Campaign highlights: Nato shapes debate as bees swarm Lib Dems and Brexit Party


The Nato summit in Watford influenced Wednesday’s campaigning as party leaders were quizzed about their feelings towards US President Donald Trump and the alliance itself.

Meanwhile, Extinction Rebellion protesters created a buzz when activists dressed as bees confronted Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson and ambushed Brexit Party offices.

Here are some of the highlights:

– Top Trumps

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson were challenged on their attitudes towards US President Donald Trump.

Questioned on whether it was important to have a good relationship with Mr Trump, Mr Corbyn said: “I think it’s important to have good relationships with all countries. Of course, that includes President Trump, yes.”

At a Nato press conference, Mr Johnson brushed off a question asking if Mr Trump was “good for Britain” by saying the US was “the guarantor” of European peace and security.

– PM’s dig at Labour over Nato

Mr Johnson ended his Nato press conference in Watford by attacking Labour, saying the party wants to “destroy” the 70-year-old alliance.

He said: “There is a choice between those who want to strengthen Nato and those in the Labour opposition who actually want to destroy it, destroy Nato, this alliance that has kept us safe.”

Labour’s 2019 General Election manifesto commits to maintaining Britain’s place in the alliance.

– Climate protesters mis-bee-have

A protester glues himself on to the Liberal Democrats' battle bus
A protester glues himself on to the Liberal Democrats' battle bus

Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson was targeted by climate change protesters.

A demonstrator from the Extinction Rebellion group glued himself to the windscreen of the Lib Dem “battle bus” as the party leader visited a youth centre in south London.

Ms Swinson, who spoke to the demonstrators, said she recognised the need for climate change to be prominent in the election, but said it was ironic protesters had targeted an electric bus.

– Waspi women funding

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said a Labour government would borrow to fund compensation for Waspi women.

Women above state pension age – the so-called Waspi women who lost out when the Government increased the state pension age – are demanding compensation for what they see as the unfairness of the decision.

Asked how the policy would be funded on BBC Radio 4’s World At One, Mr McDonnell said: “It’s funded as a contingency. You use what assets you have, in other words, what headroom you’ve got, but also you borrow and we’ll do that over a five-year period.”

– Farage defends strategy

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage

Speaking at a rally in Kirkby-in-Ashfield in Nottinghamshire, Nigel Farage claimed the Brexit Party was “doing very well” in attracting votes from Labour leavers.

Mr Farage ended his address by telling party supporters: “I am more optimistic about Brexit and what it means and leaving this ghastly club based in Brussels run by these bureaucrats … I am more bullish and optimistic about it than I have ever been at any point in my life.”

The Brexit Party confirmed it has removed the whip from MEP John Longworth, the former director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, who they said had “undermined” Mr Farage’s General Election strategy to target Labour heartlands.

Here are the highlights from Wednesday’s campaign trail:

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Jo Swinson speaks to Extinction Rebellion protesters
Jo Swinson speaks to Extinction Rebellion protesters

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What’s next?

  • The Conservatives have not yet announced their campaign plans for Thursday

  • Jeremy Corbyn will visit schools in the Midlands before attending an evening rally in the area.

  • Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson will visit a care home in Scotland before appearing at a rally in the evening.

  • Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie will join Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath candidate Scott Rutherford in a visit to the Fife Centre for Equalities