What to expect on the General Election campaign trail on Thursday

Here is your guide to the main developments in the General Election campaign on Thursday:

– No surprises there

It is Sir Keir Starmer’s turn to launch a manifesto, which will contain no “tax surprises”, the Labour leader told journalists earlier this week.

The Liberal Democrats were in grid position one in this week’s race to publish policies, with an event in central London on Monday.

Rishi Sunak fronted the Conservative Party manifesto launch at Silverstone Circuit, the Northamptonshire home of the British Grand Prix, on Tuesday, followed by Green Party co-leaders Adrian Ramsay and Carla Denyer on a visit to Hove, Sussex, on Wednesday.

Labour campaigners have travelled up to Manchester to make their pitch to the nation, after a campaign which has so far been dominated by a one-word slogan: “Change.”

Throughout this year’s General Election campaign, Sir Keir has trailed “five fully funded national missions” and six “first steps for change” – among them pledges to set up a publicly owned energy company called “Great British Energy” and a new Border Security Command to “smash criminal boat gangs”.

– Over the border

Plaid Cymru is launching its manifesto in Cardiff and leader Rhun ap Iorwerth reckons the election “is about one thing – the economy”.

Among its headline pledges is a plan to “secure the £4bn owed to Wales from HS2 to invest in improving our own public transport in all parts of the country and reversing cuts to local bus services”, which Mr ap Iorwerth said he would “fight every day” for.

“We will address the cost-of-living crisis and provide Welsh solutions to Welsh problems,” he said.

A line chart showing the seven-day rolling average for political parties in opinion polls. Source: PA graphic
(PA Graphics)

The party leader also told BBC Panorama he would “put a fiver” on Labour winning the election.

– Seven Up

ITV’s Julie Etchingham is back in the studio after Sunak v Starmer, the first head-to-head TV debate of this year’s General Election campaign, on Tuesday last week.

She will host not two but seven senior party figures at 8.30pm on ITV1 and STV.

Viewers might recognise the line-up after the BBC’s multi-party debate last Friday: Penny Mordaunt – Conservative Party; Angela Rayner – Labour Party; Daisy Cooper – Liberal Democrats; Stephen Flynn – SNP; Nigel Farage – Reform UK; Carla Denyer – Green Party; Rhun ap Iorwerth – Plaid Cymru.

– Cancer care

The Liberal Democrats have turned their attention to cancer care.

On the campaign trail, the party will trail its plan for a legal guarantee for all cancer patients to start treatment within 62 days of an urgent referral.

– Away from the trail

Rishi Sunak will be at the Borgo Egnazia resort until Saturday, where he will meet other G7 leaders – among them France’s Emmanuel Macron, Germany’s Olaf Scholz and US President Joe Biden.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will also be at the resort, which is near Fasano, in the Puglia region of southern Italy.

On the agenda are climate change, the situation in the Middle East, the conflict in Ukraine and artificial intelligence (AI).

“From Ukraine to the Middle East, we will be discussing significant global threats at the summit,” the Prime Minister said in a statement.

“Such threats are why it is so vital to strengthen the UK’s national defence, through our commitment to spend 2.5% of GDP on defence by 2030.”