Election countdown

Written By: James Douglas
Published: June 7, 2017 Last modified: June 7, 2017

Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott withdrew from the campaign two days before polling on grounds of ill health. Ms Abbott, who had been ruthlessly targeted by the Tories as one of Labour’s weak spots, had been diagnosed with a “serious long-term condition” according to shadow international trade secretary Barry Gardiner. BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg reported that her “standing aside is ‘indefinite’.”

Jeremy Corbyn pledged to “drive growth across the whole of Britain” and create a million “good jobs” , saying a Labour government would pump £250bn into industry through a new National Investment Bank “to rebuild communities that have been left behind”. He accused the Conservatives of presiding over stagnating productivity, falling public sector net investment and low wages. “When Labour talks about job creation we mean decent jobs, jobs which pay a real living wage, which people can get by on, and which give people a sense of pride and purpose,” he said. “Labour will invest to drive growth across the whole of Britain, creating wealth which is shared across our country, rather than concentrated in the hands of the few.”

The Conservative candidate for South Thanet was charged with allegedly overspending in the 2015 General Election campaign. Craig Mackinlay was accused under the Representation of the People Act 1983, alongside his election agent Nathan Gray and party activist Marion Little.

The Tories denied there is any confusion in their immigration policy after Theresa May signalled she wanted to cut numbers to less than 100,000 a year by 2022. The target, which is in the party’s manifesto but without a timeframe, has not been met since it was set in 2009. Brexit Secretary David Davis said they would “aim” to hit the target in five years – but could not promise.

The Conservatives U-turned on a flagship pledge to build “a new generation” of social housing announced in their manifesto. Theresa May had personally promised her policy would deliver “a constant supply of new homes for social rent”, but her housing minister admitted planned homes would be let at up to double normal social rent rate. It was the second about-turn on a Conservative manifesto pledge, after the damaging furore around the “dementia tax”. Tory officials played down the reversal, but Labour claimed it showed one of the Prime Minister’s key pledges to help low-income families had “fallen apart”, while the Chartered Institute of Housing branded it “very disappointing”.

Theresa May insisted Tory tax plans have not changed after a senior cabinet minister signalled there would be no income tax increase for higher earners. The prime minister said it was her party’s “firm intention to reduce taxes on ordinary working families”. But earlier Sir Michael Fallon said that there would be no rise in income tax for higher earners. Jeremy Corbyn said the Conservatives’ tax policies were in “chaos”.

The major parties again suspended campaigning following the London Bridge attack in which seven people – and three terrorists – died. The prime minister said the country must “pull together” and unite to “defeat our enemies.” Jeremy Corbyn said he was “absolutely shocked and horrified” at the attack, but added: “If we allow these attacks to disrupt our democratic process, then we all lose.”

Corbyn accused the Conservatives of trying to “protect the public on the cheap” in a speech focusing on the London terror attack. Corbyn, who has previously questioned the wisdom of a shoot-to-kill policy, also backed the police to use “whatever force is necessary” to save lives. “You cannot protect the public on the cheap,” he said, calling on her to resign given her record as Home Secretary. “The police and security services must get the resources they need, not 20,000 police cuts. Theresa May was warned by the Police Federation but she accused them of “crying wolf”.

Labour slashed the Tory lead by 16 points in just a month, according to a Survation poll which put the Conservatives on 41.5 per cent with Labour on 40.4 per cent. Theresa May’s party had a 17-point lead with the pollster at the start of May, but Labour’s rise reflected a campaign which more than half of those polled thought had been better than Theresa May’s.