'Conspiracy of silence': Why Brexit has been largely absent from UK election campaign

With less than a week to go before the UK's general election, the opposition Labour Party appears on course for a resounding victory. But unlike with the last election in 2019, one word has been almost absent from the campaign trail: Brexit. Why has there been so little discussion of the impact of the country leaving the EU, despite it being one of the main legacies of the outgoing Conservatives' time in office?

On the evening of May 22, a few hours after a rain-soaked Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called a general election for July 4, the pro-European Conservative grandee Michael Heseltine predicted how the campaign would play out. "We're facing the most dishonest election campaign of modern times. Because both major parties have got one obsession, and that is to keep the real debate out of the subject of Brexit," the 91-year-old former deputy prime minister told Sky News. He added: "You can't have a discussion about the country's economy, or its defence, or immigration, or the environment and not discuss Brexit. We have cut ourselves off from our principal market, our most important partners. And that is the underlying crisis that faces this country."

"Net migration has increased rather than decreased," he noted, adding: "We've simply had people from outside of Europe fill all the migration that was previously there from people inside Europe."

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