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Leaked Tory dossier details 'attack lines' for candidates

Sky News logo Sky News 02/11/2019

a screenshot of a cell phone: The document looks to counter the electoral threat posed by the Brexit Party © Other The document looks to counter the electoral threat posed by the Brexit Party A confidential Tory election dossier obtained by Sky News reveals details of the "attack messages" and "lines to take" for candidates at the upcoming election.

The leaking of the 22-page internal briefing document is likely to embarrass Conservative HQ as it exposes the party's strategy ahead of the 12 December poll.

It also reveals areas where the party feels it may be vulnerable to claims by opponents, such as on the NHS, with suggested responses.

Notably, the language of austerity and deficit reduction of previous manifestos has gone with the focus now on the raft of spending pledges made by the prime minister, which recently led a former Treasury chief to accuse the government of "fiscal incontinence".

A Union flag waves against the backdrop of the clock facade of the Elizabeth Tower, which holds the bell known as “Big Ben”, in London, Friday, Nov. 1, 2019. British euroskeptic politician Nigel Farage is trying to ramp up the pressure on Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson. He warned that his Brexit Party will run against the Conservatives across the country in the Dec. 12 general election unless Johnson abandons his divorce deal with the European Union.  (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali) © ASSOCIATED PRESS A Union flag waves against the backdrop of the clock facade of the Elizabeth Tower, which holds the bell known as “Big Ben”, in London, Friday, Nov. 1, 2019. British euroskeptic politician Nigel Farage is trying to ramp up the pressure on Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson. He warned that his Brexit Party will run against the Conservatives across the country in the Dec. 12 general election unless Johnson abandons his divorce deal with the European Union. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)

Sections in the guide for candidates in seats where the Lib Dems are the main opponents, include "Getting Brexit Done", "Liberal Democrat Hypocrisy" and "Good news on the economy".

There is also a Q&A with suggested responses to potentially awkward questions ranging from the NHS and US trade talks, through to when will Brexit happen and party political donations.

Looking to counter the electoral threat posed by Nigel Farage it acknowledges people "might like what the Brexit Party say", but warns a vote for them will "let Labour and the Lib Dems in".

a screenshot of a social media post: There is also a Q&A with suggested responses to potentially awkward questions © Other There is also a Q&A with suggested responses to potentially awkward questions

Suggested attack lines include saying "the Brexit Party is simply UKIP rebranded" and claiming it "harbours politicians with extreme views".

On Labour, the document says that Jeremy Corbyn would "wreck the economy", while claiming the party had shown "they have no interest in controlling immigration".

Here is a taste from the Q&A:

  • When will Brexit happen? We want to leave the EU with the prime minister's new deal. We can do that if we get a majority in this election, deliver Brexit as soon as possible so we can move on.
  • Donations from X? All donations to the Conservative Party are properly and transparently declared to the Electoral Commission, published by them, and comply fully with the law.
  • MPs standing down at this election? We want to pay tribute to all the fantastic MPs who have achieved much in public life and we are saddened about the news of some of our excellent colleagues standing down. We should not tolerate abuse online - and call it out wherever it occurs, on whatever side of the political spectrum.
  • Will the NHS be part of trade talks with the USA? No. Under no circumstances would we agree to any free trade deal that put the NHS on the table. The prime minister and the health secretary have been clear that it is not for sale.

a screenshot of a cell phone: The internal briefing details 'lines to take' for Conservative candidates © Other The internal briefing details 'lines to take' for Conservative candidates

Some of the attack lines on political opponents:

  • On the Liberal Democrats - "No matter what they say now, a vote for the Liberal Democrats would risk putting Corbyn in Downing Street - with dodgy election pacts already happening across the country."
  • On the Brexit Party - "You might like what the Brexit Party say, but you won't like what they deliver."
  • On Labour - "Labour do not know how to handle the economy and have always left unemployment higher than they found it."

In pictures: This week’s top images from around the world [The Atlantic]

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