Published: Thu, June 08, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Polls open in UK election after campaign marred by attacks

Polls open in UK election after campaign marred by attacks

Britain votes for a new Parliament and government Thursday after a campaign of three phases: the sleepy election, the surprising election and the security election.

(Peter Byrne/PA via AP).

Harley Kagan, group managing director of United Trust Bank, said: "Momentum has certainly been with Labour and many polls now put just a few points between them".

May was criticized for lackluster campaigning and deadly attacks that turned the election into a debate about national security.

All 650 seats in the House of Commons are up for grabs in today's election.

Then came a suicide bombing at a pop concert in Manchester on May 22 that killed 22 children and adults, and a van and knife attack on London Bridge and in nearby Borough Market that killed eight people on June 3, five days before the election.

May stumbled repeatedly on the campaign trail while Corbyn surprisingly found his footing, shrinking the Tories' lead to set up a neck-and-neck race.

Dunn told Xinhua: "This election was called over Brexit and yet neither of the main parties are talking about this subject in detail even though it will dominate the next parliament".

The UK Independence Party received nearly 13% of the vote in 2015 but is now polling at closer to 5% following Brexit and the departure of Nigel Farage. "It was very scary on Saturday".

After three Islamist attacks in Britain in as many months, many voters in the town of Corby say security is now their major concern for Thursday's election - and they see both Prime Minister Theresa May and her Labour challenger as weak.

With Brexit and national security at the forefront of the United Kingdom election campaign - issues which traditionally play to the Conservative "patriotic image and narrative" - Theresa May should have the edge.

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Arter, who is now with the Ireland squad ahead of this Sunday's crucial World Cup Qualifier against Austria, also retweeted a video from the Conservative Party Twitter page listing reasons why Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn should not become Prime Minister. May's campaigning style was criticized as stiff and lackluster, and some Conservative policy proposals got a hostile reception, including a plan to make pensioners pay for more of their care.

"We won't defeat terrorists by ripping up our basic rights and our democracy", he said. "That is the future I want for Britain as we fulfil the promise of Brexit together".

Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May and main opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn criss-crossed the country, targeting urban areas whose votes could be crucial. The central premise is that money will be pumped back into public services, with the nationalisation of several utility-based industries, including post, rail and the National Grid.

But the Conservative government's record on cutting funding for health and education have also featured strongly in the campaign, to the benefit of Labour. "Hope that austerity can be ended", he told supporters at his homecoming rally in London.

Although Brexit could be one of the most pivotal moments in British politics for a generation, it has failed to take centre stage during the campaign.

The four polls expected later on Wednesday will be published by companies which have given the Conservatives smaller leads than ICM and ComRes in recent weeks.

"If the Conservatives win, the size of their majority will determine how markets react", said Samuel Tombs, chief United Kingdom economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.

Voters in the Holyrood constituency of Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire will also be voting to choose their MSP in a by-election triggered by the resignation of Conservative John Lamont to fight for the corresponding Westminster constituency seat.

The weather is unlikely to prove too much of a deterrent to voters, although rain is forecast to move north through the United Kingdom during the course of the day. Turnout is not expected to be affected.

"We have not had a snap election since the 1970s so there is little precedent", said Stephen Barber of London South Bank University.

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