Sky News Update - General election 2017: UK voters still puzzled by Brexit

General election 2017: UK voters still puzzled by Brexit

UK Prime Minister Theresa May made the snap election on 8 June personal right from the start.
In April she said the election would not be just about the parties' competing visions on Brexit, but also about who could best pull off a deal.
"It will be a choice between strong and stable leadership in the national interest, with me as your prime minister, or weak and unstable coalition government, led by Jeremy Corbyn," she said.
"Every vote for the Conservatives will make me stronger when I negotiate for Britain with the prime ministers, presidents and chancellors of the European Union."
She stressed early on that the stakes could hardly be higher. After all, whoever wins this election will face three extraordinary challenges:
Shaping Britain's post-Brexit future, after more than 40 years of EU membership being a cornerstone of the UK's economy and diplomacy
Keeping the UK from breaking apart over its exit from the EU
Healing the still sometimes bitter divisions between the opposing sides in last year's EU referendum.
At first Mrs May seemed on track for a thumping victory.
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Theresa May has focused on the need for a strong mandate in Brexit negotiations
The early evidence suggested that Brexit was trumping normal party loyalties, with many of Labour's white working-class voters, who had backed Leave, deserting the party over the EU and because of their dislike for Jeremy Corbyn.
Brexit: All you need to know
The non-Brit's guide to the UK election
Guide: The parties, the leaders, the manifestos
In one so-called "safe" Labour seat near Manchester I struggled to find anyone who would be backing the party in 2017, despite hours talking to voters.
And crucially Mrs May was winning back many of the nearly four million people who had voted for the anti-EU party UKIP at the last election.
Scotland: The question of independence
Her decision to call a snap election also seemed to be working in Scotland.
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Scotland rejected independence from the UK in a referendum in 2014
As I travelled amid the beautiful hills and small towns of the Scottish Borders, I saw and heard first-hand the phenomenon of voters opposed to independence deciding to back the Conservatives, seeing it as the best way of voicing opposition to a second Scottish referendum.
Of course this general election won't settle the question of how best Scotland should be governed, given the continuing high levels of support for independence.
But it will affect who has the political momentum, and whether another referendum will be held before or after Brexit, or perhaps whether it happens at all.
Northern Ireland: Return of a hard border?
It's certainly Brexit that is dominating the election in Northern Ireland, where the EU referendum last June divided the province, as ever, on sectarian lines. Most Roman Catholics voted to remain in the EU, while many Protestants voted to leave.
Image copyrightAFP
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Border communities have protested against the possibility of the return of a hard border
Although Northern Irish voters told me they couldn't imagine a return to violence, they did voice concern about what would happen to relations between the North and South, and in particular, whether border controls would be reintroduced after Brexit.
It was while I was in Northern Ireland, a part of the UK where the mainland parties neither stand nor campaign, that Mrs May's election seemed to come unstuck.
Just days after launching her party's manifesto, she abandoned a key part of it, thus undermining her main slogan that she was the only politician offering "strong and stable" leadership.
Election poll tracker
Long read: The hardest border
The terror attack in Manchester temporarily put the election campaign on hold. When it resumed, the bombing seemed not to have had much effect on the polls.
Whether the 3 June attack in London will have a bigger effect on the final outcome, given the more political reaction of th