What is the number one issue for voters in the 2019 general election campaign?

It’s being dubbed ‘the Brexit election’ by Westminster politicians and pundits, but what is the most important issue for ordinary voters in the upcoming general election?

Ballot box. Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash.

Three years after the 2016 EU referendum, what will be the main issues influencing how people vote on 12 December 2019 in the third vote for the UK in four years? Each of the main parties seek to talk about their priorities at every possible opportunity, but it is ultimately the public that will decide the defining issues of this election campaign.

The Conservatives want voters to believe they will deliver Brexit quickly and move on to their domestic agenda; Labour is talking about investing in public services and infrastructure, as well as offering a second EU referendum with a renegotiated deal and the option to remain; the Lib Dems want this be a ‘Brexit election’, as they are unequivocal in their position to revoke Article 50; whilst the Greens are pledging ambitious plans to tackle the climate emergency, calling this ‘the climate election’.

Amongst all the noise of political campaigning and sound bites, what is it that voters are most concerned about? I took to the streets of Cardiff to find out what voters’ priorities are and whether these align with the political parties’ campaigns.

Lauren, 25, Solicitor

The NHS. I have serious fears that the Conservatives are going to try and sell it off and I think that would be just absolutely horrendous. I think if in the general election we get Tories back in, over the next five years the NHS will slowly become privatised and it’s going to screw over a lot of people. Climate change is really important too but the NHS is most immediate.

Anthony, 78, Retired Lecturer

I want politicians to raise old age pensioners up a bit. I think it’s difficult for some old age pensioners, particularly if you’re ill. Getting a place in a care home is very expensive. Not everyone can afford that. What’s going to happen in the future? I don’t know. The population is ageing. It’s going to get worse unless they do something about it.

Louis, 47, Lawyer

Brexit. I want them to make a decision one way or the other. I’m not for Brexit but it’s dragging on. I suspect it will carry on because I don’t think anyone is going to get an outright majority. I work in real estate finance law and over the last three years it’s taken a big hit and it’s putting jobs at risk because there’s no certainty one way or the other.

James, 24, Full-Time Student and Part-Time Chef

Privatisation of the NHS is the most important issue. If you go to France on a skiing trip with school, an x-ray will cost you about £130. I’m fortunate that I’ve never been that ill, but if you had to pay for an MRI scan I can’t imagine the price of it. The government said they haven’t had talks with the US and that the NHS is off the table, but they have had talks and they do want to bring US companies in. They just want profit and they aren’t interested in your ability to access healthcare.

Francesca, 29, Stage Manager

I gave up because it’s so complicated. I really should be engaged because technically Brexit will affect me, since I’m from Malta. I came to the UK a year ago. Nobody can make up their minds. I’m still trying to figure it out. The most pressing issue for me is Brexit at the moment because I’d like to stay here.