Health and Brexit on agenda as May, Corbyn make final push

Prime minister willing to tear up human rights laws to counter terrorism threat

 

Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn are making a last push for votes as the British general election campaign enters its final day.

The Labour leader is warning voters have “24 hours to save the NHS” while Mrs May is highlighting Conservative plans for £23 billion of investment in housing, roads, rail and ultrafast broadband if she is returned to power.

The prime minister is pledging to ensure the benefits are spread across the UK - while returning to her core theme of the campaign that the country’s hopes of a brighter future outside the European Union depend on making a success of the forthcoming Brexit negotiations.

“My plan to deliver that brighter future will make sure all four corners of our United Kingdom benefit from the opportunities Brexit will bring - with more jobs, more homes, better roads and railways, and world-class digital connectivity wherever you live,” she said.

“But all this depends on getting the best deal for Britain in the Brexit negotiations. Get those negotiations wrong and the consequences will be dire.”

Austerity

Mr Corbyn is highlighting Labour’s plans to provide £37 billion in additional funding for the NHS over the course of the next parliament, warning the service could not afford another five years of Conservative austerity.

“The Conservatives have spent the last seven years running down our NHS, our proudest national institution. Our NHS cannot afford five more years of underfunding, understaffing and privatisation,” he said.

“Labour will give our NHS the resources it needs to deliver the best possible care for patients, and end the Conservatives’ attacks on our hard-working health workers, who care for us all.”

Despite Labour continuing to trail to the Conservatives in the polls - even though the gap has narrowed since the start of the campaign - an upbeat Mr Corbyn insisted they remain on course for victory.

“We can do something very special on Thursday. We can have a future of hope for the many not the few,” he said in an interview with the Daily Mirror. “We are going to win.”

The two leaders are spending the day frantically criss-crossing the country as they seek to galvanise their supporters and win over wavers before polling opens on Thursday.

Under pressure

Mr Corbyn will sweep the length of the country with a series of rallies starting in Scotland and finishing up in London.

Mrs May - who has spent much of the election campaigning in Labour’s heartlands of the North and Midlands - will concentrate her final effort on the South East, Eastern England and the Midlands.

Mrs May - who has been under pressure over security in the wake of the London Bridge attack - signalled on Tuesday she was ready to tear up some elements of the human rights laws to counter the extremist threat.

She told supporters at a rally in Slough they could include new measures to restrict the movements of suspects who have not been convicted of any offence as well as making it easier to deport foreign suspects.

In interview with the Sun, Mrs May also indicated she was prepared to extend the time suspects can be held without charge to 28 days after it was reduced to 14 days in 2011 under the coalition.

“We said there may be circumstances where it is necessary to do this. I will listen to what they (the police) think is necessary for us to do,” she said.

Posturing

The move was condemned by the opposition parties, with Lib Dem leader Tim Farron accusing her of “simply posturing”, having been prepared to offer up the police for “cut after cut” when she was home secretary.

Mr Farron, who has seen the Lib Dems squeezed in the polls by the two larger parties, will use his final rally in Oxford to appeal to people to vote tactically to keep out the Tories - including Conservative supporters concerned about their plans for Brexit and for social care.

“If you are a Conservative supporter but those things worry you, then don’t do it. Vote for someone who will stand up for you and your family instead,” he will say.