Election 2019 LIVE: Oh dear, Jeremy! 100 Labour MPs snub Corbyn in major blow

The large-scale snub highlights Mr Corbyn’s unpopularity with voters in Labour’s traditional heartlands where his vague position on Brexit appears to have badly backfired. The party is still reeling from results of a YouGov poll that showed Labour faced losing dozens of seats in the Midlands and the north of England and candidates have moved to distance themselves from Mr Corbyn by leaving his name and face of their pre-election publicity material.

Analysis of Labour campaign literature also found the party saying different things on Brexit.

Candidates in Remain-supporting seats often pointed to the party’s policy of a second referendum and back staying in the EU while those on Leave constituencies try to highlight their support for Brexit.

Labour sources have conceded the party made a key mistake in overestimating the threat to the party posed by the Lib Dems while underestimating the danger of Leave voters switching directly from Labour to the Tories.

Party strategists have concentrated on trying to persuade voters that the election is about far more than Brexit. They have tried to make the NHS the key issue in the campaign.

But with polling day less than two weeks away they are now trying to win back disaffected Labour voters by claiming that the party is not seeking to stop the EU leaving the bloc.

Mr Corbyn, who has vowed to stay neutral in any campaign for a second EU referendum, is expected to tour Leave-voting Labour constituencies over the following few days.


9.15am update: Boris repeats pledge to leave EU on January 31

Britain will leave he EU on January 31 if the Tories win the general election with a majority, Boris Johnson has promised.

He told LBC: “What we can do, get the Withdrawal Bill back into the Commons before Christmas and we’re definitely out by January 31.”

Referring to the Labour position on Brexit, Mr Johnson said: “You have a Labour shadow cabinet of which virtually every member, apart from Mr Corbyn, have said they’re in favour of Remain.

“So McDonnell, Starmer, Diane Abbott, all of them say they’re in favour of Remain.

“There’s one exception who’s in favour of a new deal, and that’s Jeremy Corbyn, but he’s not prepared to campaign in favour of a deal. And he’s going to put this absurdity to a referendum. It would be satirical if it were not so tragic.”

Pushed further on the Brexit deadline, the Prime Minister said: “If we get a working majority in the House of Commons I guarantee we will be out by January 31.”

9.05am update: Boris vows NHS “not for sale”

Boris Johnson has repeated his pledge that he would never put the NHS on the table in any post-Brexit trade talks with the US.

Speaking on LBC, Mr Johnson said there was “no evidence” the UK government wanted to sell the NHS.

And he accused Labour of producing “pure Bermuda triangle stuff” on once Britain had left the European Union.

He said: “The NHS is not for sale and under no circumstances will this Government or any Conservative government do anything to put the NHS up for negotiation in trade talks or privatising or anything like that.

“I can tell you that were the United States or any other country to insist on that as a condition of talks, we would simply walk out.

“It is perfectly obvious as leader of this country that if any government was to be so mad as to go down that route then they would never be elected.”

8.47am update: Boris Johnson accused of “running scared” from Andrew Neil interview

Boris Johnson is “running scared” of being interviewed by Mr Neil, according to shadow chancellor John McDonnell.

The Prime Minister has yet to agree to a slot for a head-to-head interview on BBC with Mr Neil who has so far interviewed SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon and Jeremy Corbyn in what has been.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr McDonnell said: “The reason he is doing it is because he thinks, like you know his Bullingdon Club friends, that they’re above the rest of us.

“That they don’t need to be held to account. They don’t need to treated like the rest of us. And so what he’s doing now is he’s avoiding, he’s running scared.

“Because he knows that Andrew Neil will take him apart. He’s running scared. But even if he does it now, he’s played you because he pushing it later and later beyond the postal vote returns.”

Mr Neil is due to interview Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson and Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage next week.

JUST IN: Boris to protect UK fishermen with crucial no deal Brexit scheme 

8.31am update: Stanley Johnson enters Channel 4 ice sculpture row

Boris Johnson’s father Stanley Johnson said allowing Michael Gove to appear on Channel 4’s climate debate last night would have led to an interesting discussion about an urgent matter.

Channel 4after Mr Johnson declined to participate in the televised debate and instead replaced the Prime Minister with an ice sculpture.

But the stunt was blasted by Mr Johnson snr. He said: “Are you saying that Michael Gove is not a leader? Why play schoolboy games with ice sculptures?”

He said he was not “privy” to where the Prime Minister was last night and said .

He said: “Mr Gove was a very valid substitute. He is probably the best environment secretary this country has ever had.”

8.12am update: Vaizey warns Tories over Channel 4 threats

Former Tory minister Ed Vaizey has warned it is “not a sensible strategy for political parties to threaten broadcasters”.

Mr Vaizey spoke out after reports the Tories might review Channel 4’s public service broadcasting position after it replaced Boris Johnson with a melting ice sculpture when he refused to take part in a climate change debate.

He said: “It’s not a sensible strategy for political parties to threaten broadcasters in that way, so I was disappointed.

“It was an anonymous briefing, I don’t think it’s the settled view of the Conservative Party or the Government.”

Mr Vaizey was culture minister between 2010 and 2016. He had the Tory whip removed after voting for efforts in the Commons to block a no-deal Brexit but later had it restored. He is not standing for re-election at the General Election.

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8.05 update: McDonnell denies Labour campaign strategy switch

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said Labour is not changing its campaign strategy to target Leave-voting areas.

It was reported the party would change its focus to these areas, following a YouGov poll on Wednesday which suggested the Tories were on course to win a majority by picking up votes in Labour seats which voted to leave the EU.

But speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme Mr McDonnell said: “There’s no change in strategy.

“I don’t know where this story has come. People have put two and two together and made five.”

7.30am update: Labour’s regional manifestos dismissed as “a distraction”

Labour is set to launch a manifesto in every region of England under plans to hand “wealth and power back to every community”.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said investment will breathe new life into local economies across the country and bring pride back to communities by kickstarting a Green Industrial Revolution in every part of the UK.

But the Tories have dismissed the proposals as a “distraction”.

Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry, said: “This is a clear distraction from Corbyn’s failure to set out a Brexit plan.

“Every region in England outside of London voted to leave the European Union. If Corbyn’s Labour want to deliver for the people who live there, he should start with that.

“The only thing on offer from Labour is the chaos of another two referendums.”


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