General election 2019: NHS bosses say poor staffing is endangering patients – live news

8.22am GMT08:22 Q Do you need to get rid of billionaires to help others? A John McDonnell says people are understandably upset that the wealthiest are getting tax breaks. £100bn has been given away in tax cuts, it’s gone to corporations, cuts to capital gains tax, inheritance tax and the highest rate of income tax.…

Q Do you need to get rid of billionaires to help others?

A John McDonnell says people are understandably upset that the wealthiest are getting tax breaks. £100bn has been given away in tax cuts, it’s gone to corporations, cuts to capital gains tax, inheritance tax and the highest rate of income tax.

Q The Institute for Fiscal Studies says the headline figure – £100bn – about tax cuts for the wealthiest is wrong as some have benefited people who are not so well off.

A McDonnell insists the figure is not wrong.

Q The Phones4u billionaire, John Caldwell, says he can’t tolerate “spiteful envy”.

A McDonnell says tell Caldwell to come see him and he’ll explain Labour’s policies to encourage entrepreneurship. It’s a misunderstanding by Caldwell, the shadow chancellor suggests.

Q Is student debt going to be addressed?

A It has to be addressed by whoever is in government. He declines to say whether or not it will be cancelled.

Q Are your policies on cracking down on foxhunting etc a “townie’s policy”?

A It’s making sure the hunting ban is adhered to.

That concludes the interview.

Updated

The shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, is on the Today programme now.

Q Is it correct to say no one should be a billionaire

A We need to attack the gross levels of inequality through a fair taxation system.

Q How flat should society be?

A Most of us will think on the one hand you’ve got 150 billionaires and on the other hand people queueing at food banks and that’s not fair.

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The justice secretary, Robert Buckland, appeared to rule out giving MPs a free vote on overturning the foxhunting ban if the Conservatives win a majority at the general election.

The controversial offer made by the former prime minister Theresa May in the 2017 Tory manifesto was dropped swiftly after her poor performance at the election. Buckland told Sky News he thought it was unlikely Boris Johnson would revive the controversial issue.

Foxhunting was banned through legislation introduced by the Blair government in 2004.

Buckland said:


I don’t see a return to that at all. I think the agenda has moved on. We are now talking in our own policies about strong animal welfare measures. We are cracking down on issues like live transport. We are dealing with trophy hunting, the keeping of primates as pets.

He added that he believes Johnson has an “authenticity” on environmental issues that is an “important hallmark” of his leadership.

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The Lib Dem justice spokesman, Dr Phillip Lee, is also doing the media rounds this morning. He told the Today programme the staffing crisis in the NHS will get worse if Brexit goes ahead (quotes from PA Media).


We can see that there is a clear staffing crisis in the NHS and this is being exacerbated by the prospect of Brexit. In my own professional experience I meet many doctors over the years who are trained in the EU and indeed nursing staff and I think if we proceed with Brexit, the staffing crisis will get worse.

So by investing extra money, by remaining within the EU, Liberal Democrats will protect the NHS.

The Lib Dems say they would boost the NHS by raising income tax by a penny if they gained power. Asked about the prospect of the Lib Dems winning, Lee added:


The fact that we’re on 20 MPs and to get to 326 is quite a target, yes. We will get to the other side of the election and if the Conservatives haven’t got a majority then discussions will take place, but we will take each issue as it comes and vote accordingly and we will not be putting Jeremy Corbyn into No 10 …

We do have a choice not to put either of the two prime ministers into No 10, which is why we think that there should be more of an offer put to the public in terms of who should be prime minister.

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Another interesting front page from Scotland: You can read the story here.

The National
(@ScotNational)

Tomorrow’s front page exclusive: Scottish Tories forced to axe candidate after we uncover sick internet history of Holocaust denial, homophobia and Islamophobia. Shocking details only in tomorrow’s paper – must read pic.twitter.com/enYitO5FJC

November 18, 2019

The shadow justice secretary, Robert Buckland, was asked about Prince Andrew on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. He said it was not appropriate for him to comment.

By contrast, the shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, told Sky News:


I think he [the Duke of York] should cooperate with all the authorities and make sure justice is served.

The Lib Dems’ Chuka Umunna went even further on ITV’s Good Morning Britain.

Good Morning Britain
(@GMB)

‘I think he’s a complete disgrace.’@ChukaUmunna doesn’t hold back on his feelings about Prince Andrew. pic.twitter.com/4YXFqpisVj

November 19, 2019

Good morning. This is Haroon Siddique taking over the blog until about 1pm-ish GMT when Andrew Sparrow will be in. If you want to catch my attention the best way is by tweeting me @Haroon_Siddique.

The justice secretary, Robert Buckland, and the shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, are doing the rounds for the Conservatives and Labour respectively this morning.

Buckland will be talking, among other things, about the Tory pledge of a whole life term for adults who commit the premeditated murder of a child

McDonnell will be talking about the super-rich and the tax breaks they have enjoyed under the Tories.

Updated

Just back to the election debate tonight for a moment, and although Nicola Sturgeon and Jo Swinson lost their bid to be included in ITV’s programme tonight, there will be other debates later in the campaign. Swinson is due to take part in a three-way debate with Johnson and Corbyn hosted by Sky on 28 November. The following day, the BBC will host a seven-way debate in Cardiff between leaders or senior figures from the seven major political parties. And the BBC will then host a “prime ministerial debate” on 6 December from Southampton between Corbyn and Johnson.

Away from the main parties:

  • Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, will today call for immigration powers to be devolved from Westminster to to Scotland.

Nicola Sturgeon will focus on immigration today, fresh off the back of losing her court case to be included in tonight’s TV debate.

Nicola Sturgeon will focus on immigration today, fresh off the back of losing her court case to be included in tonight’s TV debate. Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

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Two other stories in brief that you can get stuck in to to start your election day:

Police numbers to help combat fox hunting, hare coursing and other wildlife crimes would be increased under a Labour government, the party has said.

Police numbers to help combat fox hunting, hare coursing and other wildlife crimes would be increased under a Labour government, the party has said. Photograph: John Giles/PA

The Tories will make a push on law and order today as they pledge that adults (over 21) who commit the premeditated murder of a child (under 16) will be given tougher sentences of life without parole. The current rules require the murder to be of multiple children or to be sexually or sadistically motivated.

Robert Buckland, the justice secretary, said it was his aim to stop the parents of murdered children seeing the “sickening” spectacle of their killers walking free.

Labour’s focus today will be on skewering Boris Johnson on what it describes as the Tories’ £100bn tax giveaway to billionaires. The shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, will tell a campaign event in central London that Labour intends to “rewrite the rules of our economy”. He outline party analysis that claims to show 48 of the country’s 151 billionaires have donated to the Tories since 2005 while the government is on course to hand out £100bn in tax breaks and other giveaways by 2023-24.

“Someone on the national minimum wage would have to work 69,000 years to get paid £1bn and a newly qualified nurse would have to wait 50,000 years. No one needs or deserves to have that much money. It is obscene,” he will say, telling his audience that Boris Johnson is on the side of “the billionaires, the bankers and big business”.

You can read the full story about McDonnell’s speech here.

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Let’s take a look at today’s papers, and the Guardian splashes on the NHS staffing crisis.

Neil Henderson
(@hendopolis)

GUARDIAN: Staffing crisis putting safety of patients at risk warn NHS chiefs #TomorrowsPapersToday pic.twitter.com/wIvVEprJCG

November 18, 2019

The FT carries a big picture of the violent crackdown in Hong Kong, but keeps its lead for Johnson shelving the corporation tax cut during a speech to the CBI yesterday (you can read John Crace’s take on the PM’s lacklustre performance here).

Neil Henderson
(@hendopolis)

FT: ⁦@BorisJohnson⁩ shelves corporation tax cut #TomorrowsPapersToday pic.twitter.com/MwqYjSdRjx

November 18, 2019

The Telegraph echoes the FT, carrying a big picture from Hong Kong and a headline on the PM’s speech to the CBI: “Johnson accused of appeasing socialists in corporation tax U-turn”. (It also headlines the continuing fallout for Prince Andrew on its front page).

Neil Henderson
(@hendopolis)

TELEGRAPH: Businesses and charities abandon ⁦@TheDukeOfYork#TomorrowsPapersToday pic.twitter.com/CzL3w96vZm

November 19, 2019

The i leads on the TV debate tonight between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn, with the headline “Election ignites”.

Neil Henderson
(@hendopolis)

I: Election ignites #TomorrowsPapersToday pic.twitter.com/WLoQJzkE60

November 18, 2019

The tabloids carry varying takes on Prince Andrew. The Sun reports backers “pull the plug on Prince” as “Net closes in on Andy”.

Alison Rourke
(@AlisonRourke)

The UK Sun’s headline on 19 November 2019: “Net closes in on Andy” pic.twitter.com/yV0aCZoXZx

November 19, 2019

The Mirror splashes on Prince Andrew’s accuser, Virginia Giuffre, filming an interview with the BBC’s Panorama programme.

Neil Henderson
(@hendopolis)

MIRROR EXCLUSIVE: ⁦@TheDukeOfYork⁩ ‘s accuser films BBC interview #TomorrowsPapersToday pic.twitter.com/WTvhzPaLl8

November 18, 2019

The Express reports the Queen still backs her son.

Neil Henderson
(@hendopolis)

EXPRESS: Queen backs ⁦@TheDukeOfYork⁩ despite backlash #TomorrowsPapersToday pic.twitter.com/BeVmz0vHBN

November 18, 2019

Finally, the Mail has “Andrew out in the cold”.

Neil Henderson
(@hendopolis)

MAIL: ⁦@TheDukeOfYork⁩ out in the cold #TomorrowsPapersToday pic.twitter.com/evJsjTzbGo

November 18, 2019

Updated

Good morning and welcome to our coverage of all things politics today, as we count down to the first leaders’ election debate tonight (well, two leaders anyway – more on that later). I’ll be looking after the blog for the first hour or so of the day before handing over to colleagues. Feel free to get in touch: alison.rourke@theguardian.com.

First up and NHS bosses have made a dramatic intervention into the campaign, with nine out of 10 saying the staffing crisis is endangering patients. Almost 60% believe this winter will be the toughest yet for the service.

It may scare the horses in the Tory campaign where there is concern that the growing crisis in the health service risks derailing the party’s Brexit-dominated campaign.

That’s unlikely to be helped today by the Lib Dem policy pledge add an extra £35bn for health and social care over the next five years, by adding a penny to the basic rate of income tax. It puts the Tories in third place, pledging to spend £140.3bn on the NHS up to 2023-24, with the Lib Dems on £142.2bn and Labour in front on £143.5bn.

No doubt this will get a fair amount of attention at tonight’s leaders’ debate on ITV at 8pm. You will only be seeing Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn, after Nicola Sturgeon and Jo Swinson lost their court bid to appear.

You can read Peter Walker’s guide to what to expect in the debate here, including the key subjects (Brexit, the economy, the NHS and personal character) and the curly questions for the PM (Jennifer Arcuri, how many children does he have) and Corbyn (antisemitism).

ITV’s Julie Etchingham will host tonight’s debate between Johnson and Corbyn in front of a studio audience.

ITV’s Julie Etchingham will host tonight’s debate between Johnson and Corbyn in front of a studio audience. Photograph: Jonathan Hordle/ITV/handout/EPA

You can also start to get ready for your own election bingo. Walker says a drink isn’t mandatory for every repetition the the phrases, but it could be helpful.

Here’s his list, feel free to let us know if you have any additions:

  • Get Brexit done.
  • Dither and delay.
  • Coalition of chaos.
  • Propped up by billionaires.
  • Many, not the few.
  • Forty new hospitals.
  • British Broadband.

Now on to the rest of the day.

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