Johnson Insists He Can Keep to His Brexit Schedule: U.K. Votes

(Bloomberg) -- Boris Johnson laid out his plan for his first 100 days in office as the U.K. general election enters its final week, including delivering a budget and getting Brexit “done” by Jan. 31. The prime minister also committed to securing a trade deal with the European Union by the end of next year.

Labour pointed to nearly 3,500 “days of failure” under the Tories, and said more of the same won’t work as it plugged its plans for hiring new teachers and tackling the housing crisis. But leader Jeremy Corbyn is struggling to shake off allegations of antisemitism in his party.

Must Read: Key Election Task for U.K. Tories: Tame Boris Johnson

For more on the election visit ELEC.

Key Developments:

Johnson tells ITV the NHS is not on the table in U.S. trade talksLabour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn is embroiled again in the antisemitism row that’s damaging his campaignLabour’s Treasury spokesman John McDonnell says his party would try to govern without a formal arrangement with other parties in the event of a hung ParliamentTories unveil plan for first 100 days in government, promising budget and delivery of BrexitThe pound is headed for longest winning streak since June as traders bet on a Conservative majority

Johnson Shows Why Tories Backed Him (4:30 p.m.)

Boris Johnson was on the stump at a mill in Derbyshire on Thursday and showed why the Conservative Party put their faith in him, as he entertained a crowd of workers with his well-worn campaign lines and jokes. He went through variations of his line about having an “oven ready” deal with the EU, telling the audience it will be passed “before you’ve cooked your Christmas turkey.”

He got a laugh when he said Jeremy Corbyn would be helped into 10 Downing Street by SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, and “we all know who’d wear the tartan trousers in that relationship.”

The Prime Minister also acquired his latest piece of election memorabilia, a scarf, knitted in the factory, bearing the slogan “Get Brexit Done.” He held above his head to applause and later posed for selfies with mill staff.

Outside there were protesters against Johnson and his Conservative Party’s record on austerity and spending cuts, showing how divided the country is over the prime minister’s leadership. In just over a week the Tories will know whether their faith in him and his rapport with voters has paid off.

Johnson Uses Huawei for Selfies After Ban Hint (3:45 p.m.)

Just a day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson hinted the U.K. could restrict or ban Huawei’s telecommunications equipment, he was seen using what appeared to be the Chinese company’s flagship P20 Pro smartphone -- with a shimmering Twilight color scheme -- to take a selfie.

Johnson gave an interview to U.K. broadcaster ITV’s “This Morning” program, and posed for a photo with the anchors afterward. TV cameras briefly captured him holding a distinctive Huawei product to take the photograph.

Huawei has become a lightning rod for tensions between the U.S. and Europe over trade and security policy as Washington threatens reprisals against any country that allows Chinese equipment to form part of 5G networks.

Read more: U.K.’s Johnson Uses Huawei for Selfies After Hinting at Ban

Johnson Defends ‘Brexit Done’ Pledge (3:30 p.m.)

Boris Johnson insisted Brexit will be “done” on Jan. 31 and played down the risk that voters will then want to know why negotiations with the European Union and lobbying by business are continuing.

“What will happen is it will be done,” Johnson said at a campaign event in central England. “If we can get a majority, on Jan. 31 we’ll be out, we’ll have full legal control of the things that matter to us and we’ll have a great opportunity to take this country forward.”

The prime minister said the EU would want to agree a trade deal with the U.K. by the end of the year.

“We have a zero-tariff, zero-quota position now and I have absolutely no doubt at all that we’ll be able to make sure the European Union protects its own interest and has a deal with us that ensures that continues for the future,” he said. “Can I absolutely guarantee we’ll get a deal? I think I can.”

Tories Eclipse Other Parties for Large Donations (2:55 p.m.)

Donations to Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party eclipsed those to opposition groups during the third week of the election campaign, according to a statement from the Electoral Commission.

In the week of Nov. 20-26 the Tories reaped 3.59 million pounds ($4.7 million). That compares with almost 523,000 pounds for Labour and about 510,000 pounds for the Liberal Democrats.

The Electoral Commission release, which only details donations of more than 7,500 pounds, includes a 1 million-pound gift for the Tories from Hargreaves Lansdown co-founder Peter Hargreaves. Almost half of Labour’s total came from the GMB union.

Corbyn Rejects Jewish Labour Movement Claims (12 p.m.)

Jeremy Corbyn said he rejects “completely” the Jewish Labour Movement’s allegations that his Labour Party has become infused with antisemitism since he became leader (see 11:30 a.m.). The party is taking steps to deal with the problem, he said.

“When I became leader of the party there were no processes in place to deal with antisemitism,” Corbyn said in an interview with the Press Association. “We introduced an appeals procedure to deal with it and we introduced an education process so that party members understood the hurt that can be caused by antisemitic remarks or antisemitic behavior.”

Corbyn said the number of cases of anti-Jewish racism as a proportion of the membership was “very, very low indeed -- but one case of antisemitism is one too many.”

“I deeply regret there is an antisemitism in our society,” he said. “Obviously I regret the way in which some people have been hurt by it and I do not want that to be the case.”

Four Brexit Party MEPs Quit to Back Tories (11:50 a.m.)

Four Brexit Party members of the European Parliament, including Annunziata Rees-Mogg, the sister of Conservative Cabinet minister Jacob Rees-Mogg, have left the party to support Boris Johnson’s Tories.

https://youtu.be/dJMPj7W1rMY (link to video)

In a video explaining their decision, Rees-Mogg said: “Boris Johnson says ‘we must get Brexit done’ and he is right.” The other MEPs are Lance Forman, Lucy Harris and John Longworth, the former director general of the British Chambers of Commerce who had the Brexit Party whip removed on Wednesday.

In a statement, Party Leader Nigel Farage said he’s “disappointed.” The defectors “don’t seem to understand that we both saved the Conservative Party from large scale losses to the Liberal Democrats in the South and South West of England, but we are also hammering the Labour Leave vote in its traditional heartlands,” he said.

Israeli Minister Slams Corbyn Over Antisemitism (11:30 a.m.)

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said he hopes Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t win the U.K. general election on Dec. 12. It’s yet another blow to the Labour Party leader, who has struggled to overcome allegations over antisemitism.

“I personally hope he doesn’t get elected,” Katz, who also serves as minister of Intelligence, told Israeli Army Radio, according to the Associated Press. He cited a “wave” of anti-Jewish racism in the party.

Corbyn has repeatedly said he’s against all forms of racism and prejudice, but accusations of antisemitism have dogged his leadership. Adding to the Labour leader’s problems, the U.K. Jewish Labour Movement accused him of failing to tackle the problem as it filed its submission to the Equality and Human Rights Commission inquiry into antisemitism in the party.

Labour Aims to Govern Without Smaller Parties (11:10 a.m.)

Labour Treasury spokesman John McDonnell said, in the event of a hung parliament, his party would try to govern without a formal arrangement with other parties.

The Liberal Democrats have already ruled out such a deal, and the idea of Labour making an agreement with the Scottish National Party -- likely to involve another independence referendum -- has proved toxic in the past.

“We will implement our manifesto… no negotiation, no deal, no coalitions,” McDonnell told the Financial Times.

With Boris Johnson’s Conservatives the only alternative, Labour sees the Liberal Democrats and SNP having no choice but to back a Jeremy Corbyn-led government if no party has an overall majority. Even so, it might struggle to get support from those parties for much of its program beyond another Brexit referendum.

Johnson Compares NHS Warnings to UFO Theories (11 a.m.)

Boris Johnson was again forced to deny he would put the National Health Service on the table in talks on a post-Brexit trade deal with the U.S.

In an interview with ITV’s “This Morning,” Johnson compared the idea to conspiracy theories about UFOs. But the questioning on the issue suggests it may be one that’s cutting through with the public, along with the other focus of the interview: trust.

Asked why he thought people don’t trust him, the prime minister replied: “There’s a big trust issue with the whole of politics.”

Javid Says Quick EU Trade Deal Possible (Earlier)

Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid said it will be possible to agree a “comprehensive free trade agreement” with the European Union by the end of 2020.

“In the time that we’ve been negotiating over the last 100 days or so, it wasn’t just the exit agreement,” Javid told BBC Radio 4. “We have also negotiated and worked to agree the outline of the ambitious free trade agreement.”

Javid promised “zero tariffs, zero quotas,” in the deal, adding there would be “an agreement on services, having an equivalence on financial services” by the end of the year. “There’s already an agreement. There’s already an agreement in principle. It’s already there, it’s done there,” he said.

He dismissed concerns from the opposition that the timetable would be too tight to complete such a complex trade deal.

Earlier:

U.K.’s Johnson Promises Brexit, Budget, New Laws in 100 DaysPresident Who? Johnson Plays It Safe and Doesn’t Mention TrumpJohnson Says Security Vital in Deciding on U.K. Huawei Ban (1)

--With assistance from Robert Hutton.

To contact the reporters on this story: Joe Mayes in with the prime minister at jmayes9@bloomberg.net;Thomas Penny in London at tpenny@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at tross54@bloomberg.net, Stuart Biggs

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