AUTHOR: William Kedjanyi

VOTE 24: Manifesto Week

Welcome to Manifesto Week! Over the next four days, Britain’s biggest political parties will launch their General Election manifestos, whilst Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer will put their messages to the public in a special live event on Wednesday, smack bang in between the release of their election pledges, writes WILLIAM KEDJANYI.

I’m in London ahead of the Liberal Democrat manifesto launch, which will promise a £9bn package “to save health and care services”, funded by reversing tax cuts for banks and closing tax loopholes exploited by the wealthiest individuals.

From then onwards I’ll be in Esher and Walton, a likely gain for Monica Harding, who is aiming to take the Tory seat from the Tories, represented by John Cope, an Elmbridge Local Councillor who’s replacing former Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab.

In addition to that, there’ll be reaction to the European election results and Douglas Ross’s decision to step down as Scottish Tory Leader. Strap in and make sure to check back here for the latest over the week!

🗳️ Election Countdown:

🎰 Scores On The Doors

💬 It’s been an action-packed week – here’s the latest from John Brackenridge in the Star trading room:

” Another eventful week in the world of politics, manifestos launched but zero change in the betting markets on the back of those. Once again, the market movers came from the polling and most significantly Friday’s YouGov poll showing Reform were ahead of the Tories for the first time, we now bet 15/8 Reform get more on the 4th July, a 3/1 shot earlier in the week. The theme of the previous week had been that we could not lay the Tories anywhere, well, on the back of the YouGov drift we saw bets of £1k @ ¼ & £800 @ 4/11 Tories to Win the Most Seats without Labour, was this the optimum time to pull the trigger? Would have been unthinkable that sort of price even a month or so ago, but it feels like there may be more stumbling blocks along the way before those get paid out.

More money has come for the lower Tory seat bands, £1k @ 6/4 to win 50-99 Seats laid. We now have around 60 Constituencies on site, Labour/Lib Dems/Labour/Labour/Lib Dems would be the closest description of the bets we are seeing at the minute. Next Conservative Leader is proving a fascinating market not least working out who will still have a seat after the election? The mover this week? Nigel Farage… Now 8/1 from 12/1!

And finally, it couldn’t happen could it? Rishi Sunak NOT to be PM heading into the General Election, bets laid this week at 7/1, 8/1 & 10/1! Even this campaign can’t get that crazy, can it? Back next week…
Back next week.”

🌹 Labour Launch Interviews

Here are some interviews from Manchester after the manifesto launch!

🌹 Labour Launch Day

After some time to digest the Labour manifesto, here are a few thoughts on various areas.

Overall: This is a plan with room for manoeuvre. There’s costings but several areas have aims and missions rather than specific promises. This is keeping in line with Labour’s fiscal rules and their general approach of making sure not to over-promise and disappoint in what is likely to be a very difficult first term given the state of the country they’ll inherit.

🏡 Housing:

Labour’s recognition that the planning laws in this country need massive work is very welcome – the manifesto itself states that “The current planning regime acts as a major brake on economic growth.”

The restoration of mandatory targets is welcome. A new ‘Freedom to Buy’ scheme is in the works for 80,000 young people to buy homes of their own over five years – this will be a target for the second half of their term rather than the first given the lack of supply. Brownfield sites and the green belt are mentioned and the intention – getting on with housebuilding – is clear and something to be welcomed.

With regards to renters, the signs are promising – here’s Vicky Spratt of the I Paper’s Summary below:

The pledge they have made on building homes is a big one. pledge to build 1.5 million new homes in England across the next parliament would require a record level of housebuilding and the levels would need to be raised massively. Construction was started on less than 150,000 properties and the last time 300,000 was hit was in 1969 – when half was social housing.

🌍 Foreign Policy:

🇪🇺: No return to the single market, no customs union, and no freedom of movement. Not one for the rejoiners for all that we can expect better relations

💷 Foreign Aid: Labour won’t spend 0.7% of National Budget on Foreign Aid until the fiscal rules allow

💷 Taxes/Spending

💬 Comment from the IFS: Paul Johnson, IFS director: “On current forecasts, and especially with an extra £17.5bn borrowing over five years to fund the green prosperity plan, this leaves literally no room – within the fiscal rule that Labour has signed up to – for any more spending than planned by the current government.

💬 “And those plans do involve cuts both to investment spending and to spending on unprotected public services. Yet Sir Keir Starmer effectively ruled out such cuts.”

Pensions: Labour have made a pledge to retain the triple lock on pensions. There’s no mention of compensation for Waspi women, despite an ombudsman’s recent recommendation that they should be entitled to it – that will be a very sore sticking point.

Northern Ireland

Labour will be committed to implementing the Windsor Framework – the post-Brexit deal on trading arrangements for Northern Ireland, arguably one of Rishi Sunak’s best achievements.

♨️ Climate:

There’s a difference on whether Labour can decarbonise the energy system by 2030:

On the right, the belief is that not only for the birds, but likely to cost taxpayers dearly. In the middle and on the left, it’s possible but would take a lot of work. A punchy guess would suggest that the middle of the next decade might be the tipping point. If Labour are serious about this, then HS2 needs to be built in full, as fast as possible.

💷 Business:

Labour has pushed hard to win the business community’s support. This manifesto is very much tipped in their favour. But there are issues with work.

Labour wants to get many more people back to work but long term sickness is major issue – and not one, dare I say, that can be fixed by simple declarations or vibes. As senior party members will have said before – huge changes have effected the working population and the NHS waiting is is a massive player in this. Again, this could be a second half of the Parliament issue in terms of any progress.

Labour’s manifesto launch is underway, and it is slick and powerful. After a short and punchy opener from Angela Rayner, and some additional material from Richard Walker (Iceland CEO who stood as a Tory candidate and then switched from the Tories to Labour), and then emotional messages from Daniel (living with 2 child family in one bed flat), Nathaniel (has terminal cancer, who said he wasn’t and endorses Streeting’s NHS plans) and Holly (first time voter, A-level student who references Rachel Reeves. Here’s Starmer now:

📕 Here are some reported key pledges in the Manifesto itself – more context on these later today! And there’s a ton of Keir Starmer pictures – 34 in total, and yes there’s one of him at D-Day!

• Bring railways into public ownership as existing rail contracts expire
• Fix one million potholes each year
• New powers for local leaders to franchise local bus services
• Build 1.5 million homes by the end of the next parliament
• Commit to recognising a Palestinian state as a step towards a renewed peace process in the Middle East
• To rebuild and reset relationship with the EU – but not re-enter it

💷 Costings:

• £1.8bn to upgrade ports and build supply chains across the UK
• £1.5bn to new gigafactories “so our automotive industry leads the world”
• £2.5bn to rebuild the steel industry
• £1bn to accelerate the deployment of carbon capture

🌹 Delegates are making their way into One Angel Square for Starmer’s speech. Some initial thoughts from the ground here:

🌹 Good morning to you on the way to Manchester, for the Labour Party conference. Here are some opening thoughts on what to expect on the move earlier:

Likely headlines:

🏡 Plans to build 1.5 million houses over five years by forcing councils to approve new homes, including on the green belt, warning that those who refuse will have development imposed upon them as part of a “zero tolerance” approach to nimbyism.’ (via YIMBY Alliance, from The Times).

⚡️ Establishing a state-owned energy firm, hiring more police and teachers, and renationalising nearly all passenger rail. (BBC)

💷 A promise to not raise corporation tax, and to launch a new industrial strategy with clean energy at its centre and enact rapid planning reforms to incentivise developers to build new infrastructure. (Guardian)

Feature lines:

“On 4 July, the British people can choose a different path for our country. Stability over pantomime politics; long-term strategy over short-term gimmick; and growth, not decline. That’s the change our manifesto will offer.” (Guardian)

“This is our chance to end the chaos, turn the page and start a decade of national renewal. Your vote matters – don’t waste this chance.” (Guardian article)

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 Plaid

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 Plaid’s launch is underway as we speak. They will be hoping to make gains, although the sheer surge of Labour’s vote may make that task harder. The chaos surrounding Vaughn Gething will be a help, but it will be interesting to see if they want to talk about Welsh Independence, something that many associate with the party (as I speak it’s just been said that there will be a consultation on what a path to independence might look like, rather than a timetable to the end destination; a change from 2019). There’s also a push on the fact HS2 doesn’t benefit Wales – a point well made, if I can say so myself.

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 However, Plaid could also benefit from Labour’s exposed left-flank – on Gaza, the single market and increased power for the Senedd – in the way other parties have, and they have one eye on a big push in the 2026 Welsh Elections.

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 The BBC are currently showing speeches from party leader Rhun ap Iorwerth, Liz Saville Roberts who was Plaid Cymru’s Westminster leader before Parliament was dissolved, and Ann Davies who is standing in Carmarthenshire.

🟢 The Greens

Onwards to Hove, where the Greens launched a bold manifesto that’s designed to appeal to progressively minded voters on the left of British politics. Some reaction below!

Key Pledges:

Here is the cleaned-up text with appropriate capitalization:

– A tax on multimillionaires and billionaires (starting at 1% on assets over £10 million)
– Equalising capital gains tax with income tax
– Raising the national insurance limit so those on more than £50k a year pay more tax
– A £40 billion a year green economic transition
– Nationalising water, railway, and the big 5 energy companies
– Raise national minimum wage to £15 an hour
– 150,000 new social homes a year
– End Right to Buy
– A maximum 10:1 pay ratio for public and private sectors
– A four-day week
– Abolish the two-child benefit cap
– Giving rights to nature with a new Rights of Nature Act
– An end to factory farming
– A ban on domestic flights if it would take less than three hours by train
– An end to VAT on cultural activities
– Scrap the Prevent programme
– A ceasefire now
– An end to arms sales to Israel
– Reinstatement of funding for UNRWA
– An end to the hostile environment and minimum income requirements for spouses

📊 Data Points

A few interesting things to note today from the relative polls. Firstly, this breakdown of Labour’s vote from Keiran Pedley of IPSOS:

And this, on stories that have cut through, from Luke Tryl of More in Common. Expect Sunak to suffer a tricky evening in Grimsby on Sky News tonight:

🔵 Sunak’s Starting Grid

The Tory Party have launched their manifesto – I’ll have some thoughts on it through the day here but for now here’s what I believe it means for the party:

Here are some of the key pledges from the Manifesto that stood out:

• Abolish National Insurance for the self-employed by the end of the next Parliament. This is a big pledge – there are over four million self-employed workers in the UK.

• “Halve migration” and reduce it “every single year”

• Launch a new Help to Buy scheme to provide first-time buyers with an equity loan of up to 20% towards the cost of a new build home

• Deliver 1.6 million homes in England in the next Parliament. This will supposedly be achieved by abolishing current rules to unlock development, deliver homes on brownfield land in urban areas with “a fast-track planning system”

• Build 40 new hospitals in England – again (this was in the 2019 manifesto, and didn’t happen)

• a promise to close university courses with the worst outcomes – which the party has previously said might include data on potential earnings post-university.

Context is needed with those pledges – The migration target is impossible to meet without massive changes, and is a strange promise to make given their struggles on small boat crossings, Michael Gove has not had the support needed for several house building measures, and the university sector has several things that are more pressing (according at least to those within it).

Key takeaway: The Tories want – and desperately need – a tax election!

🟡 The Yellow Charge

With today’s focus on the Liberal Democrats, it’s worth having a look at their positions in the polls and the markets.

We’ve had four MRP’s published so far, and here’s the Lib Dem position in each one:

📊 Find Out Now: 40
📊 More in Common: 39
📊 YouGov: 46
📊 Survation: 42

According to YouGov, the Lib Dems are currently ahead in 48 seats – and all of their gains are taken from the Tories.

Their strongest areas are in the South – in the West they could take 14 seats, and adding the South East outside of London, the vast majority of their targets are based there.

This area is referred to as the Blue Wall (is a set of parliamentary constituencies in southern England which have traditionally voted for the Conservative Party,) and with the Tories having to move ever rightward for various reasons – Brexit, and the threat of Reform/UKIP – there’s been a gap in the centre that the Lib Dems have taken in areas where they’re a closer choice than Labour.

What does the market make of the Lib Dem challenge? Here are some selected odds for the Lib Dems in our constituency betting:

🟡 Chichester: 6/4
🟡 Esher and Walton: 1/4
🟡 Godalming and Ash: 8/13
🟡 Tunbridge Wells: 8/15
🟡 Surrey Heath: 6/5

The idea of a strong Lib Dem performance has also been absorbed into market thinking – their over/under line is now 40.5 with Star Sports and they are 1/3 to beat that line, something reflecting two years of strong results and vote efficiency.

One question I’ve been asked on the trail is how the Lib Dems can be projected to win so many seats when they poll behind Reform UK (odds on to win one seat, no other favourites) and are sometimes level with the Green Party (odds on for two seats, targeting four).

The answer to this – bar the size of their party, which is much more established than the above parties mentioned – is a ruthless strategy of Tory facing areas where the backlash against the party has driven voters away. According to most data, all of their potential gains come from Tory areas, and the Local election results confirmed their approach was working.

The local data from this summer’s elections suggests the Lib Dems won 50% of the vote in Alex Chalk’s seat, compared with 25% for the Tories. In Esher and Walton, seat of the departing former cabinet minister Dominic Raab, they were ahead 43% to 29%. In Tunbridge Wells, another once-safe Tory seat held by the former cabinet minister Greg Clark, the Lib Dems won the local election vote 35% to 28%. They will be hoping that trend continues.

🟡 On Location: Esher and Walton

After their campaign launch, the time was just right to visit a Lib Dem seat. Where better than Esher and Walton, where Monica Harding is 1/4 to record a first ever Lib Dem success here?

Of course, having gone to Esher – one simply had to visit Sandown racecourse. Monica Harding isn’t the only short priced favourite around, you know….

Two people were kind enough to give us their time on the high street. Say hello to:


And Rupert!

And here’s where it all started!


🟣 Richard Bateson (SDP)
🔵 John Cope (Conservative)
🌹 Yoel Gordon (Labour)
🔵 Alastair Gray (Reform UK)
🟡 Monica Harding (Liberal Democrats)
🟢 Maciej Pawlik (Green)

🇪🇺 Back to the Single Market?

A leading focus of the manifesto coverage has been their aim to place the UK-EU relationship on a more formal and stable footing by seeking to join the single market” – alongside a “longer-term ambition” to rejoin the EU.

This has caught headlines – namely due to the fact most Remain parties have been relatively quiet on Brexit since the 2019 Referendum – but would have come as no surprise. Since it’s implementation public opinion has moved against Brexit and in a big way.

In Deltapoll’s latest survey (8th June) 59% of respondents said the United Kingdom should rejoin the EU. For Omnisis (7th June) that result hits 57%.

Some reading this will worry that the Lib Dems may alienate Tory switchers with such a commitment, but with Brexit not a key election issue on it’s own this year (IPSOS has Healthcare/NHS/Hospitals ahead of Immigration, the cost of living/economy, schools and taxes), such a move carries much less risk now, especially with the Lib Dems leading front and centre on healthcare as well.

🟡 Rollercoasters and Teacups

You can’t accuse the Lib Dems of not taking every chance to enjoy things! After their launch a bunch of senior Lib Dems went to… Thorpe Park. Just enjoy:





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