In lots of ways this is a complicated election. Derbyshire is not the same as Dundee, Birmingham is not the same as Bangor. Westminster sure isn't the same as Widnes - and London, maybe above all else, isn't the same as Linlithgow, Leeds or Ludlow. There are a multitude of contenders as well - not just the traditional parties, but the SNP and Plaid Cymru, the Brexit Party, what remains of the Independent Group for Change, moveable tribes of party defectors and a clutch of independents as well. But as we enter the last seven days of this election, in our first-past-the-post system, whether you believe it is the best or the worst of all worlds, the choice irrevocably, and inevitably perhaps, moves towards the two big teams - the reds and the blues, and the two big, flawed, characters of Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn. At the start of this campaign we talked here about how, in a strange way, they are an odd couple who share some traits. And on the trail that has been shown, again and … [Read more...] about General election 2019: With less than a week to go, what’s changed?
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Jo Swinson's campaign has got bogged down in questions about the campaign itself, and messages about the manifesto have struggled. Spending plans are ambitious, notably on childcare, but less so than Labour. There would be funding consequences for Holyrood, and some vague talk of "alignment". Among the big themes for change is much that would affect business, including a shift towards stronger employment rights. "In the brighter Liberal Democrat future, children will be happier". Liberal Democrats have produced a meaty set of policy proposals in their manifesto. The question for them in this election campaign remains: Is anyone listening?The dynamics of the campaign have given Jo Swinson less opportunity to match the two lead contenders for occupancy of 10 Downing Street.One or two-dimensional messaging on nightly news programmes has left her only the opportunity to sound strident about being against Brexit. It's been acknowledged that starting the campaign with talk of Ms Swinson … [Read more...] about General election 2019: Who’s listening to the Liberals?
Plenty of promises have been made by politicians in the election campaign - but what big issues have they been quiet about?1. The UK's role in the worldOne of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's favourite slogans, Global Britain, doesn't actually appear in the Conservative manifesto. There have been arguments about potential post-Brexit trade deals with the US. Global issues such as climate change have featured prominently. And international issues were discussed during the Nato summit. But in-depth discussions about the kind of relationship the UK might want with the rest of the EU, if Brexit was to happen, have largely been avoided.Trade talks, both with the EU and other countries around the world, could be a dominant political issue for years to come. But the choices that would have to be made, and the effect they could have on businesses up and down the country, haven't been addressed in any detail. Brexit: What trade deals has the UK done so far? Rolled-over UK free trade deals 'are … [Read more...] about General election 2019: Nine big things forgotten by the parties
Sir John Major has urged people to re-elect three MPs who were expelled from the Conservatives for voting against Boris Johnson over Brexit.The ex-Tory PM is backing independent candidates David Gauke, Dominic Grieve and Anne Milton, all running against his party in the general election.Sir John said "tribal loyalties" had been loosened by Brexit.But Mr Johnson described the comments as "very sad" and "wrong", calling his predecessor's views "outdated".The Conservatives say they will take the UK out of the EU in January if they win a parliamentary majority.They say this honours the result of the 2016 referendum, in which 52% of people backed Leave. Tories promise Brexit and Budget in first 100 days PM urges Corbyn to reconsider votes for EU citizens LIVE: The latest from the election campaign In September, 21 MPs were expelled from the parliamentary Conservative Party after they had voted against the possibility of the prime minister pursuing a no-deal exit from the EU. Later, 10 of … [Read more...] about General election 2019: Major urges support for ex-Tory Brexit rebels
A battle is raging in a commuter town on the outskirts of London to unseat Boris Johnson - a prime minister defending the smallest constituency majority for nearly 100 years. A carnival floods the streets of Uxbridge. With glitter on their faces, a sea of young people follow a red Routemaster. Loud music booms from the open-top bus.Despite the rain, residents dance along with the parade as it snakes through the west London suburb, which lies 17 miles from the Houses of Parliament. Others watch with disgust as the group's occasionally lewd banners pass by. One of the less offensive reads: #KickBorisOut. Flyers are thrust into the hands of bystanders, urging them to register to vote. The rally is run by an anti-Tory group which says people here are fed up with an MP who is a "power-hungry Eton boy who lives in a million-pound house on the other side of London". That MP happens also to be the prime minister. But could Boris Johnson actually face defeat in Uxbridge and South Ruislip? Last … [Read more...] about General election 2019: Battle to unseat Boris Johnson in Uxbridge and Ruislip