whether the party would seek to continue freedom of movement, despite it being current policy. He hinted their now-finalised manifesto would lay out plans for “a great deal of movement” but would not be drawn to explain in more detail.

Elsewhere, a “heartbroken” Jennifer Arcuri has accused Boris Johnson of casting her aside like “some fleeting one-night stand” as she “kept [his] secrets” amid the media firestorm over whether he misused public funds in awarding her cyber-firm £100,000.​

The US businesswoman told ITV she wished the PM had declared their mysterious personal relationship a conflict of interest at the time to avoid her “humiliation”, in an interview to be broadcast on Sunday evening.


Good morning and welcome to The Independent's live coverage of the general election campaign.

Andy Gregory17 November 2019 09:07

Green Party co-leader: 'We have to transform this country'

Sian Berry has claimed the Green Party will "have a big influence" on the next government, rebuffing Sky News' Sophie Ridge's allegations that the party's plans could be written off as "typical opposition politics".

Ms Berry spoke of the need to "transform this country", as she set out plans for the introduction of a Green New Deal, Universal Basic Income by 2025, and a "real" living wage of £12 an hour.

She denied being worried about propping up the Lib Dems in the general election, with whom the party disagrees on issues like austerity, saying: "This is what grown-up politics is about".

Andy Gregory17 November 2019 09:28

Immigration takes centre stage in debate

As rumours emerge of a split in the Labour Party over immigration, with influential union leader Len McLuskey retaining his longstanding affection for controlled immigration, and shadow ministers urging Jeremy Corbyn to back freedom of movement, Jonathan Ashworth does little to allay fears that Labour are capitulating to the Tories on the issue.

Mr Ashworth, the shadow health and social care secretary, refused to tell Sky News whether the party wanted immigration to go up or down, but did say the NHS should be allowed to recruit internationally.

But the Tories' plans came under fire also, with the Confederation British Industry's director general Carolyn Fairbairn describing their plans to only allow the "brightest and best" into the country as "a worry".

She said: “If you want to build 200,000 houses a year, yuou don’t just need the architects and designers, you need the carpenters, electricians, the labourers. We need people to come and help us rebuild our economy.”

Ms Fairbairn also took aim at Labour, saying the party's proposed high-cost plans could "crack the foundations of our economy".

She warned the party needed to ensure it was a friend to business, with many businesses "sitting thinking 'are we next'", in the wake of a pledge to nationalise BT.

Andy Gregory17 November 2019 09:53

One third will vote tactically to keep out the candidate they dislike most, poll finds

It's not just the Brexit Party and the "Remain alliance" playing tactics - it appears an unprecedented portion of the electorate are looking to do the same.

Almost a third of voters are planning to cast their ballot tactically in the general election to keep out a candidate or party they dislike, according to a poll.

Here's our political editor Andrew Woodcock with the details:

Andy Gregory17 November 2019 10:16

Raab leaves door open to no-deal Brexit

Amid fears from Remainers and moderate Brexiteers that Boris Johnson's withdrawal agreement could well result in a no-deal Brexit further down the line, Dominic Raab has told Andrew Marr it is "not remotely likely" that the UK will leave without a deal.

Asked "could we leave without a deal?", the foreign secretary said: "I think it's, no, it's not what we're, I don't think it's remotely likely."

But he refused to rule it out when pressed on whether the UK would leave without a deal if it fails to secure its objectives on fishing, Mr Raab replied: "I'm not going to be able to break down in advance the hypothetical negotiating scenarios.

"The guarantee I can give is we're going to be an independent coastal state, we'll have full control over it and we'll do what's in the best interests of fishermen and women up and down the country."

Andy Gregory17 November 2019 10:33

Jeremy Corbyn refuses four times to say whether or not he wants Britain to leave the EU

Asked by the BBC's Andrew Marr for his personal view on whether Brexit should go ahead, he said: "I want a close decision with the the EU in the future and we will put that decision to the British people and I will abide by that decision."

He added: "My strategy has been to try and bring people together on both sides of the argument, because actually there's a great deal that unites them about the inequalities and injustices in this country."

The Labour leader reiterated his party's commitment to another referendum.

Andy Gregory17 November 2019 10:42

Both parties refuse to set “arbitrary target” on immigration, while Corbyn remains ambiguous on freedom of movement

Dominic Raab and Jonathan Ashworth have both said they will not give an “arbitrary” immigration target this morning. 

As pointed out by Andrew Marr, this makes it very difficult to judge the efficacy of their policies further down the line.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbyn refuses to be drawn into discussing Labour’s plans for freedom of movement. Speculation that the party may not unconditionally back free movement has left many party members dismayed. 

"A lot of European Union nationals have made their homes in this country and made a massive contribution to our society,” Mr Corbyn said. "A lot of British people live in different parts of the European Union.

"And many of those families have been through unbelievable levels of stress, so they absolutely must have the right to remain and be able to bring their families here."

Mr Corbyn added that there are "huge economic demands" in the UK with the need for nurses and doctors.

"We cannot exist in isolation, therefore there has to be migration into Britain in order to maintain our economy and our services. And that will be reflected in the policy which you will see on Thursday."

Andy Gregory17 November 2019 10:54

Jennifer Arcuri says Boris Johnson has 'cast me aside like some fleeting one-night stand' despite her having 'kept his secrets'

In an advance clip of ITV's Jennifer Arcuri interview, she describes herself as "a true confidante of [the PM]", "hearbroken" and, ultimately, "collateral damage".

Here's Ben Kentish with more details on the soon-to-be broadcast interview, in which she describes how the prime minister cast her aside as scrutiny over their four-year relationship reached boiling point in recent months.

Andy Gregory17 November 2019 11:03

Corbyn refuses to praise Nato but veers away from Macron's controversial 'brain death' assessment

Jeremy Corbyn has refused to praise Nato, saying he did not agree with claims that it was the most "the most successful military alliance in history".

Asked what his message to Nato members would be ahead of a summit in London in early December, the Labour leader said: "I hope they're able to bring about peace in Syria and Turkey, I hope they're able to put pressure on the Turkish government on its treatment of Kurdish people in northern Syria and I hope that they will have a developing and serious relationship with Russia in which they question Russia's human rights record and behaviour but they also build a relationship in order to reduce the tensions that exist on the borders of Nato and Russia."

Asked whether he agreed with Sir Nick Carter, the chief of the defence staff, that Nato was "the most successful military alliance in history", he said: "I'm not sure I'd define it as that. I'd define it as a product of an attempt to bring people together during and after the Second World War."

He also refused to agree with president Macron’s assessment that the alliance was suffering "brain death", telling Andrew Marr: "They’re both quite strong statements, if I may say so, neither are completely right.”

Andy Gregory17 November 2019 11:17

Tory and Labour spending pledges will need tax rises, Institute for Fiscal Studies warns

Taxes will have to rise to meet Conservative spending pledges made on the campaign trail, independent experts warn, while Labour's proposed taxes on high earners will not go far enough.

Sajid Javid, the chancellor, is relying on a £37bn “cushion” – which has already been wiped out – to justify a string of high-cost promises to woo voters, Rob Merrick reports.

Andy Gregory17 November 2019 11:28

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