Delivering Brexit will enable the UK to start closing the “opportunity gap between rich and poor”, Boris Johnson has said in his first campaign speech on Wednesday. He promised to tackle “injustices” in regional investment and productivity after taking the UK out of the EU. He said a future Tory government would double total investment in industrial research and development to £18bn.
Labour is promising to spend more on the NHS in England than the Tories if it wins the general election. The NHS budget would rise to £155bn by 2023-24 – £6bn more than the government promised the front-line budget would reach that stage when it set out its five-year plan last year. Announcing his party’s flagship election policy earlier in the week at the Royal Society of Medicine, shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said after a “decade of underfunding and cuts” waiting lists had risen to “record levels”.
Jo Swinson has rejected calls for the Lib Dems to pull out of seats held by Labour candidates opposed to Brexit. The Lib Dem leader is under mounting pressure after two of her own candidates withdrew saying they did not want to split the pro-Remain vote. The Lib Dems do have an electoral pact with the Greens and Plaid Cymru.
Nicola Sturgeon has predicted Jeremy Corbyn will soon back her call for a Scottish independence vote in 2020. The SNP leader was responding to further confusion over Mr Corbyn’s position on a second Scottish independence referendum. The Labour leader said on Thursday that indyref2 would not happen in the first two years of his party winning power. The previous day, he initially told journalists that a referendum would not happen in the first five-year term.
Although it has made marginal impact, the Brexit party (like UKIP previously) have hopes of improving their position in Scotland and did gain an MEP in May. They have, however, announced that they will not stand candidates in the 13 seats that the Scottish Conservatives are defending from the 2017 election, most of which are considered vulnerable to the SNP.
The Scottish Conservatives have officially reported Nicola Sturgeon’s government for destroying hand written instructions and using an SNP email account to direct civil servants and conduct government business. Donald Cameron MSP has today urged the National Records of Scotland to intervene and investigate the First Minister for potentially breaching the Public Records (Scotland) Act 2011.
The SNP – the third largest political party represented in the previous Westminster parliament – is to take legal action against ITV over its exclusion from the broadcaster’s general election debate. ITV plans to show a head-to-head debate between Conservative leader Boris Johnson and his Labour counterpart Jeremy Corbyn next week, but SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said it was “fundamentally unfair” to not include her party, which is the third-largest in the UK.
The Finance & Constitution Committee has published its pre-budget scrutiny 2020-21 report. The Committee found potential “structural issues” and the risk of “unintended consequences” within the Fiscal Framework. The Committee also called on Derek Mackay to set out how the Government intends to manage the risk of a £1bn shortfall in Scotland’s public finances, stating it is “disappointed” at the lack of information on the Medium-Term Financial Strategy.
And finally, client Homes for Scotland hosted their eighth annual conference this week. With over 200 attendees, speakers included Kevin Stewart, Housing Minister, Derek Mackay, Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work and Graham Simpson, Conservative spokesperson for Housing & Planning.
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