Theresa May targets Brexit mandate with Conservative manifesto

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street, London, March 14, 2017.  REUTERS/Toby Melville

British Prime Minister Theresa May urged voters to strengthen my hand in Brexit talks and vowed to cut immigration as she unveiled her Conservative Party’s manifesto on Thursday ahead of a general election.

May reiterated that Britain would be leaving the European single market, the customs union and warned of battles ahead over the next two years as the country negotiates its departure from the European Union.

May said at the launch in Halifax in northern England every vote for me and my team will strengthen my hand in the negotiations to come, calling it a manifesto to see us through Brexit and beyond.

“If we fail, the consequences for Britain and for the economic security of ordinary working people will be dire. If we succeed, the opportunities ahead of us are great.”

Pitching to voters outside her centre-right party’s traditional base, May promised new rights for workers, to curb executive pay and cap energy prices.

She repeated a pledge to cut net migration to below 100,000 a year despite the government’s failure to meet this target since 2010.

She declared as dozens of anti-austerity campaigners and trade unionists rallied outside. It is time to put the old tribal politics behind us and to come together in the national interest, united in our desire to make a success of Brexit.

May said the next five years will be among the most challenging in our lifetime and repeated that only she offered the strong and stable leadership necessary.

May repeated her threat to walk away from the negotiations with the EU if she deemed the terms on offer too onerous, although she said she wanted to secure a deal, including on new trade ties.

The manifesto also repeated promises to limit immigration, and pledged to double the charge on companies employing migrant workers using the money to invest in skills.

The prime minister is confident of being re-elected with an increased majority in the House of Commons as her Conservatives are well ahead of the main opposition Labour party in the polls.

Two new opinion surveys published on Thursday showed Labour gaining some ground after leftwing leader Jeremy Corbyn published his manifesto this week although the party is still trailing badly.

The manifesto also raises the prospect of increased costs for the wealthy to pay for elderly social care and ends winter fuel subsidies for rich pensioners.

It also promises more funding for the state-run National Health Service (NHS) and spells the end of free school lunches for young children, diverting the money to education.

Source : Reuters



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