Election Post #4: Week Four

May 16, 2017

The fourth week of campaigning was opened with Theresa and Phillip May appearing as guests on the One Show. During the interview, Mrs May caused a small controversy when she proclaimed that there are 'boy's jobs and girl's jobs'. One the same day, Labour officially launched its campaign with the slogan 'for the many, not the few'. Mr Corbyn warned that 'the elites want to hijack Brexit' and Ed Miliband accused the Conservatives of stealing Labour's 2015 pledges on an energy price cap. 

Following Labour's campaign launch on Tuesday, one of the more bizarre episodes of the campaign began on Thursday with the leaking of the party's draft manifesto. Neither wing of the party took responsibility for the leak but for both sides, it could be seen as beneficial. Some of the key policies leaked included the nationalisation of the railway network and other key industries, the abolition of university tuition fees and increases in spending on health and education. The leaked manifesto has been dubbed the most left-wing in the party's recent history and faced criticism from the press. Despite this criticism, the party's National Executive Committee approved the manifesto with few changes. Gordon Brown made his first speech of the campaign at Jaguar Land Rover in Coventry with the city's three Labour candidates, Geoffrey Robinson (Coventry North West), Jim Cunningham (Coventry South) and Colleen Fletcher (Coventry North East). Jeremy Corbyn, meanwhile, promised to end a 'rigged economy' and the party has pledged an extra £37bn for the NHS. Mr Corbyn also appeared at an event in London where he outlined his Foreign Policy plans, the Conservatives were quick to point out the weaknesses with his positions and made links with some of his previous comments in connection with the IRA. In a fiery interview on the Andrew Marr Show, Emily Thornberry accused Sir Michael Fallon of hypocrisy and told him that he was 'talking bollocks' when he suggested that she had said a Labour government would surrender the Falklands Islands. Jeremy Corbyn's team dismissed that 100 Labour MPs are planning to split from the party if it loses the election and John McDonnell said that there no divisions between himself and Angela Rayner over the decision to promise the abolition of tuition fees. 

The Conservatives breathed a sigh of relief on Wednesday when the CPS announced that they would not be taking any further action with regards to the 2015 election spending scandal that has been bubbling in the background for the last few weeks. Mrs May commented that whilst an error had been made, individual candidates had done nothing wrong. The Prime Minister has campaigned across many traditional Labour headlands, visiting seats in West Yorkshire, the Midlands and the North East. Mrs May has accused Labour of deserting working class voters and has tried to position the Conservatives as the party on the side of the workers. The Conservatives have pledged to raise defence spending each year by 0.5 percent more than inflation and the Prime Minister has promised that the 2010 and 2015 commitment to cut net migration to the 'tens of thousands' will remain in the party's manifesto. This decision has come under fire from some Conservatives, who commented that keeping the promise is a mistake as they believe that the target is unlikely to be met. When asked how Britain would cope without European Courts after Brexit, David Davis commented that British courts are good enough and Mrs May took part in a Facebook-live Q and A session with Robert Peston, where a surprise question came from Jeremy Corbyn. Mr Corbyn challenged the Prime Minister to take part in television debates with him but Mrs May dismissed the challenge and claimed that it would be more beneficial for voters to have the opportunity to her questions.

Tim Farron's party has promised to legalise cannabis, increase paternity leave to one month and to boost education spending by £7bn. Whilst speaking at the Royal College of Nursing conference in Liverpool, Mr Farron spoke out that NHS workers are being 'treated like dirt' and promised to increase spending on the health service. UKIP has committed to introducing a 'one in- one out' immigration policy and Paul Nuttall has been mocked by the press after he appeared to be walking on the spot in his party's campaign launch video. Plaid Cymru launched their manifesto in Rhondda, promising to protect Wales from a 'tidal wave' of 'attacks from the Tories'. The party has also said that they will give Wales a strong voice during the upcoming Brexit negotiations. Nicola Sturgeon has accused Labour and the Conservatives of stealing SNP policies and has said that she wants a place for Scotland in the Brexit negotiations. 

What are the polls saying?

The Conservatives remain in the high 40s, sitting on an average of 48 percent; the last 10 GB wide polls have all had the Conservatives over 45 percent. For Labour, the picture has continued to improve with the party hitting 30 percent in our six-poll rolling average for the first time in several months. 7 out of the last 10 GB wide polls have had Labour on or above 30 percent, the most recent Panelbase had Mr Corbyn's party on 33 percent. This is the party's best score in an opinion poll since an Ipsos MORI poll put them on 33 percent in November 2016. UKIP and the Liberal Democrats have both seen their share decline. The Liberal Democrats down to 8.2 percent and UKIP down significantly to 4.8. The Greens are currently averaging 2.8 percent and are scoring between 2 and 5 percent in individual polls. Recent polls suggest that voters are continuing to polarise to the two main parties with them currently accounting for an average share of 77.8 percent. The high Conservative lead still points to a large Conservative majority. Regional polling conducted by YouGov showed the Conservatives ahead in six regions with Labour ahead in London and the North East and tied with the Conservatives in the North West, the poll showed an SNP lead in Scotland, but with their share down on 2015 and the Conservatives in a firm second place ahead of Labour.

Projection at the end of week 4: Conservative Majority of 120. 

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