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Conservatives back business on final day of UK campaigning, Britain to bolster security

Staff Writer |
British Prime Minister Theresa May made a pitch to small businesses on Wednesday, the final day of campaigning as pundits and pollsters gave mixed predictions on the outcome of the snap election.

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May, leader of the ruling Conservative party, met with meat traders at London's Smithfield Market.

"I'll keep our economy strong to help small businesses," she said in a tweet from the market.

May has promised "strong and stable" leadership through the process of Britain leaving the EU, but domestic issues have dominated much of the campaign.

Labour's Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the biggest opposition party, told voters they had "24 hours to save the NHS [national health service]," which has been subject to cuts and privatization in recent years.

Analysts have forecast an increased majority for May's Conservatives, despite opinion polls suggesting the possibility of a hung parliament.

Security has also become a key issue since since the recent terrorist attacks at Manchester Arena and London Bridge.

Corbyn attacked May for cutting police numbers, while May accused him of being weak on security and sympathizing with terrorists in the past.

Many politicians criticized May for her promise on Tuesday that she would change Britain's human rights laws if they impeded her bid to impose longer sentences on terrorists, simplify the deportation of foreign terrorist suspects, and "restrict the freedom and the movements of terrorist suspects" who are deemed to present a threat but are not subject to arrest.

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron told broadcaster ITV on Wednesday that weakening human rights laws would be letting "terrorists win."

Britain will ramp up security at polling stations during June 8 general election in light of the recent London terror attack, British media reported Tuesday.

An increased police presence across the country is expected as people cast their votes.

Britain's safety measures are being reviewed after the London Bridge attack on Saturday which left seven people dead and 48 injured.

A spokesman for the National Counter Terrorism Policing headquarter said security around polling stations "is constantly reviewed and updated" by local police forces.

Westminster City Council said it has a "range of measures in place to ensure the safety of voters at the polls across the city," while West Midlands Police said there will be an increase in patrol in some of the voting areas.

Essex Police's Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh encouraged people to go out and vote. "When you see this type of vile challenge on our lifestyle, more than ever, people need to go out there and vote. We will do our very best to try and keep them safe," he told local media.

BBC quoted the security expert Michael Fuller as saying that there is a "significant risk" of polling stations being targeted.

About 50,000 polling stations across the United Kingdom will open to millions of voters on Thursday.

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