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  1. ITV Report

Boris Johnson launches Conservative Party manifesto stating 'stakes never higher, choice never starker'

  • Video report by ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston

Boris Johnson has unveiled the Conservative Party election manifesto - with the goal of finally delivering Brexit at its heart.

The prime minister addressed supporters in Telford pledging to open a "new chapter" in Britain's history - ensuring the country is out of the EU by the end of January.

He told the audience that in this election "the stakes have never been higher and the choice never starker".

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was ridiculed for his a "neutral" stance on Brexit.

"He won't tell us whether he would even be willing to advise people to vote in favour of his own deal - he used to be indecisive, now he's not so sure," said Mr Johnson.

"Do we want more dither and drift and deadlock and division? Do we want 2020 to be another year of defeatism and despair? No, we don't."

Aside from getting Brexit done - something Mr Johnson has been hammering home as a key message across various media opportunities and during leaders' debates - he also revealed a "triple tax lock" - guaranteeing the rates of income tax, national insurance and VAT will not rise under a re-elected Conservative government.

But it is finally resolving Brexit that holds the key to all of it, said Mr Johnson as he waved the manifesto entitled "Get Brexit Done - Unleash Britain's Potential".

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Mr Johnson said securing Brexit would allow the government to turn its attention to the "priorities of the British people".

"Get Brexit done and we can focus our hearts and our minds on the priorities of the British people because it is this One Nation Tory party that is already embarked on the biggest cash boost for the NHS for a generation," the Prime Minister said.

"Today in this manifesto we pledge 50,000 more nurses and their bursaries and 15 million more GP appointments and today we make this guarantee to the British people: we will tackle crime with 20,000 more police officers and tougher sentencing and we will sort out our immigration system with a points-based Australian-style system.

  • ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston breaks down the day's events from Telford

"That we will invest millions more every week in science, in schools, in apprenticeships and in infrastructure, and control our debt at the same time.

"And that we will reach net-zero by 2050 with clean energy solutions.

"And here is the kicker - we can do all these things without raising our income tax, VAT or national insurance contributions. That's our guarantee."

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Mr Johnson said: "Opportunity is not distributed evenly and I believe passionately that with education, infrastructure and technology, we can tackle that unfairness, we can unleash the potential of this whole country and we can make those investments precisely because we One Nation Conservatives also support a dynamic market economy."

He added: "That's why we're cutting taxes for businesses and why when people get up at the crack of dawn to prepare their family business and when people take out a mortgage to fund a new venture and when they risk everything on a new product or trying to find a market, we don't sneer at them, we cheer for them.

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"That is the choice at this election. That is the choice between out and out retrograde and destructive socialism and sensible One Nation Conservatism.

"You can come with us and have a Government that backs our Armed Forces as a power for good around the world, or you can have Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party who say they want to scrap them."

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Setting out his vision for the future, Mr Johnson said: "I want you to look forward to a future where the streets are safer, where the air is cleaner, where we have built 40 new hospitals as a direct result of the decisions taken in the last three months.

"A Britain where 10-year-olds are not only doing better at reading and writing and maths, but better across the whole country.

"And where in 10 years' time scientists are starting to reap the huge rewards from our plans to double spending on research."

The Prime Minister also promised "better infrastructure and better transport" would allow "us to build tens of thousands of superb new homes, hundreds of thousands, on brown belt sites, giving young people the prospect of home ownership they currently don't have".

Turning to the environment, he said his government would be "planting millions of trees".

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Mr Johnson said: "I don't want to waste 2020 in two more referendums. I want it to be an exiting and productive year, a year of prosperity and growth.

"Do you want to wake up on Friday the 13th of December and find a nightmare on Downing Street? A Corbyn/Sturgeon coalition of chaos.

"I say let's go carbon neutral by 2050, and Corbyn neutral by Christmas."

He said: "Let's go for sensible, moderate, but tax cutting one nation Conservative Government and take this country forwards."

Johnson said tax cuts would be focused on people who need them most. Credit: PA

Mr Johnson, responding to questions from ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston about his manifesto plans, hit out at Labour and said their spending plans would see mortgages "go up".

"What people need to understand is that at this crucial moment we are able to make these investments in our infrastructure and make these commitments because we have got interest rates low," said the Tory leader.

"When the markets look at the commitments at the scale Labour are making, I'm afraid they will mark us down and they will say to this country, 'You can't have interest rates that low'.

"That will mean mortgages go up for everybody, in addition to people's tax burden."

He added: "All Labour governments end with an economic crisis. The only difference with Corbyn and McDonnell, as far as I can see, is they propose to start with an economic crisis and make it worse."

Mr Johnson said: "Yes, it's true that we are not prioritising tax cuts for high earners at the moment.

"We are looking, of course, at the moment, to do what we can to help people with the cost of living."

He added: "The only other potential prime minister, I'm afraid at this election, is Jeremy Corbyn supported by Nicola Sturgeon, and every independent analysis I have seen suggests that his pledges which are being added to every day would lead to massive tax increases for people across this country.

"We're cutting taxes, managing things sensibly, putting huge investments now into the NHS and into public services.

"We will continue to do that throughout this Parliament."

Mr Johnson was asked if he was taking traditional Tory voters for granted after abandoning his leadership campaign pledge to raise the higher rate of income tax from £50,000 to £80,000.

He insisted "I have lost none of my tax-cutting zeal" but said: "I think it is right to focus our tax cuts on people who need them most."

Asked to give a date when Britain will leave the EU, Mr Johnson said: "If we are lucky enough to be returned with a working majority on December 12, December 13, then we... as I say, we have this deal ready to go. Just add water... it's there.

"We can then get the whole thing completed in a matter of days, if not weeks, and we're out by January 31."

You can read the full Conservative Party manifesto here:

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And the full costings breakdown on pledges here:

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