Highs and lows of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s election campaign

Jeremy Corbyn’s second campaign to become prime minister is coming to a close after weeks travelling across Britain to sell his vision for radical change.

Here is a look at the peaks and troughs of the Labour leader’s election endeavours as voters prepare to go to the polls on Thursday.

– What was the campaign high?

Jeremy Corbyn twice seized the agenda with the televised leaking of documents to reporters in attempts to support his allegations that the NHS was “up for sale” and Boris Johnson was lying over Brexit.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn holds a redacted copy of the Department for International Trade’s UK-US Trade and Investment Working Group readout
Jeremy Corbyn holds a redacted copy of a leaked document (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

The PM eventually conceded there would be some customs checks in the Irish Sea in relation to the latter and, while it is unclear whether the NHS leak suggested everything the Labour leader claimed, it did buoy his base and heighten concerns on his key message.

– What was the campaign low?

Mr Corbyn failing to apologise over his handling of anti-Semitism within the Labour Party when pressed four times during his interview with the BBC’s Andrew Neil.

While at least he did not avoid the intense scrutiny of the veteran journalist like the Prime Minister, the refusal to say sorry again to British Jews was met with widespread anger and frustration.

– Where did Mr Corbyn visit the most?

He spent most of his time in the Midlands, Yorkshire and north-west England in order to energise activists to knock on doors and convince voters Labour is the party for them.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks to supporters during a visit to Pendle, Lancashire
Jeremy Corbyn speaks to supporters in Pendle, Lancashire (Joe Giddens/PA)

His choice of campaign stops was undoubtedly aided by concerns Labour’s so-called red wall of strongholds across the Midlands and the North was crumbling, thanks by and large to constituents’ support for Brexit.

– What was the most memorable quote?

While Mr Corbyn is perhaps not the gravest offender for reeling off favoured slogans, he does hammer home two: “For the many, not the few” and “Our NHS is not for sale”.

It is the latter that has proved most memorable on the campaign trail and is routinely chanted back at him by crowds of supporters across Britain.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn eats chips in Whitby
Mr Corbyn eats chips in Whitby (Joe Giddens/PA)

– What was the defining moment?

It could not have been a more precisely timed intervention when the Chief Rabbi warned on the front page of The Times that Mr Corbyn was unfit to be PM over his handling of anti-Semitism on the same day he was to launch his race and faith manifesto.

The Labour leader pushed on with the event in Tottenham, trying to deliver a message for radical and inclusive change to supporters inside as a very unwelcome debate raged outside.

In many ways this mirrored much of Mr Corbyn’s campaign, with him trying to focus on the issues he champions – public ownership of key utilities and a redistribution of wealth in an end to austerity – while discourse centred on very unsteady ground: Brexit.

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