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Johnson urges Tories to do ‘national duty’ as General Election race tightens

Mr Johnson arrived in London after zig-zagging his way across the country in a last-ditch push for support.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a visit to the Copper Box Arena in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London, while on the General Election campaign trail (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a visit to the Copper Box Arena in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London, while on the General Election campaign trail (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

By Richard Wheeler, PA Parliamentary Editor

Boris Johnson has ended his stunt-laden campaign with an eve of polling day rally.

The Conservative leader told party activists they have a “national duty” to “find every vote we can to save our country from disaster” before the polls close at 10pm on Thursday.

He chose the Copper Box in Stratford, east London, for his final speech – a nod to his work as London mayor in helping to organise the 2012 Olympics.

Mr Johnson arrived in the capital after zig-zagging his way across the country in a last-ditch push for support – pretending to be a milkman, visiting businesses and knocking on a small number of Tory-friendly doors.

Speaking in London, Mr Johnson asked if the crowd of several hundred supporters were “pumped up”, “energised” and “motivated” – to which they shouted “yes”.

The Prime Minister said: “I sincerely hope so everybody because we have a national duty between now and 10 o’clock tomorrow night to find every vote we can to save our country from disaster.

“We all know what happened two years ago. We know we cannot trust the opinion polls and we know this contest is tight and getting tighter.”

Mr Johnson started his day by delivering a crate of milk, orange juice and other items to a house in Guiseley, West Yorkshire.

Two bottles of milk already outside the property were removed before the Conservative Party leader arrived.

He knocked on the door, which was opened by civil servant Debbie Monaghan, 40, who said: “So nice to meet you, Mr Prime Minister. What are you doing up so early?”

Mr Johnson has previously driven a JCB digger through a polystyrene wall, made rock in Blackpool, played football and changed a wheel on a Formula One car among various activities and election stunts.

He was earlier asked about the narrowing polls and pressed on whether he was nervous.

Mr Johnson replied: “We’re fighting for every vote.”

In Derby, Mr Johnson put a pastry top on a beef and ale pie before it was placed in an oven during a visit to a catering firm.

The PM then pulled out a separate pie that had already cooked for 20 minutes, to which he had made no contribution.

He said: “This is the oven-ready pie, this is a perfect metaphor for what we’re going to do in the run-up to Christmas if we can get a working majority, we have a deal, it’s ready to go.

“You saw how easy it is, we put it in, slam it in the oven, take it out and there it is – get Brexit done.”

He took a 40-minute flight to South Wales from East Midlands Airport, where his day took a festive turn during a visit to a firm said to be the Queen’s Christmas cracker supplier.

Mr Johnson helped box up rolls of wrapping paper before joining staff at IG Design Group in pulling crackers.

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Boris Johnson pulls Christmas crackers with staff during a visit to IG Design Group in Hengoed (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

The PM read out the joke in one of the crackers, asking: “What can you make that cannot be seen? The answer is a noise.”

The noise of laughter was not heard, so the PM added: “What can you get done by Christmas? Brexit.”

Some laughter was heard at this point, with Mr Johnson commending those who got the “right answer”.

Discarded on the floor nearby was another of the pieces of paper from a cracker, which had as its charade the movie The Good, The Bad And The Ugly.

Mr Johnson flew from Cardiff to Southend to knock on Tory-friendly doors in Benfleet, Essex.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson hammers in a Conservative placard into a front garden whilst canvassing in Benfleet, Essex, during the final day of General Election campaigning (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

He stood on a wall and used a mallet to hammer a pro-Brexit sign in to the front garden of Jack and Daphne McNulty.

Mr and Mrs McNulty were willing participants in the stunt which came as the PM knocked on doors in Hall Farm Road.

Mr McNulty, 91, told Mr Johnson “your hands are cold” as they exchanged a few words, while 89-year-old Mrs McNulty told the PA news agency: “He came across in just those few seconds as a very warm man.”

Docker Darren Close, 50, and his greyhound Beau also met Mr Johnson during his short visit to the Castle Point constituency.

Mr Close said: “We’re quite surprised he’s come here because I would have thought this was quite a good area for the Conservatives – it was quite a nice surprise to see him.”

He said he was planning to vote Tory, adding: “The problem you have is some of the things you hear from the other parties seem very extreme and at the moment I really do think it’s probably the better the devil you know, and at the end of the day we did also vote for Brexit and that’s a key factor and he seems to be pushing that forward.”

PA

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