Policy North Election Update: 27th May

Monday’s appalling attack in Manchester brought a halt to party divisions, with national campaigning suspended until Friday.

The week began with a Conservative U-turn on social care  after the plans were set out during the party’s manifesto launch. Theresa May announced that there will now be a cap on social care costs under the policy, however the Prime Minister denied that this was a backtrack on repeatedly stating that the party was simply clarifying the policy they had already proposed. The U turn could help to explain two new polls released on Friday that show that the gap between the Conservatives and Labour has narrowed once again.

UKIP launched their manifesto on Thursday, with leader Paul Nuttall pledging to ‘cut out the cancer of Islamic fundamentalism’ with a ‘patriotic agenda for defending our country and our way of life’. Significant policies announced on Thursday include aiming to cut net migration to zero within five years, banning the wearing of face coverings in public places, and an extra £11bn in funding per year for the NHS by 2022. The Green Party also held their manifesto launch this week. Caroline Lucas set out plans to protect the NHS and free movement, while the SNP postponed their launch until next week following the attack in Manchester.

As campaigning resumed on Friday, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn drew criticism for comments made in a speech in which he stated that Labour would change foreign policy to one that ‘reduces rather than increases the threat to our country, saying that ‘the war on terror is simply not working’. While his comments support his long-term opposition to military action in Iraq and Syria, the timing of his comments following the Manchester attack was criticised, with the Lib Dems’ Tim Farron saying ‘Jeremy Corbyn has chosen to use that grotesque act to make a political point’, while Security Minister Ben Wallace described the timing of Mr Corbyn’s comments as ‘crass’. 

In other news this week, Labour announced plans on Monday to axe tuition fees even for students starting university this autumn as Jeremy Corbyn pledged to ensure that university education is available for all, and the think tank the IFS said on Friday that the Conservatives and Labour are not being open with voters about the economic consequences of their policies.