Boris Johnson

Boris going to the country on December 12 (Image: Getty)

The Prime Minister must rebrand the Conservatives by prioritising public spending over tax cuts to win over voters in northern England, think tank Onward recommended. Lord O’Shaughnessy, a former No10 policy director, said: “For the Conservatives to win a majority at the upcoming general election requires a leap of faith by people who have never voted Tory before. “These voters typically live in the towns of the Midlands and Northern England, and while they are conservative on cultural issues like crime and immigration they are deeply sceptical of the Party’s economic liberalism.

“These voters are not nostalgic; they don’t believe there was a golden age we need to return to. They’re looking for change, but change that delivers greater security in their lives not more exposure to the harsh winds of globalisation.”

The type of voters the Conservatives need to win support from are white men over 45 who work in skilled manual trade or lower managerial roles, live in a town or rural area in the Midlands or the north and voted to leave the EU.

They prioritise apprenticeships over cutting the cost of student loans, believe crime and immigration are major issues and want local institutions such as pubs and post offices to be protected from closure.

Onward found the area in which the characteristics are most common is the Cumbrian Labour-held constituency of Workington, making it the ultimate bellwether seat in the next election.

Tellers announce the result

Tellers announce the result – Government breathes a sigh of relief (Image: Press Association)

Voters who fit the bill are also concentrated in towns with strong Rugby League traditions such as Castleford, Halifax, Oldham, St Helens, Warrington and Wigan.

The Onward report suggests Mr Johnson should put investment in public services ahead of personal income tax cuts, focus on delivering higher paid and more secure jobs, boost the local economy, increase homeownership and rebuild neighbourhood policing to win over the target voters.

Onward director Will Tanner said the Conservatives need to appeal to voters who “usually do not give them a second thought” as well as the party’s leafy heartlands.

Election timetable

This is what is going to happen – probably (Image: Daily Express)

He added: “To build such a broad coalition, Boris Johnson needs to embrace what we call conservatism for the common good, and offer voters policies that restore a sense of community and protection from the insecurities of modern life, rather than the tax cuts and economic liberalism that Conservatives tend to be known for.”

Britain was last night set for a general election on December 12 after Boris Johnson finally won Commons approval to put his Brexit deal to the voters.

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At the fourth attempt, the Prime Minister was given the go-ahead for the early poll after Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn caved in and drop his resistance.

Voters now face the first December election in nearly a century as long as the Lords rubber-stamp the decision today.

Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn finally found an election he could support (Image: JESSICA TAYLOR/UK PARLIAMENT HANDOUT/EPA-EFE/REX)

After finally overcoming the opposition to the poll, Mr Johnson said: “It’s it’s time for the country to come together to get Brexit done.”

He now heads into the election as the favourite to win after recent polls gave the Tories a lead of up 16 points over Labour.

On yet another night of high drama at Westminster, MPs voted by 438 to 20, a majority of 418, in favour of a slimmed-down Bill to hold an early general election on December 12.

It followed a drawn-out squabble the date over Polling Day and failed attempts by Remainer MPs to extend the franchise for the election to include EU citizens living in the UK while also lowering the voting age to 16.

Amid angry exchanges in the Commons in the run up to the vote, the Prime Minister insisted the  “long period of dither and delay” in Parliament had left him no alternative but to call an election.

“We are left with no choice but to go to the country to break free of this impasse and to allow us all to submit as we must in all humility to the judgement of the electorate, to allow us to make our case and above all to allow a new and revitalised parliament with a new mandate to deliver on the will of the people and get Brexit done,” he said.

He accused Jeremy Corbyn of “unrelenting parliamentary obstructionism” in blocking Brexit and claimed his Labour MPs were determined to drag out the process indefinitely.

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson finally got an election after several attempts (Image: Xinhua/REX )

“They just want to spin it out forever to the 12th of never.

“And when the 12th of never eventually comes around, they’ll devise one of their complicated parliamentary procedures to move a motion for a further delay and a further extension,” he said.

“I think this delay is becoming seriously damaging to the national interest because families can’t plan, businesses can’t plan and the climate of uncertainty is not only corroding trust in politics is beginning to hold everybody back from making vital everyday decisions that are vital for the health of our economy – buying new homes, hiring new staff, making new investments.

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“The performance of the UK economy is frankly miraculous considering the stasis in Parliament.”

Mocking Mr Corbyn for his three previous attempts to block a general election, the Prime Minister added: “He’s mentioned that he’s a great eater of porridge. When it comes to the offer of elections, he reminds me of Goldilocks. One offer is to hot, one’s too cold.

“I hope he’ll be able to stand up this afternoon and say this offer of an election is just right.”

Mr Johnson switched to using legislation to trigger a general election after three attempts under the Fixed Term Parliament Act, demanding support of two thirds of MPs for a poll, were rejected by the Commons.

His hopes of a poll were dramatically transformed yesterday when Mr Corbyn made a spectacular U-turn to support the election he had previously ordered his MPs to refuse to back.

In a vote on Monday night, the Labour leader instructed his MPs to abstain.

But at a shadow cabinet meeting yesterday, he announced he was dropping his opposition.

His close aides were understood to be terrified that the party could be left on the backfoot over the issue after the Lib Dems and SNP moved towards backing the election.

Many Labour MPs were understood to be angry at the decision, given the party’s recent opinion poll ratings showing less than a quarter of voters support the party.

Labour whips launched a final attempt to scupper the election by encouraging MPs to support cross-party amendments in favour of widening the franchise for the vote to EU citizens and 16- and 17-year-olds.

A Government source said: “The Labour whips, having temporarily lost control of Jeremy Corbyn and let him off the leash to propose an election, are now trying to wrest control back by proposing a motion they know would wreck a vote for an election.”

Had the amendments passed, the Government would have abandoned the Bill.

But the plot was wrecked when Deputy Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle declined to select the amendments for votes.

Instead, he allowed a vote on a separate amendment moving Polling Day to December 9.

After hours of bickering over the date in the chamber, the move was rejected by 315 votes to 295, a majority of 10.

Mr Corbyn last night promised the “most ambitious and radical campaign for real change that our country has ever seen” to try to oust the Tories.

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In a statement after last night’s vote, he said: “This election is a once-in-a-generation chance to transform our country and take on the vested interests holding people back.

“The choice at this election could not be clearer. A Labour government will be on your side, while Boris Johnson’s Conservatives – who think they’re born to rule – will only look after the privileged few.

“We will now launch the most ambitious and radical campaign for real change that our country has ever seen. This is our chance to build a country for the many not the few and fit for the next generation.”

Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson vowed to fight a hard-line campaign to cancel Brexit in the run up to Polling Day.

She said: “This General Election will decide the future of our country for generations. It is our best chance to elect a Government to stop Brexit.

“The Liberal Democrats are the strongest party of Remain and will be standing on a manifesto to stop Brexit by revoking Article 50.

“This country deserves better than Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn, and I am excited to take our positive, pro-European, liberal vision to the country as the Liberal Democrat candidate for Prime Minister.”

Final approval for the election will only be given once the House of Lords has debated the proposal today.

Remain-backing peers could attempt to try to force changes including widening the franchise to include EU citizens and 16- and 17-year-olds.

But senior Tories insist the upper house would risk an outcry by agreeing to such changes.

A Tory spokesman said: “It would be rather absurd for the unelected House of Lords to tell the elected House of Commons how to elect its own members.”

Tory backbencher Steve Baker, a leading Brexiteer, said: “If the other place were to put in amendments to this simple and straightforward bill, which sought to produce a particular outcome, I think we would have to say they have no right whatever to do that.

“That it would be quite unconstitutional and I think they would be playing fire and indeed they would be playing with their own futures in that House were they to seek to amend this bill to produce a particular outcome.”

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage said: “At last the deadlock in parliament is broken, Brexit now has a chance to succeed.”



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