Johnson’s NHS Funding Fuels Election Speculation


(Bloomberg) -- Talk of an early general election is intensifying after last week’s special election cut the U.K. government’s working majority in Parliament to one. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced new funding for the National Health Service, delivering on a key Brexit pledge while demonstrating his administration has a domestic agenda beyond leaving the European Union.

Key Developments:

  • Labour says Parliament can block no-deal Brexit in the fall
  • PM Johnson unveiled 1.8 billion pounds ($2.2 billion) in additional funding for the state-run National Health Service
  • Conservative Party Chairman James Cleverly said the government won’t “initiate” an early general election

Cleverly: Government Will Not Trigger Early Election (10 a.m.)

Speaking on Sky News, U.K. Conservative Party Chairman James Cleverly said the government won’t “initiate” an early general election, adding that voters want the government to get on with Brexit and deliver on other policies including boosting the NHS.

He also said recent spending pledges on health care and policing would be funded by economic growth, as the government invests in infrastructure including railways that will boost tax receipts. Cleverly reiterated that Boris Johnson is committed to leaving the EU with or without a deal on Oct. 31.

After the Tory party failed to hold on to its Brecon and Radnorshire seat in last week’s special election, Cleverly said he was “frustrated” that voters opting for the Brexit Party had enabled a Liberal Democrat victory.

Labour’s Ashworth Expects Election in Fall (9:10 a.m.)

Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth said he expects an early general election in the autumn, and that the main opposition party’s lackluster performance in last week’s special election -- it finished fourth -- would have no bearing on its prospects in that vote.

He also told Sky News there would be ample time for politicians to work to block a no-deal Brexit in September and October, especially when the government puts forward legislation necessary for leaving the EU. Ashworth was responding after the Telegraph reported that a senior adviser to Boris Johnson told ministers that Parliament would be unable to prevent the U.K. leaving without a deal if the government opted to do so.

“We will use all the means available to us” to prevent a no-deal Brexit, Ashworth said, adding that there are former Tory ministers now on the backbenches willing to assist.

Cummings Says MPs Can’t Stop No-Deal Exit: Report (Earlier)

Dominic Cummings, a senior adviser to Boris Johnson, told ministers and officials last week that members of Parliament won’t be able to stop a no-deal Brexit even if the government loses a no-confidence vote in September, the Telegraph newspaper reported, citing people familiar with the briefings.

The prime minister would have the power to schedule an election for after the Oct. 31 Brexit deadline, the newspaper reported Cummings as saying, meaning the U.K. would leave regardless of the efforts of MPs to prevent it. He also said Johnson’s Conservatives would win an election, according to the report.

No-Deal Pain Starting to Hit Irish Companies (Earlier)

Ireland’s biggest companies are getting a taste of the pain that could come from the U.K. crashing out of the EU without a deal. The country’s ISEQ All-Share Index has been the worst performing benchmark in Europe, the Middle East and Africa since Boris Johnson became U.K. prime minister, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Johnson Adds NHS Funding to Meet Brexit Vow (Earlier)

Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled 1.8 billion pounds in additional funding for the NHS, delivering on a pledge made during the 2016 Brexit referendum campaign. The money will be used to add hospital beds, wards and cutting-edge equipment, according to a statement from the prime minister’s office.


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