General election 2019: Parties in final campaign push as poll nears

Main party leaders

The main political party leaders are continuing to push their election pledges to voters, as the campaign enters its final few days.

Conservative leader Boris Johnson says in a open letter that Thursday’s poll is “historic” and a choice to “move forwards” after Brexit.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn says the election is a “chance to vote for hope” and he has “the most ambitious plan to transform our country in decades”.

The UK goes to the polls on Thursday.

With just four days to go, the candidates are travelling around the country in a bid to spread their election messages.

Among the manifesto pledges being highlighted by the main UK parties on Sunday are:

  • a Conservative promise to introduce an Australian-style points-based immigration system to control unskilled migration
  • a Labour plan to “head off the social care crisis” by offering free personal care for older people and an additional £10bn of funds by 2023-4
  • a so-called regional rebalancing programme from the Lib Dems, which would see £50bn invested in infrastructure outside of London

Meanwhile, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon is warning “the very future of Scotland” is at stake in the election.

She is appealing to voters to back her party “to escape Brexit, protect the NHS, and to put Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands”.

In his letter to voters published in the Mail on Sunday, Mr Johnson says the election will be one that “shapes future decades” – describing it as “a choice is between a working Conservative majority government that will get Brexit done, end the uncertainty and allow Britain to move on”.

‘High stakes’

The Tories are also highlighting their pledge for an Australian-style points-based immigration system that it would introduce from January 2021.

Writing in the Sunday Express, Home Secretary Priti Patel said the proposed system will attract the best talent that our country and our economy needs, while reducing overall numbers, especially low skilled immigration.”

In the Sunday Telegraph, Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove cautions against paying too much attention to opinion polls, saying “this election is on a knife edge”.

He adds: “Just a handful of votes are the difference between moving Britain forward with a Conservative majority, or backwards with another hung parliament.  The stakes could hardly be higher.”

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Boris Johnson is touring the UK before Thursday’s election

Labour is restating its plan to help alleviate pressure in social care through the introduction of free personal care for older people.

‘Vote to stop Brexit’

The party says its new funding will help working age adults and pensioners with care costs, which will also be capped under the proposals.

According to the King’s Fund, providing free personal care would require an additional £6bn on top of planned spending by 2020-21, taking the social care budget to roughly £26bn.

Labour is also talking about its own research on the issue, which it says shows 9,290 people have approached their local authority since April 2017 for help with care costs after draining their savings.

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Labour have pledged to provide free care for older people to end what the party says is a “crisis in social care”

The Lib Dems say their plans will “address the historic investment disparities between our nations and regions”.

Its regional rebalancing programme for infrastructure outside London would boost railway electrification, increasing the availability of charging points for electric vehicles and improve broadband access. 

Liberal Democrat deputy leader Ed Davey said: “Neither Labour or the Tories can square their spending promises today with the cost of Brexit. They are writing promises on cheques that will bounce…

“Every vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote to stop Brexit so we can invest billions across the UK, helping to tackle ingrained inequality.”

‘Real change’

On Friday, shadow chancellor John McDonnell again vowed there would be “no deals” with the SNP in the event of the party forming a minority government.

But in his letter, the prime minister claims that if his party did not win, a “nightmare alliance” between Labour and the SNP “will become a reality”.

Mr Johnson says he wants to focus on people’s priorities, including urgent investment in the NHS and action on the cost of living.

Speaking ahead of the last stretch on the campaign trail, Mr Corbyn says Mr Johnson cannot be trusted to deliver Brexit, or anything else”.

He says Labour will “rescue” the NHS and “get Brexit sorted”.

Mr Corbyn adds: “When Labour wins, the nurse wins, the pensioner wins, the student wins, the office worker wins, the engineer wins… it’s time for real change.”

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