ELECTION 2019: VIDEO: BCU journalism students tackle Labour party’s top politicians on key election issues

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Students studying how to become first-class reporters got the opportunity of a lifetime today after the Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn arrived on Birmingham City University (BCU) campus to launch their General Election manifesto for 2019.

First year and Masters Journalism students at BCU reported live from the event and landed one-to-one interviews with shadow cabinet members today after Jeremy Corbyn’s main speech.

Jeremy Corbyn arrives on stage at Birmingham City University

Corbyn wowed a room full of staunch supporters, and tried to impress the students in the crowd with news that if Labour wins the election on the 12 December, the party will abolish university tuition fees.

1st year journalism student Chloe Tongue asked Corbyn a question from the floor, calling on him to set out what he would do for fellow students who are already at university.

He said the party is looking at ways to stabilise the interest rates of all existing debt, giving a promise not to sell the debt book off to another company.

That fell short of what many hoped would be a commitment to eradicate debt held by current university students.

Video interviews with Labour ministers

Leanna Grant interviewed Dawn Butler MP, the parliamentary candidate for Brent and also the shadow minister for Women and Equalities.

She highlighted the lack of BAME people who are registered to vote on Thursday 12 December, and urged students get registered too.

BCU Journalism student Leanna Grant interview Dawn Butler, the shadow minister for women and equalities (Camerawork: BCU Journalism’s Amy Delauney)

John McDonnell — seen as Jeremy Corbyn’s right hand-man now that Tom Watson has stepped down as Deputy Leader — found himself being grilled by Saskia Masaun, a first year BA (Hons) Journalism student.

She asked him about his role as Shadow Chancellor and the party’s commitment to renewing Trident, Britain’s nuclear weapons deterrent.

John McDonnell, shadow chancellor, speaking to Saskia Masaun

Laura Pidcock has a new role as the shadow minister for employment rights and MA Multiplatform and Mobile Journalism student, Jaspreet Gill asked her about that role and what it means.

Jaspreet Shergill interviewing Laura Pidcock (Camerawork: George Bunn)

The man who might be responsible for the NHS should Labour win next month’s general election is Jonathan Ashworth. MA Multiplatform and Mobile Journalism student, George Bunn asked him what focus he has on mental health services for young people.

George Bunn quizzing Jon Ashworth (Camerawork: Jaspreet Shergill)

A day of election announcements

It’s been a day of announcements from the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, the two other main runners in this election race, as they attempted to speak above the noise of the Labour launch today.

Boris Johnson announced measures to help first-time buyers and boost private house building, promising a million homes over the next five years.

Alongside house building, the Conservatives said they plan to introduce a new mortgage with long-term fixed rates, and only needing a 5% deposit, to help renters buy their first properties.

The Tories also said they will create a scheme where local first-time buyers will be able to get a 30% discount on new homes in their area.

Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson said her party would scrap business rates in favour of a levy on landlords.

Labour is the third of the main English parties to announce its manifesto: the Liberal Democrats’ manifesto and Green Party manifesto have already been published. The Brexit Party is due to publish their manifesto on Friday and the Conservatives are due to publish theirs this weekend.

Additional reporting by Saskia Masaun, Dylan Hayward, Jaspreet Shergill, George Bunn, Amy Delauney, Rushana Miller, Leanna Grant, Chloe Tongue, Paul Bradshaw and Marverine Duffy.

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