UK News The Northern Floods Underline The Dangers Of Johnson's 'Winter Election'
Scotland rails at N Ireland advantage in Johnson’s Brexit
Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal would leave Scotland at a competitive disadvantage to Northern Ireland, according to the Scottish government’s first formal assessment of the agreement between the UK prime minister and the EU. The governing Scottish National party is opposed to leaving the EU and will campaign in December’s general election on a platform that only independence from the UK can save Scotland, which voted 62 per cent to Remain in the referendum, from a damaging hard Brexit.
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There will be flood.
When David Cameron failed to fly back from Rwanda to the UK during the 2007 floods, he faced a torrent of criticism inside and outside his party. It was one of his lowest points as Tory leader, and a year later he told the Commons “most people accept that, with climate change, [floods] are likely to be more frequent.”
General election 2019: Nigel Farage under pressure to 'limit number of Brexit Party candidates’ to help Tories
Mr Farage is still considering whether to contest all 650 seats in the forthcoming election as he promised when he launched the party , or to focus on a smaller number of Leave-backing areas. © Provided by Johnston Publishing Ltd The move could be a significant factor in whether Mr Johnson is able to increase his party share in the Commons as it will not divide the Brexit vote.
But despite being politically scarred by the experience, and despite his warm words on global warming, Cameron proceeded to slash capital spending on flood defences by 27% in the first year of his Lib-Con coalition.
Even after yet more flooding in the Somerset Levels in 2014, he talked of learning lessons, but no review of flood protection ever occurred. A year later, several rivers burst their banks in Yorkshire, Lancashire and Greater Manchester and he faced claims of a ‘north-south divide’ in spending to prevent it.
Today, after parts of northern England endured a month’s worth of rain in 24 hours, more than 100 flood warnings are in place. Inevitably, given that we are in a general election campaign, the water torture has again become very much a political issue. With five million people living in areas subject to flooding, that’s a hell of a lot of votes - and many in key marginals in the north.
Nigel Farage says he will not stand in General Election
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has said he will not stand as an MP in the upcoming election so he can concentrate on running the campaign. Mr Farage, who has said 600 Brexit Party candidates will sit in seats across the UK, told the BBC's Andrew Marr programme that he believed his cause was better served by travelling around the country.He said: "I've thought about it very hard. I thought 'How do I serve the cause of Brexit best? Because that is what I am doing this for - not for my career, not to be in politics for the rest of my life.
Jeremy Corbyn tweeted his thoughts were with the family of a woman who died after being swept away in Derbyshire. And he added that there needs to be an inquiry to better protect communities from the growing risks of flooding. Boris Johnson said it was “awful to see the terrible flooding across the North of England” and thanked emergency staff and volunteers.
With 2007 still seared on the memory of many at Tory HQ, Johnson is very much aware that he cannot be seen to repeat Cameron’s mistakes. That’s why he made such an effort to be very visibly present when the Whaley Bridge dam in Yorkshire partially collapsed in August. It’s also why ‘flood defences’ are listed among the infrastructure spending promises chancellor Sajid Javid has made of late.
The Tories are armed with statistics (since 2015 more than 195,000 homes are better protected by more than 600 new schemes). In September, Johnson’s new government announced an additional £62 million of investment to protect communities across Yorkshire, Cumbria, the North East and South East.
Derbyshire flooding: woman found dead in River Derwent after being swept away by floods
The unnamed woman was found at around 10.40am on Friday, Derbyshire Police said , and was reported to have been swept away by floodwater in Rowsley in the early hours, as much of the country was hit by torrential downpours. © Provided by Johnston Publishing Ltd The death came as the Environment Agency repeated warnings for people to stay away from swollen rivers, with residents describing the deluge as "almost biblical".
But Labour counters that national spending on flood defences was £808 million in the last fiscal year, a reduction of nearly ten per cent since 2015. And earlier this year Environment Agency chair Emma Howard Boyd argued that more than £1 billion a year is needed to adequately protect the UK, with the number of homes at risk from flooding set to double in the coming decades.
The Fire Brigades Union today said that firefighter numbers in South Yorkshire - hit hard by the floods overnight - have been cut by 27% since 2010 and funding by £3.3 million. It even said that the county’s high-volume pumping appliance was unavailable for a period due to staffing shortages.
The flooding could turn into an electoral asset for Corbyn. Just as the terror attacks during the 2017 election allowed him to talk about police cuts, the downpour lets him raise the issue of flood defence spending, as well as climate change itself. For Johnson, it’s a chance to show he’s a different kind of Tory PM, committed to delivering not just sympathy visits but also hard cash.
But it also puts him at the mercy of events, where one small incident could open the floodgates of criticism. It could also force him to defend the past 9 years of Tory-led austerity, rather than make the forward-looking pitch that he prefers.
Flood-battered regions due ‘respite’ from rain, but cold weather is on the way
The Met Office described ‘quite a messy picture’ ahead.Met Office meteorologist Steven Keates described it as “quite a messy weather picture” with a mix of low temperatures, frost, rain and even the potential of snow in some places.
When this ‘winter election’ was called, some felt the weather danger was the cold and snow. But an overheating planet means that in fact it is warm and very wet conditions that are more likely this side of Christmas.
The other big risk - going to the polls during a ‘winter health crisis’ - remains too. This week, Nottingham University Hospitals Trust declareddue to pressures on its emergency services. Other hospitals declared ‘black alerts’ over the last few weeks.
In politics, leaders often have to make their own weather. But if the actual weather (or our preparedness for it) becomes an issue in this campaign, that poses a greater danger for the PM than for Corbyn. It’s another reminder that holding a December election really is a risky undertaking. And that there will be many more floods to come, until politicians get a real grip on climate change.
Quote Of The Day
“I’ve had to give it up until we get Brexit done.”
Boris Johnson reveals he’s going without alcohol until the UK quits the EU.
Friday Cheat Sheet
Nicola Sturgeon launched the SNP campaign by suggesting the price for her party’s support for a Corbyn government would be an independence referendum next year. Labour has talked of allowing one in the later years of a parliament but Sturgeon warned: “What timescale that should happen on isn’t for Westminster politicians to determine.”
Floods become UK election issue as parties spar over funding
LONDON (AP) — British political leaders swapped blame Saturday over floods that have drenched parts of England as the deluge became an issue in the campaign for the Dec. 12 election. Opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn was visiting parts of northern England that were soaked by overflowing rivers after as much as 4.4 inches (112 mm) of rain — more than a month's worth — fell in one day. One woman died when she was swept away by floodwaters. © Provided by The Associated Press Britain's Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks at the Library Theatre in Darwen, north west England, Thursday Nov. 7, 2019, while on the general election campaign trail.
Footage emerged of Boris Johnson telling business people in Northern Ireland “if somebody asks you to do that [fill out customs declarations], tell them to ring up the Prime Minister and I will direct them to throw that form in the bin.”
Gideon Bull withdrew from standing for Labour in Clacton after it emerged he used the term “Shylock” at a meeting where a Jewish councillor was present.
Laura McAlpine, standing for Labour in Harlow defended her chief campaigner after he wrote about a ‘Jewish final solution’, Labour candidate in Liverpool West Derby Ian Byrne attacked Tory peer Michelle Mone by calling for people to “hit the c**t where it hurts”.
A string of YouGov regional polls showed the Brexit Party, SNP and LibDems surging in support. The Tories were down several points but Labour down most on 2017 results. Nationally, the Tories hold an 11-point lead over Labour with YouGov.
The BBC announced it will host a live head-to-head debate between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn on 6 December. A seven-way podium debate will also take place between “senior figures” from the UK’s major political parties on 29 November.
Labour’s Laura Pidcock said she’d been urged to run for deputy Labour leader but said everyone should focus on the election instead. HuffPost revealed a plan forif he loses on December 12.
Former Labour MP Chris Williamson, suspended for downplaying anti-Semitism, announced that he would be standing as an independent. Critics warned he could allow the Tories to regain Derby North by splitting the Labour vote.
Labour raised £1m in small donations in ten days, the party announced. The average donation was £26. By contrast, the Conservatives were donated £1,106,700 from just one person this year.
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