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Summary

  1. PM says commitment to spending 0.7% of GDP on foreign aid will remain
  2. Labour focuses on education, blaming the Tories for "super-sized classes"
  3. Lib Dem leader Tim Farron says activists and donors were "flocking" to the party on the back of its anti-Brexit message
  4. Nicola Sturgeon launches council elections manifesto as a "clear choice" between SNP and Tories
  5. The government has ditched controversial probate fee rises ahead of the 8 June election

Live Reporting

By Emma Harrison and Alex Kleiderman

All times stated are UK

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What happened on Friday?

We're going to bring our coverage of the second full day of general election campaigning to an end now. Here's what you need to know:

  • Theresa May ruled out cuts to the UK foreign aid budget if she wins the election but doubts were cast on other existing Conservative pledges, including the guarantee to match existing spending on state pensions
  • Chancellor Philip Hammond hinted that a pledge in the 2015 Conservative manifesto not to raise income tax, VAT or National Insurance before 2020 could be abandoned
  • Labour focused its election campaign on education with Jeremy Corbyn attacking the Tories over "super-sized" school classes
  • Len McCluskey was re-elected as Unite's general secretary after defeating anti-Corbyn candidate Gerard Coyne by more than 5,000 votes
  • The Liberal Democrats said it had raised £500,000 from individual donors since the snap election was called, with leader Tim Farron saying activists and donors were attracted to the party's anti-Brexit message
  • SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon launched her council election manifesto, portaying both the local and general elections as a battle between her party and the Tories in Scotland

Corbyn in first Wales election event

Jeremy Corbyn has visited the constituency of Cardiff North on his first general election event in Wales since the poll was declared.

Labour is hoping to recapture the marginal seat from the Conservatives after losing it in 2010.

The Labour leader urged voters to join him on a journey of "hope and excitement" in the general election.

But Welsh Tory leader Andrew RT Davies claimed the Welsh Labour team would be "gritting its teeth" during the visit.

Read more: Jeremy Corbyn visits Cardiff

Jeremy Corbyn in Cardiff
Getty Images

Corbyn congratulates McCluskey

Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn says he is looking forward to working with Len McCluskey, following his re-election as Unite's general secretary. 

"The democratic process has taken place in the union," he said.

"I look forward to working with him and indeed I’ve already sent him a message of well done.”

Corbyn's man 'still standing'

Chris Mason

Political Correspondent

Len McCluskey and Jeremy Corbyn
AFP

This result matters because Jeremy Corbyn's man won.

The Labour leader still has an ally in the figurehead at the top of the country's biggest union.

Unite's deep pockets have helped bank roll the party.

Len McCluskey's passionate support helped buoy up Mr Corbyn when most of his MPs decided he was useless.

Mr McCluskey's principal opponent, Gerard Coyne, had argued Unite should stop "playing Westminster politics" and " failed to collect a penny back" from its donations to Jeremy Corbyn's leadership contests.

But Gerard Coyne lost.

And so Mr Corbyn's man is still standing.

The big question now is, if Labour lose the election, whether Len McCluskey will change his mind and call on him to go.

Close Unite result 'sends serious message'

Gerard Coyne
PA

Defeated Unite general secretary contender Gerard Coyne says the result of the vote had been "very close" and the result sent some "very serious" messages to the union.

"Unite needs to change, and it needs to put its focus back where it belongs, on looking after the real interests of the members of the union," he said.

He claimed to have faced "bullying and intimidation" by the "union machine" during a hard fought and at times bitter campaign.

Len McCluskey won 59,067 votes to Mr Coyne's 53,544.

The result will be seen as a boost for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as Mr Coyne was seen as the anti-Corbyn candidate and Unite is the party's biggest donor. 

Probe into referendum spending of Leave.EU group

The Electoral Commission has launched an investigation into the European referendum spending return of Leave.EU, the campaign group fronted by UKIP funder Arron Banks.

The commission says it is acting after "an assessment which concluded that there were reasonable grounds to suspect that potential offences under the law may have occurred".

Corbyn goes back to school

Jeremy Corbyn
Getty Images

Photographs of Jeremy Corbyn reading to school children in Bristol have inspired a bit of a caption competition on social media.

Several commentators tried to make light of Mr Corbyn's battles with his MPs in their suggestions although the shadow chancellor brought the election campaign back into it.

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Snap poll brings forward ban on MPs employing relatives

A ban on MPs employing spouses and other relatives is to come into effect within weeks as a result of the election. 

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority has confirmed the 8 June poll means it will not approve the use of taxpayers' money to pay MPs relatives or close business associates as new staff members after that date. 

The change had been announced in March and was expected to take effect from 2020.

Almost a quarter of the 650 MPs at Westminster employ family members, including 84 Conservatives, 50 Labour and 10 SNP MPs.  

Existing staff members will not be affected but in future members of staff who begin a relationship with an MP while working for him or her will have their contract ended after two years as partner or spouse. 

Ipsa's chair Ruth Evans said the employment of close relatives was "out of step with modern employment practice, which requires fair and open recruitment to encourage diversity in the workplace". 

A limit of one family member of staff in the wake of the expenses scandal was introduced in 2010. 

 Many MPs argue partners are uniquely placed to do the jobs expected of them.  

Len McCluskey re-elected as Unite general secretary

Len McCluskey
PA

Len McCluskey has been re-elected as Unite's general secretary following a bitter leadership battle, he has said.

He defeated Gerard Coyne, seen as the anti-Jeremy Corbyn candidate, in a ballot of the union's members.

He won 59,067 votes, Gerard Coyne 53,544 and Ian Allinson 17,143, in a turnout of just over 12%, the Unite union said.

Read more

May 'has every reason to be afraid of the Liberal Democrats'

Tim Farron
Getty Images

The Liberal Democrats are "the only route through which Theresa May has a single thing to be afraid of", party leader Tim Farron told supporters in Manchester.

"She has every reason to be afraid of the Liberal Democrats," he said.

He said Labour will "lose dozens and dozens”of seats in the election, while the Conservatives already "assume a coronation".

"Let’s get out there and make the change ours," he said.

Hammond hints tax pledge may be dropped

Kamal Ahmed

Economics editor

The chancellor has given a major hint that he is no fan of the 2015 Tory manifesto pledge not to raise income tax, National Insurance or VAT.

After the embarrassing U-turn on the attempt to raise taxes for the self-employed, Philip Hammond told me the government needed "flexibility" on taxes.

The manifesto is not yet final, so no irreversible decisions have been taken.

The chancellor said he didn't come into politics to "increase taxes".

But it is the clearest hint yet that Mr Hammond would like to see the 2015 manifesto promise on taxes significantly amended if not abandoned all together.

Read more from Kamal

Philip Hammond
BBC

Speculation over 'triple lock'

In the question and answer session with journalists, Mrs May pointedly refused to say that the Conservatives would maintain what is known as the "triple lock" on the state pension.

The triple-lock guarantees pensions rise by the same as average earnings, the consumer price index, or 2.5%, whichever is the highest.  

Meanwhile, in Washington the Chancellor Philip Hammond also declined to give a commitment to the rises.

"Pensioners are now less likely than the population in general to be in poverty. As to what we will put in our manifesto, that is just something you will have to wait and see," he said.

Could aid spending be redefined?

Chris Mason

Political Correspondent

The prime minister has committed to maintaining the UK's promise to spend 0.7% of national income on foreign aid - but said the government needed to "make sure that we are able to spend that money in the most effective way". 

A senior Conservative source, familiar with the aid budget, refused to be drawn as to whether this amounted to an acceptance of how aid spending is currently defined, or could potentially include a broadening of what would count as aid spending in the future. 

The source said we should wait for the Conservative manifesto.

SNP council manifesto launched

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has portrayed both the local and general elections as a battle between her party and the Tories in Scotland. 

Launching the party's council manifesto in Edinburgh, the first minister said Labour and the Lib Dems would "sell out for even the slightest suggestion of power", saying voting for them "risks seeing the Tories take over our town halls". 

Read more: Sturgeon launches SNP council election manifesto

Nicola Sturgeon
Reuters

Storytime with Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn
Steve Parsons/PA

Jeremy Corbyn's been spotted on the campaign trail reading to children in Bristol.

"It's a bear!", the book exclaims, complete with a suitably shocked expression from the Labour leader.

Caption competition anyone?

No cut to UK aid spending - May

Theresa May
Getty Images

Theresa May ends speculation that she wants to reduce the amount the UK spends on foreign aid.

Theresa May speaking in Berkshire

No cut to UK aid spending - May

PM ends speculation over foreign aid budgets and the chancellor hints the Tories' pledge not to raise taxes may be dropped in their manifesto.

Read more

'We are clear about the need to support people in old age'

Asked by the BBC's John Pienaar if pensioners could trust her to carry on raising their state pensions year by year, Mrs May said: "What I would say to pensioners, is just look what the Conservatives in government have done.

"Pensioners today, [are] £1,250 a year better off as a result of action that has been taken.

"We were very clear about the need to support people in their old age and that's exactly what we've done."

More on foreign aid

More than £12bn was spent in aid in 2015.

Some newspapers and Conservative MPs have argued the figure is too large and wasteful, and some of it would be better spent on schools and hospitals in the UK.

But American billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates said yesterday the commitment was proof of its goodwill and humanity.

Mrs May has retained the commitment on spending.

Read more on aid: UK aid money: Generosity or wasted spending?

'Chickening out' of TV debates?

Asked if she was "chickening out" of TV debates, Mrs May reiterated her point that she had been debating weekly in the Commons with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

She said: "I'm out there taking my message to people up and down this country."

Commitment on foreign aid will remain, May says

Commitment to spending 0.7% of GDP on foreign aid will remain, Mrs May said.

May: I want to help ordinary working families

Theresa May said she was only prime minister because of the voting public.

"I’m going to be out and about campaigning across the whole of the UK," she said.

She said she wants to help ordinary working families and the choice was between a strong and stable leadership or a "coalition in chaos".

Election about leadership and stability - May

Speaking to workers at a factory, the prime minister said the general election was about leadership and stability.  

Theresa May
BBC

Sky bid review deadline extended

The election has led the government to extend the deadline to review 21st Century Fox's £11.7bn takeover bid for Sky by more than a month.

The deal has already been given the green light by EU regulators but the UK's Competition and Markets Authority and communication watchdog Ofcom have yet to complete their own investigations.

Read more: Government extends Sky takeover inquiry

Who's in May's 'inner circle'?

The resignation of Theresa May's press secretary sparked much reaction on Twitter about the key figures in the prime minister's "inner circle". 

Lizzie Loudon's decision to leave her role after nine months comes after Katie Perrior left the post of No 10 director of communications when the snap general election was anounced.

View more on twitter
View more on twitter
View more on twitter
View more on twitter

When will the manifestos be published?

Your questions answered

Many of you have been in touch with questions about the upcoming general election. Andy Booker was one of several to ask when the parties' manifestos will be published.

None of the major UK political parties contacted by the BBC were able to provide a firm date for the publication of their manifestos at this stage. 

The Liberal Democrats expect to be able to set a date within the next couple of weeks, while the BBC understands that the Labour manifesto will be finalised in the second week of May.

Before the last general election, in 2015, the major parties launched their manifestos within days of each other in mid-April, about three weeks before the country went to the polls on 7 May. 

If a similar timetable were to be adopted this year, manifestos could be expected in mid-May ahead of the election on 8 June.

If you have a question you would like us to answer, get in touch here.

Election facts about Swindon South after Corbyn's visit

Here are some key facts about Swindon South, following Jeremy Corbyn's rally there:

  • It is a seat held by the Conservatives
  • Robert Buckland has a majority of 5,785 - the Tories' 10th smallest majority in South-West England
  • It is one of Labour's targets in the South of England
  • The party needs a swing of 5.9% to take the seat
  • The Tories took the seat from Labour in 2010
  • Labour had previously held the seat since its creation in 1997
  • The neighbouring constituency of Swindon North has also been held by the Conservatives since 2010