General election 2019 latest: are you having a laugh?
The Week’s daily round-up of how the election campaign is unfolding
After three-and-a-half years of Brexit battling that has culminated in yet another general election, the British public is in need of a good laugh.
Thankfully, last night’s leaders’ debate between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn on ITV provided plenty of amusement.
Johnson’s claim to believe that “truth matters” provoked laughter from the studio audience, who were clearly well aware of the prime minister’s reputation for telling fibs. One mistruth that he repeated last night was that the Tories have plans in place to build 40 new hospitals - a claim that has been proven to be false by fact checkers.
Corbyn also generated titters, by claiming that his position on Brexit was clear. Although the Labour Party’s plans have been outlined - negotiate a new deal within three months and then hold a referendum on it within six - Corbyn has never said which side he would back in a People’s Vote.
But the biggest joke of the night wasn’t all that funny - the Conservative Campaign Headquarters rebranded its Twitter account as “factcheckUK” before firing off a series of anti-Labour posts during the debate. Twitter said the move was “an attempt to mislead people” and warned that “decisive corrective action” would be taken if CCHQ reoffended.
Elsewhere, the Lib Dems have promised to recruit 20,000 new teachers and reverse school cuts with an “emergency cash injection” of £4.6bn next year. During the party’s last term in office, in coalition with the Tories from 2010 to 2015, the Institute for Fiscal Studies found that public spending on education in the UK was falling at the fastest rate since the 1950s.