Polls: May's Conservative Party Lead Narrows
- Author: Zachary Reyes May 24, 2017,
May 24, 2017, 10:09
"We are providing a system that provides sustainability in our social care for the future and we have got an ageing population".
British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday amended an unpopular campaign proposal for elderly care just days after unveiling it, prompting accusations that she could not be relied upon in upcoming Brexit negotiations.
The manifesto policy introduced a change to social care funding in which older people's houses would be factored into assets used to pay for care, with anything over £100,000 in value subject to being sold after death.
Without a strong majority, May would find it more difficult to pursue her own Brexit agenda, and would have to balance the demands from the hard Eurosceptic from within her own party with the demands of the opposition parties, particularly Labour and the Scottish National Party, who want the United Kingdom to remain part of the single market.
In a stunning U-turn, the Prime Minister said she wanted to "clarify" Conservative plans which have been dubbed a "Dementia Tax" by their opponents. There were some restrictions that would allow people to hold onto their home while they lived in it and then have the value deducted from their estate after they die.
Her suggestion that opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn had made "fake claims" that some people would lose their homes under the policy were also found to be incorrect when the Guardian revealed that the manifesto carried no limit on how much people could end up paying for their care in old age.
But in a major set-piece interview with the BBC's Andrew Neil she was challenged over the announcement that a cap on social care costs would now be included in her plans, having previously been ruled out.
During the question and answer session after a speech in Wales, she also looked visibly aggrieved and came close to losing her composure as she insisted that "nothing has changed".
To fervent applause from party activists and candidates, she said: "I think that's a very poor interpretation of what Jeremy said".
Four polls for the Sunday newspapers put Labour between 35% and 33%, up significantly on the scores as low as 26% it was recording early in the campaign, while the Survation survey for ITV's Good Morning Britain showed the Conservatives on 43% - down five points on the previous week and nine points ahead of Labour which was up five on 34%. But if she gains less than an impressive majority, her electoral gamble will have failed.
Pressure has mounted on the Conservatives following their manifesto being published on Thursday, with weekend polls showing their considerable lead over Labour narrowing.
But many are skeptical of the headline poll numbers after surveys failed to correctly predict Britain's last national election in 2015, as well as the 2016 European Union referendum and Donald Trump's US election victory. While they have since adjusted their methodology to seek to address this, it will not be known until June 9 whether they have now gone too far the other way.
They have a United Kingdom leader in Jeremy Corbyn who won't say a bad word about the IRA, and now a Scottish leader in Kezia Dugdale who won't criticise that stance. With only 2½ weeks to go till polling day on June 8, the unexpected boost for the Labour party has sent shivers through financial markets.