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What are the strengths and weaknesses of the main party leaders?

As Westminster gears up for a pre-Christmas election, here’s a look at those at the helm of the main parties.

Boris Johnson, Jeremy Corbyn and Jo Swinson (Kirsty Wigglesworth/Andrew Milligan/Jonathan Brady/PA)
Boris Johnson, Jeremy Corbyn and Jo Swinson (Kirsty Wigglesworth/Andrew Milligan/Jonathan Brady/PA)

By Harriet Line, PA Deputy Political Editor

Britain is set to head to the polls for its first December general election in almost a century.

Here the PA news agency takes a look at the strengths and weaknesses of the three main party leaders who will battle it out for Number 10.

Boris Johnson

Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

The Conservative leader and Prime Minister is one of the most recognisable figures in politics and is seen as an effective and charismatic campaigner.

He twice defeated Ken Livingstone to serve two terms as mayor for the traditionally-Labour backing London.

But his critics say the Uxbridge and South Ruislip MP lacks the attention to detail required of his office, and point to his gaffe while foreign secretary over the case of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

Allegations about his personal conduct and private life have often dominated the headlines, and he has come under fire for using language which has been branded racist and sexist.

As an old Etonian, Mr Johnson has also faced criticism for not being representative of modern Britain and is seen by some as out of touch.

Jeremy Corbyn

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (Andrew Milligan/PA)

The Islington North MP inspired a generation of Corbynistas who joined Labour in the wake of his surprise election as leader in 2015.

He is seen as an able campaigner who is comfortable and capable of meeting voters and delivering rousing stump speeches.

But Mr Corbyn has been heavily criticised for his perceived failure to tackle anti-Semitism within the Labour Party, and has put off some voters with his socialist stance.

His poor performance in the polls has also been blamed on his handling of Brexit – with Mr Corbyn refusing to say whether the party would back Remain or Leave in a second referendum on any deal he reaches with Brussels.

The 70-year-old has also faced questions – which have been strongly dismissed – about his health and whether he would be able to cope with the demands of the office of prime minister.

Jo Swinson

Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Elected as the Liberal Democrats’ first female leader in July, Ms Swinson sees herself as a genuinely different potential prime minister from Mr Corbyn and Mr Johnson.

The 39-year-old offers a fresh face to the electorate and will hope to win over young voters with her party’s clear plan to reverse the Brexit vote.

The East Dunbartonshire MP served as a minister in the coalition government and has come under fire for being complicit in austerity and tuition fee policies.

Her relative inexperience in leading a party could put off some voters, who may see her as an unknown quantity.



From Belfast Telegraph