LONDON, May 11, (Agencies): Support for British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative Party has slipped two percentage points ahead of a June 8 general election but they still hold a big lead over the opposition Labour Party, according to a YouGov opinion poll for the Times. The Conservatives were at 46 percent against Labour’s 30 percent, the paper said in a limited extract released on Wednesday. YouGov interviewed 1,651 people between May 9 and 10.
Britain dismisses report of worsening relations between May and Hammond Britain’s defence minister on Thursday dismissed a Times newspaper report suggesting that relations between May and her finance minister, Philip Hammond, had deteriorated. The Times newspaper said relations between the teams of the two most senior members of government had deteriorated following a series of disagreements over policy and presentation ahead of a June 8 election. When asked about the front page report, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon told BBC Radio: “I would have thought John you would be the last person to fall for such tittletattle.” “Philip Hammond, (interior minister) Amber Rudd, Theresa May, (foreign minister) Boris Johnson and I in the cabinet are working together.” Meanwhile, May promised to increase the country’s defence budget by at least 0.5 percent in real terms every year until 2023 if she wins a June 8 election, adding an extra two years to her party’s existing spending pledge.
May, whose Conservative Party is expected to win the election next month, said the promise was about keeping the country safe and fulfilling Britain’s “obligations to the world”. “If elected on June 8 I will ensure that the UK continues to spend at least 2 percent of GDP on defence and that the budget rises every year,” May said in a statement. Alongside the United States, Britain is one of only five countries in the NATO military alliance which meet an obligation to spend 2 percent of economic output on defence — something May has used to curry favour with US President Donald Trump. Both Trump and May have repeatedly called on NATO allies to meet the spending target. In related news, Britain’s opposition Labour Party faced embarrassment Thursday after a draft of its platform for next month’s election was leaked days before its scheduled release.
In a further mishap, a car carrying Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn struck a television cameraman outside a party meeting. The draft election manifesto says that if elected Labour will re-nationalize Britain’s railways and post office, abolish university tuition fees, ban “zero hours” employment contracts, build more social housing and reverse cuts to welfare benefits. The party says the pledges will be paid for out of taxation and redirected revenue. The governing Conservatives said the policies show Labour has an outdated left-wing economic vision. The party had planned to publish the document next week before the June 8 election.
The unveiling of the parties’ manifestoes — containing solid promises on which they can be held to account — is a centerpiece of every British election. Labour election coordinator Andrew Gwynne said the leaked document was not the final manifesto but “a draft of policy ideas.” Corbyn pulled out of a campaign appearance Thursday morning after the leak. Later, a car carrying Corbyn appeared to hit the foot of a television cameraman outside a meeting of party officials in central London. The cameraman was treated by paramedics before being taken away in an ambulance. Among the pledges, which are yet to be signed off, the party said it would guarantee a “meaningful vote” on the final Brexit agreement and rules out leaving the European Union without a deal