Nick Clegg prior to giving a television interview during a visit to Hughes Safety Showers on May 21, 2014 in Stockport. Photograph: Getty Images.
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Why are the Lib Dems so quiet about their housebuilding target?

The party's pledge to build 300,000 homes a year is barely known. 

Labour's pledge to build at least 200,000 homes a year by 2020 might sound ambitious (given that the current rate of building is just 112,630), but it's still below the level regarded by housing experts as acceptable. A recent Policy Exchange report warned that the UK needs a minimum of 1.5 million new homes from 2015 to 2020 simply to meet need: 300,000 a year. With this in mind, the Lib Dems have formally adopted this target as party policy.

As Vince Cable told ITV News last night: "There is an enormous gap between what's needed, which is probably 300,000 houses a year as my party is advocating, and what we're currently getting, which is 125,000 to 130,000. We are way short on the housing supply which is needed."

But while Ed Miliband rarely misses a chance to mention his housebuilding ambitions, how often have you heard Nick Clegg and other senior Lib Dems cite their party's target? There is a pattern here. As The Staggers' resident Lib Dem Richard Morris recently noted, the party is similarly quiet about its pledge to review tuition fees after the next general election (with a view to eventually abolishing them) and to reform the bedroom tax. 

It might be that the Lib Dems want to focus on their achievements in government (such as the increase in the tax threshold to £10,000, the pupil premium and ermm...) but to motivate activists and attract voters, the party also needs to talk more about what it wants to do after 2015. The Tories have used the European election campaign to highlight their EU referendum pledge and have previously signalled their intention to go further on immigration and welfare. But what would the Lib Dems do with another five years in power? They should tell us. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

Ukip's Nigel Farage and Paul Nuttall. Photo: Getty
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Is the general election 2017 the end of Ukip?

Ukip led the way to Brexit, but now the party is on less than 10 per cent in the polls. 

Ukip could be finished. Ukip has only ever had two MPs, but it held an outside influence on politics: without it, we’d probably never have had the EU referendum. But Brexit has turned Ukip into a single-issue party without an issue. Ukip’s sole remaining MP, Douglas Carswell, left the party in March 2017, and told Sky News’ Adam Boulton that there was “no point” to the party anymore. 

Not everyone in Ukip has given up, though: Nigel Farage told Peston on Sunday that Ukip “will survive”, and current leader Paul Nuttall will be contesting a seat this year. But Ukip is standing in fewer constituencies than last time thanks to a shortage of both money and people. Who benefits if Ukip is finished? It’s likely to be the Tories. 

Is Ukip finished? 

What are Ukip's poll ratings?

Ukip’s poll ratings peaked in June 2016 at 16 per cent. Since the leave campaign’s success, that has steadily declined so that Ukip is going into the 2017 general election on 4 per cent, according to the latest polls. If the polls can be trusted, that’s a serious collapse.

Can Ukip get anymore MPs?

In the 2015 general election Ukip contested nearly every seat and got 13 per cent of the vote, making it the third biggest party (although is only returned one MP). Now Ukip is reportedly struggling to find candidates and could stand in as few as 100 seats. Ukip leader Paul Nuttall will stand in Boston and Skegness, but both ex-leader Nigel Farage and donor Arron Banks have ruled themselves out of running this time.

How many members does Ukip have?

Ukip’s membership declined from 45,994 at the 2015 general election to 39,000 in 2016. That’s a worrying sign for any political party, which relies on grassroots memberships to put in the campaigning legwork.

What does Ukip's decline mean for Labour and the Conservatives? 

The rise of Ukip took votes from both the Conservatives and Labour, with a nationalist message that appealed to disaffected voters from both right and left. But the decline of Ukip only seems to be helping the Conservatives. Stephen Bush has written about how in Wales voting Ukip seems to have been a gateway drug for traditional Labour voters who are now backing the mainstream right; so the voters Ukip took from the Conservatives are reverting to the Conservatives, and the ones they took from Labour are transferring to the Conservatives too.

Ukip might be finished as an electoral force, but its influence on the rest of British politics will be felt for many years yet. 

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