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'Britain's Conservatives to focus on Brexit, energy in poll'

Britains Conservatives to focus on Brexit, energy in poll
Britain's ruling Conservative Party's election manifesto will focus on Brexit and domestic concerns, such as strengthening the economy and putting a cap on energy prices, Work and Pensions minister Damian Green said on Sunday.

"The manifesto will deal with two big issues facing the country - one obviously is the Brexit negotiations ... but the other half, which is equally important, is indeed the domestic agenda," he told ITV's Peston on Sunday program.

"There will be a lot about energy policy in the manifesto ... I think that people feel that some of the big energy companies have taken advantage of them with the tariffs."

Theresa May appeared on course to win a crushing election victory in June after opinion polls put support for her ruling Conservative party at around 50 percent, double that of the opposition Labour party. May's decision to call a June 8 election stunned her political rivals this week and a string of polls released late on Saturday suggested the gamble had paid off, with one from ComRes showing the party of Margaret Thatcher enjoying levels of support not seen since 1991.

May, appointed prime minister in the turmoil that followed Britain's vote to leave the European Union last June, said she needed the election to secure her own mandate and strengthen her hand for the Brexit negotiations ahead. She is also looking to capitalise on the disarray swirling around the Labour party, which has been riven with internal division over its leader Jeremy Corbyn. Voters also appear to be switching from the anti-EU UKIP party, which helped campaign for Brexit, to May's Conservatives, which will likely deliver it.

"The announcement of a snap election has clearly focused the minds of the electorate," said James Crouch at pollster Opinium. In two other polls, May's Conservatives also gained ground in Scotland at the expense of the Scottish National Party, potentially weakening the nationalists' demand for another independence referendum.

May has already warned her party not to take victory for granted, a message that was echoed by pollsters on Saturday.

National Grid confirmed that Britain had gone a full 24-hour cycle without using coal to produce any of the country's electricity, media reports said.

All electricity produced until late Friday night was generated from a mix of sources, but mainly gas fired and nuclear powered generating stations. Wind, biomass, and imported energy were also used on Friday, Xinhua news agency reported.

National Grid's Cordi O'Hara said: "To have the first working day without coal since the start of the industrial revolution is a watershed moment in how our energy system is changing.

"Britain benefits from highly diverse and flexible sources of electricity. Our energy mix continues to change and National Grid adapts system operation to embrace these changes." The 24-hour cycle started Thursday when a coal fires power plant at West Burton went offline.

"The 24 hour cycle was confirmed at 22.50 hours on Friday, after which we started to use coal-fired generation again. We can't (tell) when this new record will be broken," O'Hara said.


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