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General Election 2019: Tories Promise Brexit And Budget In First 100 Days

BBC: Boris Johnson has promised to pass his Brexit deal and bring a Budget within 100 days if he is elected PM.

The Tory leader says it would include his pledge to raise the National Insurance threshold to £9,500, along with cash for schools and the NHS.

Chancellor Sajid Javid said he did not have a “single doubt” a Conservative government could then agree a trade deal with the EU by the end of 2020.

But Labour said Tories only offered “more of the same failure”.

The Lib Dems called the Conservative plans “pure fantasy”, while the SNP warned there were seven days left to “lock” Mr Johnson out of Downing Street.

Voters will go to the polls on 12 December for the third election in just over four years.

Mr Johnson said he would set out his wider legislative agenda in a Queen’s Speech pencilled in for 19 December if he gets back into No 10.

He promised this would build on the programme that was approved by Parliament as recently as October, but which was then effectively mothballed after MPs voted to back an early election.

And he has committed to bringing his EU withdrawal agreement back for initial approval by MPs before Christmas.

In an interview with ITV’s This Morning, Mr Johnson said: “I absolutely promise if we get a working majority, if we get just nine seats more, we can be out on 31 January.”

He also said a new trade agreement with the EU could be agreed “by the end of next year”, calling it a “very exciting prospect”.

Critics say this is not enough time to negotiate such a deal, and it could lead to the UK leaving the EU without an agreement at the end of 2020.

They include former Tory Justice Secretary – and now independent candidate – David Gauke, who said leaving without a deal would be “disastrous for the prosperity of our country… [making] whole sectors unviable”.

But Mr Javid told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this outcome was an “extremely remote” possibility, as negotiating teams had already “agreed the outline” of a free trade agreement.

“Of course there is going to be some detail to discuss,” he added. “But the important thing that’s taking us forward is that we know exactly what we want, the EU has accepted that, it works for them, it works for us.

“Because there is an agreement, there is not a single doubt in mind it can be agreed within months and we can get it through Parliament in 2020.”

The chancellor also said that, because the UK was leaving the EU after being “fully aligned” with its rules, this made negotiations easier than for other trade deals.

Tory blueprint

Mr Johnson’s plan for the first 100 days gives a timetable to a number of his existing pledges from the campaign trail, including:

  • Raising the National Insurance threshold, which the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies says will save workers about £85 per year
  • Ending the automatic release of serious violent and sexual offenders
  • Increasing the amount migrants pay for using the NHS
  • Finalising an agreement with mobile operators over countryside coverage

The Conservatives have also said they would introduce a number of pieces of legislation in the 100-day timeframe to take the first steps on other promises including:

  • A law to raise minimum per pupil funding in schools
  • A law to ensure £33.9bn is put into the NHS each year by 2023
  • A new points-based immigration system
  • The roll-out of gigabit broadband

Mr Johnson said: “This is the most important election in a generation – important because it will define if we go forward as a country or remain stuck, stalled, repeating the same arguments of the last three years with yet more damaging uncertainty.”

But Labour, which is making an announcement of its own on schools funding on Thursday, said the Conservatives’ record in office over the past nine-and-a-half years was one of total failure.

“In those days we’ve seen child poverty soar, rising homelessness, rising food bank use, and violent crime is up too while the NHS has more people waiting for operations, and record staff vacancies,” said shadow communities secretary Andrew Gwynne.

“As the Conservatives approach 3,500 days of failure, it’s clear that more of the same failed austerity, privatisation and tax giveaways for the few is not the answer.”

And as she prepared to embark on a week-long election bus tour, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said her party was the only one in Scotland capable of thwarting Mr Johnson’s “extreme Brexit”.

“If Boris Johnson wins a majority in seven days’ time, Scotland will be dragged out of Europe within just eight weeks,” she said.

“We have seven days to escape Brexit, lock Boris Johnson out of office and put Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands.”

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