Campaign highlights: Spending plans questioned as Labour enjoys donations boost

Here are five things we have learned on Thursday from the General Election campaign.

– Neither Tories nor Labour offer ‘properly credible prospectus’, the IFS warns

The independent Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said it was “highly likely” that a Conservative government would end up spending more than the party’s manifesto implied – meaning either taxes or borrowing would have to rise.

IFS director Paul Johnson said that the chances of the Conservatives being able to hold spending down over the course of a five-year parliament in the way that they proposed appeared to be “remote”.

General Election 2019 planned increase in day-to-day departmental spending
(PA Graphics)

He also said that Labour would not be able to deliver on its promise to raise investment levels by £55 billion a year as the public sector does not have the capacity to “ramp up” that much that quickly.

– Confusion over Labour campaign shift

Shadow international trade secretary Barry Gardiner said he has had “no discussions” about a change of tack in Labour’s campaign to focus more on Leave areas.

Mr Gardiner was asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme whether the party would shift its focus following the publication of a YouGov poll on Wednesday night which suggested the Tories were heading for a majority, following reports that party figures wanted to do just that.

He said: “This is news to me this morning. I have not had any discussions on that.”

– Labour tops donor list

Labour topped the political donations list during the second week of the campaign, thanks to big trade union contributions.

Donations of more than £7,500 received by parties during the reporting period from November 13-19 totalled £9,073,750 – up from £6,507,146 the previous week.

According to the Electoral Commission, Labour received the most at £3,488,000, the Conservatives second with £2,967,000 and the Brexit Party third with £2,250,000. The Liberal Democrats received £251,000, Plaid Cymru £70,000, the Greens £37,750 and the SNP £10,000.

– Swinson attacks Johnson

Jo Swinson launched a highly personalised attack on Boris Johnson as she accused him of being “not fit” to be Prime Minister.

The Liberal Democrat leader used a keynote campaign speech in London to attack Mr Johnson over his sense of “Etonian entitlement”.

Ms Swinson accused the PM of not caring about jailed British-Iranian mother Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe. “Boris Johnson only cares about Boris Johnson,” she said.

– PM celebrates first woman MP to take her seat

The Prime Minister said it is his ambition that half of Tory candidates on the party’s list for future parliamentary elections are women.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Plymouth parliamentary candidate Rebecca Smith in front of a statue of Nancy Astor
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Plymouth parliamentary candidate Rebecca Smith in front of a statue of Nancy Astor (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Mr Johnson’s comments come on the 100th anniversary of Nancy Astor becoming the first woman MP to take her seat in Parliament.

However, he has come under fire after comments he wrote in right-leaning magazine Spectator re-emerged in which he branded the children of single mothers “ill-raised, ignorant, aggressive and illegitimate” in a 1995 issue of the magazine.

Here are some of the highlights of Thursday’s campaign trail:

Tweet of the day

Labour made a pre-election gain in Walthamstow when parliamentary hopeful Stella Creasy gave birth to a daughter.
She posted a picture of the back of her baby daughter’s head on Instagram today, introducing the world to Hester Corinna, aka Hettie. The #indiebaby was born to There She Goes by the Las.

Picture of the day

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage showed off his golfing prowess during a campaign visit in Hull.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage playing golf
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage playing golf (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Video of the day

The spending plans of the Tories and Labour came in for close scrutiny.

What’s next?

  • Boris Johnson will campaign in London and is expected to make a speech in the capital.
  • Jeremy Corbyn will be campaigning for Labour in Yorkshire talking to NHS staff, health think thanks and sector representatives.
  • Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson is in South Wales to discuss safer communities with senior members of the Muslim and Jewish communities.
  • The Scottish Liberal Democrat manifesto will be launched in Edinburgh at a curling rink.
  • Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard will be in Livingston to discuss the party's package for young people.
  • Leaders of the Lib Dems, SNP, Green and Plaid parties will attend a BBC seven-way debate alongside representatives of the Conservatives, Labour and the Brexit Party.
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