Campaign highlights: PM visits flood-hit areas as parties seek knockout blow

Boris Johnson came under fire during a visit to some of the areas in England worst affected by recent flooding while the Liberal Democrats and Brexit Party looked for inspiration in the boxing ring.

Here are some of the highlights of Wednesday’s campaign trail:

– Voters in flood-stricken South Yorkshire are not impressed with Boris Johnson.

The Prime Minister took time away from the campaign trail to visit flood-hit Stainforth – only to run into a deluge of criticism from the locals.

One told him: “You’ve took your time Boris, haven’t you?”

Another said she did not want to talk, adding: “If you don’t mind, I’ll just mope on with what I’m doing.”

Mr Johnson insisted he understood their “anguish” adding: “We’ve been on it round the clock.”

Conservative candidates in the region will be hoping the message gets through.

Boris Johnson talks with a local woman pushing a wheelbarrow during a visit to Stainforth
Boris Johnson talks with a local woman pushing a wheelbarrow during a visit to Stainforth (Danny Lawson/PA)

– Jeremy Corbyn will block a second referendum on Scottish independence – maybe.

The Labour leader, making his first visit of the campaign to Scotland, said there would be “no referendum in the first term of a Labour Government”.

His categorical statement appeared to represent a hardening of the party’s position – which was that a second referendum would not be a “priority” in the early years of a Labour administration.

Aides – perhaps aware their leader may need SNP votes if he is to enter No 10 in the event of a hung parliament – were quick to row back on his comments.

The position, they admitted, could shift if the SNP wins control of Holyrood in the 2021 Scottish Parliament election.

Jeremy Corbyn
Jeremy Corbyn speaks during a visit to Birkenshaw Sports Barn in Uddingston, South Lanarkshire (Andrew Milligan/PA)

– David Gauke thinks a majority Tory Government will be a disaster for Britain.

The former Conservative justice secretary has warned the UK will be heading for a no-deal Brexit if Boris Johnson wins an overall majority on December 12 – with “disastrous” consequences for the economy.

“Whole sectors would become unviable,” he said.

Mr Gauke – who is now standing as an independent after having had the Tory whip withdrawn – said Tory MPs would not allow the PM to extend trade talks with the EU, even if he wanted to.

He suggested Conservative supporters opposed to no-deal should consider “lending” their votes to the Liberal Democrats.

– Nigel Farage says the Brexit Party will stand in every seat held by Labour.

The Brexit Party leader threw the Tories an olive branch this week when he announced they would not be contesting seats the Conservatives won at the last election.

Mr Farage said he was doing it because he did not want to risk letting in Remainer Lib Dems – potentially paving the way to a second referendum.

So he was not happy when the response to his gesture was calls for the Brexit Party to pull out of Tory-Labour marginals held by Labour as well.

Speaking on a campaign visit to Essex, he said: “We’re going to stand against every single one of them.”

– Jo Swinson is proud to be a “girly swot”.

Boris Johnson found himself in hot water when it emerged he had used the term to deride ex-PM David Cameron.

On a campaign visit to a boxing gym in north London, the Lib Dem leader proudly sported a T-shirt emblazoned with the phrase, telling reporters she was “reclaiming” it.

“I was looking for a T-shirt for the ring and I thought it would do the job,” Ms Swinson said.

For good measure, it also featured a spider – a tribute to the broach worn by Supreme Court president Baroness Hale when she ruled Mr Johnson’s suspension of Parliament was unlawful.

Tweet of the day

After being assigned to canvas the public in former Tory minister David Gauke’s constituency, PA news agency reporter Mike Bedigan received a surprising response from one constituent.

Picture of the day

Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson showed she means business while on a visit to Total Boxer, a specialised boxing gym which offers training to young people as a means of keeping them away from violence, in Crouch End, London.

Jo Swinson
(Aaron Chown/PA)

Video of the day

During his trip to Stainforth in West Yorkshire, Boris Johnson met some locals who were unhappy at the help offered after recent flooding in the area.

  • Jeremy Corbyn campaigning in Scotland alongside Scottish leader Richard Leonard
  • Luciana Berger and Chuka Umunna to unveil the Liberal Democrat’s Plan for Equalities and Human Rights in London
  • Nigel Farage on the Brexit Party campaign trail in Hull and Grimsby
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