Jeremy Corbyn’s party is continuing to send more pro-Brexit, northern voices from the shadow Cabinet for media duties, but keeping the likes of Diane Abbott, Emily Thornberry and Sir Keir Starmer hidden away. All three – who have been prominent voices in the three-years since the EU referendum in June 2016 – have been conspicuous by their absence. Rebecca Long-Bailey and Andy McDonald have all been offered several hours of airtime over the past few days, while Richard Burgon represented Labour on the ITV live election debate on Sunday evening.
Laura Piddock is being given her chance to shine today, where she will be touring studios this morning as part of Labour’s attack on the UK’s worst employers.
Turning his attention away from Brexit, Mr Corbyn has vowed to stand up for “exploited, ripped off and dehumanised workers”, and has called out five companies – Amazon, Uber, Asda, Sports Direct and outsourcing giant ISS.
Labour has continued to cause confusion over its stance on Brexit, with Mr Corbyn stating he will remain “neutral” in the event of a second referendum – meaning he will not campaign for either leave or remain.
The Brexit party’s policy is to meet with the European Union and negotiate a deal within three months of coming to power before putting it to a new referendum, alongside an option to remain in the bloc, within six months.
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8.32am update: Irish consumer sentiment surges as no deal Brexit fears ease
Consumer sentiment in Ireland recovered significantly from a seven-year low in November, posting its fastest monthly rise since 2015 as fears over a no deal Brexit ease.
The KBC Bank consumer sentiment index rose to 77.1 last month from 69.5 in October, boosted by a fresh Brexit deal Boris Johnson hopes to push through Parliament following next week’s general election.
KBC Bank Ireland chief economist Austin Hughes said: “While official data published through the survey period point towards rising incomes and subdued inflation, we think the main driver of the change in November was a scaling back of Brexit worries.
“This outcome appears consistent with the idea that Irish consumers were viewing their world through slightly less dark-coloured Brexit glasses as the immediate threat of a ‘crash out’ Brexit disappeared and were replaced by expectations of an orderly transition period through the year ahead.”
8.25am update: Tories edge to 12-point lead in new election poll
The Conservative Party has slightly increased its lead over the Labour Party to 12-points in a new poll ahead of next week’s general election.
The poll from Kantar, which surveyed 1,096 people between November 28 and December 2, showed support for the Tories up one percent from last week to 44 percent.
Labour remained unchanged on 32 percent, with the Liberal Democrats up one point to 15 percent while the Brexit Party was down by the same margin to just two percent.
8.12am update: Johnson told to use Trump talks to protect British farmers in trade deal
The Liberal Democrats have urged Boris Johnson to use talks with Donald Trump this week to protect British farmers and consumers in any post-Brexit trade deal with the US.
The party’s leader Jo Swinson wants the Prime Minister to ensure discussions on the sidelines of the NATO summit in London clarify the UK will maintain its food standards.
She claims leaked documents from the UK-US trade talks show Washington officials are pushing for Britain to allow greater use of chemicals in food production.
According to the Lib Dems, that would include chlorine-washing chicken and growth hormones in beef cattle.
The party has also insisted Brexit would trigger a loss of EU financial support got farmers, tariffs for the 80 percent of UK agricultural products that are traded with the EU and labour shortages due to the end of free movement.
Ms Swindon said: “Boris Johnson’s Brexit plans threaten to put our farmers out of business, through crippling tariffs for exports to the EU and labour shortages that would leave food rotting in the fields.
“To make matters worse, Johnson’s desperation for a post-Brexit trade deal with Donald Trump means UK farmers risk being undercut by low-standard imports from the US.
“Boris Johnson must give a guarantee that our farmers and world-leading food standards will not be sacrificed on the altar of a Trump trade deal.
8am update: BREXIT on the BRINK: Leavers urged to use tactical voting site or ‘we lose it ALL’
Brexiteers will be told how to make their ballot paper count in the election using a tactical voting website. Unite2Leave will allow Leavers to see which Brexit-backing candidate has the greatest chance of winning in each constituency.
The voting database was created by the former Brexit Party hopeful for Broxtowe Calvin Robinson. He said:
“Brexit is on the line. We’ve fought so hard to take back control and to get out of the EU and we are so close to achieving that aim.
“But if voters aren’t tactical, we will lose it all. That’s why I stood down as Brexit Party candidate in Broxtowe.
“We are all united by our belief in Brexit and we must support the candidates who are best placed to deliver Brexit.
“Our principal aim in every case is to stop Jeremy Corbyn from becoming Prime Minister – that would spell the death of Brexit.
“If Leave-supporting voters want to make their vote count, they must ensure we rally around the candidate most likely to stop Jeremy Corbyn in his tracks.”