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British election campaign begins
30 Mar 2015 12:12
The UK general election campaign is officially getting under way in what is seen as one of the most unpredictable contests in decades.
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British Prime Minister David Cameron kicked off what he has termed "the most important general election in a generation" with a Conservative claim that Labour is planning a £3,000 tax increase for every working family.
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Speaking before travelling to Buckingham Palace to inform Queen Elizabeth II of the dissolution of Parliament, Mr Cameron said voters would be presented on 7 May with "a big choice" between returning him to Downing Street to "carry on with the plan that's turning the country round" or electing Ed Miliband and a return to "more debt, more spending, more taxes".
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His Conservative Party entered the first day of campaigning buoyed by an opinion poll giving it a four-point lead over Labour - its biggest advantage since September 2010.
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But Labour insisted the Tories' tax claim was "totally made up" as it prepared to launch an offensive over Mr Cameron's promised in/out referendum on Britain's membership of the EU.
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Launching the Opposition's business manifesto, leader Mr Miliband will say a Tory victory poses a "clear and present danger" to jobs and prosperity and make it a Labour commitment to "return Britain to a leadership role" in Brussels.
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Prerogative to order the dissolution of Parliament no longer rests with the monarch, under new rules fixing each term at five years.
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However, Mr Cameron will nevertheless make the short journey to Buckingham Palace to recommend she issue a proclamation summoning the new parliament on 18 May.
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Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg will follow Mr Cameron into the Palace for a separate private audience - as Lord President of the Privy Council he is obliged to do so - before focusing on the NHS at a Midlands seat the Liberal Democrats are fighting to hold.
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