Brexit Bulletin: Don’t Write Off Corbyn

Joe Mayes

Days to Brexit deadline: 84

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Today in Brexit: Despite a tough start to the election campaign, Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn could yet win power.

What’s happening? They may be divided, unfancied and accused of racism, but Jeremy Corbyn and his allies still see a path to 10 Downing Street. As Bloomberg’s Rob Hutton explains, there’s plenty going for them: austerity-bitten voters have seen the Tories in office for so long, opinion polls have been wrong before and Boris Johnson is running a high-risk election strategy.

Like Theresa May before him,  Johnson is hoping to win a national vote by picking up pro-Brexit seats in Labour heartlands in northern and central England, trying to exploit the opposition’s perceived weakness on the question of leaving the EU. That plan failed in 2017, as lifelong Labour voters in industrial districts balked at ditching their tribal allegiances. The same could well happen again.

Labour is also offering a populist spending splurge. Speaking Thursday, their economy spokesman John McDonnell pledged £250 billion of infrastructure investment over 10 years, plus more money for education, health care and social housing. In what looks like an arms race of giveaways, the Tories also unveiled significant plans to loosen the purse strings.

And though Brexit is a key issue in the campaign, Corbyn is also trying to play up Labour’s historic strength on the much-loved National Health Service, repeatedly accusing Johnson of planning to “sell it out” in a trade deal with U.S. President Donald Trump. On Friday, Johnson will announce plans for special visas to make it easier to recruit doctors, as he tries to shore up his support on health care.

Today’s Must-Reads

Need a debrief on the election? Bloomberg’s Kitty Donaldson answers all your questions. The Bank of England made dovish noises Thursday, highlighting risks to growth from Brexit and a weaker global economy. Boris Johnson’s charisma is the best hope for the Tories in this general election, Iain Martin writes in the Times.

Brexit in Brief

On The Markets | Pound traders took the BOE’s caution in their stride, keeping their focus on the significant changes to Britain’s economy that could come from the December election, Bloomberg’s Charlotte Ryan and Anooja Debnath write. The pound was trading at $1.2812 early Friday in London.

Remain Alliance | The pro-EU Liberal Democrats, Greens and Plaid Cymru agreed to step aside for each other in 60 seats across England and Wales, in a bid to concentrate the anti-Brexit vote. But the effect may be limited: a BBC analysis showed the move would not have changed any of the results at the 2017 election.

Swaps Move | German banking giant DekaBank has moved more than 7,000 swap transactions from London to Frankfurt, boosting the city’s standing as a post-Brexit finance hub.

Ads Controversy | Tech giant Facebook defended its policy of not fact-checking political ads in the U.K. general election, saying it would’ve allowed a controversial recent video by the Tories — which was doctored to cast doubt on Labour’s Brexit policy — to run as an advert on its platform.

‘No MPs, Mr Farage’ | A leading political academic said Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party won’t win any seats at the election, as more of their candidates stood down and urged voters to back Johnson. Matthew Goodwin, professor of politics at Kent University, told the Telegraph that Farage risks denying the Tories a majority and helping thwart Brexit.

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To contact the author of this story: Joe Mayes in London at jmayes9@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Caitlin Morrison at cmorrison59@bloomberg.net, Iain Rogers

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