Campaign highlights: Terror attack brings election campaign into perspective

A serious and sombre tone came over the General Election campaign on Friday afternoon after news broke of an incident on London Bridge which police later said they were treating as a terror incident.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson broke off a campaigning session in his constituency while Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeted in support of the emergency services and all those affected by the incident.

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

– The Prime Minister cancelled a constituency visit to deal with a terror incident

Following his morning press conference in Westminster, Boris Johnson travelled to the constituency of Uxbridge and South Ruislip where he is hoping to be re-elected as the Conservative MP.

But the Prime Minister’s spokesman confirmed he cut short his time in the constituency to return to Downing Street so he could be updated on the London Bridge incident, which occurred slightly before 2pm.

He was given a personal briefing at Number 10 from Neil Basu, the head of UK counter-terrorism policing, shortly after the attacks were confirmed to be a terror incident.

– Labour accuses Johnson of ‘running scared’ over Andrew Neil interview

Mr Johnson has yet to confirm a date when he will sit down with fearsome BBC interviewer Andrew Neil, despite Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and the SNP’s Nicola Sturgeon facing half-hour long interrogations over their election promises with the former Sunday Times editor.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “He knows that Andrew Neil will take him apart. He’s running scared.”

– Boris Johnson’s father does not think much of Britain’s spelling ability

There is not a television show Stanley Johnson will not attend to help out his son, it appears.

The PM’s father, having turned up at the Channel 4 political leaders’ climate change debate on Thursday – the same event his 55-year-old son declined to take part in – stood in for him on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire Show on Friday.

Scoffing at a viewer referring to the PM as Pinocchio – a wooden puppet whose nose grows longer when he tells a lie – he said the meaning of the reference required a “degree of literacy which I think the great British public doesn’t necessarily have”.

Johnson Senior said: “They couldn’t spell Pinocchio if they tried, I would have thought.”

– The PM’s disparaging remarks about single mothers cut through

An article written by the Conservative Party leader in 1995 was unearthed this week in which he described the children of single mothers as “ill-raised, ignorant, aggressive and illegitimate”.

The comments were raised by a listener during the PM’s radio phone-in on LBC, with the single mother from Oldham chastising him for fuelling the “stigma” felt by her own two children.

The interaction appeared to be evidence that the story, which made the front page of the Daily Mirror, has cut through to voters.

– Tories commit to ripping up European Union state aid rules

The Tories have promised to introduce a new state aid regime as part of its election pledge for life outside of the EU.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson
Mr Johnson said he wanted to make it easier for the Government to intervene to protect jobs when an industry is in trouble (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

They say the change is needed to end the “chilling” effect EU law has on the Government’s ability to support industry and jobs.

Brussels rules dictate that member states cannot prop up struggling industries through vast government subsidies.

Mr Johnson has pledged to bring in a state aid regime after Brexit that would aim to make it faster and easier for the Government to intervene to protect jobs when an industry is in trouble.

Tweet of the day

The campaign was put into context today as a suspected terrorist targeted members of the public at London Bridge. Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn both thanked emergency services for their quick response

Shocking reports from London Bridge. My thoughts are with those caught up in the incident. Thank you to the police and emergency services who are responding.

— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) November 29, 2019

Picture of the day

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove joined Mr Johnson for a morning press conference.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Video of the day

Boris Johnson was grilled by members of the public on the radio.

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