Tuesday briefing: Trump hurtles headlong into UK election

Kate Lyons and Warren Murray
The Guardian
<span>Photograph: Tom Brenner/Reuters</span>
Photograph: Tom Brenner/Reuters

Donald Trump has landed, touching down at Stansted overnight for two days of meetings over Nato – an organisation he is openly ambivalent about. Conservatives will be hoping he keeps quiet and doesn’t try to “help” their electoral fortunes. Read on for the latest election news, and the best of the rest – and don’t forget to follow our live politics coverage as the day progresses.

What’s going on?

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Donald Trump’s presence in London today for Nato meetings is causing jitters in the Conservative camp, as the Tories worry about the US president’s unpredictability and tendency to say things without necessarily thinking through the consequences.

Trump is being seen as a potential liability for Boris Johnson in the campaign, amid Labour’s accusations that a US-UK trade deal will lead to an NHS sell-off and higher drug prices for Britons. Rowena Mason writes that Johnson will seek to play down his relationship with the president in light of those accusations.

Johnson has made clear he would not welcome any input from Trump at such a sensitive time in the campaign, after the US president offered his endorsement over the summer. But Trump has a full two days in the UK and is expected to give a press conference on Wednesday. The Tories will be hopeful he says little or nothing to inflame voter fears.

Trump will be among Nato leaders attending a banquet with the Queen tonight at Buckingham Palace. NHS nurses and doctors will lead a “Hands off our NHS” protest starting at Trafalgar Square then heading down the Mall to arrive at Canada Gate, opposite the palace.

Also protesting outside Buckingham Palace will be the family of Harry Dunn, the 19-year-old who was killed in a motorbike crash in Northamptonshire in August. Anne Sacoolas, the 42-year-old motorist allegedly responsible, claimed diplomatic immunity and was allowed to return to the US.

Meanwhile the Conservatives face ongoing accusations of politicising a tragedy in their response to the London Bridge terror attack. One of Johnson’s ministers has been accused of using the “Trump playbook” and Dave Merritt, father of victim Jack Merritt, has written a powerful piece in the Guardian saying his son “would be seething at his death, and his life, being used to perpetuate an agenda of hate that he gave his everything fighting against”.

At a glance

The day ahead

Boris Johnson is expected to be campaigning in south-west England.

Jeremy Corbyn is due to give a speech in London on workers’ rights.

Jo Swinson is expected to visit a farm in the east of England.

Nato leaders are gathering for the alliance summit over Tuesday and Wednesday. The main talks will take place tomorrow near Watford and Johnson will break off from election campaigning to play host.

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Best of the rest

> The UK’s six richest people control as much wealth as the poorest 13 million, according to research by the Equality Trust. They are businessmen Gopichand and Srichand Hinduja (£12.8bn); Sir Jim Ratcliffe, boss of Ineos chemicals (£9.2bn); hedge fund manager Michael Platt (£6.1bn); and property developers David and Simon Reuben (£5.7bn each). Their combined fortune of £39.4bn jars very heavily with news that at least 135,000 children in Britain will spend Christmas homeless – the worst it has been in 12 years. Polly Neate from Shelter said: “Day in, day out we see the devastating impact the housing emergency is having on children across the country. They are being uprooted from friends; living in cold, cramped B&Bs and going to bed at night scared by the sound of strangers outside.”

> Police have arrested a man aged 51 on suspicion of murder after a 12-year-old boy died in what police believe was a deliberate hit and run outside a school in Essex. Four teenagers and a woman in her 50s were also hurt during the incident in Loughton. “As a school and a community, we are devastated,” said Helen Gascoyne, the headteacher of Debden Park high school, as she confirmed the boy who died was one of her students.

> Prince Andrew faces renewed pressure after his accuser Virginia Giuffre, formerly Roberts, went on BBC Panorama to underline allegations she was trafficked to have sex with him by Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell when she was aged 17.

Panorama said it had uncovered a 2015 email from Andrew to Maxwell where he wrote: “Let me know when we can talk. Got some specific questions to ask you about Virginia Roberts.” Maxwell replied: “Have some info. Call me when you have a moment.” The prince, 59, has stood down from public duties over his relationship with Epstein but has consistently and categorically denied the sex allegations.

Today in Focus podcast: When should jailed terrorists be freed?

After the attack in London, political parties are blaming each other. Jamie Grierson reviews the evidence on sentencing and rehabilitation. Plus: Patrick Wintour on the arrival of Donald Trump for the Nato summit.

Lunchtime read: What vox pops taught us about Britain

Vox pops may attract criticism but they can tell you things that opinion polling and election data still can’t. John Harris and John Domokos report back on 10 years of talking to the people of the UK for the Anywhere but Westminster series.


The rain-hit second Test between New Zealand and England was called off as a draw and with it the hosts secured a 1-0 series win – their fifth in a row at home. Megan Rapinoe’s lifting of the Ballon d’Or adds to a stunning year for the 34-year-old forward – a World Cup, Golden Ball, Golden Boot, Fifa best player of the year is joined by perhaps the most coveted individual prize.

Barney Ronay writes that no matter how glossy the Amazon product, Premier League fans are still being sold the same things they already owned in the first place. In boxing, Anthony Joshua has adopted a “prison mindset” and become even more dedicated in his search for redemption against Andy Ruiz Jr in Saudi Arabia on Saturday night. Lewis Hamilton would be welcome at Ferrari, says Charles Leclerc, with the Formula One world champion not ruling out a move to the Italian team.


Asian shares have slipped after technology companies led a broad slide for stocks on Wall Street on Monday. Trade tensions flared after China retaliated for US support of protesters in Hong Kong, putting investors in a selling mood. New US tariffs are scheduled for 15 December on $160bn worth of Chinese products including smartphones and laptops. Sterling is coming in at $1.294 and €1.168 while the FTSE is trending slightly upwards ahead of the open.

The papers

The Guardian’s front page gives full voice to Dave Merritt, father of London Bridge attack victim Jack Merritt, leading with a striking quote from the piece he wrote for the paper: “Jack would be livid his death has been used to further an agenda of hate”. The Express also quotes Dave Merritt: “Extinguish hatred with his kindness”. The Times goes with the law and order angle in the wake of the attack: “Two hundred extremists face curbs on movement”.

The further shaming of Prince Andrew leads in other places. “Andrew’s new TV humiliation” is how the Mail portrays it, while “Trafficked for Andrew” says the Metro. Brexit implications lead the FT: “Deregulation would threaten City’s access to markets, Brussels warns”.

“Corbyn dossier ‘points to Russians’” says the Telegraph as it questions the provenance and authenticity of the “NHS for sale” documents (Labour says the government has not denied the papers are real). “Murder at the school gates” says the Mirror after a car ploughed into schoolchildren, killing a boy aged 12. The Sun says Boris Johnson will today warn about how “Red Jez” is a “security risk” to the UK – the “Jez” in questions being Jeremy Corbyn of course.

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