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General election news - live: Tories plunged into spate of fresh fake news scandals, as BBC admits 'mistake' over edited Boris Johnson footage

Follow all the latest developments live

Adam Forrest,Ashley Cowburn
Monday 25 November 2019 16:30 GMT
General election: Registering people to vote in the street

Boris Johnson has been accused of “deceit” after his promise of 50,000 more nurses for the NHS turned out to include almost 19,000 existing nurses the government simply wants to retain.

It comes as the BBC admitted it made a “mistake” by editing out the audience launching at Mr Johnson in a BBC Question Time clip. Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, said it was “unbelievable” that the Tories re-named its official press office account “factcheckuk” during the recent TV debate.

A Tory candidate in Nottinghamshire, meanwhile, was caught getting one of his friends to pose as a fake swing voter, raising further questions about the party’s use of disinformation.


Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of the general election campaign, with only 17 days left until we go to the polls.

Adam Forrest25 November 2019 08:27

Both big parties offering ‘fantasies’, says Blair

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn are peddling fantasies, former PM Tony Blair will say on Monday, offering his support to “mainstream” politicians.

In a speech today Blair will criticise Britain’s main parties for offering voters a stark choice, wanting to win “on the basis that whatever your dislike of what they’re offering, the alternative is worse”.

Blair will say many in Britain are "scratching their heads, changing their minds, floating and unsure" before the election.

“The unifying sentiment is a desire, bordering on the febrile, to end the mess, to wake from the nightmare,” he will say, according to extracts from his speech.

“This desire, though completely understandable, is in danger of leading us into a big mistake; and frankly we cannot afford another of those.”

Blair will accuse both parties of offering up a fantasy to voters - the Conservatives suggesting they will get Brexit done when the reality is that they will start new talks on a future relationship which “could last for years”.

Equally, he will say that Labour, under Corbyn, is offering a “revolution” at this election. “The problem with revolutions is never how they begin but how they end.”

He will call for people to look at the election seat-by-seat and back moderate candidates, saying he has been campaigning for such politicians in the Labour party.

“The polls predict a Conservative victory and put the chances of an outright Labour victory as negligible,” he will say. “But I wouldn’t trust Boris Johnson with a blank cheque.”

Adam Forrest25 November 2019 08:31

UK will be ‘Trump’s poodle’ if Johnson wins majority, Lib Dems warn

Britain risks becoming “Donald Trump’s poodle” if Boris Johnson wins next month’s election and pushes through his “extreme” Brexit plan, Lib Dem foreign affairs spokesman Chuka Umunna has warned.

Umunna accused the prime minister of importing Trump-style populist, nationalist politics into the UK and warned that a Conservative victory on 12 December would give him “carte blanche” to continue it.

Adam Forrest25 November 2019 08:36

PM accused of ‘fake’ pledge to deliver 50,000 more nurses

Boris Johnson has been accused of “deceit” over his plans for the NHS, after his promise of “50,000 more nurses” turned out to include 18,500 existing nurses who the government hopes to persuade to remain in the workforce.

Our political editor has all the details.

Adam Forrest25 November 2019 08:43

Rees-Mogg’s Grenfell remarks ‘disgusting’, says fire brigades union

Matt Rack, the general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, said Jacob Rees-Mogg’s comments that Grenfell victims lacked “common sense” were “disgusting”.

“To suggest they should’ve ran through smoke is an appalling thing to say.”

The Commons leader was not in Telford for the Conservatives’ manifesto launch yesterday – leading many to speculate he has been kept away from the campaign because of the outrage over the recent remarks.

Adam Forrest25 November 2019 08:58

Labour ‘waspi’ pension commitment ‘breaks manifesto promises’

The director of the respected Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has criticised Labour’s promise to compensate more than three million “waspi” women who lost out on years of state pension payments when their retirement age was raised.

The “waspi” term refers to the campaign group Women Against State Pension Inequality.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Paul Johnson said the policy’s estimated cost of £58bn is “a very, very large sum of money indeed”.

He added: “I think there are two interesting things about that - one is the sheer scale of it, and of course it immediately breaks the promises they made in their manifesto just last week only to borrow to invest.

“So, they would need even more than their £80bn tax rises if they wanted to cover that.”

“The other, I suppose, is just a statement of priorities or decisive lack of priorities, because there’s so much money for so many things, but they’re not finding money, for example, to reverse the welfare cuts for genuinely poor people of working wage.”

“Whilst some of these waspi women really have suffered hardship as a result of not realising that this pension age increase is happening, although it was announced back in the early 1990s, many of them are actually quite well off.”

Adam Forrest25 November 2019 09:06

Almost 2.5 million private renters could miss out on chance to vote

Some 2.4 million people living in private rented homes could miss out on their vote in the election next month, campaigners have warned.

In 96 parliamentary constituencies across England, the number of unregistered private renters is believed to be higher than the majority of the victorious candidate in the 2017 election, according to calculations by the campaign group Generation Rent.

Using figures from the census, Electoral Commission and English Housing Survey, Generation Rent estimated that there are at least 5.7 million eligible voters living in private rented accommodation, but only 3.3 million of them are on the electoral roll for their current address.

Adam Forrest25 November 2019 09:09

Labour promises to put bad landlords out of business

Jeremy Corbyn is in the East Midlands today, and he is expected to discuss Labour’s pledged to take on “dodgy” landlords and introduce a charter of renters’ rights.

The party will announce details of a new national “property MOT” to deal with what they say is the problem of squalid private rental housing.

Under the plans, there would be a legal requirement for landlords to complete an independent annual inspection to ensure homes are up to scratch, and if landlords let out sub-standard properties or flout the rules they will face fines of up to £100,000 and forced repayment of rent to tenants.

More details here.

Adam Forrest25 November 2019 09:16

Private renting can become ‘better choice’, says Labour

Shadow housing secretary John Healey has said the housing market is “failing” to provide decent accommodation, as he discussed Labour’s plan to reform the private rental sector.

Healey told the BBC: “We need to make this market fairer, we need a government, unlike the Conservatives, that is prepared to stand up to the vested interests in the property market, and we need basic minimum standards across all private rented homes, which is why we’re bringing in the idea of a new property MOT.”

On the backlash from landlords towards Labour’s policies, he added: “When we say one in four are in poor condition, damp, cold, in disrepair or even unsafe - this is a market which is clearly failing, it requires a government to step in.

“And I’d say to the landlords, look in Germany the rights and rules are stronger but the private rented sector is at least twice as big as it is here in Britain, so it can work for tenants, it can work for landlords and we can make private renting a better choice for those who want to or need to base their home in a private rented property.”

On a future Labour government’s proposed selling properties at a discount scheme to key workers, Healey said: “This isn’t about extra government spending, it’s about using the planning system to require developers to build discount homes that will be available for local people on ordinary incomes - we'll build at least 50,000 of those over the parliament.”

He added: “And these would be discount homes, with the discount baked into the home so that it helped that first time buyer and future first time buyers as well.”

Adam Forrest25 November 2019 09:21

Minister forced to deny nurses pledge is ‘nonsense’ – and mocked by GMB hosts

Culture secretary Nicky Morgan has been challenged on the Tories’ pledge to deliver 50,000 extra nurses for the NHS in England.

Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan suggested the fact that almost 19,000 of those nurses already work for the NHS (and would be retained) meant viewers would think the claim was “complete nonsense”.

The cabinet minster replied: “There are other ways nurses come in to the NHS. There be overall, and we’re very, very clear on this, 50,000 more nurses if you look in 10 years’ time.”

Host Susannah Reid then said: “But it’s not more nurses.”

She added: “Isn’t it a bit like saying, on Good Morning Britain tomorrow morning there will be three more presenters – and then tomorrow you have exactly the same number of presenters because you managed to persuade me, Piers and Charlotte to carry on doing the job.”

Strangely, Nicky Morgan appeared to accept the analogy, stating: “The fact is the three of you have been encouraged to come in on Tuesday morning, and not just in on Monday morning.”

Reid laughed at the “really odd maths going on”, while Piers Morgan scoffed: “Nicky, Nicky - even as you said that sentence you knew that was a wrong avenue to go down, didn’t you?”

Adam Forrest25 November 2019 09:38

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