- Four parties published their manifestos this week. On Tuesday Plaid Cymru and Labour published their manifestos. The Lib Dems launched theirs on Wednesday in an East London nightclub – probably the first club Vince Cable had been to since the 1960s.
- The Conservative manifesto was launched in Halifax yesterday. Theresa May began by saying “I launch my manifesto”, with commentators noting that the Tory campaign has become increasingly presidential with its focus on the Prime Minister’s leadership qualities. The manifesto also contained a number of measures that won’t come naturally to some in her party: workers on company boards, price caps and significantly more state intervention. Even if light on detail, the hope is that the manifesto will portray Theresa May as a strong, pragmatic leader who can unite the country. However, it is not clear what big policies are being pushed that can excite voters on the doorstep. You can read our full analysis of the Conservative manifesto here.
- Labour’s manifesto included a number of bold proposals such as renationalising a key industries, capping executive pay, and setting up a £250 billion national investment bank. The manifesto was accompanied by a separate document, costing exactly how every spending rise will be paid for. To Labour’s credit this was far more specific than anything the Tories have produced. However, there has been questions about the accuracy of Labour’s economic calculations. You can read our full analysis of the Labour manifesto here.
- The Liberal Democrat manifesto included five new environmental laws, a pledge to decriminalise cannabis and, centrally, a pledge for a referendum on the final agreement secured to leave the EU. As the Lib Dems have ruled out any possibility of going into another coalition, some voters have asked “what’s the point?” You can read our full analysis of the Lib Dem manifesto here.
- The ITV leaders debate was held yesterday. For those who were watching ‘Britain’s Fattest Woman’ on Channel 4 at the same time, the debate did not feature Theresa May or Jeremy Corbyn. Without their presence there was a degree of futility to the debate, which at times felt more like a slagging match against Paul Nuttall, the only unashamed Leave supporter on the stage.
- Unite General Secretary Len McClusky hinted that a 200 seat result for Labour would be a good result. As this is 32 less seats than Labour secured in 2015, McCluskey was widely criticised for his comments. He later backtracked.
- Emily Thornbury left Michael Fallon red faced on the Andrew Marr show last Sunday. She rebutted the Defence Secretary’s attacks on Corbyn’s ‘dubious’ foreign relationships by reminding him that he had met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in 2007, and later remarked that he was talking “b****cks”.
Polling this week suggest Labour have ever so slightly closed the gap on the Conservatives. An Ipsos Mori poll put Labour up by eight points, whilst the Conservative vote remained the same and the Lib Dem and UKIP vote fell. Electoral Calculus has revised the Conservative majority down slightly too. The changes are however not enough to suggest the result will be anything other than a massive Tory majority.
The week ahead
- Conservative MP Nicholas Soames and Labour’s Jess Phillips will be on Peston on Sunday.
- The SNP manifesto is expected to be launched next Tuesday in Edinburgh.
- The London Evening Standard will be hosting a general election hustings next Wednesday evening with Amber Rudd, Emily Thornbury and Vince Cable.
- Next week Andrew Neil will interview Theresa May on Monday, Paul Nuttall on Tuesday, Tim Farron on Wednesday evening, Nicola Sturgeon on Thursday evening, and Jeremy Corbyn on Friday evening on the BBC.
The long and short of it
Labour’s populist policies have seen them rewarded with a slight bump in the polls. Although their costings document is far from watertight, the Conservative manifesto was so light on detail or specific costings that it is hard for them to take the high ground. Ultimately the manifesto alone will not be enough for Jeremy Corbyn to fix Labour’s unpopularity. Theresa May’s manifesto may not be particularly inspiring, and won’t please a number in her party, but it does enough to ensure she is still on course to win a big majority with just three weeks to go till election day.