Campaign highlights: NHS and immigration dominate debate

Monthly NHS figures and the immigration debate were among the top talking points on the campaign trail on Thursday.

Labour accused the Tories of being “staggeringly out of touch” as stats showed some 4.42 million patients are on the waiting list for treatment.

Meanwhile, Home Secretary Priti Patel pledged that a Conservative government will cut immigration if the party returns to power.

Here are some of the highlights of Thursday’s campaign trail:

– Monthly NHS figures were the talk of the day

New NHS figures showed that some 4.42 million patients – the highest ever number – are on the waiting list for treatment.

They also showed that one in six patients waited longer than four hours in A&E in England during October – the worst ever performance since the four-hour target was introduced in 2004.

Labour accused the Tories of being “staggeringly out of touch” after Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the NHS was in many ways “performing better than it ever has”.

Patients waiting for NHS treatment in England
(PA Graphics)

– The Tories announced plans to reduce ‘immigration overall’

Home Secretary Priti Patel pledged that a Conservative government will cut immigration if the party returns to power.

Security minister Brandon Lewis added that the Tories are “not setting some arbitrary target”, but want to introduce a new points-based system that is fair and would allow immigration to be controlled and reduced.

But shadow business minister Laura Pidcock said the Conservatives have “broken every single commitment” they have given on immigration, and said the real issue is “exploitative” bosses bringing down wages.

Labour has yet to announce its policy.

– Labour pledged to close the pay gap between men and women by 2030

Shadow women and equalities secretary Dawn Butler said the party would roll out a host of wage-related measures, including fining companies with gender pay gaps, to ensure women are on an equal footing with men in the workplace by 2030.

The Conservative Party, which in 2017 introduced gender pay gap reporting for companies with 250 employees or more under Theresa May, said that Labour was “over-promising”.

The CBI said 93% of firms are already taking action and that Labour should “engage with businesses” rather than “adding bureaucracy with government certification”.

The Fawcett Society called for Labour to go further, arguing that women should have the right to know what their male colleagues are being paid if they suspect pay discrimination.

– Nigel Farage claimed Arron Banks has ‘Brexhaustion’

Mr Farage said co-founder of Leave.EU Mr Banks has “just had enough of Brexit” and is “happy to go along with Mrs May and Boris’s deal”.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage addresses supporters at Ionians RUFC in Hull
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage addresses supporters at Ionians RUFC in Hull (Danny Lawson/PA)

He was responding to Mr Banks’s comments that it is “time to take the chips off the table” and get behind the Conservative Party to deliver Brexit.

Mr Farage said the Brexit Party must press ahead to hold Boris Johnson to account and make sure a “proper Brexit” is secured.

– Donald Tusk urged British voters to ‘not give up’ on Brexit

Outgoing European Council president Donald Tusk warned British voters that leaving the EU would leave the UK a “second-rate player” and urged them “not to give up” on the fight against Brexit.

Mr Tusk also added that Brexit was likely to mark the “real end of the British Empire”.

He is due to step down from the role in December after holding the post for five years.

Trend of the day

Nigel Farage handed his opponents something of a gift when a tweet from his account wrongly stated he was in South Yorkshire. He was, in fact, in Hull, which lies in East Yorkshire.

Picture of the day

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage looks out from a window on the Kestrel crabbing boat in Grimsby fish dock
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage looks out from a window on the Kestrel crabbing boat in Grimsby fish dock (Danny Lawson/PA)

Video of the day

Wheels On The Bus

What’s next?

  • Jeremy Corbyn is expected to campaign in the north of England
  • Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage to visit Dudley and Willenhall to stage two public meetings
  • Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie will hear from students about their priorities for the election over a game of pool in Glasgow

Read Full Story

FROM OUR PARTNERS