General Election campaign: Activity on hold as leaders reflect on terror attack

The General Election campaign trail took a back seat on Saturday as the main parties chose to suspend activity in the wake of the terror attack on London Bridge.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited the scene in the capital while Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn spoke of his concerns about the parole system during a visit to West Yorkshire.

Here are some of the key events from Saturday’s campaign trail:

– Campaign winding down

Incident on London Bridge
Incident on London Bridge

In the wake of the terrorist attack on London Bridge on Friday afternoon, the political parties wound down their campaigning on Saturday.

Mr Johnson was due to campaign in the capital on Saturday, but he cancelled his planned events following the attack and instead visited the scene.

Labour scrapped an “NHS summit” which was due to be held in Yorkshire, and the Liberal Democrats axed their Stop Brexit rally in London.

– Trump will keep schtum

UN General Assembly
UN General Assembly

Donald Trump is “absolutely cognisant” of the importance of not interfering in other nations’s elections, a US official has said ahead of the president’s trip to the UK.

Mr Johnson has already warned Mr Trump not to get involved in the General Election campaign, after the president previously urged him to form a pact with Nigel Farage.

When asked if Mr Trump has been briefed and warned not to speak about the election on his trip, a senior US administration official said the president is “very conscious” of the fact “we do not interfere”. Pressed further, the official added: “He also, as I suspect you know, likes Boris Johnson – Prime Minister Johnson, personally.

“But he is absolutely cognisant of not, again, wading into other country’s elections.”

– Ex-Lib Dem leader criticises party’s Brexit stance

Liberal Democrats conference
Liberal Democrats conference

The Lib Dems’ policy to scrap Brexit without another referendum has been described as “a distraction and not a very helpful one” by Sir Vince Cable.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Saturday, Sir Vince criticised the position and said the focus should have been on a second referendum instead.

He added: “I’ve always argued that actually it was wildly improbable. We were never going to get 350 MPs, so the policy had been and should be to argue for the People’s Vote, going back to the public, to the referendum with support for Remain.

“So the revoke was a distraction and not a very helpful one.”

– Battle of the Andrews at the BBC

The BBC’s decision to schedule an interview with Andrew Marr when the Prime Minister has still not committed to sitting down with Andrew Neil – who Jeremy Corbyn faced last week – has been branded “wrong” and “shameful”.

It had been reported that the BBC had told Mr Johnson he would not be allowed to face Marr unless he also agreed to be interviewed by Neil, but the broadcaster later said: “In the wake of a major terrorist incident, we believe it is now in the public interest that the Prime Minister should be interviewed on our flagship Sunday political programme.”

Meanwhile, the Conservatives and Labour have yet to confirm who will take part in an ITV seven-way debate on Sunday evening.

– Brexit ‘biggest threat to NHS’

Sturgeon’s St Andrew’s Day speech
Sturgeon’s St Andrew’s Day speech

Boris Johnson’s Brexit plan is the biggest threat to Scotland’s NHS in its history, Scottish First Minister and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said on Saturday.

She said that the Prime Minister is a “real and present danger” to the health service, and his proposals would make it harder to attract NHS staff from Europe.

Meanwhile, Labour said at least 1.5 million patients have been delayed by 30 minutes or more in the back of an ambulance over the past three years, which shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth said was “damning evidence” of the damage caused by Tory cuts since 2010.

Tweet of the day

Campaigning was put on hold as the major party leaders reflected on the terrorist attack on London Bridge on Friday. Boris Johnson visited the scene and also met with some of the emergency services workers who attended the incident.

Today the Prime Minister has visited London Bridge to meet and thank police officers and first responders following the incident yesterday.

— UK Prime Minister (@10DowningStreet) November 30, 2019

Picture of the day

General Election 2019
General Election 2019

Video of the day

An average of the polling numbers over the last seven days of the election campaign for all major parties.

What’s next?

Boris Johnson will be interviewed on the BBC by Andrew Marr, which has proved controversial because the PM has yet to agree to be quizzed by Andrew Neil.

Jeremy Corbyn is facing Sophy Ridge on Sky News. Following that he will make a foreign policy speech in Yorkshire.

In the evening ITV is hosting a seven-way “leaders debate” but it is unclear who will represent Labour or the Conservatives.