Closed Election: Labour on the defensive after Chief Rabbi accuses party of failure to deal with anti-Semitism — as it happened

Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks at the Bernie Grant Arts Centre in London

Jeremy Corbyn defends party’s processes for dealing with racism after Ephraim Mirvis’s criticism. Conservatives put opposition to independence at heart of Scottish campaign. Sterling slips as Labour makes inroads on Tories’ polling lead.


Welcome back…

The headlines have been dominated so far today by chief rabbi Ephraim Mirvis’ censure of Jeremy Corbyn over his handling of anti-Semitism. Mr Mirvis accused Mr Corbyn of allowing a “new poison” to pulse through the Labour party in one of the sharpest interventions by a religious leader in recent times.

Elsewhere, FT economics editor Chris Giles has written an analysis of the major parties’ fiscal plans. The conclusion: “spending taps are going back on, whoever wins”.


Corbyn not dealing with anti-Semitism, says chief rabbi

Today’s big story is the scathing attack by the chief rabbi accusing Jeremy Corbyn of allowing “a new poison” to run through his party, reports George Parker.

Ephraim Mirvis said the “very soul of our nation is at stake” in next month’s election, in one of the most hard-hitting interventions by a religious leader in British politics in recent times.

The chief rabbi said his decision to speak out was “amongst the most painful moments” of his career, but warned that “a new poison” had taken hold in Labour “sanctioned from the very top”.

In an article for The Times, he says that the Labour leader’s claim to have dealt with all allegations of anti-Semitism was “a mendacious fiction” and the way that the party has handled the claims is “incompatible with the British values of which we are so proud”.

Mr Corbyn has repeatedly insisted that he is getting to grips with anti-Semitism in his party and that he will not tolerate it, but a number of Labour MPs have quit the party in despair at the way the leadership had responded to the problem.


Labour committed to combating anti-Semitism

Andy McDonald, shadow transport secretary, has responded to the criticsm of the chief rabbi, who has claimed Labour are not doing enough to root out anti-Semitism within the party.

He said that party leader Jeremy Corbyn has addressed these criticisms directly and that he is simply not anti-Jewish. Pointing out that Mr Corbyn has spent his life fighting racism, he said a “small minority” within the party are engaging in “dreadful attacks, tropes and stereotypcial abusive lines”.

When he came into the shadow cabinet in 2016, Mr McDonald said he was “horrified” at the progress that had been made in regards to tackling anti-Semitism. However he insisted there is an absolute determination to drive anti-Semitism out of the party.

A Labour spokeswoman said: “Jeremy Corbyn is a life-long campaigner against anti-Semitism and has made absolutely clear it has no place in our party and society and that no one who engages in it does so in his name.

“A Labour government will guarantee the security of the Jewish community, defend and support the Jewish way of life, and combat rising anti-Semitism in our country and across Europe. Our race and faith manifesto, launched today, sets out our policies to achieve this.”

There will be a policy announcement later today.


Archbishop warns politicians on anti-semitism

The Archbishop of Canterbury has said the chief rabbi’s intervention on anti-Semitism “ought to alert us to the deep sense of insecurity and fear felt by many Jews.”

Justin Welby, the head of the Church of England, said in a statement that political parties should make it an “absolute priority to offer positive reassurance and avoid anything that increases the perception of fear”.

“The chief rabbi’s statement provides all of us with the opportunity to ensure our words and actions properly reflect our commitments to mutual flourishing and inclusion, for the common good.”


Former deputy prime minister Heseltine urges against voting Tory

Michael Heseltine, former Conservative deputy prime minister who was expelled from the party in May, says the country should vote for the Liberal Democrats if there is no independent Tory MP in their constituency.

He launched an attack on the prime minister’s approach to Brexit, claiming it was “preposterous”.

Michael Gove, senior minister, said he was saddened by Mr Heseltine’s intervention.

“Michael Heseltine was a great minister and he achieved a lot for the country. But we all have our weaknesses, where we are out of kilter with others.”

He criticised Mr Heseltine for his support of European integration and the adoption of the euro.

“I’ve got great respect for him, but I think he’s wrong here”, he told BBC Radio 5 Live. “A vote for any party other than the Conservatives risks Jeremy Corbyn becoming prime minister.”


This morning’s papers

This morning’s election news has been dominated by the chief rabbi’s warning over Jeremy Corbyn’s handling over anti-Semitism in the Times newspaper. Ephraim Mirvis wrote in an article for the newspaper that the Labour leader’s claim to have dealt with all allegations of anti-Semitism was “a mendacious fiction”.

His intervention also made the front of the Daily Mail, which said “the soul of our nation is at stake.”

Elsewhere, the Daily Telegraph said Labour has denied a “plot to sacrifice” Mr Corbyn if the election results in a hung parliament, while the Guardian led with a report from the Resolution Foundation think-tank which warns child poverty will surge to a 60-year high under the Tories.


Concern anti-Semitism ‘could happen on a national level’ if Labour win

Jonathan Goldstein, chairman of the Jewish Leadership Council, has spoken about anxiety in the Jewish community about the lack of activism in the Labour Party to counter anti-Semitic behaviour.

“The country will no longer feel like a safe space for Jews [if Labour win the election].”

He accused Jeremy Corbyn of bringing anti-Jewish racism from the fringes of his party to the mainstream.

“We are concerned this could happen on a national level”, he told LBC News. “Their repeated insistence that they have done everything they could reasonably do to tackle anti-Semitism is simply a lie.”

Labour peer Alf Dubs told the BBC Today programme that Labour should have moved faster to deal with allegations of anti-Semitism against some of its members.

“I think [Mr Corbyn] is fit to be prime minister, I do not believe he’s anti-Semitic, I believe things have happened under his leadership which should have been stopped way back,” said the 86-year old pro-refugee campaigner.

The Labour peer said the party had moved forward from its “murky” past and was moving forward in a positive way.

“I certainly listen to what the Jewish community has to say and I’m sure Jeremy Corbyn does as well,” he said.


Economists and academics back Labour spending plans

163 economists have signed a public letter offering broad support for the Labour party’s proposals for higher public investment to boost growth and raise productivity.

The letter, published in the Financial Times, said the UK economy needs “a serious injection of public investment.”

The UK economy needs reform. For too long it has prioritised consumption over investment, short-term financial returns over long-term innovation, rising asset values over rising wages, and deficit reduction over the quality of public services.

As economists, and people who work in various fields of economic policy, we have looked closely at the economic prospectuses of the political parties. It seems clear to us that the Labour party has not only understood the deep problems we face, but has devised serious proposals for dealing with them. We believe it deserves to form the next government.

Most of the signatories are left-leaning academics, including David Blanchflower, professor of economics at Dartmouth College.


End of austerity as main parties turn on spending taps

The FT’s economics editor Chris Giles writes:

With the publication of their manifestos, the UK’s three main political parties have called a definitive halt to austerity, with public spending as a share of national income set to rise after a decade of decline following next month’s general election.

Nicholas Macpherson, the top official in the Treasury for a decade until 2016, has become increasingly concerned, saying there would ultimately be a big bill “for the have-it-all fiscal incontinence of the baby-boomers and their political representatives”.

But none of the candidates for chancellor are listening to cautious old Treasury hands. All are seeking to spend more, partly financed via higher borrowing and partly by increased taxes.


The election’s unexpected consequences

Is the election stopping people from doing up their kitchens or bathrooms?

Topps Tiles believes so, warning in an update to the stock exchange this morning that trading conditions have softened since October due to the political uncertainty.

Chief executive Matthew Williams said:

“At the start of the new financial year, trading conditions have become more challenging, with consumer demand weakening further since the general election was called in late October.”

“Against this backdrop of heightened political and economic uncertainty” like-for-like sales have declined, he added.


Goldman bullish on UK domestic stocks

UK stocks that are exposed to the domestic market are set to rally next year as easing Brexit uncertainty and a jolt of government spending reinvigorate the sluggish economy, Goldman Sachs has forecast.

The investment bank told its clients late on Monday its analysts expect a rise in the price of domestic-focused stocks next year. The assets had taken a serious blow following the 2016 Brexit referendum, leaving them trading at a 20 per cent discount in valuation to their international peers (see chart below).

Domestic companies have suffered from the UK’s weak economic performance, with expectations for earnings per share declining more sharply than other parts of the UK market, Peter Oppenheimer, Goldman’s top equities analyst, said.

Mr Oppenheimer said a turnround in UK growth will be the “key” for UK domestic stocks. Goldman’s economists are hopeful that the economy will accelerate, with gross domestic product expanding at an annualised rate of 2.4 per cent in the second half of next year, double the pace recorded in the third quarter of this year.

Goldman’s economists expect two main factors to provide a tailwind to the economy:

1 – “A resolution to Brexit-induced uncertainty is likely”.

Clarity on the UK’s terms of exit should emerge faster under a Conservative government than a Labour government, although a Labour administration would introduce a plausible path to ‘Remain’.

2 – “A sizeable fiscal impulse is on the horizon”.

Both parties plan to increase government spending substantially, with Labour proposing a larger increase in public-sector investment than that envisaged by the incumbent Conservative administration.

For more on the second point, make sure to read Chris Giles’ analysis, published earlier today, of the main parties’ spending pledges.


Former minister warns Johnson has boxed himself in with Brexit pledge

David Gauke, the former justice secretary, has warned that Boris Johnson has boxed himself in by pledging not to extend the Brexit transition period, leaving the UK on course for a no-deal crash out at the end of next year if the Tories win a majority.

Mr Gauke, who was expelled from the party for voting against the government on Brexit earlier this year, is running as an independent in his constituency of South West Hertfordshire.

The Conservatives have guaranteed not to extend the Brexit transition period beyond December 2020, meaning they would have just 11 months to negotiate a free trade deal if the UK leaves the EU at the end of January.

Mr Gauke said that while it would not be “out of character” for the prime minister to simply break his word, Mr Johnson will likely be boxed in by a combination of strident Brexiter backbenchers, his own hard-line ministers and the grassroots Tory members.

“Boris Johnson simply will not have the political room to do this,” he said in a video posted to Twitter.


Surge in voter registration before deadline day

There has been a last minute dash to register to vote as the deadline to take part in the general election on December 12 approaches.

According official government figures 366,000 registered yesterday, mostly through the digital service provided by the government. The majority of these were under the age of 34, while 150,000 under the age of 25 registered.

Last Friday more than 300,000 registered to vote and the record for a deadline day is 622,389 for the 2017 general election.

The Electoral Reform Society has said there have been 2.8m applications since the election was called, a million more than a comparable period from 2017.

There may be even greater numbers of young people applying today as British musician Stormzy called for people to register. Although he said he was backing Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in a tweet, he urged voters to:

Go out and do your own research and try your best to learn and understand who it is you’re voting for.

When asked about this tweet on Talk Radio this morning, senior minister Michael Gove said: “Stormzy is a far better rapper than political analyst.”

The social-media hashtag #Register2Vote is trending as campaigners, civil society groups and trade unions make a final push before the deadline at midnight.

The numbers include those who are just updating their personal or residency details, meaning not all of those registering are new voters.


Age rather than class separates 2019’s electorate

John Curtice, one of the UK’s leading polling experts, has written a piece for the BBC on whether class still influences how people vote.

He found that the picture has changed substantially since the 1960s, when political scientist Peter Pulzer said that “class is the basis of British party politics, all else is embellishment and detail.”

Now Sir John believes that “the kind of job that someone does is expected to make very little difference to how they will vote at this election.” Support for the Conservatives is the same for both middle and working-class voters, at 42 per cent.

Instead, it is age which truly separates this electorate. 61 per cent of those aged over 65 are planning to vote Conservative, compared with less than a quarter over those under 35.


Sterling knocked as poll shows Labour narrowing Tory lead

The pound has been closely tracking polling data over the past few weeks. Good news for the Tories has boosted the currency, while Labour gains have caused it to stumble.

This morning – for the second time in two days – polling shows Labour making inroads. And so, sterling is down – by 0.3 per cent against the dollar, at $1.2861, and by the same margin against the euro, at €1.1677.

Today’s slip came after polling numbers from Kantar, which showed a sharp tightening of the gap between Labour and the Conservatives. Boris Johnson’s party’s lead fell from 18 points to 11 points, compared to a week earlier, in a major boost for the opposition.

The Kantar poll followed hot on the heels of an ICM poll last night, which also showed Labour making ground. It gave the Tories a 7 point lead over Labour, down from 11 points previously.

A Tory majority after election day, the logic goes, would allow Mr Johnson to push through his withdrawal deal and provide clarity over Brexit. And even though a Labour government – minority or majority – would leave open the possibility of a softer Brexit, or no Brexit at all, following their promised referendum, it would bring with it a period of significant uncertainty.

Despite the recent Labour gains, the Tories still remain comfortably ahead, however. And should Mr Johnson’s party come out on top on December 12, it will be positive for sterling, analysts maintain.

But investors should “keep an open mind”, say analysts at Pantheon Macroeconomics, noting that undecided voters, of which there are still many, are likely to break for Labour. They predict a small majority for the Conservatives, of less than 60 seats, with sterling unlikely to rise higher than $1.30 as a result.


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Muslim Council of Britain criticises Tories over Islamophobia

The Muslim Council of Britain has backed the chief rabbi’s intervention into the election, and added that the Tory party has a “blind spot” for Islamophobia within its own ranks.

British Muslims should “vote with their conscience,” a spokesperson for the body said.

Racism wherever it comes from – whether from the left or the right – is unacceptable, and not enough is being done. We agree with the Chief Rabbi’s observation that ‘some politicians have shown courage but too many have sat silent.

The Council said that the Conservative party has “approached Islamophobia with denial, dismissal and deceit” and allowed it to “fester in society.”

“British Muslims – whilst from the most disadvantaged communities and rarely allowed a voice in the public space – will listen to the chief rabbi and agree on the importance of voting with their conscience.”

The Conservative party has suspended members over Islamophobia, and pledged to hold an investigation into all forms of prejudice within the party.

Last night Ephraim Mirvis, the chief rabbi, said Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is not fit for high office given his party’s record in tackling anti-Semitism.


Labour race and faith manifesto launch begins

There is no sign of Jeremy Corbyn yet at the launch of the Labour race and faith manifesto, which has begun in north London, following a delay.

The event, which had been due to kick off at 11:30, has been marred somewhat by this morning’s sharp criticism by the UK’s chief rabbi of anti-Semitism in the party. Ephraim Mirvis warned that “a new poison” had taken hold in Labour “sanctioned from the very top”.

A small number of demonstrators have gathered outside the Bernie Grant Arts Centre in Tottenham, where the event is being held, protesting the party’s anti-Semitism failings.


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Johnson rules out any possibility of Scottish referendum

Mure Dickie reports from Inverkeithing:

Boris Johnson has launched the Scottish Conservatives manifesto with a pledge to reject indefinitely any second referendum on independence from the UK.

The UK prime minister and Conservative leader said in the manifesto that Scotland was suffering under the rule of the Scottish National party.

Scotland was like a trapped “lion in a cage” or “super-green supercar blocked in traffic”, Mr Johnson wrote.

Mr Johnson wrote in his introduction to the Scottish Tory manifesto:

“I can guarantee that we will reject any request from the SNP government to hold an independence referendum.”

The manifesto says the Conservatives will oppose another referendum for as long as the SNP government puts independence “ahead of Scotland’s public services and economy”.

The Scottish Tories hope that opposition to independence will help overcome Mr Johnson’s relative unpopularity in Scotland and much lower support for Brexit than in England.

Labour has ruled out allowing another independence referendum in the early years of a government led by Jeremy Corbyn.


Lord Dubs: Chief rabbi’s criticism ‘unfair’ and ‘unjustified’

The FT’s Laura Hughes reports from Tottenham:

Labour peer Alf Dubs has doubled down on his defence of the party in the wake of this morning’s comments by the chief rabbi.

Speaking at the launch of Labour’s race and faith manifesto in north London, Lord Dubs said Ephraim Mirvis’s critique of antisemitism in the Labour party was both “unfair” and “unjustified”.

I don’t accept a lot of what he said. In so far as the Labour Party is at fault we should have been a bit quicker

On today of all days, for the chief rabbi to be attacking the Labour party and to be attacking our leader is unfair and unjustified and I am bitterly disappointed he has done that.


Labour race and faith manifesto promises curriculum changes

The Labour party has released a document aimed at “acknowledging the historical injustices faced” by Britain’s communities and pledges to teach students about the injustices of the empire.

After a delay, the party leader Jeremy Corbyn, launched the party’s race and faith manifesto which he said “presents our unshakable commitment to challenge the inequalities and discrimination that has faced too many communities.” This is the first time we have heard from him since the chief rabbi warned a “new poison” had taken hold of the party.

If elected, the party will create an Emancipation Education Trust to ensure the injustices of British imperialism are taught as part of the national curriculum.

“Labour is a party of equality and human rights,” said Mr Corbyn at the Bernie Grant Arts Centre in Tottenham. “Abuse and racism in any form is not acceptable in anyway in our society.”

A race equality unit will be established to review major spending announcements regarding minority communities, which will include an extension on pay gap reporting to BAME groups. The manifesto promises an independent review of far-right extremism, which Mr Corbyn says has seen significant growth over the last few years.


Corbyn: Anti-Semitism is ‘vile and wrong’

Jeremy Corbyn has made his first comments on anti-semitism in the Labour party in the wake of this morning’s intervention by the chief rabbi.

Speaking at the launch of Labour’s race and faith manifesto, the Labour leader described anti-Jewish behaviour as “vile and wrong”.

“There is no place whatsoever for anti-Semitism in any shape or form or in any place whatsoever in modern Britain. Under a Labour government, it will not be tolerated whatsoever. I want to make that clear.”

While Mr Corbyn did not directly reference the article written by Ephraim Mirvis in this morning’s Times, he told the crowd in north London that anti-Jewish behaviour is “an evil within our society”.

The party leader insisted that when reported, there is a “rapid and effective” system in place within the party to deal with complaints. That process, he said, is constantly under review and an education programme exists to help members understand the history of the Jewish community.

Mr Corbyn invited those in the Jewish community who are anxious about a Labour government to open dialogue and alleviate any worries they may have.


Are the polls narrowing?

Can Labour close the large gap in opinion polls in the final two and a half weeks of the campaign?

Boris Johnson’s Conservative party went into the general election campaign with an 11-point lead over Labour, according to the FT’s poll of polls. The gap has since widened slightly.

Still, two polls released in the last 24 hours have offered some hope for the opposition:

• A Kantar poll released today showed the Tory lead fell from 18 points to 11 points. Their previous poll had shown one of the largest Conservative leads of any pollster.

• An ICM poll yesterday gave the Tories a 7-point lead over Labour, down from 11 points previously.

The FT’s senior data journalist John Burn-Murdoch notes that the ICM poll was well within the margin of error. Today’s Kantar numbers are more interesting, but it’s too early to say that it shows things are heading in one direction or another.

Across all pollsters and the whole campaign, we have only three pollsters showing the Tory lead narrowing, while six show it widening.

The Tories have been boosted by Nigel Farage’s decision to withdraw the Brexit party from hundreds of seats, but may be close to their ceiling in this election.

“One challenge for Conservatives is that with the Brexit Party down to just 3 per cent there’s not much more Farage Pie to eat,” said Matthew Goodwin, professor of politics at the University of Kent.

“But for Labour there’s 15 per cent spread across the Lib Dems & Greens. And another 15-20 per cent undecided. More room for growth? Let’s see,” Mr Goodwin said in a tweet.


Constituency in focus: Hartlepool

As campaigning ramps up ahead of December 12, the north-east England town of Hartlepool has become a prime target for the Brexit party.

Close to 70 per cent of Hartlepool residents voted to Leave in 2016. And in September, the local council became the first in Britain to fall under the control of the Brexit party.

At next month’s general election, Nigel Farage hopes to cement the town’s reputation as a bastion of the anti-EU movement by winning the Hartlepool parliamentary seat from Labour, writes the FT’s Tobias Buck.

It is one of only a handful of constituencies where the Brexit party sees a chance of beating the incumbent.

But Richard Tice, the Brexit party chairman who is standing in the seat, has a battle on his hands to dislodge the sitting MP Mike Hill, in a constituency that has long been a Labour stronghold.

Check out Tobias’s full analysis of the battle for Hartlepool here.


Corbyn invites Chief Rabbi to meet him

Jeremy Corbyn invited Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis — along with other faith leaders in the UK — to “come talk to us about what their concerns are”.

The Labour leader made the invitation as he was hit with multiple questions on anti-Semitism in the party following the launch of Labour’s race and faith manifesto. Mr Mirvis had accused him of allowing “a new poison” to run through Labour.

Mr Corbyn said:

I invite the chief rabbi, I invite the archbishop of Canterbury, I invite all the other faith leaders to come talk to us about what their concerns are.

Mr Corbyn again defended his record on dealing with anti-Semitism within the party, insisting “there is no place for it”.

I ask those that think things have not been done correctly to tell me about it, talk to me about it, but above all engage. I’m very happy to engage with anybody. My whole life has been engagement with people. Sometimes you agree with them, sometimes you don’t, but you only learn by that process of engagement.


‘Huge increase’ in voter registration recorded

There has been a huge increase in voter registration compared to the 2017 election, according to an analysis by the Electoral Reform Society.

• The campaign group said there have been 3.19m applications to register in the period from the day the election was called – October 29 – to midnight on Monday.

• That’s 38 per cent more than registered in a similar period before the 2017 election.

• 2.1m were made by people aged 34 or under.

“We’re seeing a major uplift in new registrations compared to the last election, with large numbers of young people signing up too – a traditionally under-registered demographic,” said Jess Garland, director of policy and research at the Electoral Reform Society.

But the society also warned that these numbers don’t accurately reflect a new section of the electorate, as over a million likely to be already on the register due to the “archaic” registration system.


Will Boris Johnson’s lead narrow?

With a little over two weeks to polling day, the Conservatives still enjoy a commanding lead over Labour. But two recent polls have shown the Tory lead narrowing — a possible sign of things to come as election day approaches.

Here are a few thoughts from the FT’s Whitehall editor James Blitz on things that might make the Conservative high command feel nervous.

First, there are indications of a huge surge in the number of young people registering to vote in recent weeks. As experience suggests, many of them are likely to vote Labour.

Second, the prospect of a Johnson victory may create last-minute electoral effects. If Remain voters take the view that Boris Johnson is heading for a strong majority, they may feel more comfortable voting Labour.

Third, the Liberal Democrats’ poor performance under Jo Swinson creates dangers for the Tories. Lib Dem voters could drift towards Labour, perceiving it to be the only hope for a second referendum. That would be bad news for the Conservatives who, electorally, need the Lib Dems to do better and split the Remain vote.

Fourth, it’s not clear how the Conservatives can maintain momentum over the final weeks of the campaign. Their central message that they will “get Brexit done” risks sounding monotonous. It is not clear what other message can propel them forward.

Tomorrow night’s MRP poll by YouGov, looking at the state of play on a constituency-by-constituency basis, will be the most significant survey so far. It came the closest of any poll to predicting the result of the 2017 election and will give the best indication of what Mr Johnson needs to do in the final two weeks.

The FT’s Brexit Election Briefing newsletter will be taking a look at key developments on the campaign trail over the coming weeks. You can sign up here.


What will the election mean for monetary policy?

The debate around the parties’ fiscal policies continues to rage, with their spending pledges (or lack thereof) taking centre stage.

But relatively little attention has been given to how monetary policy might change after December 12.

None of the parties look likely to revolutionise the monetary policy framework like Labour did in 1997, according to analysts at Capital Economics.

The general state of the economy is set to be the key driver of monetary policy after the election. Greater spending, as both main parties have promised, should rev up the economy and allow the Bank of England to raise interest rates.

Labour’s plans for significantly higher spending than the Conservatives might suggest that monetary policy would be tighter under Labour. But Ruth Gregory, senior economist at Capital Economics, argues that “given that Labour’s other policies could significantly dent business confidence and investment” the MPC would be “reluctant” to significantly tighten policy.

So, with that in mind, these are Capital Economics predictions for what the different results might mean for rates.

Labour win: Rates cut in 2020 as Brexit is delayed, followed by a small rise in 2021.

Conservative minority: Near-term cut, with Brexit possibly delayed again.

Conservative majority: A swift Brexit deal, reducing uncertainty, coupled with a large fiscal stimulus would likely trigger rate hikes from late 2020.


FT poll tracker

As we have been discussing throughout the day, two polls over the past 24 hours have shown Labour making inroads into the Conservative lead.

Here is the latest FT poll of polls, updated this evening to take into account these latest surveys.

It shows the Conservatives retaining a 13 point lead over Labour, when the findings of all the major British pollsters are aggregated.

All eyes will now be on tomorrow night’s MRP poll by YouGov, which looks at the state of play on a constituency-by-constituency basis. This poll came the closest of any to predicting the result of the 2017 election and will be the most significant indicator of voting intention so far.


FT analysis: Tories put opposition to independence at heart of Scottish campaign

Mure Dickie reports from Inverkeithing:

The Conservatives today toughened their opposition to another Scottish independence referendum, suggesting UK governments should refuse to approve such a vote at least until the 2050s.

The comments by Jackson Carlaw, interim Scottish Tory leader, underscore the party’s determination to make implacable opposition to independence the core theme of its general election campaign in Scotland.

At the launch of the Scottish Conservative manifesto this afternoon, Boris Johnson, UK prime minister and Tory leader, said he would “rule out” allowing a second vote on independence — which the Scottish National party-led government in Edinburgh is pressing for.

Mr Johnson left his pledge open-ended, but Mr Carlaw suggested a UK parliament would be justified in refusing another referendum for decades.

We had 40 years between the two European referendums — that seems like a fine definition.

Scotland voted 55-45 per cent against leaving the UK in the 2014 independence referendum organised by the SNP government.

Mr Carlaw’s effort to rule out another referendum for decades could increase calls within Scotland’s pro-independence movement for the SNP to consider organising a referendum without Westminster’s approval.

Nicola Sturgeon, SNP leader, has insisted any referendum must be agreed with the UK government and any refusal by Westminster refusal would be unsustainable, especially if her party secures a large victory north of the border at the December 12 election.

For more on this, read Mure’s full piece here


What happened today?

• Today’s key event was the intervention of the Chief Rabbi, who accused Jeremy Corbyn of allowing anti-Semitism to run amok in the Labour party. Ephraim Mirvis said the Labour leader’s claim to have dealt with all allegations of anti-Semitism was “a mendacious fiction”.

• Mr Corbyn defended his party’s processes for dealing with antisemitism, which he described as “an evil within our society”, and invited Mr Mirvis to meet him.

• The Muslim Council of Britain subsequently hit out at the Tory party, which it said has a “blind spot” for Islamophobia within its own ranks.

• Boris Johnson promised to indefinitely reject a fresh referendum on Scottish independence as he launched the Conservatives’ manifesto north of the border.

• Sterling slipped slightly, after two polls showed Labour narrowing the Conservatives’ lead.


Another day down

That’s it from us for now.

If you are not yet ready to turn off from the election for the evening, Andrew Neil will be grilling Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn on BBC One from 7pm.

For reaction to that, plus the launch of the Scottish National party’s manifesto, check back in to Election Central tomorrow.

But for now, a final reminder that tonight is the deadline for registering to vote in the election, so do make sure you are signed up and have a say come December 12 – whatever your politics.

It’s an easy, five-minute process and you can do it online here.

See you all tomorrow.