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Campaign highlights: Johnson and Corbyn clash again over Irish border

The two leaders will face each other later on Friday night as the BBC hosts their final head-to-head debate.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a visit to the Kent Event Centre in Maidstone (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a visit to the Kent Event Centre in Maidstone (Stefan Rousseau/PA)


The final Friday of the General Election campaign has seen no let up for any of the parties or their candidates.

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn clashed after the Labour leader said he had obtained a confidential Government report which he claimed “drives a coach and horses” through the Prime Minister’s insistence that there will be no border in the Irish Sea under his Brexit deal.

Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson said allowing EU nationals to vote in a future Brexit referendum would be the democratic thing to do, rejecting claims from critics that such a change would amount to moving the goal posts politically.

And Nigel Farage pulled out of speaking at a Brexit Party defence rally because he feared his attendance would be a “distraction” following a spate of resignations.

Here are some of the highlights:

– Jeremy Corbyn accused Boris Johnson of “misrepresenting” his Brexit deal

Mr Corbyn said leaked documents obtained by Labour were “hard evidence” that Northern Ireland would be “symbolically separated” from the rest of the UK after Brexit, with customs checks on goods.

He said it proves Mr Johnson was not being truthful about the “devastating” impact his deal will have on Northern Ireland.

Mr Johnson has repeatedly said there will be no border in the Irish Sea, and he insisted Labour’s claims were “complete nonsense”. The Conservatives also said the leaked Treasury document was an “immediate assessment, not a detailed analysis”.

– Sir John Major backed independent candidates expelled from the Conservatives

Sir John Major voiced support for former Tories standing against the Conservatives after being kicked out of the party (PA)

The former Tory prime minister urged people to re-elect three MPs who were expelled from the Conservatives for voting against Boris Johnson over Brexit.

Sir John said David Gauke, Dominic Grieve and Anne Milton were “principled, decent human beings”, adding: “None of them has left the Conservative Party; the Conservative Party has left them.”

He also said “tribal loyalties” had been loosened by Brexit, but Mr Johnson said Sir John’s remarks were “wrong”.

– Channel 4 apologised for misquoting Mr Johnson in an immigration speech

The broadcaster apologised for erroneously producing a social media clip which reported Mr Johnson saying he is in favour of having “people of colour” come to the UK instead of “people of talent” during a speech in Derbyshire.

Channel 4 News took down the video and released a statement which said: “Our earlier tweet was a mistake. We misheard and we apologise.”

But in response, a senior Tory source accused Channel 4 of “inventing the most damaging things possible to further their campaign against Brexit”.

– Labour pledged to help small businesses

Jeremy Corbyn outlined plans to help small businesses (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Mr Corbyn’s party promised to set up a network of advisers based in Post Offices to support small businesses, if they win the General Election.

The party said the advisers would form part of a wider agency to help firms access advice, and that they would also help small firms by replacing business rates with a tax based on land value.

However, the Conservatives said a Labour government would bring higher taxes and uncertainty.

– There was a classic compromise on the Liberal Democrats’ battle bus

As party leader Jo Swinson recorded a campaign video behind the curtains at the back of her battle bus, travelling journalists were asked to “shhh”.

As one intrepid reporter made a move towards the on board toilet, they were told by a Lib Dem staffer: “Please don’t flush.”

Jo Swinson’s staff asked for quiet as she filmed on board her battle bus (Aaron Chown/PA)

While surprised by the stance of the Lib Dem “toilet police”, the reporter decided to put their fellow passengers first, return to their seat, and hold on until the video was complete.

Tweet of the day

Channel 4 News apologised after posting a clip of Boris Johnson making an immigration speech. The subtitled clip falsely attributed a reference to the Prime Minister saying “people of colour”, when he actually said “people of talent”. The video and subsequent deletion prompted a great deal of discussion from all sides.

Picture of the day

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie helps to make apple pies during a visit to Stuart’s Bakery in Methil, Fife (Jane Barlow/PA)

Video of the day

Former prime minister Sir John Major describes Brexit as the “worst foreign policy decision in my lifetime”, and warns that leaving the EU will affect “nearly every single aspect of our lives for many decades to come”.

What’s next?

  • With just days to go before the election, Boris Johnson will continue the Conservative campaign in north-west England.
  • Jeremy Corbyn takes the Labour campaign to Wales, appearing at a rally and talking to workers on Small Business Saturday.
  • Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson will visit Hertfordshire to discuss policies with small businesses.
  • Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage travels to Sedgefield in County Durham where he will also meet business representatives.




From Belfast Telegraph