Good morning and welcome to your Monday morning briefing. We are at the midway point of the election campaign – two and a half weeks down, two and a half to go. We have a roundup for you of the election news and the best of the rest. You can follow our rolling politics news on the liveblog.
What’s going on?
You’ve heard of take-out-the-trash day? That’s when a government wants to bury a story and publishes it while the attention of voters is elsewhere. John Crace suggest this strategy was at play when the Conservatives launched their campaign manifesto on a Sunday, “a day when almost everyone would either be watching football, Sir David Attenborough or Countryfile”. Crace writes that the Tories managed to deliver “a manifesto with almost nothing in it”.
The manifesto is conspicuous for its lack of eye-catching policies, with Larry Elliott writing that Johnson is “seeking to run down the clock” with a “cautious, tepid manifesto”. One thing it does tell us is the stark difference between the public spending plans outlined by the two parties, with Johnson promising to fork out £2.9bn more a year, against the £83bn outlined by Jeremy Corbyn. Among the headline promises is that the Conservatives would deliver 50,000 nurses, a line that we have fact-checked and found somewhat wanting.
Corbyn will be in the East Midlands today talking about the housing crisis, as Labour prepares to announce a plan to compel property developers to meet the costs of building at least 50,000 discounted homes as part of a package of measures to help renters and first-time buyers.
Best of the rest
> Hong Kong’s voters have turned out in record numbers to deliver a landslide for pro-democracy campaigners in local elections, handing them control of every one of the region’s 18 councils for the first time.
The results are a rebuke to China’s government and its Hong Kong CEO in a vote widely seen as a proxy referendum on the city’s protest movement. Prominent pro-Beijing candidates were evicted from previously safe seats.
> Leaked Communist party files show the internal workings of the vast chain of internment camps China has used to detain at least a million people from Muslim minorities. Some of the rules for what China says are vocational training centres: “Never allow escapes, never allow trouble … There must be full video surveillance coverage of dormitories and classrooms … Adhere to the daily concentrated study of the national language (Mandarin).” The papers reveal how China maintains a vast database on people it sees as threats, including dual nationals moving in and out of the country – even using a particular file-sharing app can get you flagged for “re-education”. Closer to home, extensive links between British universities and Chinese defence companies, including missile manufacturers, could threaten UK national security interests, says an analysis.
> Congressional Republicans have dug in to defend Donald Trump, no matter what untruths they need to tell to try and undermine the impeachment inquiry, while the White House is preparing for a senate trial that would determine whether the president stays in office. Meanwhile the US navy secretary, Richard Spencer, has been removed after a row with the White House over his handling of the case of Edward Gallagher, a Navy Seal officer convicted for posing with an Isis fighter’s corpse.