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UK prime minister unveils Conservative Party manifesto ahead of general election

UK's Conservative Prime Minister and his wife Akshata Murty pose with supporters upon arrival to launch his party's manifesto
UK's Conservative Prime Minister and his wife Akshata Murty pose with supporters upon arrival to launch his party's manifesto Copyright Benjamin Cremel, Pool Photo via AP
Copyright Benjamin Cremel, Pool Photo via AP
By Euronews with AP
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The manifesto launch comes shortly after PM Rishi Sunak was forced to deny rumours he might resign before polling day.

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UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has pledged to cut taxes and reduce immigration if his Conservative Party is re-elected in the general election on 4 July.

Sunak held the manifesto launch at the Silverstone motor racing circuit in central England, home of the British Grand Prix, and it could be one of his last big chances to get his spluttering campaign back on track.

His central pitch was the claim that a government led by Labour's Keir Starmer would raise taxes while a Conservative one would lower them.

In its manifesto, the party pledged £17 billion (€20bn) in tax cuts by 2030, to be paid for largely by slashing welfare costs.

Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, delivers a speech to launch the Conservatives' general election manifesto in Silverstone, England
Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, delivers a speech to launch the Conservatives' general election manifesto in Silverstone, EnglandBenjamin Cremel, Pool Photo via AP

The main tax cut is a 2% reduction in National Insurance — a tax employees pay to qualify for a state pension.

The Conservative government has already cut it twice, from 12% to the current 8%.

Sunak also pledged to raise defence investment to 2.5% of GDP by 2030, and vowed that flights removing illegal migrants would depart in July.

A surprise election

Rishi Sunak’s surprise decision to call a summer election, several months earlier than most people expected, was intended partly to catch the opposition unprepared.

But with the Conservatives trailing the left-of-centre Labour Party in opinion polls, Sunak was forced to acknowledge that “people are frustrated with our party and frustrated with me.”

Still, he argued that the Conservatives are “the only party with the big ideas to make this country a better place to live.”

Opponents said Sunak was making unrealistic and unaffordable promises in a desperate bid to stave off defeat.

The party’s prospects also worsened last week when populist Nigel Farage announced that he would run for Parliament at the helm of the right-wing party Reform UK.

Farage has been campaigning around the country to rally support with his anti-establishment and anti-immigration rhetoric.

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