Wood's what if? What if the West Country decides who wins this election?


Theresa May greets a fisherman in Plymouth this morning

Arguably today is the biggest campaigning day so far in the West Country region, with Labour frontbenchers and the Prime Minister paying a visit.

Jeremy Corbyn was planning several appearances in the West this afternoon. He has now decided to take part in a TV debate, but the rallies in Swindon, Bristol and Nailsworth will go ahead with other Labour frontbenchers.

Whilst many of our marginal seats are Conservative/Lib Dem battle grounds there are a fair few that are Conservative and Labour. For example Plymouth (both Moor View and Sutton and Devonport), Swindon South, Bristol East and Stroud.

So what if the West Country decides who wins this election?

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will spend a vast part of his day in the West Country Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA

Well last time round this part of the world did, by rejecting the Lib Dems and - in all bar one former Lib Dem seat - selecting the Conservatives instead.

It gave the Tories the necessary seats to win the slender majority they secured in 2015.

Jeremy Corbyn is trying to shift focus on to the NHS and education today. He is warning against another five years of a Conservative Government and will claim the the future of the NHS and schooling system are at stake.

The Lib Dems were wiped out in the West Country following the 2015 General Election

According to Labour analysis of the Conservative manifesto, class sizes for 650,000 pupils will be more than 30 students by 2022, and more than five million people are on hospital waiting lists - 1.8 million more than now.

If elected as Prime Minister Jeremy Corbyn would add £37bn into the NHS, taking one million people of waiting lists and cap class sizes at 30 for five, six and seven year olds.

Jeremy Corbyn is keen to move the campaigning on to the NHS and education Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA

In response to his campaigning push and promises by saying the Conservatives will boost NHS funding by £8bn and schools budgets by £4bn.

The party also points out that 11 days after the election the Brexit negotiations will start and the party insists that Theresa May has a plan that will get a good Brexit deal and that she is "prepared and ready" for the negotiations.

Theresa May is campaigning on her Brexit plan Credit: Steve Parsons/PA

The West Country voted to leave the EU so Mrs May hopes that sort of rhetoric will go down well here, and the Tory grip on this region from 2015 won't slip and could even tighten further.

In fact Mrs May's first visit today is to meet some working in the fishing industry, an industry so entangled with the EU.

This is why Labour will always try and show themselves to be the party of the public services.

Theresa May meets those in the fishing industry in Plymouth

The winner of this election will be the one who's policies and personality is the most popular.

But with the two front runners pushing different issues as their stand out policies, it makes it harder to predict the result as it forces voters to not only pick policy and personality, but also what issues are more important than others.

Both party leaders will be in the West Country today Credit: PA Images
  • Happening today...

We'll have a full round up of the visits and key moments from today on ITV News West Country at 6.

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