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May promises to fight 'elites' as she rejects UK orthodoxy
[LONDON] UK Prime Minister Theresa May positioned herself as the champion of "ordinary, working people" against "elites" as she set out an election platform that represents a clean break with the way Britain has been governed for at least 30 years.
After decades in which both Conservative and Labour governments have relied on free markets and relaxed immigration rules to deliver increasing prosperity, May said that the formula hadn't delivered.
"For too many people in this country, where you end up in life is still determined by where you were born and to whom," the prime minister wrote in a Facebook post ahead of the publication of her Conservative Party's election manifesto at around 11am on Thursday.
"Rather than pursue an agenda based on a supposed center ground defined by elites in Westminster, we will govern in the interests of the mainstream of the British public."
Elements of the manifesto revealed so far include tighter immigration rules, more worker protections, and increased regulation of utility company pricing. On Wednesday, Mrs May showed she was ready to confront her base by announcing that wealthy people will be expected to use the value of their homes to pay for their own care as they get older.
The announcement on elderly care was a decision to face a problem her predecessor David Cameron had ducked, and to do it in a way he had labeled a "death tax" when the opposition Labour Party floated a milder version.
Mr Cameron, who came from a wealthy family, had focused on making it easier for people to pass on more of their property to their children. Mrs May's solution will protect those with small estates, but not the rich.
The measure has the unexpected support of one of the most crucial opinion-formers in the UK - the high-circulation Daily Mail newspaper, which in the past has always attacked any proposal that threatened people's inheritances. Mrs May has spent years wooing the Conservative-leaning tabloid, a strategy that has paid off now that she needs political support.