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30 July 2019updated 05 Oct 2023 8:35am

Five things you need to know today: Alastair Campbell ends fight to rejoin Labour

By New Statesman

The party’s over

Alastair Campbell has said he no longer wishes to be a Labour Party member, warning that Jeremy Corbyn is poised to lose the next general election against Boris Johnson and destroy the party “as a political force capable of winning power”. In an open letter to Corbyn, Tony Blair’s former No 10 director of communications, who originally intended to fight his expulsion from Labour for voting Liberal Democrat in the European elections, wrote: “With some sadness but absolute certainty, I have reached the conclusion that I no longer wish to stay in the party, even if I should be successful in my appeal or legal challenge.” Campbell added in his article for the New European:  “I see no strategy in place that remotely meets the electoral or policy challenges ahead.” 

Johnson visits Wales as farmers warn of “civil unrest”

Boris Johnson has insisted that UK agriculture can thrive after Brexit as he visits Wales for the first time as Prime Minister. Johnson’s trip follows a warning by the Farmers’ Union of Wales president of “civil unrest” in Welsh rural areas if the UK leaves the EU with no deal. Johnson said: “I will always back Britain’s great farmers … that means scrapping the Common Agricultural Policy and signing new trade deals”. Johnson will also meet Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford who has warned that the government has “no public mandate for a no-deal Brexit”.

Sterling’s slide continues

The pound fell to a 28-month low against the dollar on Monday as fears grew of a no-deal Brexit. Sterling dropped to below $1.23 against the US dollar and fell sharply against the euro to below €1.10 on the international currency markets. At 6am today it stood at $1.2131 and €1.0890. Investors were alarmed after cabinet minister Michael Gove, who is leading preparations for no deal, stated that the government is “working on the assumption” of that outcome. Analysts at ING Group said the pound could fall as low as €1.05 and $1.18 over the coming months. 

Trump denounced for “venom” against black people

Donald Trump has faced new accusations of racism after referring to Democratic representative Elijah Cummings’ majority-black Baltimore district as a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess” where “no human being would want to live”. In response, the US civil rights leader and Baptist minister Al Sharpton said that Trump “attacks everybody” but had a “particular venom for blacks and people of color”. The US President replied to criticism by describing Cummings as “racist” and said he should “focus more of his energy on helping the good people of his district”.

Johnson’s spin doctor was Daily Mirror chicken

Boris Johnson’s new director of communications once wore a chicken costume in order to heckle Conservative politicians, according to his former employer. The Daily Mirror said that Lee Cain, who served as a press aide to Johnson at the Foreign Office, played the traditional role of “Mirror chicken” while a journalist for the newspaper. Cain, who also worked as head of broadcast for Vote Leave, was apparently pictured in the costume confronting David Cameron and his wife Samantha during the 2010 general election campaign. 

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