To vote in the General Election on 8 June, you need to register by 11:59pm on 22 May. You don’t need to register again if you’ve already registered.
It only takes 5 minutes and you can do it online here. You might not want to vote for any of the parties but if you don’t register you can’t change your mind and you can’t have a say in who governs the country. Keep your options open and register to vote.
Do it now.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has a famously testy relationship with the BBC. Events earlier today won’t have improved things when the Corbyn’s car ran over the foot of BBC Cameraman Giles Wooltorton.
Corbyn was arriving to discuss the Labour manifesto when his driver applied the break. Laura Kuenssberg, who has a reputation for backing the Labour leader into a corner, rushed to the aide of her colleague. She was no doubt planning to ask Corbyn if he accepted that Theresa May was a ‘shoe-in’ on June 8.
Critics of the leader of the opposition were quick to put the boot in on-line. Labour will no doubt be issuing a statement later to heal the wounds. Cameraman Giles was taken to hospital where he is said to be strong and stable.
The front pages and the broadcast bulletins have been awash with news of the leaked Labour election manifesto. It wasn’t leaked to just one news organisation it went to all of them. It was also leaked in a way designed to make the morning bulletins and the national press. You need media skills for that.
The blame has been levelled at disgruntled Labour party staff who have remained unhappy with Jeremy Corbyn. It had to come from near the centre because not many people had access to the draft. There was a Clause V meeting scheduled for 10am today to discuss the launch of the document in a week’s time. It’s a meeting attended by the party’s most senior figures, including the deputy leader, Tom Watson and all of the shadow cabinet. They are joined by the Labour NEC and selected MPs, trade unionists and some councillors. It’s said that all those attending would receive a draft at the meeting, so many or most won’t even have seen it.
Yesterday Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell revealed a platform policy to scrap university tuition fees. The Shadow Education Secretary also hinted at the initiative. Interesting timing in retrospect.
The leak has gained more media coverage than a conventional launch. Labour’s election chair Andrew Gwynne (pictured) just happened to be in the BBC Radio 4 Today studio for an 8am interview. During the interview the Manchester based politician pleaded that the 10am Clause V meeting was “the sole reason why I’m down in London”. I’d have booked a later train.
The Labour Party will scrap tuition fees said John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor, today.
“We want to introduce a national education service, free at the point of need throughout life and that means ending the cuts in the schools at primary and secondary level. It means free childcare. It means free school training when you need it throughout life.
“And yes it means scrapping tuition fees once and for all so we don’t burden our kids with debt for the future.”
The Shaw Education Secretary also hinted at the plan. When asked this morning whether Labour planned to abolish the fees Angela Rayner said: “watch this space.”
Tomorrow, Thursday 11 May 2017 at 4pm is the deadline for candidates wishing to stand in the 2017 General Election to deliver nomination papers to the relevant Returning Officer. It is also the deadline for candidates to withdraw.
Candidates must be 18 years old or over and either:
- British citizen
- A citizen of the Republic of Ireland
- A citizen of a commonwealth country who does not require leave to enter or remain in the UK, or has indefinite leave to remain in the UK.
The following groups are barred from standing:
- Members of the police forces
- Members of the armed forces
- Civil servants, judges and peers who sit and can vote in the House of Lords
- People who are subject to a bankruptcy restrictions order or a debt relief restrictions order in England, Wales or Northern Ireland
- People who have been adjudged bankrupt in Northern Ireland
- People who have had their estate confiscated (sequestrated) in Scotland
All candidates need to appoint an election agent and provide a deposit of £500 with their nomination papers.
Yesterday, Channel 4 presenter, Krishnan Guru-Murthy posted on Twitter about the refusal of many politicians to answer questions from the public and journalists. He asked whether we should end the free airtime given to politicians who offer slogans, speeches and pooled clips without allowing their views to challenged.
“Would you like to end the slogan-dominated election speeches and see politicians properly questioned? The reason they get away with their current accountability-light campaigning is partly because the media facilitates it.
“We cover their speeches and events on a pooled (shared) basis so they know their slogans will be on TV and social media regardless. They get this free platform whether or not they agree to answer questions from either the public or journalists. If the media acted together it could say speeches only get covered if there is proper questioning. Would this be right or wrong?
“For example : Chancellor was to do interviews today. Yesterday said no presenters but yes to corrs. Now he’s just done a pooled clip.”
In every election the main parties keep certain politicians away from the media spotlight due to their divisiveness or unpopularity. Until his rather faltering appearance on Radio 4’s Today programme this morning James Hunt was noticeable by his absence.
The leading light of the Brexit vote Boris Johnson has been keeping a low profile and it is being said that several of his Cabinet colleagues want him sidelined. Boris isn’t however easily gagged and he’ll be making a foreign policy speech later today and has a number of broadcast appearances planned later this week.
The Time has reported that at least three senior ministers want the PM to silence the foreign secretary. One said ‘BoJo’ should be given “lots of important meetings in various foreign capitals” between now and the election on June 8.
That said there’s lots of comment in social channels that the PM, who has ruled out TV debates is herself keeping a low profile. With a 20+ point lead in the polls it probably doesn’t matter much whether or not she talks to voters.
Since The PM called the election there have been two hashtags vying for dominance in political twitter feeds. #GE2017 was the natural evolution of #GE2015 the popular tag from last time round. However the lighter, more efficient #GE17 was getting almost as much use. The wisdom of crowds suggesting that the world was ready for a lean, mean version.
Earlier today however Twitter effectively killed off the shorter version rolling out a Twitter emoji for the election .
A Twitter emoji appears when a hashtag generates an icon created by Twitter. It may be a national flag or another small image created for a major event. #GE2017 generates the emoji as does #GeneralElection but #GE17.
Farewell then, #GE17. You burned brightly but were very brief.
Keir Starmer MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, set out Labour’s approach to Brexit, today.
At the heart of Labour’s plans are remaining inside the Single Market and the Customs Union or building a bespoke trading arrangement and tearing up Theresa May’s plan for a hard Brexit.
“We will scrap the Government’s Brexit White Paper and replace it with fresh negotiating priorities that…will have a strong emphasis on retaining the benefits of the Single Market and the Customs Union as we know that is vital to protecting jobs and the economy”
Starmer also outlined a new approach to dealing with EU nationals in the UK, guaranteeing their right to stay: “on day one of a Labour Government we will immediately guarantee that all EU nationals currently living in the UK will see no change in their legal status as a result of Brexit, and we will seek reciprocal measures for UK citizens in the EU”
Labour also plans to replace the Tories’ Great Repeal Bill with an EU Rights and Protections Bill, which will make sure that all EU-derived laws are fully protected.
Only one in twenty voters now say they plan to vote UKIP according to the latest YouGov poll. If that’s right, their share has halved in the first week of the campaign and is down over 60% from the last election. Leader Paul Nuttall has been dodging questions about whether he intends to stand as an MP this time round.
It looks very much as if the former UKippers now intend to vote Conservative, as Theresa May’s party remains on track for a landslide victory. Just under half the electorate say the will vote for her party on June 8th.
With the main objective of UKIP being the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, it appears that post the Brexit vote they are a party without a purpose and with vanishing support.