In Depth

General election 2019 latest: voting is under way

The Week’s daily round-up of how the election campaign is unfolding

And we’re off! The polls are open and voters are choosing the next government in the UK’s third general election in less than five years.

Both Labour and the Conservatives have called today’s vote the “most important in a generation”, as the two sides to put their wildly different versions of the future to the people.

Polls will close at 10pm, with the results of a joint exit poll by the BBC, ITV and Sky News due to be released immediately after.

Jeremy Corbyn has teased voters this morning with a tweet saying: “I have been informed that personal images from my past have been sent to some media outlets and are set to be released today. Here's the truth.” He then shares a link that, when clicked, actually takes voters to a polling station finder.

The Labour leader has called on voters to “shock the establishment” and back “real change” by voting for his party. “We stand at a fork in the road. The choice facing you, the people of this country, tomorrow is truly historic,” he said yesterday in his final speech of the campaign.

Boris Johnson cast his vote at Westminster’s Methodist Central Hall this morning, after warning at a Tory rally last night that there was a “very real risk of another hung parliament”.

Meanwhile, police have carried out a controlled explosion near a polling station in North Lanarkshire after a suspicious device was reported. The device was found on the ground floor of Glen Tower flats in Motherwell, where a community room in the building was due to be used as a polling station.

The local council has asked all those registered to vote there to do so at a local primary school instead.

Wednesday 12 December: parties make final pitch to voters

Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson

Peter Summers/Getty Images

Britain's political parties are making their final pitches in a last-ditch bid to win over voters before the polls open in less than 24 hours.

The last day of campaigning will see Jeremy Corbyn claim that a vote for Labour is a “vote for hope”, while Boris Johnson will say - once again - that the Conservatives are the only party who will “get Brexit done”.

Jo Swinson will reiterate the Lib Dems’ anti-Brexit stance, and call on voters to back her party to stop the UK from leaving the EU.

And the Scottish National Party’s Nicola Sturgeon has gone on the attack, publishing an open letter to Johnson claiming that he is “greatest danger to Scotland of any Tory prime minister in modern times”.

The most recent polls keep the Tories in first place, but show the gap between the Conservatives and Labour shrinkingA YouGov survey puts the Tories on 43% to Labour’s 34% - which would give the Tories an overall majority of 28.

YouGov’s constituency model suggests Labour are set to make gains in the London seats of Putney and Chipping Barnet, with the Conservatives winning seats in the Midlands and north of England. The poll also predicts Tony Blair’s former constituency of Sedgefield, in County Durham, going to the Tories.

Elsewhere, Johnson has come in for criticism from the father of Jack Merritt, the 25-year-old man murdered in the London Bridge terrorist attack last month. Speaking to Sky News, Dave Merritt said that “instead of seeing a tragedy, Boris Johnson saw an opportunity”.

The prime minister wrote a Mail on Sunday article in the wake of the attack in which he promised to change sentencing laws for terrorists if voters  “send me back to No. 10”.

Meanwhile, Labour’s shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth was forced to apologise after a recording was leaked by a “friend” in which Ashworth criticised Corbyn and said he didn’t believe Labour would win the election. “It makes me look a right plonker,” he told the BBC.

Polls open at 7am tomorrow and close at 10pm.

Wednesday 11 December: parties battle over Brexit and NHS

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Tolga Akmen - WPA Pool/Getty Images

With less than 48 hours to go until the polls open, the main parties are vying to put their central messages top of the news agenda.

Boris Johnson is attempting to keep the focus on Brexit while warning of the “danger” of another hung parliament if voters do not turn out to support the Tories on Thursday.

The Tories have leaked an internal memo to The Sun saying that Jeremy Corbyn could still become prime minister and that the chances of Johnson losing the keys to No. 10 have been “seriously underestimated”.

Meanwhile, Labour is warning that NHS underfunding is putting patients at risk, and is pledging a “relentless focus” on the health service if it wins power.

Corbyn tweeted yesterday that Johnson “just doesn’t care” about patients, after the PM repeatedly refused during a TV interview to look at a photograph of a four-year-old boy sleeping on the floor at an overcrowded hospital.

Johnson also took journalist Joe Pike’s phone after being asked to look at the image on the handset, and put it into his own coat pocket. Pike responded: “You’ve refused to look at the photo, you’ve taken my phone and put it in your pocket, prime minister. His mother says the NHS is in crisis. What’s your response to that?”

Johnson eventually looked at the photo and called it “terrible”. Justice Secretary Robert Buckland told BBC Breakfast this morning that the Conservative leader’s reaction was “clear and unforced and natural, and the apology was forthcoming and fulsome”, but Johnson is facing widespread criticism over the incident.

In other campaign news, Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson will make a speech today focusing on the cost of Brexit, and accusing the PM of putting EU citizens “at greater risk of hate crimes and abuse” through a “dog whistle” approach to immigration.

Monday 9 December: Boris Johnson attempts to ‘crack the red wall’

With just three days to go until the general election, the parties are giving their campaigns a final push with headline-grabbing promises - and political attacks.

In a speech this morning, shadow chancellor John McDonnell will announce Labour’s plans for its first 100 days in government, pledging to deliver a budget that would “end austerity” and to get “money moving out of Whitehall and the City”.

Meanwhile, Boris Johnson will be “trying to crack the so-called ‘red wall’ of Labour seats across the north of England” in order to deliver a Tory majority, Sky News reports.

The prime minister will tell voters that they face a “great betrayal” under Corbyn because Labour MPs would win their seats on a “false prospectus” of securing Brexit before sticking “two fingers up to the public”.

Yesterday, Johnson talked immigration with Sophy Ridge on Sky, saying that he can “make sure that numbers come down”.

But not everyone was convinced by his performance. The Guardian’s John Crace described the interview as a “20-minute audio-visual barrage of near constant mansplaining and manspreading”.

Over in the Lib Dem camp, leader Jo Swinson has told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme it “doesn’t look likely” her party will win a majority.

She said: “The most likely way we can stop Brexit is through a People’s Vote, and the Liberal Democrats have led the campaign for a People’s Vote for three-and-a-half years.”

Friday 6 December: BBC’s Andrew Neil challenges ‘untrustworthy’ Johnson 

It’s less than a week until the 12 December general election, and the two main parties are desperate to avoid any blunders that could see them lose crucial votes.

Boris Johnson has so far managed to dodge a grilling by the BBC’s toughest interviewer Andrew Neil, likely conscious that it would be fertile ground for gaffes. But last night Neil threw down the gauntlet, challenging the prime minister to agree to an interview and defend his reputation for being “untrustworthy”.

“It is not too late. We have an interview prepared. Oven-ready, as Mr Johnson likes to say,” said Neil. “The theme running through our questions is trust - and why at so many times in his career, in politics and journalism, critics and sometimes even those close to him have deemed him to be untrustworthy.”

The other main party leaders have all been interviewed by Neil, with Nigel Farage the latest in the hot-seat last night. He defended his decision to stand-down Brexit Party candidates in Tory-held seats, saying he was putting “country before party” and was “tearing chunks out of the Labour vote” in other seats.

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Johnson and Corbyn are set to go head-to-head in a BBC TV debate tonight, hosted by the BBC’s political editor Nick Robinson. Writing in the New Statesman, Robinson said: “I don’t see my job as giving the man who’s currently got the job, or the man who wants it, a ‘grilling’…I want to limit the time they spend delivering ‘oven ready’ soundbites”.

Elsewhere, experts have said that British South Asians could hold the balance of power in key marginal seats. For years, the Labour Party has won South Asian votes, but “modern politics and the fall-out from the EU referendum are dividing these communities and their families”, says Sky News.

Thursday 5 December: Labour announces cap on school class sizes

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JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images

The general election is a week today, but the new plans and promises from the main contenders are still coming thick and fast.

Labour is pledging to cap school class sizes in England at 30 pupils and to hire 20,000 extra teachers over five years to meet demand. Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner told BBC Breakfast that while the changes couldn’t be made “overnight”, a Labour government would immediately start “reversing the trend” of increasing class sizes and lack of spending seen under the Tories.

Meanwhile, Boris Johnson has outlined his plans for the Conservatives’ first 100 days of new government, promising tax cuts, a funding boost for schools and changes to laws relating to the release of serious offenders from prison. The party would also launch a review of defence, security and foreign policy, change the law to increase the amount that migrants pay to use the NHS, and begin cross-party talks on social care.

A new Deltapoll study has put the Conservatives on course for a “small but workable” majority, City A.M. reports. The poll, commissioned by ToscaFund Asset Management, found that the Tories are set for a Commons majority of between five and 30 seats.

Over in the Liberal Democrats camp, Jo Swinson was grilled last night by the BBC’s Andrew Neil over her support for harsh cuts during her party’s five years in coalition government with the Conservatives up until 2015.  The Lib Dem leader apologised for her record on austerity and said she would be continuing as leader even if her party lost seats at the general election.

But, as Isabel Hardman writes in The Spectator, “others in her party might not be so confident of that assertion”.

Wednesday 4 December: Labour government ‘would save families £6,700 a year’ 

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Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

With just over a week to go until the general election, Labour is making a last-ditch bid to win votes by claiming that the party’s policies would save families an average total of £6,700 a year.

In a speech today, shadow chancellor John McDonnell will say that households would save cash as a result of the nationalisation of public services; reductions in the cost of rail season tickets; free childcare and school meals; and the axing of prescription charges.

The renewed focus on the cost of living and the total touted saving for families reportedly comes in response to concerns that the key messages in the party’s manifesto are getting lost.

“The manifesto is good – it’s just long and confusing. You need a few targeted, short messages and keep repeating them,” an unnamed Labour candidate in a Leave-voting seat told The Guardian.

In other news, Boris Johnson met with Donald Trump at No. 10 last night, where the two “discussed the future of Nato, what is going on in Syria and various other matters”, according to the prime minister.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbyn has apologised for alleged anti-Semitism within Labour, telling ITV’s This Morning that “our party and me do not accept anti-Semitism in any form” and that he is “sorry for everything that’s happened”.

The latest polls show the Tories on top but with Labour gaining. A Sky News/YouGov poll puts the Tories on 42% and Labour on 33%.

As campaigning reaches its peak, all of the parties have been warned over sending out election leaflets that mimic local newspapers. Industry group the Society of Editors said that doing so could undermine the public’s trust in local press and that voters wouldn’t forgive politicians who “attempt to take them for mugs”.

The Liberal Democrats have suffered a further image blow as leader Jo Swinson suspends a party member for faking an email that was sent as part of a legal battle with the openDemocracy political website. The row relates to a story about the Lib Dems selling personal data - something the party denies. 

Swinson’s party has also come in for criticism over a leaflet with advice from a “polling expert” urging locals to vote tactically for the Lib Dems, with just a small disclaimer that the correspondence was from the party.

Tuesday 3 December: Tories aiming to swerve Trump endorsement 

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SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

Cold weather has arrived in the UK alongside Donald Trump, as the US president jets in for a three-day visit.

Leaders from countries worldwide are here for a Nato meeting and talks, but Boris Johnson’s team are reluctant to confirm a one-to-one meeting with Trump because of his unpopularity among voters.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is calling on Johnson to demand that the NHS is taken “off the table” in post-Brexit trade talks with the US. The prime minister has maintained that the health service would not be part of trade negotiations.

In an other election campaign clash, Labour’s shadow housing secretary John Healey has criticised the Tories over a new report from Shelter that warns that at least 135,000 UK children will be homeless or living in temporary accommodation on Christmas Day.

Healey claims the crisis is “a direct result of decisions made by the Tories”. A government spokesperson said council were being given a total of £1.2bn in funding “to tackle all types of homelessness”.

Elsewhere, Nigel Farage has urged Leave supporters of all political persuasions to vote for Brexit Party candidates when polling day rolls around in less than two weeks’ time, the BBC reports.

“We’re saying to people, Labour or Conservative, if you think the candidate in your seat that can actually go to Westminster and fight for Leave is the Brexit Party, then tactically that’s who you have to vote for,” Farage said.

As the battle for votes continues, new analysis from Loughborough University has found that negative coverage of Labour’s election campaign has intensified, while coverage of the Conservatives remains positive overall.

Researchers assigned a value of +1 to stories that benefited a party and -1 to pieces that criticised it. Coverage of Labour reached below -75, while coverage of the Tories was +15 - and has been as high as +30 in recent weeks.

Monday 2 December: Boris battling ‘to prevent PR setback’ over London Bridge 

London Bridge

Ben Stanstall/AFP/Getty Images

The London Bridge terrorist attack on Friday afternoon has sparked a political blame game between the major parties.

The Times reports that Boris Johnson is seeking “to prevent a public relations setback” over the release of Usman Khan, the convicted terrorist who killed two people and wounded a further three on Friday before being shot dead by police.

Appearing on the BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, the prime minister “repeatedly sought to make political capital over the attack”, says The Guardian. Johnson blamed laws introduced under a Labour “leftie government” for Khan’s release, despite Marr pointing out the Conservatives had been in power for ten years.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbyn branded Khan’s release a “complete disaster” and called for a “very full investigation”.

Elsewhere, the main parties clashed over Brexit during an ITV debate last night. Labour’s shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon refused to say which way he would vote in a second referendum, while the Tories’ Chief Secretary to the Treasury Rishi Sunak did not rule out a no-deal Brexit if the Conservatives were re-elected.

Yesterday also saw Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson stating that she would not support Labour’s nationalisation plans in the event of a hung parliament. “Nobody is expecting, on the current scenario, that Jeremy Corbyn is getting anywhere near Downing Street,” Swinson BBC Radio 5’s Pienaar’s Politics.

But four polls published on Sunday showed Labour narrowing the gap with the Conservatives. Surveys by YouGov, Savanta Comres, BMG and Opinium show gaps of between six and 15 points. A spokesperson for BMG - which put the Conservatives on 39% support and Labour on 33% - said the election was in “hung parliament territory”.

In other news, Labour has announced plans to cut rail fares by a third if it wins power in the 12 December election. “Taking back control of our railways is the only way to bring down fares and create a railway network that is fit for the future,” said Corbyn.

Friday 29 November: Labour hatches new plan to target Leave voters 

Jeremy Corbyn

Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

The general election is a fortnight away and the biggest opinion poll to date suggests voters are only going one way.

The YouGov MRP poll for The Times says that the Conservatives would win 359 seats if the election were held today, giving Boris Johnson a Commons majority of 68.

Labour would win 211 seats, losing more than 50 MPs and falling well short of the 262 they won in 2017.

But Jeremy Corbyn has a plan to reinvigorate his election campaign in Leave-voting areas, with a new tactic aimed at winning over traditionally Labour-voting Brexiteers.

Labour plans to boost the profile of those former shadow cabinet members who back Leave, and more activists will be moved to Leave areas. Brexit-supporting Labour chairman Ian Lavery will tour Brexit-backing areas, as will lifelong eurosceptic Corbyn.

Labour’s plan to nationalise key services will be sold as “taking back control of key businesses from foreign ownership”, reports the BBC.

It is clear then that this is indeed the Brexit election and not “the climate election” as it was branded by the Green Party. But a new survey by Sky News suggests that combating climate change is set to split the country in a similar way to Brexit.

Of voters who backed Labour in 2017, 58% said climate matters “a great deal”, while only 30% of Conservative voters said the same. And 54% of Remainers said it mattered a great deal, compared to just 28% of Leavers.

Thursday 28 November: Johnson gives climate debate the cold shoulder 

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Kirsty O'Connor - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Voters were last night treated to another televised face-off between politicians battling to secure No. 10, as the clock ticks down towards the general election.

Channel 4 invited all the main parties’ leaders to take part in the climate debate. But Boris Johnson and the Brexit Party’s Nigel Farage were conspicuously absent - and were represented instead by slowly melting ice sculptures.

The Tories have made a formal complaint to Ofcom, saying that they had offered Michael Gove as a last-minute stand-in for the prime minister but had been rebuffed in an alleged show of bias by the broadcaster.

All of the leaders who did show up for the debate - Jo Swinson, Nicola Sturgeon, Adam Price, Jeremy Corbyn and Sian Berry - agreed that tackling the climate crisis was a priority, leaving them battling to prove they were the most committed.

Meanwhile, the BBC has complained to the Conservatives about a Facebook advert by the party that uses footage of its news presenters referring to a “pointless delay to Brexit” and “another Brexit delay”. The broadcaster say the clips are taken out of context and “could damage perceptions of impartiality”.

In other election news, the Labour Party is launching its regional manifestos across England today, promising an “investment blitz” to bring “wealth, power and prosperity” to communities through transport projects, green jobs and housing.

In the opposite corner, Tory election candidates have been given a detailed manual on how to attack Labour and Liberal Democrat rivals, by criticising Labour’s spending pledges and the Lib Dems’ “pro-pimp policies on prostitution”. But The Guardian says the leaked dossier is full of “discredited claims” and statements that have been taken out of context and are “potentially misleading”.

Wednesday 27 November: Young voter surge gives hope to Labour

Jeremy Corbyn

Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

The window to register to vote in the 12 December general election has shut, leaving the UK’s main political parties scrambling to determine exactly who they need to woo.

Of the 3.2 million new registrations since the election was called, two-thirds were by people aged under 35 - good news for Labour, which is closing the gap with the Conservatives in the polls. However, latest surveys by ICM and Kantar give the Tories leads of seven and 11 points respectively - still some way ahead.

The i news site notes that many of those “signing up in a last-minute flurry” were already on the system, with some simply changing their address details or seeking to change the way they vote to proxy or postal ballots. “The figures still indicate a record number of the people on the electoral register, though,” says the site.

Out on the campaign trail, Jeremy Corbyn has conceded that his party’s plan to scrap a tax break for married couples would mean some people earning below £80,000 would be taxed more under a Labour government. The tax relief was introduced by David Cameron in 2015 to promote marriage, and saves couples up to £250 a year.

Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Neil, Corbyn also struggled to outline how he would fund Labour’s £58bn plan to restore pensions to women born in the 1950s.

And the Labour leader declined to apologise to the Jewish community following yesterday’s criticism of the Labour Party by the UK’s chief rabbi.

Meanwhile, Nicola Sturgeon will today launch the Scottish National Party’s manifesto, and will warn that Boris Johnson is “dangerous and unfit for office”. The SNP’s plans will be of especial interest to Labour, who will be keen to know the possible price of Sturgeon’s support in the event of a hung parliament.

Johnson is also the target of the Liberal Democrat’s latest campaigning attack. The party has printed election posters that say: “Johnson has shown time and again that he can’t be trusted. He’s lied to the Queen, he’s lied to Parliament and he’s lied to the British people.”

Tuesday 26 November: Rabbi and rappers intervene on deadline day 

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis

Jack Taylor/Getty Images

The UK’s Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis has warned voters that “the overwhelming majority of British Jews are gripped by anxiety” at the prospect of a majority Labour government.

In an article for The Times, Mirvis claims the Labour leadership’s response to anti-Semitism accusations has been “utterly inadequate”.

The Jewish leader has been a persistent critic of Labour, reports the BBC, and celebrated Boris Johnson’s election as Tory leader in July this year in a Facebook post that said: “I am delighted to congratulate Boris Johnson, a longstanding friend and champion of the Jewish community, on becoming the next leader of the Conservative Party and our next prime minister.”

But not everyone is convinced. British rappers Stormzy, Kano and Professor Green have all thrown their support behind Jeremy Corbyn, and have urged more people to join the million who have registered to vote in the past week, ahead of the 11.59pm deadline tonight. 

In an Instagram post, Stormzy said Johnson was “a sinister man with a long record of lying and policies that have absolutely no regard for the people”.

An independent think-tank have predicted that child poverty could rise to a record 60-year high if the Conservatives gain another term in power, largely as a result of the Tories’ two-child limit on support for families.

Monday 25 November: Boris Johnson ‘on course’ for victory 

Boris Johnson

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

With just two-and-a-half weeks to go until the 12 December general election, the opposing political parties are going all out to convince voters that they offer the best hope of preventing Brexit chaos and the disintegration of public services.

The Labour Party has vowed to “put bad landlords out of business” with a series of renting reforms and controls. A Labour government would introduce a German-style leasing model, with open-ended leases and capped rent increases.

In the opposite corner, Boris Johnson yet again promised to “get Brexit done” as he launched the Tory manifesto on Sunday. The prime minister also pledged to “forge a new society” and to hire 50,000 more nurses if his government is re-elected. But according to BBC, 18,500 of these nurses would be existing staff who would be encouraged to stay in the profession, while 12,500 would be hired from abroad.

Meanwhile, Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson has admitted that the Tories are “on course” to win the election, and has apologised for her own party’s record in coalition government. Swinson said she was “really sorry we did not win more battles” in Whitehall during the Lib Dem’s five years in power from 2010.

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The first poll projection predicts a 48-seat Tory majority, giving Johnson a boost on current numbers to 349 MPs. Analysis by public opinion firm Datapraxis indicates that Labour will lose 30 seats and end up with just 213 MPs.

The deadline to register to vote is tomorrow, 26 November, at 11.59pm, or 5pm if seeking a postal vote.

Friday 22 November: Manifestos and ‘contracts with the people’ 

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Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

It’s less than three weeks to go until the 12 December general election, and voters are being spoiled rotten by parties publishing manifestos.

Labour’s manifesto launch managed to knock the Andrew formerly known as Prince off the front pages, with promises of higher NHS spending, a second Brexit referendum and the biggest house-building programme since the Second World War.

The Brexit Party will unveil its policies later today, with Nigel Farage saying he will not publish a manifesto but will instead make a “contract with the British people”.

Plaid Cymru aren’t a party for such stunts, and will publish their manifesto later today. Leader Adam Price will call for a £20bn “green jobs revolution” in Wales and back a second EU referendum.

The Tories are yet to publish their manifesto, but that hasn’t lost them the backing of donors. The party has raised £5.7m in the first week of the official election campaign, well ahead of Labour’s £218,500, the Lib Dems’ £275,000 and the Brexit Party’s £250,000. The figures only include donations over £7,500.

The Conservative government ran the highest October budget deficit in five years, borrowing far more than was expected. Spending jumped to £11.2 billion last month, £2.3 billion higher than October 2018, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The former SNP leader Alex Salmond has appeared in court charged with 14 sexual offences, including an attempted rape and 10 sexual assaults.

Google has banned highly targeted political advertising from all of its platforms, limiting targeting to age, gender and general location.

Thursday 21 November: Labour’s radical ‘manifesto of hope’ 

Long-time Eurosceptics and reluctant Remainers John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn

The general election is three weeks’ today, and Prince Andrew is doing his upmost to keep it off the front pages. The Duke of York fell on his ceremonial sword last night, retiring from public life over his links to Jeffrey Epstein.

Elsewhere, the Lib Dems released their manifesto yesterday, in what leader Jo Swinson hopes will be the second most important launch of her life.

The party promised to stop Brexit, legalise cannabis and invest in the NHS and education, but Swinson admitted to the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg that it would be a “big step” for her to become prime minister.

The Labour Party will launch their “manifesto of hope” today, calling it the “most radical and ambitious plan to transform our country in decades”. Jeremy Corbyn will pledge higher NHS spending, a second Brexit referendum, a £10 minimum wage, and free broadband for all.

And the Labour leader will promise the biggest affordable house building programme since the 1960s, with plans to build 100,000 new council homes and 50,000 social homes a year by 2024.

Boris Johnson let slip plans to cut the threshold for paying National Insurance to £12,500 - only to row back later and tell the BBC that the threshold would be £9,500 for the first budget of a Tory government, with no schedule for the further £3,000 rise.

Meanwhile a long-running tracker by pollsters Ipsos MORI has seen 60% of voters put the NHS as their number one priority in the election, ahead of Brexit/the EU on 56%.

Wednesday 20 November: are you having a laugh? 

After three-and-a-half years of Brexit battling that has culminated in yet another general election, the British public is in need of a good laugh.

Thankfully, last night’s leaders’ debate between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn on ITV provided plenty of amusement.

Johnson’s claim to believe that “truth matters” provoked laughter from the studio audience, who were clearly well aware of the prime minister’s reputation for telling fibs. One mistruth that he repeated last night was that the Tories have plans in place to build 40 new hospitals - a claim that has been proven to be false by fact checkers.

Corbyn also generated titters, by claiming that his position on Brexit was clear. Although the Labour Party’s plans have been outlined - negotiate a new deal within three months and then hold a referendum on it within six - Corbyn has never said which side he would back in a People’s Vote.

But the biggest joke of the night wasn’t all that funny - the Conservative Campaign Headquarters rebranded its Twitter account as “factcheckUK” before firing off a series of anti-Labour posts during the debate. Twitter said the move was “an attempt to mislead people” and warned that “decisive corrective action” would be taken if CCHQ reoffended.

Elsewhere, the Lib Dems have promised to recruit 20,000 new teachers and reverse school cuts with an “emergency cash injection” of £4.6bn next year. During the party’s last term in office, in coalition with the Tories from 2010 to 2015, the Institute for Fiscal Studies found that public spending on education in the UK was falling at the fastest rate since the 1950s.

Tuesday 19 November: TV debate and ‘whole life’ sentences for child killers 

ITV journalist Julie Etchingham

Jonathan Hordle/ITV via Getty Images

With just over three weeks to go until the 12 December general election, today marks the first big treat of the campaign: a live televised debate.

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn will go head to head on ITV at 8pm, but won’t be joined by Jo Swinson or Nicola Sturgeon after they lost a legal challenge against the exclusion of the Lib Dems and SNP leaders.

The Green Party will launch its election manifesto later today, saying it wants to invest £100bn a year by 2030 as part of a “green new deal” in response to the climate crisis.

The Greens are also in favour of increasing NHS spending, holding a second Brexit referendum and lowering the national voting age to 16.

The Conservative Party has said that, if it wins the election, some adults who murder children will face life in prison without the prospect of parole. The Tories would bring in “whole life orders” for over 21-year-olds who commit the premeditated murder of a child.

The proposed measures are “largely symbolic – designed to boost confidence in the criminal justice system”, says Danny Shaw, the BBC’s home affairs correspondent.

The general election has caused UK house prices and the number of properties coming on to the market to fall.

The Guardian says the “big drop” in the number of houses coming on to the market is down to people waiting to see who wins the December vote.

Monday 18 November: ‘electoral fraud’, extramarital affairs and legal challenges 

Jennifer Arcuri

Innotech Summit

The general election campaign continues to dominate headlines, despite Prince Andrew seemingly doing his best to claim the top spot in the news agenda.

The Guardian reports that police are assessing two allegations of electoral fraud following allegations that the Conservatives offered senior Brexit Party candidates peerages to stand down.

Meanwhile, Labour have said they will not investigate a Welsh general election candidate’s alleged links to a Facebook group advising party members on how to defend themselves from accusations of anti-Semitism, reports the BBC.

Back at Tory HQ, Security Minister Brandon Lewis has said that a long-awaited report into alleged Russian meddling in British politics will not be published until after the election - triggering claims that “it might contain embarrassing revelations about Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his party”, says Reuters.

On the pledges front, Labour is promising to make dental check-ups free for everyone in England. “This is the first step towards making all dentistry services free of charge – part of our ambition to deliver free dentistry as part of a truly universally free health service,” said Jeremy Corbyn.

In other big news today, High Court judges will hear a legal challenge to ITV by the Lib Dems and SNP over their exclusion from a planned head-to-head debate between Johnson and Corbyn, says the London Evening Standard.

And the PM is facing renewed pressure over his conduct during his reign as London mayor, as the London Assembly investigates his relationship with Jennifer Arcuri. The US businesswoman has accused Johnson of casting her aside “like a one-night stand” since allegations about his conduct emerged, but has still not confirmed whether they had a physical relationship.

The investigation will also focus on an affair that Johnson had with an unpaid City Hall adviser, Helen Macintyre, who went on to give birth to one of his children. 

Finally, the leaders of all the three main parties are to make speeches to business leaders at the Confederation of British Industry’s annual conference later today.

Friday 15 November: Labour promises free nationwide broadband

Long-time Eurosceptics and reluctant Remainers John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn

The UK’s main parties are doing everything they can to win over undecideds voters as the clock ticks down towards polling day.

Labour has announced that every household in the UK will be offered free full-fibre broadband internet access by 2030 if they win the 12 December election.

Jeremy Corbyn will say in a speech today: “A new public service delivering the fastest broadband free to everyone is at the heart of Labours plans to transform the future of our economy and society.”

The party would renationalise part of BT to deliver the policy, and introduce a tax on tech giants to help meet the total £20bn cost.

Meanwhile, the Conservatives are pledging to reduce business rates for small firms in a bid to help “left-behind” towns.

The Tories say they would increase the business rate discount on offer to smaller firms from 33% to 50% in 2020-21.

Announcing the plan, Boris Johnson promised to help people “put the heart back into the places they call home”.

Elsewhere, Nigel Farage is claiming that the Conservatives offered Brexit Party candidates jobs and titles in a bid to persude them not to contest seats in marginal constituencies.

The Brexit Party leader said his candidates received “thousands of phone calls and emails” trying to get them to withdraw.

And Farage is also battling a more unexpected challenger - an “anti-Brexit cat” is standing in the general election. The cat's handler says the moggy wants “a Brexit deal which is kinder on pets and which sticks two paws up to Boris Johnson and the likes of Jacob Rees-Moggy”.

General election 2019 latest: Conservatives drag immigration into campaign 

Priti patel

Carl Court/Getty Images

There are only 28 sleeps to go until the country takes to the polls for the 12 December general election.

The Conservatives have deployed the much-used election tactic of blaming immigration for the country’s woes - and pledging to slash it.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has released a statement saying that the Tories will cut “immigration overall” after Brexit if they win power, but has not given any figures or details on how that might be achieved.

As commentators have noted, the Conservatives have dropped their pledge to cut net migration to below 100,000 after failing to meet the target during their last nine-and-a-half years in power.

Labour’s shadow business minister, Laura Pidcock, said the Tories had “broken every single commitment they’ve ever given” on immigration.

Elsewhere, Nigel Farage has confirmed that Brexit Party candidates will stand in Labour and Liberal Democrat seats, despite pleas from Leave supporters to withdraw.

Farage told the BBC Today programme: “We’re going to fight 300 seats and that’s exactly what we’re going to do.

“Your best chance of getting Brexit is to get us in there and hold Boris Johnson to account.”

Meanwhile, Labour has pledged to close the gender pay gap by 2030. The party claimed that the difference between men's and women's average pay would take another 60 years to close under a Conservative government.

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Wednesday 13 November: the battle for the NHS heats up

Doctors working for the NHS
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Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

With less than a month to go until the 12 December general election, the rival political parties are attempting to outdo each on the key issues - and the NHS is in the spotlight today.

Labour has unveiled a rescue plan that would see the health service being given £5.5bn more a year by 2023-24 than the £20.5bn promised by the Conservatives.

The NHS Confederation, which represents managers, said the pledge represented a “significant extra investment”, adding that “if used wisely, it would help to transform services and retain front-line staff”.

Elsewhere, Boris Johnson has come under fire for his “utterly outrageous” response to widespread flooding in the Midlands and North of England.

The Labour leader of the district council in flood-hit Bassetlaw said the prime minister was “preoccupied with electioneering” instead of coordinating a national response to the crisis. The Government had a “fantastic opportunity to step up to the plate and take emergency action” but were “concentrating more on the general election campaign than they were on people’s lives”, Councillor Simon Greaves claimed.

Johnson suffered another blow to his image when former Tory justice secretary David Gauke tweeted that a Conservative majority would be a “bad outcome for the country”.

In a post last night, Gauke said: “A Conservative majority at the next General Election will pursue a very hard Brexit... It’s a thoroughly irresponsible policy.”

The PM will make a speech today warning that the UK cannot afford to “squander” more time deciding how to leave the EU, and will pledge to end the “groundhoggery” of Brexit.

Tuesday 12 November: Hillary Clinton says UK should publish Russia report

Hillary Clinton

Another day, another round of campaign news to mull over ahead of the 12 December general election.

Nigel Farage’s decision to stand down Brexit Party candidates in Tory-held constituencies dominated the front pages this morning, but following an initial scramble to proclaim the move a major boon for the Tories, some pollsters suggested it might not have that much of an impact.

“Farage’s decision to stand aside... will likely make very little difference,” say experts from polling company YouGov, who conclude that despite the drama, “this is unlikely to be a game-changing moment”.

Elsewhere, Hillary Clinton has criticised the UK government for delaying the publication of a report on alleged Russian interference in British politics until after the election.

Branding the decision “inexplicable and shameful”, the former US presidential candidate told the BBC: “Every person who votes in this country deserves to see that report before your election happens.”

The report - which was handed to No. 10 last month - contains evidence from intelligence agencies GCHQ, MI5 and MI6 about secret Russian attempts to manipulate the outcome of the 2016 EU referendum and 2017 general election.

Clinton isn’t the only foreign politician voicing concerns about UK intelligence issues. The Guardian reports that Australia’s former top diplomat in the UK, Alexander Downer, has said the Aussies should “substantially reduce” intelligence-sharing with UK agencies in the event that Jeremy Corbyn wins the general election.

Monday 11 November: Brexit Party won’t fight the Tories 

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 10:Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson (R) and Britain's Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn prepare to lay wreaths as they take part in the annual Remembrance Sun
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2019 Getty Images

Holidays are coming and – even more excitingly – so is a general election. Voters will go to the polls on 12 December to choose the government that will be in charge of the country and its money.

If the Conservatives are to be believed, that could be an awful lot of money. Analysis drawn up by the Tories says Labour’s policies would cost £1.2trn over the course of the next five years, if the opposition party wins next month’s general election. Labour has branded the claim “ludicrous fake news”.

Both parties are making Armistice Day pledges to do better by members of the British military. Boris Johnson has said he will change the law to protect veterans from legal action, while Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn says he will offer more support for forces children and better wages for those in the military.

The Brexit Party has given the Tories a huge boost by announcing it will not stand candidates against the Conservatives in the 317 seats the party won in the 2017 general election. The party will stand against Labour in the hope it will win Leave voters over to its cause.

Meanwhile, the Brexit paralysis has led to the UK’s credit rating possibly being downgraded after ratings agency Moody’s lowered its outlook for the economy. The threat could play into Johnson’s hands, as he battles a general election campaign based on breaking the Brexit deadlock.

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