Conservative Johnson unveils manifesto for Brexit Britain
London: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was unveiling his Conservative Party's manifesto on
Sunday, pledging to move on from Brexit and austerity in a bid to secure a general election majority.
Having taken over a minority administration in July and been unable to speed his EU divorce deal through parliament, Johnson is seeking a clear victory at the December 12 snap election.
"We're now, as you know, less than three weeks away from the most critical election in modern memory," said Johnson as he unveiled the manifesto in Telford, west central England.
"The choice has never been starker.
"Get Brexit done and we can restore confidence and certainty to businesses and families.
"Get Brexit done and we can focus our hearts and our minds on the priorities of the British people.
"It is time to unleash the potential of the whole
country and to forge a new Britain."
Johnson sees Britain's third general election in four-and-a-half years as the only way to break the Brexit logjam.
Having got the Brexit date delayed three months from October 31 to January 31, opposition parties backed his call for an early general election.
Johnson is promising to bring back his Brexit deal to parliament before December 25 if the centre-right
Conservatives are returned to power.
- 'Oven-ready' Brexit deal -
The main plank of the Conservative manifesto is the Brexit deal Johnson negotiated with Brussels in October. He claims the treaty is "oven-ready" and good to go -- as long as he can get a majority.
He insists the deal will allow Britain to regain control over its laws, money and immigration policy.
Johnson's chief rival, left-wing Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, wants to renegotiate a new, softer Brexit agreement within three months and then put that to a referendum alongside remaining in the EU by the end of June.
Corbyn would stay neutral during the process.
Johnson has blasted Corbyn for his strategy in refusing to recommend either his own proposed Brexit deal or staying in the EU.
The Conservative party is pledging it will not raise the three main taxes — income tax, sales tax and national insurance contributions to state benefits — in what it branded a triple tax lock.
Other measures being unveiled Sunday include more money for childcare support, energy efficiency measures, skills retraining and road upgrades.
Hospital car parking charges would be axed for certain patients and National Health Service (NHS) staff.
- Poll lead -
The Britain Elects poll aggregator puts the Conservatives on 42 percent, ahead of the Labour main opposition on 29 percent, the anti-Brexit Liberal Democrats on 15 percent, the Brexit Party on six percent and the Greens on three percent.
The Conservatives have seen their popularity surge since Johnson took over
from Theresa May four months ago.
Despite the poll advantage, commentators urge caution, mindful that May had a huge percentage lead in the 2017 general election which rapidly melted.
Johnson has his weak spots, especially after the years of austerity imposed by Conservative governments since 2010.
He promises to end the years of reining in the budget deficit by pumping billions of pounds into public services.
Johnson has pledged to make the streets safer by recruiting 20,000 police officers.
He is also committed to increasing the NHS budget by £33.9 billion ($43.5 billion, 39.5 billion euros) by 2023-24, and has pledged to upgrade 20 hospitals and rebuild 40 over the next decade.
Johnson was criticised by members of the public during a televised questions session on Friday over the Conservatives' handling of the NHS -- but he insisted progress could only be made once the Brexit impasse is resolved.
Johnson has announced a three-year plan to increase state-school spending in England by £7.1 billion by
On immigration, he wants to end freedom of movement for EU citizens and introduce an Australian-style points-based system.
The scale of eastern European immigration since 2004 was one of the key factors behind the Brexit referendum vote in 2016.
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