A Labour government would "certainly not" allow a Scottish independence vote until after the next Holyrood election in 2021, the party's leader has said. Jeremy Corbyn told the BBC's Andrew Marr he would not support SNP calls for indyref2 ahead of the Scottish Parliament election. The SNP want a referendum on Scottish independence in 2020.The party has said it will not help Mr Corbyn into power unless he accepts the "principle" of a second referendum.Speaking on the same programme, SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford described the demand for independence as "unstoppable".Both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have said they would block a second independence vote. Who should I vote for? General election policy guide Devolution: What does it mean for voters? All the latest General Election news Mr Corbyn was asked to clarify his position amid speculation it could become a key bargaining point in the event of a hung parliament. During his recent visit to Scotland he initially said … [Read more...] about General election 2019: Corbyn says no indyref2 before 2021
The SNP has called for TV licence decisions to be made independently of government, as it pledged to fight for free licences for over-75s.The party argues that powers over licence fees should be removed from the UK government to avoid political "game-playing".The BBC announced in June that free licences for over-75s would go, affecting up to 3.7m households. The change is scheduled to come into effect next year. The UK government announced in 2015 that the BBC would take over the cost of providing free licences for over-75s by 2020 as part of the licence fee settlement.The agreement saw the BBC shoulder the financial burden of providing the free licences, but the corporation has since said that the cost of maintaining the benefit would jeopardise the future of BBC Two, BBC Four, the BBC News Channel, the BBC Scotland channel and Radio 5 Live, as well as many local radio stations.The SNP now wants an independent body to rule on who should pay the licence fee and how much it should … [Read more...] about General election 2019: SNP calls for independent decisions on TV licences
Labour's latest "retail offer" of free broadband for all showed - if it still needed showing - voters are being handed a choice of rival ideologies as stark as any we've seen since Margaret Thatcher took on Labour's Michael Foot in 1983.Younger voters may imagine this is what normal politics looks like. It isn't. Or at least, it wasn't.All the parties are desperate to grab the attention of an electorate which has never trusted its politicians less, or been less tightly bound by old party loyalties. So far, the 2019 general election has been unlike any in living memory.Trust between people and politicians - as measured, for example, by the YouGov "Trust Index" - has never been lower in modern times.Party loyalties have never been looser.Monday's quarterly GDP figures set the economic tone. Annual economic growth at 1% was nothing to celebrate, even if the UK hadn't actually tipped into recession.And yet the spending arms race picked up speed; the Tory promise of £34bn extra cash … [Read more...] about General election 2019: A campaign unlike any other?
All of the political parties this time round say they'd turn on the taps of public spending. The Tories seem to have found the fabled magic money tree that Theresa May denied existed last time round. Labour has discovered a whole forest. Boris Johnson would borrow a fair bit extra to improve the country's infrastructure. Labour would borrow a hefty chunk more and put taxes up on the wealthiest too - you can read more about their spending plans here. And we'll know more about the precise arithmetic of it all next week, when we expect the parties' manifestos. Labour pledges free broadband for all What are nationalisation and privatisation? Labour and Tories pledge more borrowing This election isn't just about the difference in the size of the cheque book of the two potential governments, but about their whole approach to how the country and government does business. And nowhere is that more obvious than with Labour's plans to renationalise parts of the economy, and its newest plan for … [Read more...] about General election 2019: How big should the government be?
The Conservatives have set out plans for an "equal" immigration system after Brexit as Jeremy Corbyn said he still expected a "great deal" of movement of people from the EU to the UK.Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab outlined plans to change the rules on benefits which EU nationals can claim in time if they live and work in the UK.But he said there would be no arbitrary target for total immigration levels.The Labour leader said immigration was vital for growth and public services. In a BBC interview, Mr Corbyn defended the principle of free movement, which lets EU citizens travel, live, study and work in any member country but which is currently set to end at the start of 2021.Migration from the EU had "enriched" the country, he said, and this had to be a part of the close economic relationship he wanted to build with the continent going forward. So where do main parties stand on immigration? Do migrants put pressure on NHS? Election poll tracker: How do the parties compare? Pressed on … [Read more...] about General election 2019: Conservatives promise ‘equal’ immigration system