As campaigning for the general election enters its final week, the polls continue to suggest that the gap between the Conservatives and Labour is narrower than was expected when the election was announced in April.
Representatives from the seven main parties took part in a television debate on Wednesday, however the debate itself was overshadowed by Prime Minister Theresa May’s decision not to take part despite Jeremy Corbyn’s late decision to take to the podium.
Instead the Conservatives were represented by Home Secretary Amber Rudd. The Prime Minister was repeatedly criticised during the debate, however Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson defended the decision, describing the debate as ‘a great yammering cacophony of voices’ and added that ‘Theresa May has done more campaigning than Jeremy Corbyn by miles’.
Despite Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement that the SNP would be prepared to support a Labour government on an issue-by-issue basis, Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn once again stated that the party would not form an alliance with the SNP if there was a hung Parliament, saying ‘we’re fighting this election to win’, however Theresa May told Conservative supporters ‘if you don’t want Jeremy Corbyn negotiating Brexit, you need to vote for Conservative candidates’. Corbyn has conceded though that he will discuss the possibility of a Scottish referendum on independence if Labour wins next week.
The Conservatives focused on tackling domestic abuse this week, promising to introduce tougher sentences in cases involving children and increasing support for victims.
UKIP’s Paul Nuttall continued to insist that the UK should not pay the so called ‘divorce bill’ when leaving the EU, saying ‘I don’t see why we should pay a divorce bill on top of what the UK has already paid in’. The UKIP leader also said that he would consider internment for terror suspects.
The SNP launched their manifesto this week, having postponed the launch following the Manchester attack. The party’s key policies include holding a second independence referendum, keeping Scotland in the single market, ensuring that Scotland participate in Brexit negotiations, and the introduction of a living wage of more than £10 per hour.
Also this week, Jeremy Corbyn stumbled when asked in an interview about the cost of his party’s plan to introduce free childcare for two year olds, the Liberal Democrats warned that the UK could be denied access to the EU security database after Brexit, and Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said that the entire Labour party is opposed to a second independence referendum.