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leaves the bloc, po­ten­tially a pe­riod of in­sta­bil­ity.

This is be­ing called the “Brexit election”, and Bri­tain’s EU exit dom­i­nates the agenda. May’s oftre­peated mes­sage is that the coun­try needs “strong and sta­ble lead­er­ship” in un­cer­tain times.

May, 60, is widely re­garded as a firm and steady leader, but can ap­pear stiff and un­spon­ta­neous. Op­po­nents ac­cuse her of run­ning a tightly-con­trolled cam­paign that min­imises her ex­po­sure to un­de­cided vot­ers, and have crit­i­cised her re­fusal to take part in tele­vised leader de­bates.

Labour leader Jeremy Cor­byn is a 67-year-old so­cial­ist who is adored by his sup­port­ers but loathed by many of his own law­mak­ers, who think his hard-left poli­cies are lead­ing Labour to­ward elec­toral obliv­ion.

Sup­port­ers say his anti-elit­ist rhetoric can con­nect with vot­ers disil­lu­sioned with the po­lit­i­cal main­stream.

Opin­ion polls sug­gest the Con­ser­va­tives have a lead of as much as 20 points over Labour. Book­mak­ers agree, giving odds of 1-20 or 1-25 of the Con­ser­va­tives win­ning the most seats.

Poll­ster rep­u­ta­tions took a battering after they failed to fore­see Con­ser­va­tive vic­tory in the 2015 election and gave mixed sig­nals about last year’s referendum. But even al­low­ing for un­cer­tainty and mar­gins of er­ror, the race does not ap­pear to be close.

Still, election day is five weeks away, and a lot can hap­pen in that time. AP


Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May ar­riv­ing at Buck­ing­ham Palace for an au­di­ence with Queen El­iz­a­beth II to mark the dis­so­lu­tion of Par­lia­ment for the gen­eral election in Lon­don yes­ter­day.

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