In Depth

General election 2019 manifestos: what the main parties stand for

With just two days left before Britain votes, what are the party pledges?

After a disastrous day on the campaign trail yesterday, Boris Johnson has ensured that the NHS will be firmly on the Conservatives’ agenda for the final days of the election campaign.

The Tories – with their clear “get Brexit done” message – would rather have leaving the EU at the forefront of voters’ minds ahead of Thursday’s vote, with issues such as the health service and public spending playing directly into Labour’s hands.

According to Ipsos MORI polling, healthcare has surged in importance to voters over the past month, rising from being the priority for 36% of voters to 54%. Only Brexit is above the NHS, with 57% of the electorate saying that leaving the EU is the biggest issue facing Britain.

Meanwhile, the smaller parties are still fighting to be heard, with last night’s Question Time under-30s’ special giving Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson the opportunity to land a few hits on her opponents before Britain goes to the polls.

So with just three days remaining before the UK decides, what are the parties promising voters?

Conservative Party (leader: Boris Johnson)

A returning Tory government would aim to put Johnson’s EU withdrawal agreement through Parliament before Christmas in order to meet the 31 January Brexit deadline.

The prime minister would then seek to negotiate a new trade deal with the EU, but has ruled out extending the transition period beyond the end of the year  - fuelling "suspicions that a no-deal at the end of 2020 remains the aim of hard-line Tory MPs”, says The Independent.

Elsewhere, the Tories have promised to allocate more money for schools, and to recruit an additional 20,000 police officers. The PM has also pledged to put more money into the NHS, with funding for a potential 40 new hospitals.

Best odds of winning most seats: 1/20

Best odds of winning majority : 1/3

Labour Party (leader: Jeremy Corbyn)

Labour would renegotiate a “sensible” Brexit deal with the EU within three months of being elected. The party wants a deal that keeps the UK allied to the EU through a close single market relationship and a new customs union.

legally binding referendum would then be held offering this new deal versus an option to remain in the EU - and all UK residents would be granted full voting rights.

Labour would also increase expenditure across the health sector, by an annual average of 4.3% - boosting NHS budgets by about £7bn a year.

Other pledges include £5.5bn a year more funding for schools, and a programme of nationalisation of key public services.

And the party would make changes to the tax system that would see the highest 5% of earners - those bringing home £80k+ a year - paying slightly more, while corporation tax would go from 19% to 26%, to pump more money into the Exchequer.

Best odds of winning most seats: 14/1   

Best odds of winning majority : 28/1

Liberal Democrats (leader: Jo Swinson)

The Lib Dems are totally clear about their No. 1 policy, with the words “Stop Brexit” appearing in large capital letters on the front of their manifesto.

The party would revoke Article 50 immediately if voted into government, effectively cancelling Brexit without a public referendum.

Beyond the issue of Brexit, the Lib Dems have plans to invest in the NHS and public transport, while increasing government focus on the climate emergency. The party is also committed to protecting the union, with Swinson previously telling the London Evening Standard: "There is no way you are going to take away my Britishness. I’m Scottish, British, European. I have to fight for that.”

Best odds of winning most seats: 500/1

Best odds of winning majority: 300/1

Scottish National Party (leader: Nicola Sturgeon)

Scotland voted Remain in 2016, as the SNP has repeatedly reminded Westminister. The party is pushing for a second referendum on membership of the EU, with Sturgeon pledging to “escape Brexit and put Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands”.

The party’s main policy is to secure another vote on independence for Scotland. Sturgeon has made it clear that an independence vote will be a primary demand if a Labour minority government seeks a post-election deal.

The SNP is also likely to oppose austerity, welfare reforms and the Tories’ “hostile environment” immigration policy. Votes for 16-year-olds is another long-standing policy backed by the Scottish party.

Brexit Party (leader: Nigel Farage)

Nigel Farage’s upstart party is all about getting the hardest possible Brexit, as soon as possible. The Brexit Party advocates a “clean Brexit”, meaning no-deal; full freedom to trade around the world; and total extraction of the UK from EU institutions. Farage has been campaigning to pull out of the EU since the 1990s, but even the deal previously put forward by Johnson, which included paying a so-called “divorce bill” to the EU, was not a pure enough Brexit to gain his support.

Aside from the issue of Brexit, Farage has promised a new net migration cap, halving overseas aid, and reforming the first-past-the-post voting system.

His party will fight only 275 seats in the upcoming election, after Farage stood down candidates in the 317 seats won by the Tories in 2017, in order to avoid splitting the Leave vote.

Best odds of winning most seats: 500/1

Best odds of winning majority: 300/1

Green Party (co-leaders: Sian Berry and Jonathan Bartley) 

The Greens were pro-Remain in the 2016 EU referendum and “continue to believe that membership of the EU makes our future more hopeful and secure”.

The party would legislate, through a People’s Vote Bill, for a confirmatory referendum on any Brexit deal, with the option to reject the agreement and remain in the EU.

Unsurprisingly, the Greens say their environmental policies are “at the heart of everything” that the party does, and has promised £100bn a year in funding by 2030 to help tackle the climate crisis.

The Greens would also increase NHS funding by £6bn a year by 2030, as well as scrapping Trident and tuition fees and nationalising the railways.

Best odds of winning most seats: 1,000/1  

Best odds of winning majority: 2,000/1

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