7 Jun 2017

Theresa May aims last campaign message at Ukip voters

The CCHQ core team last night produced a final campaign message that didn’t so much dog whistle at Ukip voters as blast a fog horn at them.

For Labour voters who moved to Ukip in recent years, “human rights laws” are the enemy. Some, wrongly, associated them with the EU and would attack them when explaining their Brexit vote last year.

Leaving aside the arguments of whether they are right and whether Theresa May would actually need to “rip up elements of the Human Rights Act” as The Sun puts it this morning, Theresa May is signalling to these voters that she shares their instincts and wants that to be the last message ringing in their ears as they walk to the polling station.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May addresses supporters at a campaign event in Slough in south-east England on June 6, 2017.

If we are ever given sight of the original grid, this might well have been the moment Theresa May made a pitch on immigration policy to these voters. This pitch, in current circumstances, might do the job just as well.

The Tories have made sure they own the headlines on the last day of campaigning. Whether a policy approach has been devised in a hurry to win that space will be a question many ask.

Look at the seats Theresa May is visiting and it tells you what the Tory polling is telling her. Not only does she expect to hoover up half the Ukip vote but she expects the Labour vote to be down from 2015 and expects some direct switchers from Labour too. There’s no other reason at this stage in the campaign to be visiting some of the seats she is spending time on.

One senior Tory I spoke to said the party thinks turnout could be up on the 2015 General Election (66 per cent) but less than the EU referendum last year (72 per cent).

Jeremy Corbyn needs that to include a massive surge in younger voters to fulfil the expectations of his supporters. There was such a “youth quake” in Canada in 2015. We live in volatile times. But the Tory machine has out-performed the polls before.

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