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Coffee House General Election 2017

What the papers say: The manifesto pledges Theresa May must make

20 April 2017

9:05 AM

20 April 2017

9:05 AM

The General Election campaign is officially underway – and the newspapers have wasted no time in compiling their wish lists. Here are the policies the papers want to see put into practise:

Theresa May’s plan for Brexit – leaving the single market and being ‘free from EU courts’ – gets the wholehearted backing from the Sun. But this election is not only about Brexit, argues the paper. For one, the PM must give ‘proper help — not just lip service — for the ‘just about managings’’. Tax cuts would be a big boost, suggests the paper, which says these could be paid for by taking away ‘state-funded perks for richer OAPs’. After all, ‘while working families are barely scraping together the rent’ it isn’t fair to hand out money to those who don’t need it, the Sun says. So what else should the PM do? Binning the ‘scandalous foreign aid target’, focusing on job training and ‘slash(ing)’ the number of peers propping up the House of Lords would also be welcome. ‘In 2017 we cannot surely continue to have ancient, unelected party time-servers ruling over voters’ lives,’ the Sun concludes.

The Daily Mail responds to the critics of its ‘crush the saboteurs’ front page yesterday by reassuring its readers: ‘For the avoidance of doubt, neither the PM nor this peace-loving paper proposes genocide’. Instead, all the paper says it wants is for the PM to ‘establish her mandate for pressing on with Brexit’. But for those who say the Mail was wrong to call the Government’s Brexit critics ‘saboteurs’, the paper has a message: ‘how else to describe a Labour Party which has threatened to vote against a final agreement with the EU?’ Or what else should we call the Lib Dems who ‘say they want to grind government to a standstill?’. If they don’t like being called saboteurs then ‘shouldn’t they give up the sabotage?’

On June 8th, Brits have a simple question, says the Daily Telegraph: ‘who is fit to govern Britain?’ Given that those who know Jeremy Corbyn best ‘are appalled by the very idea’ of the Labour leader becoming Prime Minister, it seems inevitable that many voters will also question ‘why would the country want this man as prime minister’ too. The Telegraph says that there will be several important themes in this election – not least Brexit. But the paper suggests the main topic will be ‘about fitness to govern’. What is vital, argues the Telegraph, is that Labour MPs ‘cannot be allowed to foist upon the country a leader they do not even trust themselves’.

Brexit might be the word on everyone’s lips during these elections, but the next five years should be about more than just walking away from the EU, says the Times. The manifesto pledges made over the coming weeks will form ‘the basis for a programme of government that should outlast Britain’s negotiation with the EU,’ the paper argues. This makes it vital that the parties do not try and use Brexit as a ‘smokescreen’ ‘to obscure a dearth of other ideas’. So what plans should the PM set out? The Times agrees with the Sun that ditching the 0.7 per cent spending commitment on foreign aid would be a good move. But marking ‘differences from her predecessor’ won’t be enough, argues the Times. On top of getting rid of past pledges, May must spell out ‘her own “plan for Britain”’. ‘So far,’ the Times argues, ‘the electorate knows little of it’.


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