What you need to know
In a nutshell: The UK’s second female Prime Minister. Held Donald Trump’s little hand.
Brexit means… Hard Brexit. How hard? As hard as she likes, if she gets her massive new majority. One minute she talks of a “deep and special partnership” with the EU; the next she’s happy to
walk away without a deal.
On tuition fees: Plans to raise the interest rates on student loans to 6.1 per cent, a whopping 5.85 per cent above the base rate. You may well find better deals on Wonga.
On LGBTQ+: Mixed bag. She voted against lowering the homosexual age of consent to 16, but in favour of gay marriage, and was absent for all four votes over the Gender Recognition Act.
On the NHS: Since the Con-Lib coalition’s Health and Social Care Act, the NHS has been underfunded and privatised to the point of crisis. May has refused to rule out potential post-Brexit trade deals that would open the NHS up to US corporate interests.
Reasons to be optimistic: A Tory landslide will be great for you if you’re already rich.
Reasons to despair: Potential destruction of the NHS, an unchecked crash out of the single market, the probable break-up of the Union and Boris Johnson continuing to represent Britain on the world stage.
Biggest whopper to date: This very election, which she repeatedly insisted wouldn’t happen.
If she were a rock star: Phil Collins
Constituency: Islington North
In a nutshell: Veteran left-winger leading a party that wants him to lose.
Brexit means… Gentle Brexit. Corbyn claims he would focus on protecting workers’ rights, tariff-free access to the single market, managed immigration and stopping the UK turning into a low-economy tax haven, like Singapore-on-Thames.
On tuition fees: Says he will abolish them, paid for by a 2 per cent increase in corporation tax.
On LGBTQ+: Caused a flap when he referred to being LGBTQ+ as a “choice”, but he has consistently voted for equal rights for the community since the ’80s.
On the NHS: Big fan, and determined to save it. Comedian Mark Steel even suggested that if Labour win we could fund the NHS for a year simply by pay-per-viewing Corbyn’s first meeting with Trump.
Reasons to be optimistic: Claims he will make life better for regular people – a properly funded NHS, free university education, cheaper train tickets, affordable flats, a higher minimum wage, no zero-hours contracts, Gary Barlow paying his tax…
Reasons to despair: The polls. It doesn’t look good right now.
Biggest whopper to date: Corbyn lost a lot of Remainer support when he campaigned to stay in the EU but then whipped his MPs to vote through the triggering of Article 50.
If he were a rock star: Billy Bragg
Constituency: Westmorland and Lonsdale
In a nutshell: Christian Remoaner-in-Chief hoping to wipe all memory of the coalition by leading the charge back into Europe.
Brexit means… No Brexit. Farron’s main rallying cry is “second referendum”, behind which hopeful Remainers are rallying.
On tuition fees: Christ. The very last thing Farron will do in this election is mention tuition fees. Nick Clegg bagged the deputy PM seat in 2010 off of his promise to abolish them, then sat on his hands throughout the Con-Lib coalition as they were ramped up to £9k a year.
On LGBTQ+: Basically “I fully support your freedom to burn in eternal hellfire”.
On the NHS: Farron has attacked government plans to get patients to pay upfront for NHS services, suggested a special EU passport for NHS staff to guarantee their rights in the UK and proposed remodelling it as the National Health and Care Service by making social care fully government-funded.
Reasons to be optimistic: There’s a tactical voting push nationwide to swing marginal Tory seats, which can only help the Lib Dems. And with Farron in government, he’ll put the kibosh on Brexit and we’ll all be doing the can-can through the Brandenburg Gate by teatime. Arrrrriba!
Reasons to despair: Won’t happen.
Biggest whopper to date: “Only the Liberal Democrats can prevent a Conservative majority”. And if they don’t get one, Tim’ll give them one.
If he were a rock star: Cliff Richard
Scottish National Party
Constituency: Glasgow Southside
In a nutshell: Hardline indyref activist and star of many a Krankies meme.
Brexit means… Scottish independence. Sturgeon is looking into any which way an independent Scotland might remain part of the EU, pre- or post-Brexit, while pushing for a second independence referendum.
On tuition fees: Scottish students in Scotland don’t pay fees, and that won’t change under her watch.
On LGBTQ+: Sturgeon is deemed an ‘LGBTQ+ innovator’ thanks to her pro-rights legislation.
On the NHS: It’s in almost as dire a state in Scotland as the rest of the UK, and many blame her.
Reasons to be optimistic: Sturgeon has offered the entire country the chance to move to Scotland to escape Brexit, potentially turning the entire country into one big life raft.
Reasons to despair: Everything the SNP does is framed with independence in mind. Some critics claim they have no ideological core of its own, others that they’re a right-wing wolf in leftie sheep’s clothing.
Biggest whopper to date: The economic figures Sturgeon put forward to convince voters to vote for independence in the 2014 referendum were, some say, fanciful.
If she were a rock star: Bobby Gillespie
Constituency: Brighton Pavilion
In a nutshell: Worthy planet-saver we should all be voting for but won’t until the tropical typhoons are lashing the windows of Witney.
Brexit means… Global warming. Warning of a ‘cliff-edge’ Brexit and encouraging cross-party co-ordination, Lucas is particularly attuned to the loss of environmental protections that Brexit will bring, plunging us ever-closer to the day that you can die of heatstroke in Preston.
On tuition fees: She’ll scrap them. Too much paper involved.
On LGBTQ+: She’s the MP for Brighton. ’Nuff said.
On the NHS: Lucas introduced the NHS Reinstatement Bill, intended to reverse Conservative privatisation of the NHS. It was deliberately ‘filibustered’ by Tory MPs, who spoke so long on other subjects that the bill didn’t have time for a vote and was shelved.
Reasons to be optimistic: Lucas has suggested a cross-party progressive coalition.
Reasons to despair: Everyone else has told her to bog off.
Biggest whopper to date: She doesn’t have time to lie – she’s already got too many uncomfortable truths that nobody’s listening to.
If she were a rock star: Chris Martin
UK Independence Party
In a nutshell: You still here?
Brexit means… Extreme Brexit. This “guard dog of Brexit” would probably brick up the Chunnel.
On tuition fees: Nuttall would scrap them, but only for some students. He’d also make EU students pay the same as non-EU foreigners, obviously.
On LGBTQ+: Nuttall has called for HIV sufferers to be banned from the UK, opposed all LGBTQ+ rights and same-sex marriage, attacked plans to stop homophobia in schools and supported companies discriminating against gay couples.
On the NHS: “I believe that the NHS is a monolithic hangover from days gone by.”
Reason to be optimistic: With their one and only MP resigning, UKIP are dead in Westminster.
Reason to despair: That doesn’t stop Nigel Farage being given a daily platform.
Biggest whopper to date: That he lived in Stoke, played professional football, conquered ancient Macedonia on elephants etc.
If he were a rock star: Kid Rock
In a nutshell: Welsh speaker that wants a proud, independent Wales.
Brexit means… Welsh devolution.
On tuition fees: Under Plaid policies, Welsh students would have £6k a year wiped off their fees if they returned to work in Wales after graduation.
On LGBTQ+: We’re not sure anyone’s ever asked her.
On the NHS: Supports efficiency cuts as long as they’re put back into the NHS budget.
Reason to be optimistic: Likely to jump into a coalition, if one comes up.
Reason to despair: Never likely to be taken seriously as anything more than a marginal party.
Biggest whopper to date: Rumours abounded that Plaid conspired with UKIP and the Tories to force a stalemate with Labour in a vote for First Minister in the Welsh National Assembly in 2016.
If she were a rock star: Gruff Rhys