FROM Labour claims about the ‘runaway privatisation’ of the NHS to the now-notorious Conservative promise of 50,000 ‘extra’ nurses. Never before has an election campaign been so full of half-truths and plain old-fashioned lies.

Politicians have always had a reputation for being somewhat economical with the truth. But in recent years things seem to have taken a darker twist. Now politicians don’t seem to care about the consequences of misleading the people who vote for them.

Once a politician’s lies would have been exposed, he or she would have been embarrassed, forced to apologise, or had to resign.

Now it seems they are just brushed off – or worse still, these untruths are used purposely, to mislead voters.

Inexplicably, culture secretary Nicky Morgan was recently put forward to speak about the Conservatives’ pledge to bring in 50,000 new nurses to the NHS by 2025, on Good Morning Britain.

It turns out, and she admitted during the interview, that 19,000 of that figure would be retained nurses, not, as the Conservatives had promised, 50,000 new nurses.

In fact, it was just 31,000 new nurses, which is highly questionable in itself given the right-leaning party’s ongoing commitment to keeping taxes low.

But would Ms Morgan concede this? No. It was simple mathematics, able to be calculated by pretty much any voter. Ms Morgan kept repeating her ‘50,000 new nurses’ line, despite her argument having been pulled apart several times. It was cringeworthy to watch.

Similarly, Boris Johnson’s claim that he will built 40 new hospitals has been disputed by fact-checking journalists.

In fact, it is only six. The others will get a share of a pot of money to be upgraded.

Many of the outright untruths seem to be coming from the Conservatives, who sadly believe the great British public as being not bright enough to dig below the headline pledges.

Just ask Boris Johnson’s own father Stanley, who a few days ago said outright that most voters wouldn’t be able to spell ‘Pinocchio’.

But Labour is perhaps just as culpable. Its key campaign argument – claims that the Conservatives will bring the ‘sell out’ of the NHS to talks on trade deals with the US – is also based on very shifting sands. Changes to patent laws favouring pharmaceutical companies would also see prices increase by £500m a week, say Labour. But fact-checkers say this figure is extreme and highly unrealistic.

There are too many questionable facts to mention, but the Liberal Democrats’ £50bn ‘remain bonus’ is equally contentious.

These half truths are part of a dark side of politics which has been gaining momentum since the Brexit referendum. Donald Trump is said to have voiced 10,000 untruths or misleading statements during his time as US President – despite many of those voting for him labelling him as ‘honest’. It is difficult to remember a time when politics in the ‘free world’ was peppered with so much untruth. It is skating dangerously close to the propaganda of totalitarian regimes.

It’s time for voters to demand the truth. Go on fact-checking websites. And vote against deceit on December 12.