A brief guide to the UK general election
FT political correspondent Laura Hughes runs through the key issues. Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn have radically different visions for the UK. What are their policies on Brexit, the economy and the NHS? And what will they mean for the country?
Produced, filmed and edited by Joe Sinclair
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LAURA HUGHES: It's one of the most unpredictable and volatile general elections in decades. And it's not just Brexit at stake. Whoever gets the keys to Downing Street has a radically different vision for the country's economy, public services, and the future shape of the UK Union. So why are we having this election? In a word-- Brexit.
BORIS JOHNSON: Let's get Brexit done and unleash the potential of the whole United Kingdom.
LAURA HUGHES: The whole point of this general election is to break the Brexit deadlock in Parliament, but it's a huge gamble for Boris Johnson, the prime minister and leader of the Conservative Party. He needs to come back to Parliament with a majority in order to deliver the Brexit deal that he negotiated with Brussels earlier this year. If he doesn't, prior main parties here in Parliament could move to try and stop Brexit altogether.
That's the Labour Party, right? Well, not quite. Jeremy Corbyn's opposition party haven't committed yet to leave or remain. But they have promised a second referendum if they come to power.
JEREMY CORBYN: We will secure a sensible deal that protects manufacturing and the Good Friday Agreement and then put it to a public vote alongside the option of remaining in the EU.
LAURA HUGHES: The Liberal Democrats, under the leadership of Jo Swinson, have vowed to revoke Article 50 and cancel Brexit altogether. But if they don't win the election, which is highly likely, they are expected to also campaign for a second referendum.
JO SWINSON: So if you want to stop Boris Johnson and stop Brexit, vote Liberal Democrat.
LAURA HUGHES: The Scottish National Party under Nicola Sturgeon; the Welsh Party, Plaid Cymru; and the Greens are all in favour of a second referendum.
The two major political parties have dramatically different visions for the UK economy. Labour are keen to get the conversation away from Brexit and talk about what is one of the most radical left wing manifestos the party has ever seen.
JEREMY CORBYN: Labour's manifesto is a manifesto for hope.
LAURA HUGHES: They're promising to increase tax and spending and also nationalise some of the key industries in the UK, such as Royal Mail, the railways, and even broadband. The Tories are also hoping to take advantage of low interest rates and borrow more to invest in infrastructure. But instead of going after businesses, they're promising tax breaks for everyday workers. But really, they're keen to keep the conversation on the issue of Brexit with a promise to get it done.
BORIS JOHNSON: There you go.
VENDOR: Get it done, Boris.
BORIS JOHNSON: We will.
LAURA HUGHES: The UK National Health Service, which offers free universal care for everyone, is always a major issue in any general election campaign.
JEREMY CORBYN: Our NHS is not for sale.
LAURA HUGHES: But this winter, the NHS is coming under particular strain, and all the major political parties are promising to spend more money.
So what happens if no party comes back with a majority? Well, we'll be left with something called a hung parliament. In that circumstance, the party with the most number of seats would have an opportunity to reach out to the smaller parties and try and form a coalition or a confidence and supply agreement. They could also try and form a minority government.
The problem is the Liberal Democrats have so far ruling out using their votes to put either Jeremy Corbyn or Boris Johnson into Downing Street.
JO SWINSON: Because we deserve better than what is on offer from the two tired old parties.
LAURA HUGHES: And the Scottish National Party have said the price for them supporting any minority or coalition government is the promise of a second independent Scottish referendum within the next couple of years. Now, what the smaller parties are saying now and what they would actually do in the event of a hung parliament could be very different. But if no one can come to any sort of agreement, or if no one can rule through a minority government, we might be forced into another general election.