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Campaign highlights: PM makes pledge to Northern Ireland as SNP courts Corbyn

Boris Johnson said there would be ‘no forms, no checks, no barriers of any kind’ in Northern Ireland.

Boris Johnson during a visit to George Spencer Academy in Nottingham (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
Boris Johnson during a visit to George Spencer Academy in Nottingham (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

By PA Reporters

Prime Minister Boris Johnson told Northern Ireland businesses they can put customs declarations forms “in the bin” because there will be “no barriers of any kind” to trade crossing the Irish Sea.

Meanwhile, Nicola Sturgeon suggested the SNP would be willing to support a Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour government on a vote-by-vote basis.

Here are some of the highlights:

– PM tells Northern Ireland businesses they can ‘bin’ customs forms

A video emerged of the Prime Minister insisting on Thursday night there would be “no forms, no checks, no barriers of any kind” in Northern Ireland as a result of his Withdrawal Agreement. He added: “If somebody asks you to do that, tell them to ring up the Prime Minister and I will direct them to throw that form in the bin.”

This is despite Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay previously telling MPs that “some information” and “minimal targeted interventions” would be required on goods travelling between NI and GB, due to Northern Ireland remaining aligned with Dublin and Brussels’ trading rules for agricultural products and manufactured items.

– BBC to host debate between Johnson and Corbyn

The BBC is set to host a head-to-head debate between the Prime Minister and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn ahead of the General Election on December 6 from Southampton.

Despite proposing a “seven-way podium debate” as well, the Liberal Democrats, SNP and Plaid Cymru have complained to the BBC about being excluded from the so-called Prime Ministerial Debate.

– SNP would back Corbyn if he backs second independence referendum

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon ruled out a formal coalition with Labour but indicated the SNP would be willing to support a Corbyn-led government on a vote-by-vote basis.

Speaking at the party’s General Election campaign launch in Edinburgh, she said the SNP would demand a right to hold a second independence referendum, further powers for Holyrood and increased investment if any deal is to be reached.

– Labour would deliver longer maternity leave

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Dawn Butler during a visit to launch Labour’s plan for women in the workplace, at the Business and Technology Centre, in Stevenage (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Shadow women and equalities minister Dawn Butler outlined the party’s plans to raise statutory maternity pay and increase the entitlement to flexible working as part of a “step-change” in the way women are treated at work.

Maternity leave would be increased from nine months to 12 and there would be a “presumption” in favour of flexible working from the first day an employee joins an organisation, she told businesswomen in Stevenage in Hertfordshire.

– PM ditches booze until after Brexit

The Prime Minister claimed he has given up drinking until after Brexit is sorted. His apparent “do or dry” pledge follows his failure to keep his “do or die” promise to deliver Brexit by October 31.

His remarks came while chatting about health matters with nurses at the King’s Mill Hospital in Nottinghamshire, where he said: “I’ve had to give it up until we get Brexit done.” However, Mr Johnson was also watched sipping whisky during a distillery visit in Scotland on Thursday, casting doubt on his commitment to the alcohol ban.

Tweet of the day

The placing of Conservative candidate Jacob Rees-Mogg’s Remembrance poppy was a point of interest on Twitter, with some branding it “disrespectful”.

After the Cabinet minister posted a photo of himself wearing the commemorative flower to the social media site, one user replied: “Is the crotch the traditional location to show maximum respect?”

Picture of the day

Scottish National Party candidates, including SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford (centre left) and Nicola Sturgeon (centre), made their feelings clear at the SNP’s General Election campaign launch in Edinburgh.

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(Andrew Milligan/PA)

Video highlights

What’s next?

  • Jeremy Corbyn will make a speech in Yorkshire giving an update on Labour policies.
  • Jo Swinson will lead a “Rally for the Future” setting out the Lib Dems’ vision for the UK.
  • Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard will join Glasgow South West candidate Matt Kerr to unveil the party’s 10-point plan to tackle child poverty, while Scottish Conservatives leader Jackson Carlaw will campaign in Clarkston, East Renfrewshire.

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