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The week started badly for Boris Johnson with another couple of days of headlines about the argument he had with his partner in their flat in Camberwell. Refusing to answer any questions about it at the Conservative Party hustings in Birmingham last Saturday didn't help.
Speaking to the BBC's Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg on Monday, he said that "I do not talk about stuff involving my family, my loved ones. And there’s a very good reason for that. That is that, if you do, you drag them into things that, really is, is, in a way that is not fair on them". I think that he will find that when you are running to become Prime Minister very little is off limits.
During an interview with talkRADIO's Political Editor Ross Kempsell on Tuesday, Boris was asked if we will leave on 31st October come what may, do or die. Boris repeated those lines back to him, and he has continued repeating pretty much the same lines all week.
Dominic Grieve and Margaret Beckett have put forward an amendment to next week's "estimates" (usually routine government finance legislation) which would deny some Whitehall departments necessary funding if we left the EU without a deal.
The affected departments would be the Department for International Development, the Department for Education, the Department for Work and Pensions, and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. They haven't been chosen specifically - it is just that it's their turn for approval next week. Whether or not Labour MPs in particular want to withhold funding from overseas aid, schools, and those on benefits, is yet to be seen. If we do leave without a deal they would be the politicians responsible for cuts in funding. That wouldn't go down well with their constituents, especially as most Labour MPs represent Leave voting constituencies. This is something to look out for next week.
Both Boris and Jeremy Hunt have made some new policy announcements. Here they are in brief:
- Boris said he would bring in an Australian-style points-based immigration system.
- Jeremy Hunt said he would waive tuition fees for graduates who go on to start a business and employ more than 10 people for at least five years.
- Hunt also said that he would protect free TV licences for the over-75s.
On the last bullet point, Andrew Allison, our Head of Campaigns, was interviewed on BBC Three Counties Radio yesterday about free TV licences for the over-75s. You can listen to it here by scrolling one hour and eight minutes into the recording.
The Prime Minister's plane landed in Japan yesterday. This is her swansong G20 conference. She had a meeting with Pres. Putin today, and continues with more meetings today and tomorrow before she flies home.
The hustings roadshow moves to the West Country today where Boris and Jeremy Hunt are meeting Conservative Party members in Exeter. They are in Carlisle and Greater Manchester tomorrow. A full list can be found here.