Campaign highlights: Party leaders out in force on final day

The December election campaign has finally reached an end.

Dark afternoons on the doorsteps for party faithful of all colours has seen them battling the elements as well as their opponents.

Party leaders have spent the day making last-ditch pleas for support in electorates across the country.

Here are some of the highlights from Wednesday’s final day on the campaign trail.

– Pollsters are not ruling out a possible hung parliament as polling day nears

Boris Johnson called a General Election to recast the parliamentary arithmetic over Brexit. Delivering milk for a campaign photo opportunity in the Conservative-held marginal of Pudsey in West Yorkshire, Mr Johnson declared “it could not be tighter”.

His comments came as a final constituency-by-constituency poll by YouGov suggested that the Conservatives are on course for a 28-seat majority.

However, it warned that the margin of error – together with the unknown impact of tactical voting – meant a hung parliament is still possible, but so is an even larger than predicted Tory majority.

– Politicians will travel far and wide in a last-minute dash for votes

Leaders of the main parties have engaged in a frantic final drive for votes in an election billed by Labour and the Tories as the most important in a generation.

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn criss-crossed the nation in a last-minute bid to shore up support and get out the vote before polls open on Thursday.

Mr Corbyn started his last day of campaigning in Glasgow South West with a promise of “real hope” for voters affected by years of austerity. Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson was concentrating her efforts on the area around London and Surrey where her party is hoping to pick up seats.

– Boris Johnson’s interview “no-show” leaves Jeremy Vine “dismayed”

BBC Radio 2 presenter Jeremy Vine said he was “dismayed” after Mr Johnson pulled out of an interview with less than 24 hours’ notice.

It follows a decision by the Conservative Party leader to duck one-on-one interviews with the BBC’s Andrew Neil and ITV’s Julie Etchingham during the election campaign.

Mr Johnson has also turned down invitations to appear on ITV’s Good Morning Britain and was accosted live on air on Wednesday by one of the programme’s reporters, where he opted instead to walk into a fridge to avoid the encounter.

– Nicola Sturgeon insists the SNP is still committed to IndyRef2 in 2020

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has reaffirmed her desire to hold another Scottish independence referendum next year, as she campaigned on the eve of polling day.

Amid claims the SNP’s calls for a 2020 vote have become less prominent after polls suggested support for independence has fallen, Ms Sturgeon said: “I want a referendum next year.”

The First Minister also said her “message has been consistent throughout the campaign”, in response to the suggestion she has stopped pushing her desired timetable for another referendum.

– Ruth Davidson pledges to skinny dip in Loch Ness if the SNP win 50 seats

A view of Loch Ness from Urquhart Castle
A view of Loch Ness from Urquhart Castle (PA)

Former Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has pledged to go skinny dipping in Loch Ness if the SNP win 50 seats at the General Election.

However, she said she is making the pledge safe in the knowledge “that my modesty (and others’ eyeballs) will remain unmolested” as she does not think that will happen.

Ms Davidson said conditions are “markedly different” from 2015 when the SNP took 56 seats. Writing in The Telegraph, she said the nationalists have been keen to talk up the possibility of winning 50 seats.

Tweet of the day

Boris Johnson enters a fridge in an apparent effort to evade questioning from ITV reporter Jonathan Swain

Picture of the day

General Election 2019
Prime Minister Boris Johnson eats a pie on his campaign bus following a visit to the Red Olive in Derby (Sefan Rousseau/PA)

Video of the day

Thoughts are already turning to Thursday – here’s five things to watch for on Thursday night after the count begins:

What’s next?

  • Party leaders will head out to cast their own votes as the poll gets under way. Boris Johnson will vote in Westminster, Jeremy Corbyn in Islington and Jo Swinson in her East Dunbartonshire constituency. Nigel Farage has previously said he might spoil his ballot paper in his own constituency of Orpington, where the Brexit Party does not have a candidate.

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