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Boris Johnson’s rise and rise could have been strangled at birth in the 2008 London Mayoral campaign.

I was a press officer at Labour HQ part of the campaign to return Ken Livingstone for a third term in City Hall.

Livingstone was a good Mayor but a lacklustre campaigner unwilling to take the fight to Johnson.

Even more important was that Tory campaign chief Lynton Crosby successfully gagged his wayward candidate.  We were relying on Johnson to commit the gaffes which had been part of his political persona. Crosby stopped that.

A scoop by Sky’s Lewis Goodall gives us hopes that Johnson the gaffer has re-emerged. Goodall got his hands on a video of a rambling Johnson speech to Tories in Northern Ireland. In it, he is asked point-blank if any NI>GB trade will be subject to customs declarations. PM: “You will absolutely not. If anyone asks you to do that tell them to ring up the PM and I’ll direct them to put that for in the bin.”

As Channel 4’s Factcheck showed, Johnson contradicts his own cabinet on Northern Ireland trade.

Putting it bluntly Johnson was lying to Northern Ireland Tories. It comes in at number six on Labour’s recent video of just ten of the many times he has lied.

In The Guardian Marina Hyde sums up his first week as: “Lurching and rambling, Boris Johnson is in charge. But he’s lost control.”

Whether Johnson gets away with his Brexit gamble will depend on tactical voting by Remain voters. Gina Miller, who led the case against the government’s suspension of parliament, has recently launched her website Remain United.

Compared to the 180 recommended by Best for Britain. Remain United’s model suggests that the Lib Dems are only likely to win 33 seats if there is a significant tactical voting drive. However, both have said they will do polls near the end of the election campaign and update their recommendations accordingly.

By Don Brind - Former BBC political correspondent and Labour Press officer

Picture from (Boris Johnson - Caricature CC BY 2.0; Author: DonkeyHotey)

Boris Johnson doesn’t know his own Brexit policy

Boris Johnson’s rise and rise could have been strangled at birth in the 2008 London Mayoral campaign. I was a press officer at Labour HQ part of the campaign to...

We know that Boris Johnson is a liar. How many examples do you need? The Daily Telegraph which paid him a quarter of a million a year has just apologised for blatant untruths in three columns this year.

We know he’s the enemy in the current battle. Only preventing a Conservative majority can stop Johnson from delivering his disastrous Brexit.

Sadly, the party leader who should be our ally in the Remain cause, Jo Swinson of the Liberal Democrats, is outdoing the Tory leader on the mendacity front.

Swinson is putting party before country. That was her obvious motive for abandoning the People’s Vote common front amongst opposition parties.

It led her to collude with Johnson on calling an early election. Lest we forget the Commons had blocked him from rushing through his deal and there was a good chance of a majority for a People’s Vote to break the Brexit deadlock.

Swinson’s spurious justification was that a handful of Labour MPs had given initial approval to Boris Johnson’s “deal”. Most, however, had made it clear they wouldn’t support it through to the end without attaching a confirmatory referendum.

Jo Swinson’s biggest con is her signature policy of revoking article 50 without a People’s Vote. She claims she will have a mandate if she’s elected Prime Minister as the leader of a majority government. That is a total fantasy.

She would need well over 300 seats to achieve that. Let’s look at what she would need to do to get halfway there. To take 150 seats she would need to gain seats such as Redcar, Edinburgh North and Leith and Maidenhead, requiring swings of more than 26%.    

Former leader Vince Cable isn’t going along with the Swinson fantasy.

Sky’s Lewis Goodall reports: “Sir Vince Cable tells me he expects the Lib Dems to win between 45-85 seats at the election. They’d be doing very well to get the lower end of that range.”

And Sky’s Sophie Ridge delivered a “must watch” demolition of Swinson’s record as a minister in the Cameron-Clegg coalition. 

By spending more time attacking Labour than attacking the Conservatives, Swinson is

  •       helping the Tories defeat sitting Labour MPs in marginal seats
  •       damaging the chances of a People’s Vote on any Brexit outcome
  •       playing into the hands of the Tory Brexiteers.

Many Liberal Democrats get it. If they are a real Remainer they will do all they can to reign in their tribal leader.

By Don Brind - Former BBC political correspondent and Labour Press officer

 

Swinson: Selling the Remain cause short

We know that Boris Johnson is a liar. How many examples do you need? The Daily Telegraph which paid him a quarter of a million a year has just apologised...



The BBC’s respected Laura Kuenssberg, uncharacteristically, made a serious mistake when she asked the first question to Jeremy Corbyn after he launched the Labour Party’s election campaign in Battersea yesterday.

Was there much difference, she inquired, between Corbyn’s launch now and the launch of his campaign in 2017?

Well, there is. The major difference between March 2017 and Halloween 2019 is that in 2017 Jeremy Corbyn was happy to go with the Brexit flow and strongly distanced Labour from any idea of challenging or confirming the referendum result once we had a Brexit deal.

Instead Labour devised its own policy of six tests that the Government would have to meet for Labour to approve Mrs May’s Brexit withdrawal proposals. None of those tests included consulting the people.

Yesterday, in a Copernican revolution, Corbyn announced he was committed to a new referendum, the People’s Vote, which has been the principal demand of pro-European groups in the last two years.

Corbyn even used the phrase “Trust the People” first coined by the 19th century Tory Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli.

In his speech Corbyn said: “We need to take it (Brexit) out of the hands of the politicians and trust the people to have a final say.”

For a life-long professional politician to claim Brexit should be taken out of the hands of the politicians was pure chutzpah. Yet it shows how far Corbyn had travelled under pressure from his MPs, Labour Party members, and the millions of Labour voters who switched to the LibDems or Greens, notably in the 2019 EU election, in protest to his refusal, until very recently, to back a new referendum.

Corbyn grandly announced that three months after entering Downing Street he would re-negotiate a new deal with the EU and that within six months both a new Brexit deal and the option simply to remain in the EU would be on the ballot paper.

There were similar processes in Denmark and Ireland after initial referendum decisions to repudiate EU Treaty membership were then followed by second referendums which kept Ireland and Denmark in Europe.

It is still far too early to see if Corbyn can win enough seats or at least win more than Boris Johnson and then possibly form a coalition with other parties - all of which support a People’s Vote.

What is clear is that Labour is now fighting the 2019 election as the party of a new referendum on Brexit and that is a significant political development.

The Labour Party conference adopted this policy in September and Corbyn has been paying lip service to it ever since. But many cynical Corbyn watchers thought he might wriggle out of the commitment.

This hasn’t happened. Labour is now the party of a new referendum on Brexit. It allows a 2 for 1 offer. Vote Labour and if a Labour supporter you can have all your favourite left policies AND you can have a People’s Vote, a second referendum on Brexit.

It has taken a long time but now Labour is looking down the barrel of a general election it has decided that allowing the people a vote on Europe is a good idea.

In fact, the only parties with MPs in the Commons who still oppose a People’s Vote are the Conservatives and the DUP. Might they change before voters run to LibDems, the SNP, the Greens and now Labour, all of whom back a People’s Vote?

By Denis MacShane - former Labour Party MP for Rotherham and former Minister of State for Europe.

Corbyn Launches Campaign By Embracing People’s Vote

The BBC’s respected Laura Kuenssberg, uncharacteristically, made a serious mistake when she asked the first question to Jeremy Corbyn after he launched the Labour Party’s election campaign in Battersea yesterday....

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