Campaign highlights: Tories in Twitter storm while bishops appeal for truth

Twitter issued a sharp rebuke to the Tories after the party rebranded one of its accounts as a fact-checking service during the TV election debate between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn.

Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats put stopping Brexit front and centre of their manifesto, and church leaders appealed to voters and politicians to “honour the gift of truth” during the campaign.

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

– The Conservatives faced criticism for rebranding one of their official Twitter accounts as a fact-checking service

The move during Tuesday’s TV debate between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn prompted a warning from the Electoral Commission that voters were entitled to expect “transparency and integrity” from campaigners.

Twitter cautioned that “any further attempts to mislead people” would result in “decisive corrective action” after the party’s verified press office account was temporarily renamed “factcheckUK”.

– Stopping Brexit is at the centre of the Liberal Democrats’ election offer

Publishing its manifesto, the party held out the prospect of a £50 billion “Remain bonus” for public services and tackling inequalities if it won a majority.

The Lib Dems also laid out plans to recruit 20,000 more teachers, provide free childcare from the age of nine months and tackle the climate change “emergency” through generating 80% of the country’s electricity through renewables by 2030.

– The first TV debate of the election campaign drew more than six million viewers

ITV’s live leaders’ debate between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn attracted an average audience of 6.7 million, according to overnight ratings.

The programme peaked at 7.3 million, ITV said. The political head to head was up against Holby City on BBC One and MasterChef: The Professionals on BBC Two, both airing 8pm-9pm.

– The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have appealed to voters and politicians to “honour the gift of truth” during the campaign

The Most Rev Justin Welby and Dr John Sentamu said everyone had a duty to “speak accurately and challenge falsehoods” when engaging in political debate.

They urged people to discuss issues “with humility and in love” while acknowledging those who hold different views “are not our enemies” in a joint pastoral letter to the Church of England.

– Two million people have applied to register to vote since the General Election was called

A total of 2,048,039 applications were submitted between October 29 – the day the Government called for an election on December 12 – and November 19, according to Government figures.

More than a third of applications (35%) came from people under the age of 25. A further 30% were from 25 to 34-year-olds.

Applications to register to vote
(PA Graphics)

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Liberal Democrats leader Jo Swinson during a visit to Trumpington Park Primary School in Cambridge
Liberal Democrats leader Jo Swinson during a visit to Trumpington Park Primary School in Cambridge (Aaron Chown/PA)

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Stopping Brexit at the heart of Lib Dem manifesto

What’s next?

  • Labour will launch their manifesto at an event in Birmingham at 10am before Jeremy Corbyn attends other events around the Midlands to expand on the party's policies.
  • Boris Johnson and the Conservatives are expected to be campaigning again although no plans have been announced yet.
  • Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie MSP will join Edinburgh West candidate Elaine Gunn for a bike ride before talking about the party's policies to radically transform Scotland's transport network.
  • There is nothing currently scheduled for the LibDems, SNP or the Brexit Party.


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