The Conservative Party are targeting a swathe of seats in the opposition party’s heartland of the Midlands and North, dubbed the “red wall” by pollsters due to the longhand loyalty to Labor. One constituency the Tories have set their sights on is Crewe and Nantwich, where Labor’s Laura Smith won with a majority of just 48 in 2017 and voters backed Brexit in the 2016 EU referendum.
Many traditional Labor voters in the region are now considering handing the Conservatives their first vote in next month’s general election due to Mr Corbyn’s muddled Brexit stance.
Jules Wilde, a 62 – year-old carer from Crewe who voted for Brexit, told Reuters: “I’d hate to vote Tory.
“ If there was a way of not voting Tory and still getting Brexit, I’d do it.
“I am a bit frustrated with this situation, yes. Because it’s a complete reversal … It’s like the Tory party who I never support are doing something that I support, when the Labor Party who I would always support are doing something totally different that I don’t support. ”
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Ms Smith’s Brexit view is in line with Mr Corbyn’s but at odds with many of her Leave-supporting constituents.
When asked if Labor could retain its pro-Brexit voters in the election, she said: “I really, really hope so, and all I can say to them is that I am committed that if I am elected I will be looking for that credible leave deal for us to be able to put to a second referendum. ”
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11. 12 am update: Johnson confirms he will keep Sajid Javid as chancellor, if reelected
11. 09 am update: UK ‘off to a flying start’ with Brexit deal
Johnson asked about a delay to the Brexit transition period and whether there was a chance the UK would leave the bloc without a deal.
He said ‘we’re off to a flying start’ and there is no reason why a free trade deal cannot be done on time.
11. 08 am update: Johnson takes questions from reporters
10. 54 am update: Corbyn’s Brexit policy ‘mind boggling’
Mr Johnson calls Mr Corbyn’s position on the EU “positively mind boggling” as he mentions the Labor leader’s desire to strike a new deal with the bloc.
10. 50 am update: Johnson says his deal will offer firms certainty
He said his deal offers UK businesses “complete stability and certainty about the arrangements that we have with our friends and partners in the EU” .
He said: “All we need is nine more seats and we can deliver Brexit in January.”
10. 49 am update: ‘Just add hot water, stir in pot,’ Johnson says of ready-to-go Brexit deal
10. 45 am update: Johnson tells CBI Brexit will help Britons’ mood
Boris Johnson is giving a speech to business leaders at the CBI, Britain’s main busines lobby.
He said getting Brexit done would be the “best thing for our national mood”.
10. 37 am update: John Curtice notes Corbyn’s Brexit silence
Polling expert Sir John Curtice has noted Jeremy Corbyn’s silence on Brexit as he tries to win over voters on the campaign trail.
Sir John said Labor has made “a bit of ground at the expense of the Liberal Democrats amongst Remain voters”.
But he added: “The Labor Party has spent most of the last week not talking about Brexit but trying to persuade voters on the Leave side of the argument to come to the Labor Party on the basis of its domestic agenda.
“The truth is the polls suggest this is not having any cut-through at all.
” Labor’s share of the vote amongst Leave voters – a grand total of 14 percent – is exactly the same now as it was a week ago, and that’s the other clear message from the polls. “
10. 13 am update: SNP fears Tories will ‘trade away’ fishing industry in Brexit deal
Paul Robertson, the SNP’s candidate for Banff and Buchan, has said the Tories are prepared to “trade away” Scotland’s fishing industry in a free trade agreement with the EU.
His comments come after Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab refused to give a straight answer when pressed on the topic on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday.
He said foreign boats’ access to UK waters after Brexit “will be a subject of negotiation”.
Mr Robertson wrote on Twitter: “This is the reality of Tory policy on fishing.
“In a negotiation wrapped up with other sectors, Scottish fishing risks being traded away and ending up with a worse deal than we have right now.”
He slammed the Conservatives’ promises to take back control of UK waters as “disingenuous”.
8. 56 am update: Brexit uncertainty ‘real killer’ for businesses – Leadsom
Business secretary Andrea Leadsom has told Sky News businesses are suffering under the lack of clarity around Brexit as she promised brighter days ahead under a Tory majority government.
Ms Leadsom said: “Businesses up and down the country are telling me that uncertainty is the real killer for them … there’s a raft of investment coming when we get Brexit over the line. “
She also said” there’s every chance, every likelihood “that a free trade deal with the EU will be done by end of 2020.
8. 37 am update: Verhofstadt hits out at Johnson over failure to publish Russia report
Eurocrat Guy Verhofstadt had called for the report on alleged Russian interference in the Brexit referendum to be published, arguing other European nations need to know if their democracy risk being threatened by a foreign power.
The Belgian MEP took to Twitter to share an article stating the Parliament’s intelligence and security committee could not rule out the possibility that the Kremlin influenced the Leave vote in 2016.
Boris Johnson is refusing to publish the report.
Mr Verhofstadt said: “If Russia did influence the Brexit referendum, all European countries who face similar attacks need to know about it.
“The Kremlin’s aim is to divide the West, our communities and undermine our democracy.”
************ (8.) am update: Johnson admits big businesses ‘didn’t want Brexit’
Boris Johnson will cut employers’ National Insurance as part of a range of tax cuts as he seeks to get the business community back on side.
The prime minister will tell business leaders on Monday that the Tories will put an end to Brexit “uncertainty and confusion” if they are returned to power on December 12.
In a speech to business leaders at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) annual conference on Monday, Mr Johnson is expected to say: “Let’s not beat around the bush, big business didn’t want Brexit.
“You made that clear in 2016 and this body said it louder than any other.
“But what is also clear is that what you want now – and have wanted for some time – is certainty.
” So that you can plan and invest, so you can grow and expand, so that you can create jobs and drive prosperity. “
In a major general election pledge, the Conservative Party said a Tory government would cut business rates, launching a fundamental review at their first Budget.
8. 01 am update: Macron’s calls for European army ahead of NATO summit
Emmanuel Macron’s call for European nations to band together and form an army has been backed by Angela Merkel ahead of the NATO summit in London in early December.
The embattled French president and the German chancellor both favor a tight-knit military alliance on the continent which they believe would send a powerful message to the world that Europe is united against a war on home soil.
Mr Macron, who has emerged as the most outspoken critic of NATO, has said European countries can no longer look to the US to protect them.
During an address to the European parliament last week, Mrs Merkel drew on comment made by Jean-Claude Juncker who said “a common European army would show the world that there would never again be war in Europe ”.
But Mrs Merkel stressed her vision is not for “an army against NATO” but rather “a good complement to NATO”.
And Germany’s defense minister used an interview published last weekend to reject Mr Macron’s desire to replace NATO, saying Berlin wanted instead to strengthen the military alliance.
Annegret Kramp-Kartenbauer told Welt: “When France talks about more European cooperation in defense, they’re talking about strategic autonomy.
“The French are seeking strong European cooperation to replace NATO.”
Earlier this month the French president said: “What were are currently experiencing is the brain death of NATO. ”
According to Politico, many fellow leaders share Mr Macron’s criticism of NATO behind closed doors and believe he was“ correct in his complaints ” .
In his call for an European army, Mr Macron said he wanted to establish a “real security dialogue” with Russia’s President Putin.
The UK is against the idea of a European army as it could represent a parallel structure to NATO.
Mr Macron told Europe 1, a French radio station: “Who is the main victim? Europe and its security.
“I want to build a real security dialogue with Russia, which is a country I respect, a European country – but we must have a Europe that can defend itself on its own without relying only on the United States. ”