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April 13, 2005

Blair launches third and final manifesto

Blair launches third and final manifesto

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Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Tony Blair today launched the Labour Party’s 112 page manifesto for a third term, entitled “Britain: Forward not back”, at London’s Mermaid Theatre this afternoon, promising not to increase income tax or VAT.

Blair, with Chancellor Gordon Brown, described the manifesto, which focused on economic policy, as “radical”, “quintessentially New Labour” and giving people the “chance to succeed and make the most of what they have”.

As well as economic promises, the manifesto pledged better social housing, increased funding and reform of education and the National Health Service and the introduction of community police patrols. The manifesto does not promise a freeze on National Insurance, the income-linked tax which funds the NHS and pensions.

Conservative leader Michael Howard said that the British people had “heard it all before”, and reiterated claims that Labour would have to increase taxes significantly in the third term.

Deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, Sir Menzies Campbell, whose party was the only mainstream party consistently against the Iraq war, said Labour would “not be judged by their promises, but by what they have done”, adding that Labour have not kept their previous promises.

The Conservative Party and Green Party launched their manifestos yesterday, and the Liberal Democrats launch theirs tomorrow.

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Conservative Party launches manifesto

Conservative Party launches manifesto – Wikinews, the free news source

Conservative Party launches manifesto

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Wednesday, April 13, 2005 The Conservative Party of the United Kingdom, Monday, launched its slimline manifesto for the May 5th general election, a twenty-seven page document entitled The British Dream.

The manifesto focuses on five key areas:

Lower tax and value for money: The party plans to make up to £12 billion of savings annually by reducing beurocracy such as quangos. £8 billion will reduce previous deficit, and £4 billion of tax cuts will be made, especially to what have been called “stealth taxes”. The party promised that funding for education, health, transport and international development would not be cut, and spending on police, defence and pensions would be increased.

Flexible childcare and school discipline: The manifesto promised an increase in maternity pay and more choice of childcare. Under a conservative government more independence over expulsions and admissions would be given to school heads and governors. Special schools for disruptive pupils would be created, and more vocational courses would be created for 14-16 year olds.

Better healthcare and cleaner hospitals: A major feature of the coservative campaign has been hospital sourced infections, and in respose the party have promised to introduce ward matrons charged with keeping hospitals clean, with the authority to close wards with MRSA infections. A Conservative government would contribute funding towards operations in private hospitals. Econimic migrants with HIV or TB would not be allowed to live or work in Britain.

Safer communities and more police: A Conservative government would increase police recruitment by 5,000 a year. The manifesto promised to increase prison terms and increase Britain’s prison capacity by 20,000 places. The party would reverse the Labour government’s decision to relax laws prohibiting Canabis use.

Secure borders and controlled immigration: The manifesto proposes a new border police at Britain’s busiest air and sea ports, with 24 hour surveilance. The party would set a quota on economic migrants and reject asylym-seekers who are not vetted by the UNHCR.

Party leader Michael Howard summed up the manifesto: “If you long for cleaner hospitals, more police, school discipline, controlled immigration, lower taxes and accountability – you can vote for it, on 5 May”, accusing prime-minister Tony Blair, who is campaigning for his third term, of letting the country down.

Response

The manifesto has been criticised by the Labour Chancellor, Gordon Brown, for being unrealistic in its extimates of savings, and in predictions of economic growth resulting from tax cuts, calculating that there would be approximately £18 billion annual deficits.

Labour’s election strategist, Alan Millburn, said that the manifesto shows that the Conservatives still stand for privilege and not opertunity, and described it as the shortest suicide note in political history.

The Deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, Sir Menzies Campbell, claimed that claimed that £5.5 to 8 billion of cuts were unrealistic. Charles Kennedy said that voters had already decided the Conservative Party could not run public services.

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April 12, 2005

Labour attack Tory economic policy

Labour attack Tory economic policy – Wikinews, the free news source

Labour attack Tory economic policy

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Tuesday, April 12, 2005

[[w:United Kingdom|United Kingdom] — The Conservative Party manifesto, launched earlier today, has been criticised by opponents as being unrealistic.

The pledge of £35 billion of savings from “government slimlining”, and subsequent tax cuts, has been attacked by Labour and the Liberal Democrats. The Conservatives plan to continue funding front-line services at the current rate by relying on economic growth to make up the difference.

Labour described the plans as “a complete economic mess”, the current Chancellor, Gordon Brown claiming there would be a shortfall of “£18.9bn in year one, £18.5bn in year two and £14.4bn in year three.” Labour leader Tony Blair claimed that the Labour and the Conservatives economic roles had reversed since the 1980s, when many had lost faith in Labour’s ability to handle the economy.

The deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, Sir Menzies Campbell, claimed that £5.5 to 8 billion of cuts were unrealistic.

Labour’s manifesto is launched tomorrow, and the Liberal Democrats launch theirs on Thursday. Conservative shadow Chancellor Oliver Letwin has already criticised Gordon Brown’s budget of March this year, claiming it will create an £11bn shortfall.

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April 5, 2005

UK Prime Minister sets 2005 General Election date

UK Prime Minister sets 2005 General Election date

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Tuesday, April 5, 2005

There are only two days left for all remaining legislation to be passed.

The United Kingdom Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Tony Blair PC MP, at 09:00 UTC today formally requested the Queen to dissolve Parliament on April 11, thereby confirming May 5 to be the date for the next General Election.

Mr Blair had delayed the formal request for the dissolution of Parliament for 1 day, as a mark of respect for Pope John Paul II, who died on Saturday April 2. All political parties had suspended campaiging for two days; and Mr Blair and other politicians had been attending services to mourn the death of the Pope.

Timetable for the dissolution of Parliament

The wedding of His Royal Highness Prince Charles had previously been scheduled for Friday April 8, and hence Members of Parliament (Lords and Commons) would have not sat on that day and would have stopped sitting on Thursday April 7. However, because of that subsequently being the date set for the funeral of Pope John Paul II, the wedding has been postponed to Saturday April 9.

Members of Parliament (Lords and Commons) will thus stop sitting on Friday April 8. This leaves just four days for all remaining legislation to be passed. It is expected that some government bills will be simply dropped, to be reintroduced in the next Parliament if the Labour Party wins the General Election.

The last Prime Minister’s Question Time in the House of Commons is scheduled to be tomorrow, Wednesday April 6 at 11:00 UTC.

After the election, the new Parliament is scheduled to be summoned on Wednesday May 11. Its first business will be the election of the Speaker and the swearing-in of members. The State Opening of Parliament is scheduled to then be on Tuesday May 17.

General Election campaigns start

The calling of the General Election marks the formal beginning of the general election campaigns by the U.K. political parties, although in practice all three major parties have been actively campaigining for several weeks. The Conservative Party election slogan “Are you thinking what we’re thinking?” was, for example, used by the party leader Michael Howard in his response to the Budget report on March 16, 2005 and was launched by the Scottish Conservatives on March 10.

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