Arlene Foster, the leader of the DUP, has confirmed that her party intends to vote with the Labour Party on amendments relating to NHS pay and tuition fees. The vote, which is expected to take place next week, would be the first time that the DUP have failed to support the Government since the coalition which was formed following the 2017 General Election.
The votes will not be binding on the Government, meaning that the official agreement between the Conservative Party and the DUP won’t be broken.
A new opinion poll produced for the Observer Newspaper by Opinium shows that support for the Conservative Party has fallen over the last days. The Conservative lead has now been cut to 6%, with 43% of voters projected to vote Conservative and 37% projected to vote Labour.
Opinium said following the results:
“Over two in five (42%) think that Theresa May would be the best prime minister. On the other hand 26% say Jeremy Corbyn would make the best prime minister. This is very different from the first poll of the campaign where 49% thought Mrs May would make the best PM and only 14% said Jeremy Corbyn would.
Similarly, at the start of the campaign, 44% said they were satisfied with Mrs May, while 16% were dissatisfied with Theresa May, but prefer her to Jeremy Corbyn. Only 20% said they preferred Mr Corbyn. However, the proportion who are satisfied with Mrs May and the proportion that prefer Mr Corbyn are now relatively similar (34% vs 33% respectively)”.
The full voting data is available at http://opinium.co.uk/political-polling-30th-may-2017/.
Theresa May, the Prime Minister, has been criticised for missing the leaders’ debate which took place on 31 May 2017. Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, decided at the last minute to take part on the show, which was also attended by five other party political leaders. Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, stood in for the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister defended her decision not to take part by saying:
“I’m interested in the fact that Jeremy Corbyn seems to be paying far more attention to how many appearances on telly he is doing. I think he ought to be paying a little more attention to thinking about Brexit negotiations”.
Tim Farron, the Leader of the Liberal Democrats, took part in the debate and said on Twitter:
“Theresa May called this election and now won’t even turn up to debate the issues. Come and defend your record”.
The other participants in the debate were Paul Nuttall (UKIP), Caroline Lucas (Green Party), Leanne Wood (Plaid Cymru) and Angus Robertson (SNP).
Len McCluskey, the leader of the Unite trade union, has said that Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party can win the 2017 General Election. His comments came after he was quoted in Politico Magazine as saying that Labour winning 200 seats would be a success. He said:
“I believe that if Labour can hold on to 200 seats or so it will have been a successful campaign. It will mean that Theresa May will have had an election, will have increased her majority, but not dramatically”.
McCluskey distanced himself from the comments attributed to him, saying:
“My comments were part of a conversational piece, which have been slightly taken out of context because it was done on the basis of ‘if the polls are to be believed’”.
The Liberal Democratic party manifesto features a pledge to offer a second referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union. A spokesman for the party said:
“This is the only manifesto that is based on the premise that we can remain in the European Union, we can remain in the single market and can have all the benefits for the future generations that entails”.
Tim Farron, the Liberal Democrat leader, said:
“This momentous new manifesto sets out our hopes and plans for an open, tolerant and united country. From defending our place in Europe, to protecting universal human rights, to building a greener economy, it encapsulates our positive vision for the future”.
“At this historic moment, nothing is more important to us. A bad Brexit deal, with Britain outside the Single Market, will wreck our children’s future. It will wreak havoc on our economy, our schools and our hospitals. It will turn Britain into a regressive, isolated and inconsequential nation.
That’s why today, we are committing to giving you the final say – via a referendum – on the Brexit deal. And if you don’t like the terms? You should have the choice to reject the deal and remain in Europe. This is a democracy, after all”.
David Ward has been told by Tim Farron, the Leader of the Liberal Democrats, that he cannot stand as the party’s candidate for Bradford East at the 2017 General Election. Ward had been the MP for the constituency from 2010 until 2015, but had become embroiled in allegations of anti-semitism.
When Ward’s candidacy was announced, Farron expressed his concern but initially didn’t block the decision of the local association. Following increased opposition, including from Theresa May and Eric Pickles at Prime Minister’s Question Time, the party decided to take action.
Farron said in a statement:
“I believe in a politics that is open, tolerant and united. David Ward is unfit to represent the party and I have sacked him”.
Ward defended himself against the allegations, saying:
“The antisemitic thing is a nonsense. It is just used, it’s a well-known tactic. How do you avoid conversation or any criticism about Israel? Just say people are antisemitic. I am certainly not antisemitic”.
Labour’s Imran Hussein won the constituency, beating Ward, in 2015 with a majority of 7,084.
Paul Nuttall, the leader of UKIP, has confirmed that the party will include a pledge to ban the burka in their General Election manifesto. He also confirmed in an interview that the party would seek to ban sharia courts, but Jewish courts would not be affected in the proposals.
Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, Nuttall said:
“There’s the issue of integration. I don’t believe you can integrate fully and enjoy the fruits of British society if you can’t see people’s faces. I can’t walk into a bank with a balaclava on or a crash helmet, if I can’t do it and other people can’t do it, I don’t see why there are special interests for certain people”.
Tim Farron, the Leader of the Liberal Democrats, has said that the party has received over £500,000 in donations in the 48 hours since the General Election was announced.
The party said that the money was received after an e-mail was sent to its members and supporters asking for financial help. The party also confirmed that it has received a boost of 2,500 new members since the election announcement. Farron said in a statement:
“Thousands of people up and down the country are joining the Liberal Democrats so that we can send a message to Theresa May and the Conservative Brexit Government that we do not want a hard Brexit. In this General Election it is clear that only the Liberal Democrats can prevent a Conservative majority”.
Theresa May, the Prime Minister, has confirmed that there will be no cut to the foreign aid budget, which is set at 0.7% of the nation’s GDP. The Government had initially not confirmed that the pledge made in the 2015 Conservative manifesto. In a statement the Prime Minister said:
“I’m very proud of the record we have, of the children around the world who are being educated as a result of what the British taxpayer is doing in terms of international aid”.
The Department for International Development (DFID) spends a sum of around £13.5 billion on foreign aid projects around the world. The current Secretary of State for the department is Priti Patel, the Conservative MP for Witham. In a statement Patel said:
“When we invest in stability, jobs and livelihoods, and sound governance, we address the root causes of problems that affect us here in the UK. It is not in our national interest to simply sit on our hands and wait until these problems reach breaking point or find their way to our doorstep”.
Theresa May, the Prime Minister, has confirmed that there will be a General Election on 8 June 2017.