POLITICS

The Waugh Zone May 16, 2017

16/05/2017 08:38

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The five things you need to know on Tuesday, May 16…

jeremy corbyn

This morning's 'radical' and 'responsible' Waugh Zone is by Ned Simons. Paul is away.

1) TAKE TWO

Jeremy Corbyn releases his manifesto this morning. Again. Only this time on purpose. It is described by Labour as both "radical" and "responsible".

Ahead of the formal launch at 11am in Bradford, some policies have been handed out to the papers. The Guardian reports the manifesto will include a fat-cat tax on big businesses as well as plans for a federal United Kingdom. The Daily Mirror says Labour will pledge £5bn a year to create a universal childcare service. The Daily Telegraph says Labour will start the 45p tax bracket at £80,000. And the BBC has the line that a Labour government would nationalise the water industry.

Speaking in Leeds yesterday, Corbyn joked about last week's leak of the draft policy agenda and promised that, unlike like this email, "all the spelling mistakes have been removed" from the final draft. Which is a brave boast.

Launching his manifesto today, the Labour leader will brand his policy agenda a "programme of hope" as compared to a Tory campaign built on "fear". Corbyn will resurrect the phrase used by Theresa May to describe the Conservatives back in 2002 and say the party run by the prime minister is "still the nasty party". The Tories, he will say, are "the party of prejudice, the party of the rich, the party of the tight-fisted and the mean-spirited". Hitting back, the chief secretary of the Treasury, David Gauke, has said Labour's plans are "nonsensical" and a "shambles".

2) RAGE AGAINST THE MAYCHINE

The prime minister inexplicably ran into a voter in the street yesterday (someone is getting fired for that) and was taken to task over cuts to disability benefits. Cathy, who has learning difficulties, confronted May over how the scrapping of Disability Living Allowance in favour of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) had affected her. In her reply, the PM also appeared to conflate having learning difficulties with mental health issues.

It wasn't just on her walkabout that May was greeted with an unhappy face. Angry emojis flew across the screen during her Facebook Live interview with ITV's Robert Peston. The folks at Labour HQ no doubt all have some serious RSI this morning after hammering their keyboards for 45-minutes. In her appearance on the One show, Philip May revealed his wife had designs on becoming prime minister as far back as 1998. And speaking to Peston yesterday, she promised she was not about to ditch the job if things got tough during the Brexit talks. "A new parliament will take us through to 2022," she said. "I will be around." It's a good thing she has a track record of not changing her mind about elections.

May and Corbyn have both agreed to subject themselves to a grilling by Jeremy Paxman in a joint Sky News-Channel 4 election programme on May 29. However while the pair will face Paxo and a live studio audience, they will not debate each other head-to-head.

3) A NEW HOPE?

Clive Lewis has said it would be "quite destabilising" for the party if Jeremy Corbyn quit as Labour leader immediately after an election defeat. Speaking to reporters ahead of a speech at the launch of the Progressive Alliance in central London last night, the former shadow cabinet minister said it was important Corbyn "hands the Labour party over in good order". In his speech, which you can watch here, Lewis said Labour could not "thrive" without the help of the Greens and the Lib Dems.

In an interview with HuffPost UK, Vince Cable says the formation of any new political party will depend on how the Lib Dems perform on June 8. And with a Tory victory assumed to be in the bag, Cable argues the general election campaign result is merely the start, not the end, of the excitement. "Politics after the election may be more interesting than before it," he tells me.

BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR… And because maps are fun, YouGov data shows the "rising Tory tide" across the regions of the UK.

4) SHOE ON THE OTHER FOOT

Labour has criticised a Conservative who claimed he is fighting against cuts to school funding, despite being a minister in the Department for Education. Edward Timpson, who is standing to be MP for Crewe and Nantwich again, says he lobbied Theresa May over a reform of education funding which stands to see local schools lose nearly £2m. Angela Rayner, the shadow education secretary, mocked Timpson for “proudly battling against his own cuts”.

5) TRUMPILEAKS

The Washington Post reported Monday that Donald Trump disclosed “highly classified” information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador during a White House meeting last week. The material reportedly came from a source who knows about the inner workings of Isis and was so sensitive it hadn’t even been shared with US allies and many people within the US government. National Security Adviser HR McMaster dismissed the reporting as "false".

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Got something you want to share? Please send any stories/tips/quotes/pix/plugs/gossip to Paul Waugh (paul.waugh@huffingtonpost.com), Ned Simons (ned.simons@huffingtonpost.com), Kate Forrester (kate.forrester@huffingtonpost.com) and Owen Bennett (owen.bennett@huffingtonpost.com)

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