Theresa May is seeking to steady Tory nerves amid fears the party’s controversial plans to overhaul the funding of social care are costing it support at the ballot box.
With less than three weeks to polling day, the Prime Minister will use the launch of the Conservatives’ Welsh manifesto to try to refocus the election debate on Brexit.
But she faces continued pressure from opposition parties who sense the proposals – which mean elderly people will have to pay for care in their own home if they have total assets of £100,000 or more – are going down badly with voters.
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson refused to be drawn over the weekend on suggestions that the Cabinet was not consulted about the plan.
Ministers were adamant there would be no going back on the plan, although they said there would be a green paper on health and social care released over the summer if the Tories were returned to power on June 8.
However Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron vowed to mobilise a national campaign against what he called the “dementia tax” because of the potential impact on sufferers of the debilitating condition.
He said he would be seeking the support of medical organisations and charities including former prime minister David Cameron who is now president of Alzheimer’s Research UK.
“Caring for our elderly must be above party politics and that is why I want to urge anyone who opposes the Conservatives’ plans to come together to stop it,” he said.
His call came as another opinion poll showed a sharp fall in the Tories’ lead over Labour since the parties published their manifestos last week.
The Survation survey for ITV’s Good Morning Britain showed the Conservatives on 43% – down five points on the previous week and nine points ahead of Labour who are up five on 34%.
The findings follow a clutch of four polls for Sunday newspapers which all showed Labour gaining ground on the Conservatives – prompting talk of a “wobble weekend” for Tories.
Speaking at a campaign event in North Wales, Mrs May will again seek to frame the election as a choice as to who leads Britain into the forthcoming Brexit negotiations – her or Jeremy Corbyn.
The Prime Minister will emphasise that the UK’s future prosperity depends on “getting the next five years right” as it withdraws from the European Union.
“That is why we need someone representing Britain who is 100% committed to the cause. Not someone who is uncertain or unsure, but someone utterly determined to deliver the democratic will of the British people,” she is expected to say.
“Because if we don’t get this right, the consequences for the United Kingdom and for the economic security of ordinary working people will be dire.”
Mr Corbyn, meanwhile, has issued a last-ditch appeal to students who have not registered to vote to do so before Monday’s 11.59pm deadline so that they can support Labour’s plans to scrap university tuition fees in the election.
“Students will benefit from having more money in their pockets, and we will all benefit from the engineers, doctors, teachers and scientists that our universities produce.”