Cabinet received an update from the health secretary and the prime minister on the coronavirus outbreak. The PM wished Nadine Dorries a speedy recovery, noting that she was following official advice to self-isolate.
The chancellor set out the measures being taken to manage the impact of coronavirus, laying out details of his economic action plan that will be announced at budget.
He outlined how this plan – combined with the measures announced by the governor of the Bank of England this morning – will make the UK one of the best placed economies in the world to manage the potential impact of the virus. The chancellor added the budget will ensure businesses, the public and those in public services working on the front line against the virus get the support they need.
He said despite the impacts of the outbreak being uncertain, we have the economic tools to overcome the disruption caused by the virus and move the country forwards.
The chancellor also said that despite coronavirus being “front and centre in our minds”, the budget will implement the manifesto on which the government had been elected. He said it was vital that people know this is a budget that delivers on the promises made to the British people – investing in public services and cutting taxes for millions of hardworking people – and that there could be no delay in laying the foundations for a decade of growth where opportunity was spread equally across the UK.
The PM said that this budget starts to tackle head on the challenges facing our economy and country – addressing productivity and regional imbalances – and showing that the government is responding to the public’s desire for change. It will set the path for further action through the year.
The last Glastonbury-style festival to celebrate the Labour Party leader, dubbed JezzFest, took place in Tottenham, North London in June 2018. Plans for a JezzFest reboot come despite Jeremy Corbyn overseeing the party’s worst general election performance since the 1930s, and admitting he will quit in a matter of weeks. A new JezzFest Twitter account has been opened for the planned event, with a GoFundMe page launched by Nathan Harmer in a desperate bid to raise money for it.
The page has more than 2,000 followers but at the time of writing, just £50 had been donated from a total of four people less than 24 hours after the GoFundMe page was opened.
A tweet on the account says: “Thank you for everyone’s support for this event.
“We’re crowd funding for the event and every penny will help lots.
“Any surplus will be donated to food banks and to homeless charities.
“#JezzFest is going to be epic!”
Twitter user @JakeLex1989, who’s Twitter bio says “#Socialism will prevail, still hoping for a #LabourGov in the future” broke the news of the planned JezzFest reboot.
He tweeted: “OK guys, we’re organising a rally in #Islington some time in early to mid Feb 2020 to show our thanks to @jeremycorbyn.
“Early stages right now but for updates you can follow @JezzFest which is the dedicated account.
READ MORE: Furious Labour MP calls on Corbyn to be replaced as soon as Monday
Another person tweeted: “I wouldn’t mind betting the ERG and the new @Conservatives MPs from former @UKLabour stronghold seats would sponsor the do in grateful thanks for all the help he gave them.”
A third Twitter user wrote: “On behalf of all Tories, I’d love to pay Jeremy our heartfelt thanks for all his hard work over the last four years in helping us stay in power.
“Now he has given us the best Christmas present – a landslide majority. He’s done more for our movement than anyone since Thatcher
Several other Twitter users were so baffled by the relaunch of JezzFest they questioned whether it was actually a joke.
One person said: “Please tell me this is a parody?”
Another Twitter user wrote: “Is this some deep level sarcasm?”
Last year’s event cost a reported £1million to stage but was dominated by dwindling crowds and struggling ticket sales.
The festival was hit by a strong of problems, fuelling fears it was just a vanity project for the Labour leader, who might have been keen on replicating his popularity when he gave a rousing speech at theGlastonbury Festival to tens of thousands of fans a year earlier.
Tickets had been priced at £35 just two days before the event but were quickly slashed to just £10.
Unite, Britain’s biggest trade union and a major donor for the Labour Party, also reportedly spent up to £35,000 buying tickets to hand out to supporters for free.
A close ally of the shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, Long-Bailey has been groomed as a potential leftwing contender for the top job, who launched a slick video about her backstory during the campaign. The Salford MP and shadow business secretary performed well as a stand-in for Corbyn in leadership debates.
During the election campaign, Long-Bailey spearheaded promotion of the party’s plan for a green jobs revolution and was forced to tackle tough questions over its decision to soften its stance on hitting net-zero carbon emissions.
Her father was a Salford docker and trade union representative, and she worked in several service industry jobs before qualifying as a solicitor. But given her close alliance with Corbyn and the left, and the rejection delivered by the electorate on Thursday, members may be nervous.
The shadow foreign secretary had a quiet election campaign, which was viewed in some quarters as a sign she would run for leader if Labour lost the election. Others believed she was being kept quiet due to her remain position. She has been faultlessly loyal to Corbyn, despite not always having been on his leftwing side of the party. As a “girly swot” she believes she is good at taking on Boris Johnson. In her acceptance speech in Islington South and Finsbury, she said: “The real fight has to begin now.”
Thornberry will have to fight allegations of being part of the “metropolitan elite”. The image has plagued her ever since she tweeted a picture in 2014 of a house in the Rochester and Strood constituency adorned with three flags of St George and the owner’s white van parked outside, provoking accusations of snobbery. She resigned her shadow cabinet position shortly afterwards.
Thornberry’s formative years may have informed her politics. Her parents divorced when she was seven years old and she moved into a council house with her mother. She and her siblings took free school meals. But her politics remain elusive. She voted against her own government under Blair and Brown but backed Yvette Cooper in the 2015 leadership campaign. As shadow foreign secretary, she has always trodden a careful line that does not stray too far from the leadership on issues such as Russia, Israel and Trident.
The ambitious former director of public prosecutions has led the charge for remain in the shadow cabinet. He has held his Holborn and St Pancras seat since 2015 and been instrumental in shifting Labour’s position towards backing a second Brexit referendum. The party’s stance on Brexit has been blamed by some for the staggering defeat suffered by Labour on Friday. This means Starmer’s ownership of the direction taken could prove problematic if he tries to convince the membership to appoint him as their leader.
Away from Brexit, his politics are less clear. Prior to taking the role of DPP, he worked as a defence lawyer specialising in human rights issues. The Human Rights Act and the broader aspects of the constitution in the UK are in the sights of the Conservative government so his expertise in this area could be a strong sell.
Starmer is the only male runner on this list. There have long been calls for the next Labour leader to be a woman, including most recently from John McDonnell, the party’s shadow chancellor. McDonnell himself, once considered to be a potential candidate, has ruled himself out, as has Richard Burgon, the shadow justice secretary. The Conservatives frequently dig Labour over the fact the party have never had a woman as leader and the Tories have had two female PMs.
The shadow education secretary, a close friend of Long-Bailey’s, said in recent days she would like to support a Labour Brexit deal. She is regarded as a powerful public speaker and was praised for her interventions during the campaign. Some senior Conservatives said they would fear her as an adversary.
On her policy brief, her most controversial moments focused on private schools, which she believes should no longer be subsidised through charitable status.
Rayner’s life is often described as inspirational. She grew up on a council estate in Stockport; had a mother who couldn’t read or write; left school without any qualifications; got pregnant at 16 and left home to bring the child up alone. She qualified as a social care worker and became Unison’s most senior official in the North West region. She describes herself as “soft left” and backed Andy Burnham in the 2015 leadership election.
The MP for Birmingham Yardley is a strong media performer who has built up a significant public profile from the backbenches. Her fiery speeches and witty barbs aimed at the Conservatives, including the prime minister, frequently go viral online. She is also considered a passionate advocate for her constituency and issues on the ground therein.
Corbyn-supporting Labour members are likely to be deeply suspicious of her, as she has frequently been critical of his leadership and the party’s approach to antisemitism.
She has not formally announced her candidacy but wrote a piece for the Observer after the election, which many have viewed as the start of her bid for leadership. The piece discusses the issues of trust with Labour on the doorstep and the challenge of bringing back working-class voters.
The Wigan MP has said she is seriously thinking about running for the leadership. In a piece for the Guardian, Nandy said she believed that, taken individually, many of the policies in Labour’s manifesto were popular with the public and that the election was not won due to any real affection for Boris Johnson and what he stands for.
Nandy has built a reputation as a campaigner for her constituency and others like it, many of which have fallen to the Tories. She helped to create the Centre For Towns thinktank and called for compromise over Brexit.
A soft-left candidate, she resigned from the shadow cabinet in 2016 over Corbyn’s leadership and handling of the EU referendum. Like Phillips, she may be viewed with suspicion from Corbyn supporters.
Yvette Cooper ran against Corbyn for the leadership in 2015 and is viewed as a centrist. Therefore, she would be likely to face an uphill battle to convince the party membership she is the right person for the job.
After losing the leadership election, Cooper focused on becoming a prominent figure on the backbenches, delivering scathing blows to the government in the Commons and has mastered the policy detail on Brexit and home affairs, the latter of which she scrutinises in her role as chair of the home affairs select committee.
She has been an MP since 1997 and held positions including chief secretary to the Treasury and secretary of state for work and pensions when Labour was in government.
Butler says we need to be honest about what Britain did wrong in the past.
When people ask why people can’t get over this, they don’t realise how offensive that is.
Turning to the Windrush scandal, she refers to the case of Hubert Howard, a Windrush victim who died recently without having had compensation or an apology. Butler says the system that created that injustice is still in place.
Butler is now talking about the value of diversity.
She says Norman Tebbit used to talk about the cricket test as a way of evaluating if people were loyal to the country. But this year England won the cricket world cup with a team that included a West Indian, a Pakistani, a South African, an New Zealander and an Irishman.
She says Labour will establish an independent review into the rise of the far right.
And it will ensure more black history is taught in schools. Because black history is British history, says says.
She says, within a month of taking power, Labour would launch a review into the shortage of BAME teachers in schools.
Jeremy Corbyn says he is just the warm-up act for Dawn Butler, the shadow minister for women and equalities.
Butler takes to the stage. She says there are people trying to divide the country. She says a video has gone viral of a man and his children receiving antisemitic abuse on a train. It is unsettling to watch, she says. She says some of the people on the train did not intervene. But it was a woman in a hijab who intervened, she says. She says the woman said she knew what it was like to be abused like this.
Butler says all forms of racism are wrong.
She says after Boris Johnson compared Muslim women to letterboxes the number of incidents of Islamophobia went up by 375%.
Corbyn says antisemitism ‘will not be tolerated in any form whatsoever’ under Labour
Corbyn says sometimes when people are challenged they are asked if they are “tolerant” of others. He does not like the word, he says. He prefers the idea of being respectful, he says.
He says abuse has no place in our society. Attacks on people, and attacks on churches or synagogues or mosques, are attacks on all of us, he says. He says Labour would ensure there was full protection for places of worship. And attacks on places of worship would count as aggravated crimes, he says.
Antisemitism in any form is vile and wrong. It is an evil in our society … It grew in Europe … and ultimately led to the Holocaust … Under a Labour government it will not be tolerated in any form whatsoever.
He says Labour has a rapid process for dealing with these complaints. That process is constantly being reviewed. And Labour supports educating people about the problem, he says.
Corbyn says he wants to work with people of all faiths and none. It has always been his pride and his pleasure to do this, he says. In government, his door will be open to all faith leaders, he says.
He says the chief rabbi will be very welcome, as will be the archbishop of Canterbury, and leaders from other faiths.
Corbyn says he thinks history may be the most important thing children learn at school.
Labour would promote the emancipation education trust, to ensure that children learn more about slavery. It should not just be taught during black history month. It should be taught all year round, he says.
Corbyn says there is not proper BAME representations at the top of public life. There are only 25 black female professors in British universities. He says a Labour government would carry out a review to ensure BAME people are properly represented at the top of the education system.
Corbyn speaks at launch of Labour’s race and faith manifesto
Jeremy Corbyn is now speaking at the Labour race and faith manifesto launch. He starts by thanking Alf Dubs for what he said, and for all his campaigning on behalf of immigrants.
He is speaking at the Bernie Grant arts centre in Tottenham. Corbyn says he knew Grant very well, and is proud to be speaking at an arts centre named after him. He says Grant taught people a lot about the impact of Britain’s colonial past.
He says N15, the postcode area where he is speaking, is the most diverse in Britain. He says 150 languages are spoken here.
Chief rabbi’s attack on Corbyn over antisemitism ‘unjustified and unfair’, says Lord Dubs
Lord Dubs is speaking now at the Labour event.
He says he is “bitterly disappointed” at what the chief rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, said about Jeremy Corbyn and antisemitism. He does not accept a lot of what Mirvis said, although Dubs says he thinks Labour should have addressed the problem more quickly. But the chief rabbi’s comments were “unjustified and unfair”, he says.
Q: Why won’t you take part in the Channel 4 News debate on the environment on Thursday?
Johnson says he is taking part in other debates. He says as mayor of London he showed how emissions could be cut without the economy being harmed. But Labour would take a sledgehammer to the economy, he says.
Q: Do you think Nicola Sturgeon should consider the chief rabbi’s comments before propping up a Labour government?
Johnson says Corbyn has not been able to stamp out antisemitism in his party. That is part of a wider failure of leadership, he says. He says you cannot be PM and refuse to take a position on Brexit. He says you cannot be neutral on that any more than you can be neutral on antisemitism.