The drama around deals between parties continues to roil. Nigel Farage has attacked the Conservative party after it was claimed that senior Brexit party figures – including Ann Widdecombe – had been offered post-election roles or peerages as part of an attempt to get him to stand down more candidates at the general election.
Farage said it showed “the system is corrupt and broken”.
Good morning and welcome to our live coverage of the day’s political news. I’m Kate Lyons and will be with you on the liveblog for the first hour or so of the day, before I hand over to my excellent colleagues. As usual, you can get in touch with your questions, thoughts, witticisms etc on Twitter or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
It’s a big day for promises as both Labour and the Conservatives roll out big-spending, crowd-pleasing election pledges.
The Conservatives are offering a package to revitalise neglected towns while Labour is promising free full-fibre broadband for homes and businesses.
Boris Johnson says a Tory government would spend hundreds of millions of pounds reviving dying high streets and struggling communities. It includes discounts on business rates, rate relief for pubs, money to reopen train stations and a £150m fund to help groups trying to take over and run pubs and post offices threatened with closure. Labour has criticised the proposal, saying the Conservatives are the ones responsible for destroying high streets and towns through “a decade of vicious cuts to the services that people on our communities rely on”.
Meanwhile Labour is promising free full-fibre broadband for every home and business by partly nationalising BT. Jeremy Corbyn will outline the plan during a speech in Lancaster, saying: “What was once a luxury is now an essential utility.” The plan, estimated to cost around £20bn, will be funded partly by high taxes on internet companies such as Amazon, Facebook and Google. The Conservatives have criticised the policy, saying it was a “fantasy plan to effectively nationalise broadband [that] would cost hardworking taxpayers tens of billions”.
As for what will happen today:
- Jeremy Corbyn will be announcing his broadband plan in a speech on digital infrastructure in Lancaster this morning.
- Boris Johnson will launch his campaign bus in Oldham at lunchtime.
- The Lib Dems go to Leeds where Ed Davey will be giving a speech in the afternoon on economics.
- And there is a big question mark hanging over the Brexit party’s campaign events. There is meant to be a launch in Dudley for their candidate but it’s unclear if that will go ahead – given the candidate has pulled out of the seat.
Join us for the ride!