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Local election leaflets show Tory candidates are ‘ashamed’ to be associated with Boris Johnson, Labour says – live | Politics

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Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, posing for a photograph with SNP candidates and supporters alongside the campaign bus at Holyrood, Edinburgh today.

Labour says election leaflets show Tory candidates ‘ashamed’ to be associated with Johnson

Here is the full statement from Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader, on the news that some Tory candidates are standing as “local Conservatives” so that they are not associated with Boris Johnson. She said:

It speaks volumes that Boris Johnson’s own Conservative candidates are ashamed to be associated with him and trying to pull the wool over voters’ eyes.

With no answers to the cost of living crisis, Tory candidates are trying to hide from their own government’s record.

Afternoon summary

The response by the Conservatives to the cost of living crisis has been nothing short of insulting. They are out of touch and out of ideas. People are worried about paying their bills and ministers are seriously suggesting the answer is dodgy loans [a reference to the £200 loans to help with energy bills that customers will have to repay over five years] and Tesco value. The Conservatives are living on another planet.

And for the SNP Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, said:

Every time a Tory minister opens their mouth just now, they just seem to show how deeply out of touch they are.

You’ve got Boris Johnson seeming to think it’s a good thing that there’s a bus pass to allow people to travel by bus so they don’t have to heat their homes – free bus travel is a good thing but really not for that reason. You had Rishi Sunak saying that it would be silly to help people. Then you’ve got George Eustice talking about buying cheaper brand food.

People are already at the edge here and there’s nothing, for many people, left to cut.

Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, posing for a photograph with SNP candidates and supporters alongside the campaign bus at Holyrood, Edinburgh today.
Photograph: Jane Barlow/PA
Patrick Butler

Patrick Butler

The new chair of the charities watchdog, Orlando Fraser, has promised to crack down on “fraudsters, extremists, aggressors and the grossly negligent” in charities, as a way of helping to maintain public trust and confidence in the sector.

Fraser, who was appointed to the Charity Commission in April, despite being rejected by an MPs’ scrutiny committee, said the commission would deal severely with wrongdoers who were “poisoning charitable status for everyone else”.

But he also promised that he would adopt a more benign approach with otherwise successful charities who had made “honest and reasonable mistakes” in good faith, and would offer support to charity trustees where things “don’t go exactly to plan”. He said:

After all, the commission is not regulating a for-profit sector, but a sector which is by and large a place where wonderful loving things are being done every day, and where honest mistakes can happen in the process.

The commercial barrister and one-time Tory party parliamentary candidate was rejected as an “slapdash and unimaginative choice” by MPs but was appointed to the £62,000-a-year role last month anyway by the culture secretary, Nadine Dorries.

Fraser said nothing directly in the speech about the so-called “culture wars” of the last two years, which a handful of charities such as National Trust and Barnardo’s were reported to the commission for supposedly being “woke” or “political.” All were subsequently exonerated by the watchdog.

He said he set great store by the independence of the commission:

By this I mean that we must act without fear or favour from any other entity, whether it be government, party politicians, beneficiaries or indeed the sector.

Durham police have issued a statement effectively saying that they have still has not decided whether or not they need to reopen its investigation into claims that the Labour gathering where Keir Starmer and colleagues had a meal with beer last April broke lockdown rules.

When the force last considered the matter, in February, it decided that the rules were not broken, but since then the Daily Mail and the Sun have published a little more detail about what happened, and some Conservatives have been forcefully demanding an inquiry.

A Durham police spokesperson said:

We have received a number of recent communications on this subject, which we are considering and will respond in due course.

Prof Sir John Curtice, the leading elections analyst, has told Byline Times that talk of the Conservatives losing a vast number of seats in the local elections is unrealistic and that the overall vote share figures will matter most. In an interview with Adam Bienkov, Curtice said:

The Tories are only defending 1,400 seats in England so it’s impossible for the number of losses to be very big …

If you really want to know how I think you should measure these elections, the answer is to compare the vote shares in 2022 with 2021. That is by far and away the most useful indicator of what everybody is interested in, which is how much trouble are the Conservatives in now.

Calculating overall vote shares in local elections is complicated because in some parts of England elections are not taking place, and so if you just add up the votes, those results are skewed by the fact that some areas are not included. To get round this, psephologists take the actual results and, by taking into account how different demographic groups vote in different areas, calculate what the national result would have been had elections been held in every ward in Britain.

To make things even more complicated, there are two ways of doing this. Curtice and his team produce a version called the projected national share (PNS) which is used by the BBC. Two other academics, Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher, produce a version called the national equivalent share (NEV) which is used by Sky News. The two systems do not always produce the same numbers, but their results tend to be very similar, and they always show the same trend. Mark Pack explained this in a bit more detail in a recent post on his blog.

Labour says election leaflets show Tory candidates ‘ashamed’ to be associated with Johnson

Here is the full statement from Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader, on the news that some Tory candidates are standing as “local Conservatives” so that they are not associated with Boris Johnson. She said:

It speaks volumes that Boris Johnson’s own Conservative candidates are ashamed to be associated with him and trying to pull the wool over voters’ eyes.

With no answers to the cost of living crisis, Tory candidates are trying to hide from their own government’s record.

My colleague John Crace has filed his sketch on Keir Starmer’s performance on Good Morning Britain this morning. John thinks Starmer missed an opportunity. Here’s an extract.

At least this time the Labour leader was able to categorically deny that the Durham police had questioned him recently about the incident. The previous day he had – for reasons best known to himself – three times refused to answer the question. Something we normally expect of Johnson. And yet he managed to do so while still somehow looking and sounding uncomfortable. Borderline shifty. Releasing fragments of information under duress rather than just shooting down the whole story as a desperate attempt to undermine Labour’s integrity. As a sign that he was doing something right and that the Tory establishment was worried …

What was needed was for Starmer to own the situation. To own the curry. To own the interview. To own the room. To be candid and yet rightfully dismissive of attempts by the Mail – aided and abetted by The Convict’s very own mouthpiece, the Sun – to stigmatise every politician as equally venal. As bad as each other. Reducing everyone to his own level is straight out of the Johnson playbook.

The full sketch is here.

Lewis Goodall from Newsnight has some more examples of Conservative candidates in the local elections distancing themselves from the national (Boris Johnson-led) party.

Seen in hotly contested Wandsworth. Note the emphasis of “Local”- been other reports of local Conservative campaign literature/associations distancing themselves from Westminster. pic.twitter.com/yegh62KH2W

— Lewis Goodall (@lewis_goodall) May 4, 2022

Another leaflet, another part of the country and the same thing-this time 8’ Raynes Park in Merton, south London. Each candidate’s party referred to as “Local Conservative” in a mocked up ballot box. pic.twitter.com/VpnXhJvbmI

— Lewis Goodall (@lewis_goodall) May 4, 2022

These are local elections so one level it is not unreasonable that candidates emphasise that (and ‘localness’ has become something of a obsession in British politics). But it is unusual to essentially rename your party in your literature (capital L on local)…

— Lewis Goodall (@lewis_goodall) May 4, 2022

… and put quite so much distance with the national party with colour, branding, party name etc.

— Lewis Goodall (@lewis_goodall) May 4, 2022

Conservative candidates are allowed to call themselves “Local Conservatives” because that name has been registered by CCHQ with the Electoral Commission as a name that can be used on ballot papers. The authorisation dates from February 2019, when Theresa May was prime minister and the party’s ratings in the polls was collapsing because of the Brexit deadlock. Boris Johnson is not the first Tory leader seen by local candidates as a liability, not an asset.

London mayor tells Grant Shapps to ‘grow up’ after he claims Crossrail announcement breaches election purdah

Sadiq Khan, the Labour mayor of London, announced today that the Elizabeth line – the long-awaited central section of the Crossrail project, linking the west of London to Canary Wharf and east London – will open on 24 May. My colleague Gwyn Topham has the story here.

Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, claimed that the announcement was a breach of the purdah rules, that supposedly stop major announcements that could affect voting being made during the election period. He said he would report reporting Khan to the Electoral Commission. He said:

This announcement is an act of breathtaking political cynicism by the mayor, breaking election rules on such announcements in an effort to garner votes the day before the local elections in London. I am therefore immediately referring this breach to the Electoral Commission for investigation.

Londoners reading this unscrupulous headline grab might like to know that the government has poured billions into Crossrail to solve delays clocked up on the mayor’s watch, while propping up a transport system hobbled financially by his chronic incompetence.

In response, Khan urged Shapps to “grow up”, and said the announcement was made today by Andy Byford, Transport for London’s commissioner, for practical reasons. Khan said:

The decision to announce the opening date was made by the commissioner today for a very simple reason. We’ve only got 20 days to make sure that the rotas are sorted out, that the trains are ready, that the stations are ready, so that it opens on May 24. The sourpuss secretary of state for transport, I’m afraid, is another example of the government’s anti-London stance.

Shapps subsequently posted his own tweet about the announcement, presenting it as a Tory achievement.

🚨CROSSRAIL NEWS🚨

London’s newest tube – the Elizabeth Line – will be opening to passengers on 24 May.

Thanks to £9bn of Government support, it will transform the lives of Londoners for generations to come and deliver a £42 billion boost to the whole UK economy. pic.twitter.com/OK52VGQtav

— Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP (@grantshapps) May 4, 2022

In truth, both main parties are entitled to a share of the credit for Crossrail. The project was originally approved when the last Labour government was in power, and work on it has continued under Labour, coalition and Conservative governments at Westminster, and under Tory and Labour mayors.

Keir Starmer has said Labour is opposed to the government’s plans to open an immigration processing centre at a former RAF base near Linton-on-Ouse in North Yorkshire. He told reporters:

The government is in complete chaos on this. To call it a plan is too grand: they don’t know what they are doing, they haven’t thought it through and they haven’t even had the decency to consult local people about it, which tells you just about everything you need to know about the state of chaos they are in …

If the government had any decency they would have spoken to and consulted local people in the first place. This is not really a plan, it is a chaotic, behind-the-curve mess yet again from the government, which is characteristic of pretty well everything they do.

Keir Starmer speaks to the media while campaigning at Horbury working members club, Cluntergate, in Wakefield.
Keir Starmer speaks to the media while campaigning at Horbury working members club, Cluntergate, in Wakefield. Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
Boris Johnson loading bags on a conveyor belt during a visit to Southampton airport today.
Boris Johnson loading bags on a conveyor belt during a visit to Southampton airport today. Photograph: WPA/Getty Images

Neil Parish, the Conservative MP who admitted watching pornography on his phone in the chamber, has now had his resignation from the Commons confirmed.

Demands from politicians for police inquiries into their rivals ‘quite dangerous’, says former chief constable

Sir Peter Fahy, a former chief constable of Greater Manchester police, told Radio 4’s the World at One that attempts by politicians to get the police to investigate their rivals over lockdown breaches were “quite dangerous”.

Commenting on the calls for Durham police to reopen their investigation into the night when Keir Starmer had a meal and a drink with Labour colleagues in April last year, at the end of a day working on a campaign, Fahy said they probably should look at any new information, and review their original decision (which was that the lockdown rules were not broken).

But he said a lot of the legislation around this was “confused”. And he said that, at the time it was passed, parliament, and the government, said that a key factor in deciding whether the police should act was whether or not there had been a “repeated breach of regulations” – implying that Durham police were justified in not doing anything about the Starmer event. Fahy said that, in the case of Partygate, the Metropolitan police had to act because allegations of rule-breaking were so numerous.

Fahy also said it was “quite dangerous” for the police to be dragged into political feuds of this nature in the first place. He explained:

On the other hand, I also think this is really quite dangerous times when policing is being drawn into party politics. I think that’s starting to happen and it’s quite dangerous territory in my view …

That’s never been part of British policing … As a chief constable, the most difficult time was when you were drawn into politics. That is not where we’ve been. We’ve seen it in US policing, and overall it’s not good.

The Conservative MP Richard Holden, who represents North West Durham, has been leading calls for the police to reopen their investigation into Starmer. Some ministers have backed his campaign.

But it is not just the Conservatives who have been doing this. Over Partygate, Sadiq Khan, the Labour mayor of London, directly called for a police investigation in December when the Metropolitan police were resisting the idea. Ed Davey, the Lib Dem leader, also repeatedly demanded an investigation before the Met launched one. Other opposition politicians made similar calls.

Peter Fahy.
Peter Fahy. Photograph: Dave Thompson/PA

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2022/may/04/keir-starmer-boris-johnson-national-insurance-hike-election-uk-politics-live-updates

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