Theresa May has run scared of even the notion of debate during this General Election campaign. The nearest she will get is this evening, when she will (!) be in the same building as Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn but will not debate.
Instead, she will face questions submitted by members of the public and then be questioned by Jeremy Paxman.
It remains to be seen whether Paxman is the force he once was and will give her the same, relentless treatment he gave then-Tory leader Michael Howard, or will – as Andrew Neil did on the BBC last week – go easier on her than on her rival (though even then she came off far worse).
But it’s time for Theresa May – going against the grain as it will certainly be – to be straight with the British people on her plans for pensioners, working people and our public services
Labour called today on Theresa May to come clean and answer the most pressing questions she has failed to be straight about in this campaign.
The Conservative manifesto has betrayed Britain’s pensioners, threatened unspecified tax rises for tens of millions of working people and set out a grim future of underfunding and understaffing for our vital public services.
Given that the Conservative leader has already broken her flagship manifesto pledge on social care – as Andrew Neil observed, the first time in electoral history that a manifesto pledge has been abandoned before a General Election – Labour is challenging May to depart from her usual modus operandi and give clear, meaningful answers to the crucial questions she has continued to duck.
Mrs May must answer these six questions today:
1. Will she confirm that ten million pensioners will lose their winter fuel payments if the Conservatives are re-elected? And if not ten million, how many will it be?
2. At what level will the cap be set on social care costs that those with conditions such as dementia will have to pay under Conservative plans?
3. Will Theresa May match Labour’s pledge not to raise personal National Insurance contributions, and not to raise income tax for 95 per cent of taxpayers?
4. Will the Conservatives confirm they are planning another five years of austerity for public services, as the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) stated last week?
5. The Conservatives have warned they will scrap free school meals for 5-7 year olds if they are re-elected. Will they now spell out a realistic costing for their school breakfast proposal now they have withdrawn their discredited 6.8p figure?
6. Will Theresa May confirm she is proposing not a single penny of extra funding for the NHS, as the IFS has stated?
Theresa May has a track record of breaking her promises, flip-flopping and going back on her word.
Ahead of tonight’s live televised interview and Q&A, Labour is calling on the Conservative leader to be straight with people and set out exactly what she’s planning for our pensioners, working people and school children.
Andrew Gwynne, Labour’s National Election Coordinator, said:
The Tory manifesto has plunged pensioners and working people into insecurity, and left our public services facing the risk of further crisis.
Meanwhile, Theresa May refuses to answer even the most basic questions on her policies.
Today, Labour sets out some of the most pressing questions the Tories keep dodging. So if you get a knock at the door from the Tories or are one of the few people who isn’t a Tory party member to meet Theresa May or Philip Hammond, ask them to provide answers.
Failure to do so will lead people to draw their own conclusions. But ultimately it proves that voting for the Tories at this election is a dangerous roll of the dice for working people and pensioners.
Their manifesto threatened to take away winter fuel allowances, ditch the triple lock and leave pensioners facing the loss of control of their homes because of social care costs.
It makes clear the Tories are planning five more years of austerity for our public services, with no guarantee to not raise taxes for 95 per cent of taxpayers.
Having broken her flagship pledge on social care just days after she launched her manifesto, Theresa May needs to give clear answers to these crucial questions and be straight with the British people about what the Tories are actually planning.
This blog endorses those questions to Theresa May unequivocally. We ask all readers to share and support these questions to ensure that Mrs May is held to account this evening – and that she is clearly understood to be evading them if – or more likely when – she does so.
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