Wednesday's developments on the final day of campaigning

  • Ahead of the first December general election in almost 100 years, Jeremy Corbyn said the Labour message “was getting through” and urged his supporters to knock on doors “like our life depends on it”. And taking a swipe at Boris Johnson, who retreated to a fridge in a Yorkshire dairy farm rather than facing questioning, the Labour leader added: “I don’t have to hide in a fridge when somebody comes to asks me a question.”
  • Boris Johnson said the race was getting “tighter and tighter”, urging supporters they have a “national duty to find every vote to save our country from disaster”.
  • Michel Barnier, the EU chief Brexit negotiator, said it would be “unrealistic” for the EU to negotiate a comprehensive trade deal with the UK by the end next year.
  • Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson said it had been “a privilege and honour” to lead the party during the election campaign.
  • SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, who has been campaigning in Edinburgh, urged Scottish voters to back her party, saying that supporting others “risks helping the Tories”.
  • Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage fears that a Conservative majority would see “Brexit sold out” and believes “we will be back in crisis by May next year as we face extension to the whole process, which has to be done by 1 July”.
  • The Green Party promised that its MPs would respond to the “climate emergency alarm”.

Brandon Lewis, the security minister, told the Peston programme that Boris Johnson “has huge empathy and passion to see people get the very best service and care which is why he wants to increase funding for the NHS” following the furore of the prime minister initially refusing to look at a picture of an ill child lying on the floor at Leeds Infirmary.

John McDonnell told ITV’s Peston programme he believes Labour will win a majority or “form a minority government and implement our manifesto” without any pacts.

He cited the 2017 opinion polls which incorrectly predicted a huge Conservative majority.

More than three million women who believe they have been left out of pocket after steep increases to the state pension age have been promised compensation by Labour as part of a £58 billion scheme.

On the pledge and criticisms over the party’s manifesto on tackling poverty, shadow chancellor John McDonnell told the Peston programme: “That will be dealt with by progressive taxation. This is not about benefits, it is about entitlement.

“We are ending the benefits freeze, scrapping the Bedroom Tax, introducing a real living wage.”

John McDonnell has praised previous Labour government’s domestic policy on the Peston programme.

.@johnmcdonnellMP reaches out to the Brownites and Blairites

— Robert Peston (@Peston) December 11, 2019

Liberal Democrats leader Jo Swinson has restated her position that her party would never enter a coalition with either the Conservatives or a Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn.

She told ITV’s Peston programme that she could work with another Labour leader however.

Thursday’s Times leads on the threat posed by the Brexit Party.

Thursday’s TIMES: “Tories face last-minute threat from Brexit Party” #BBCPapers #TomorrowsPapersToday

— Allie Hodgkins-Brown (@AllieHBNews) December 11, 2019

Thurday’s Guardian front page

Thursday’s GUARDIAN: “Corbyn urges voters to deliver ‘shock to the establishment’ “ #BBCPapers #TomorrowsPapersToday

— Allie Hodgkins-Brown (@AllieHBNews) December 11, 2019

The Telegraph is focusing on a similar theme, saying the election is on a “knife edge”.

Thursday’s Daily TELEGRAPH: “Election on knife edge as Tory lead narrows” #BBCPapers #TomorrowsPapersToday

— Allie Hodgkins-Brown (@AllieHBNews) December 11, 2019

The Financial Times are splashing on polls suggesting the Conservatives’ majority of ten is narrowing.

Thursday’s FINANCIAL TIMES: “Polls cast doubt on Tory hopes of securing a decisive majority” #BBCPapers #TomorrowsPapersToday

— Allie Hodgkins-Brown (@AllieHBNews) December 11, 2019

The Metro are also going with election day.

Thursday’s METRO: “So Here It Is, Merry X-Mas” #BBCPapers #TomorrowsPapersToday

— Allie Hodgkins-Brown (@AllieHBNews) December 11, 2019

Thursday’s front pages are filtering through, starting with the Independent.

Thursday’s INDEPENDENT Digital: “Get Brexit done? EU negotiator says deal impossible by 2021” #BBCPapers #TomorrowsPapersToday

— Allie Hodgkins-Brown (@AllieHBNews) December 11, 2019

Jeremy Corbyn, speaking in east London at his last campaign event of the day, told the audience: “Tomorrow we’re our knocking on doors like our life depends on it, as the lives of many do.”

He recounts enthusiastic Labour events around the country “in the big city, the small places”, adding: “You wouldn’t know it from much of the media reporting of the election. It’s commentators speculating on other commentators.”

He interrupts shouting from the audience by saying: “No, no, no, we believe in a free press, I just wish they’d free themselves from the shackles of the billionaires.”

Boris Johnson concluded his campaigning by attending a large rally at the Copper Box in Stratford, east London, a venue used during the London 2012 Olympics.

The Conservative leader asked if the crowd of several hundred were “pumped up”, “energised” and “motivated” - to which they shouted “yes”.

Johnson said: “I sincerely hope so everybody.”

Listing his manifesto pledges, the prime minister continues with a promise of “50,000 new nurses... 50,000 more nurses I should say… while the BBC are checking it.”

He is referencing his party’s pledge to increase the number of nurses in the NHS England workforce by 50,000 by 2024-5.

Jeremy Corbyn makes his final speech before the country goes to the polls tomorrow.

A poll posted this evening by academic Matthew Goodwin.


Conservatives 43%
Labour 33%
Lib Dems 12%
SNP 4%
Brexit Party 3%
Greens 3%
Plaid Cymru 1%

Number Cruncher Politics 8-10 Dec#GE2019

— Matthew Goodwin (@GoodwinMJ) December 11, 2019

Marina Hyde on the final day of campaigning and ‘fridge gate’.

“We begin with a fact-check. This general election campaign has officially been going on since around the mid-cretaceous period.

“Its final day saw an update to the list of things you shouldn’t keep in the fridge, with the likes of honey, potatoes and avocados now joined by “the UK prime minister.”

Boris Johnson’s final election rally before the big day.


Lord Heseltine on his view of the candidates to become prime minister.

The Conservatives told the Andrew Neil Show they do not want to put anyone up for interview the night before the election.

“Mr Corbyn’s policies would be catastrophic but… not a ghost of a chance of him leading a government that is going to implement those policies… just a scare tactic”

Lord Heseltine tells @afneil who asks if Jeremy Corbyn is fit to be PM #andrewneilshow

— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) December 11, 2019

Brexit Party MEP Ben Habib has criticised Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal, saying the prime minister had “pivoted” back to closer alignment with the EU and away from what had won over his party.

He believes Nigel Farage’s decision to stand down in Tory-held seats may have been a mistake.

Habib told The Andrew Neil Show: “With the benefit of hindsight, we would not have pulled out of so many seats.

“With the benefit of hindsight, and given where the prime minister is going, we probably shouldn’t have pulled out of all those seats.”


Jeremy Corbyn speaking in Bedford this evening courtesy of my colleague Elena Morresi.


The BBC’s Andrew Neil asked the Green’s co-leader Sian Berry what the point was of causing “pain” to people from policies including banning gas heating and cutting flights if China continues to pump carbon into the air.

Berry said: “There is a climate emergency, the children are on the streets around the entire globe.

“You cannot argue the UK shouldn’t [act].”

She added: “China needs to come on board with the same reductions.

“What’s your argument, that we should not bother? That we should not be the climate leaders?

“It is not pain - we are talking about building a better Britain.”

Jo Swinson says the Lib Dems are not discussing coalitions.

“The Liberal Democrats aren’t going to put either Boris Johnson or Jeremy Corbyn into Number 10.”

Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson says “nobody’s talking about coalitions and, particularly given the leadership of the Labour Party, that’s absolutely not on the cards.”

— Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) December 11, 2019


Asked by Andrew Neil whether he has read the report by the Jewish Labour movement, Andy McDonald said he has not read the report in its entirety but feels “incredibly saddened” by the incidents.

“But equally I feel absolutely determined as a member of shadow cabinet... to root this out and Jeremy Corbyn is committed to this cause”.

The shadow transport secretary added Corbyn has “made strides ever since he became leader”, and wants to see anti-Semitism “tackled in wider society”.

Andy McDonald, the Labour candidate for Middlesbrough, has responded to the BBC’s Andrew Neil saying the percentage difference between the Conservatives’ and Labour’s plans on spending for the NHS is tiny.

McDonald said: “Look at cancelling nursing bursaries.

“What a ridiculous thing to do when we need nurses in the NHS.”

McDonald said “every step is counter-intuitive” by the Conservatives, adding: “That’s why we need the change.”

Corbyn: 'I don't have to hide in a fridge when somebody comes to asks me a question'

Speaking in Bedford, Jeremy Corbyn told supporters the Liberal Democrats and Tories took the “political decision to impose austerity on this country.”

He said the austerity is evident through the “boarded-up shops, the dead High Streets, the closed youth centres”.

And taking a swipe at Boris Johnson, the Labour leader added: “I don’t have to hide in a fridge when somebody comes to asks me a question.”

FridgeGate is currently trending on Twitter

I’ve not come here to hide in a fridge. I’ve come here with a message of hope!

— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) December 11, 2019

An IT error has resulted in some people who are not registered to vote being “wrongly informed” that they can take part in the election.

The Electoral Commission said a glitch in software used by some councils had led to a “small number” of ineligible people being told they could vote.

The watchdog told the BBC it is working with local authorities affected to ensure those affected do not turn up to vote in error.

It is understood the error related to software supplied to councils by Electoral Reform Services, which helps run elections on behalf of local authorities and other organisations.

The Electoral Commission says it only became aware of the issue this morning.

Senior Conservative sources are distancing the party from acid attack claims in north London, according to BuzzFeed.

Tories say reports that their activist in Barnet was sprayed with acid are untrue and inaccurate.

— Alex Wickham (@alexwickham) December 11, 2019

MPs elected tomorrow night will take part in a security and wellbeing induction session for the first time following a surge in abuse and threats against politicians.

MPs will be invited to attend a session in their first week in the role, which a UK Parliament spokesman said will help to “ensure MPs are kept safe and are able to perform their duties”.

It comes after more than 50 MPs chose not to contest the General Election, with four female politicians citing issues of bullying as their reason for standing down.

The session is scheduled to take place on December 17 and will cover cyber security, staying safe on and off the parliamentary estate, and wellbeing services.

A UK Parliament spokesman said: “The safety and security of MPs and their staff both on the Parliamentary Estate and elsewhere is an absolute priority.

“We work closely with local police forces, who are responsible for the security of MPs and their staff away from the Parliamentary Estate, to ensure MPs are kept safe and are able to perform their duties.

“The health and wellbeing of everyone working in Parliament is vital. For this reason, we offer a wide range of confidential services, including an on-site nurse, a 24/7 helpline and free professional counselling, to anyone working here, including MPs, peers, their staff and staff working for both Houses.”

Afternoon summary

  • Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn have reverted to core campaigning mode, in terms of message and style, on the final day of an election campaign that has failed to enthuse the public but that could have profound consequences for the nation. In polling terms, there has been very little movement in terms of the gap between the two main parties since the beginning of the campaign (although both the Conservatives and Labour have seen their share of the vote rise significantly, at the expense of the Brexit party and the Lib Dems) and this week’s YouGov MRP poll, which rightly or wrongly is assumed to be the best polling guide to the result, has the Tories heading for a majority of 28. But three weeks ago the same YouGov MRP poll had the Tories on course for a majority of 68. The figures suggest a relatively small shift in headline polling numbers can make a big difference to seat numbers; three weeks ago YouGov had the Tories 11 points ahead, and this week it has the gap at nine points (Tories 43%, Labour 34%). And this week’s MRP analysis suggests that, although a Conservative majority of 28 is the central forecast, Johnson could end up with anything between 311 and 367 seats because of the margin of error - meaning a hung parliament (fewer than 326 seats) is a possibility. Johnson’s favoured mode of campaigning has involved posing for photo opportunity, often in a blue-collar work environment with some Brexit metaphor to hand, and today he has been delivering milk, baking (“oven-ready deal”) and doing his bit in a cracker factory. At one point he appeared to take refuge in an industrial fridge to avoid having to talk to Piers Morgan on live TV. Corbyn prefers addressing rallies, and so far he has been speaking in Govan, Middlesbrough, and Rotherham, stressing his commitment to fighting poverty and rescuing the NHS. Jo Swinson has been urging people to vote Lib Dem to “stop Brexit”. And Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP leader, has been arguing that the SNP is the party best placed to defeat the Tories in Scotland.
  • Michel Barnier, the EU chief Brexit negotiator, has said that it would be “unrealistic” for the EU to negotiate a comprehensive trade deal with the UK by the end next year. In a private meeting, a recording of which was leaked to the Independent, he said:

It is unrealistic that a global negotiation can be done in 11 months, so we can’t do it all. We will do all we can to get what I call the ‘vital minimum’ to establish a relationship with the UK if that is the time scale.

This claim, which is only a marginally blunter version of what he has said in public and which reflects the near-universal consensus in Brussels, undermines Johnson’s claim that he would be able to get a good trade deal negotiated by this time next year. Barnier said one option would to extend the transition period for a year or two. The Conservative party has ruled this out, but the government is likely to come under pressure to do this in the spring (because a decision would have to to be taken by 1 July) and in a speech today Nigel Farage, the Brexit party leader, said that if the Tories won the election, another Brexit crisis would erupt within months. He said:

If we get a Conservative majority, which I still think we will, we will be back in crisis by May next year as we face extension to the whole process, which has to be done by 1 July.

This was supposed to be the Brexit election. But Johnson, who has done his best to avoid heavyweight media scrutiny, has managed to get to the end of the campaign without having to explain how he will obtain the quick and beneficial trade deal he is promising, or what in detail it will entail. Commenting on Barnier’s comments, Labour’s Andrew Gwynne said:

Boris Johnson is playing the British public for fools. He’s hiding in fridges to dodge interviews precisely because his fake Brexit slogans can’t stand up to scrutiny, just like his empty words on the NHS.

Johnson’s sell-out Brexit deal will put us on the fast-track to a cliff-edge no-deal Brexit.

That’s all from me for tonight.

My colleague Nadeem Badshah is taking over now.

The Conservatives were given more than £3 million in large donations in the fourth week of the election campaign.

According to the Electoral Commission’s publication of donations above £7,500, the Tory election war chest was boosted by £3.2 million between November 27 and December 3.

Bridgemere UK plc, an umbrella group of real-estate companies and developers, donated £1 million alone to Boris Johnson’s campaign effort.

Labour lagged far behind in terms of four-figure donations, accepting £727,000 in the same period - less than a quarter of what the Tories raked in.

The largest single donation received by Labour came from the GMB union, which donated £290,000 to the campaign to elect Jeremy Corbyn.

In week four, the Brexit Party benefited from £125,000 extra for their campaign, the Liberal Democrats took in an additional £80,000 and the Green Party was given £50,000.

Advance Together, a party set up in the wake of the Grenfell Tower blaze to call for more local accountability, also reported receiving £22,750.

Overall, the parties reported £4.2 million of donations and £9,171 in loans during the seven-day timeframe.


These are from the academic Paula Surridge.

Turnout is likely to be a big factor tomorrow. This is one of the very first blogs I wrote, shortly after the 2017 election, I anticipate many of the trends highlighted here will continue this time around (with exception of Scotland).

— Paula Surridge (@p_surridge) December 11, 2019

The places where turnout went up in 2017 were more diverse, more highly educated and had more Labour voters in 2015. These also appear to the places where new registrations are higher this time

— Paula Surridge (@p_surridge) December 11, 2019

Places where turnout rose less or fell were more 'working class', had a higher proportion of 'White British' in the electorate and a higher UKIP share in 2015. These places have seen no change or in some cases falls in registrations.

— Paula Surridge (@p_surridge) December 11, 2019

This is a story that polling struggles to pick up (the least engaged voters are much less likely to be in polling panels), so treat data from polls on turnout with a huge pinch of salt. Until we get the BES face to face data (in about 6 months time) we really wont know ...

— Paula Surridge (@p_surridge) December 11, 2019

Even in an interview with Pink News, Boris Johnson has still refused to apologise for referring to gay men as “tank-topped bum boys” in a column in the 1990s.

The Guardian’s latest Politics Weekly podcast is out. Rowena Mason is joined by Jennifer Williams, Will Tanner, and Chris Prosser to attempt to predict what way the election will go tomorrow, and ponder what life might be like when it’s all over. Plus, Heather Stewart rings in to tell us how the prime minister is feeling after what has been a wobbly last campaign week.

The Labour party has released figures that it says shows it has won the social media campaign. It says on Facebook Jeremy Corbyn and Labour have achieved 86.2m views on campaign videos, compared to only 24.5m for Boris Johnson and the Conservatives.

From my colleague Severin Carrell

Tories forecast Lib Dem win in North East Fife. Why? Because Tory voters are swinging tactically against @theSNP en masse; @theSNP forecast to take at least Stirling, Ochil & SP, and Aberdeen South from @ScotTories #GE2019

— Severin Carrell, Esq (@severincarrell) December 11, 2019

The youth vote may yet turn out to be significant in tomorrow’s general election, but in Cardiff as many as 200 students may not be able to vote because of registration error.

Students were urged to register ahead of the November 26 deadline, and told to include their flat number as well as their street address. According to Cardiff council around 200 applications - many from students in halls - were invalid because of incomplete addresses.

Students told Wales Online they had filled their details in correctly and claimed there had been no contact from the local authority alerting them to any error. Morgan Cullen, 19, who studies at the University of South Wales, said:

I registered online at my university address, typed in my postcode and I clicked my flat number that automatically came up.

I then had absolutely no contact from the council to say there was an issue with my address and that it was invalid. I was of course really angry when I found out. I think it could have a massive impact because of how crucial it is for young people to get out and vote.

President of the National Union of Students Wales, Rob Simkins, urged the council to intervene to ensure that the affected students are added to the electoral register in time and can vote. “This is the general election that will define our futures and students are demanding that their voices be heard.”

Barnier says it is 'unrealistic' to expect UK and EU to be able to agree comprehensive trade deal by end of 2020

Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, has been recorded telling a private meeting that the EU would not be able to conclude a full trade negotiation with the EU by the end of next year, as Boris Johnson claims. As the Independent reports in its scoop, Barnier said:

It is unrealistic that a global negotiation can be done in 11 months, so we can’t do it all. We will do all we can to get what I call the ‘vital minimum’ to establish a relationship with the UK if that is the time scale.

This supports the claim made by Nigel Farage in a speech this morning: that the UK will face a Brexit crisis in the spring, when the government comes under pressure to agree an extension to the transition period (that the Tory manifesto rules out). (See 11.35am.)

As my colleague Jennifer Rankin points out, this is much the same as what Barnier has been saying in public on this topic, only with a slightly more negative twist.

Michel Barnier leaked recording is a great get by @joncstone but what struck me is how similar his private remarks are to the public ones.

— Jennifer Rankin (@JenniferMerode) December 11, 2019

In the recording Barnier says 11 months “improbable” for a global agreement, but the EU will do everything it can for the bare minimum. This is basically what he said in November...2

— Jennifer Rankin (@JenniferMerode) December 11, 2019

when he said the two sides could not do everything, but a basic free trade agreement was possible. Basic is the key word.
It sounds to me his thinking unchanged. 3.

— Jennifer Rankin (@JenniferMerode) December 11, 2019

These sound like glass-half empty comments from Barnier, as opposed to the glass half-full public statements.

But always valuable to have a dose of reality, when the #GE2019 Brexit debate has been so woeful.

— Jennifer Rankin (@JenniferMerode) December 11, 2019

These sound like glass-half empty comments from Barnier, as opposed to the glass half-full public statements.

But always valuable to have a dose of reality, when the #GE2019 Brexit debate has been so woeful.

— Jennifer Rankin (@JenniferMerode) December 11, 2019

Around 200 people gathered in Dinnington, Rotherham, to see Jeremy Corbyn give a 12 minute stump speech in the rain. Rother Valley has been Labour since its creation in 1918, but YouGov’s MRP poll has it down as a possible Tory gain tomorrow.

The Labour leader emerged from his party’s battle bus - for one of six planned campaign visits on Wednesday - to chants of “Oh Jeremy Corbyn”. He said:

The choice could not be clearer. The choice is, you carry on like this. You carry on with a prime minister you can’t trust. You carry on with a government that won’t tell you the truth, or you elect a Labour government, where we set out page after page in our manifesto of fully-funded, fully-costed, very carefully prepared [policies].

He said the manifesto was the product of the work of “thousands of people in our party and our unions and our communities”. The document’s policies would only bring UK public spending up to the same levels as France and Germany, said Corbyn. “That’s how far backwards we’ve gone since Margaret Thatcher moved into Downing Street,” he said, to boos from the crowd. “And Tony Blair,” said one man.

The Labour leader climbed back on the bus to more chants of “Oh Jezza, we love you”. “Thank you for giving us hope, Jeremy,” shouted one man.

Corbyn arrives in Dinnington to chants of “oh, Jeremy Corbyn” #GE2019

— Frances Perraudin (@fperraudin) December 11, 2019


On a relatively quiet day - at least, in news terms; there is a lot of campaigning taking place, but not much is being said that has not been said before – here is a campaign reading list: two features on Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn respectively, from non-Guardian writers.

[Johnson] has done what no other conservative leader in the west has done: He has co-opted and thereby neutered the far right. The reactionary Brexit Party has all but collapsed since Boris took over. Anti-immigration fervor has calmed. The Tories have also moved back to the economic and social center under Johnson’s leadership. And there is a strategy to this. What Cummings and Johnson believe is that the E.U., far from being an engine for liberal progress, has, through its overreach and hubris, actually become a major cause of the rise of the far right across the Continent. By forcing many very different countries into one increasingly powerful Eurocratic rubric, the E.U. has spawned a nationalist reaction. From Germany and France to Hungary and Poland, the hardest right is gaining. Getting out of the E.U. is, Johnson and Cummings argue, a way to counter and disarm this nationalism and to transform it into a more benign patriotism. Only the Johnson Tories have grasped this, and the Johnson strategy is one every other major democracy should examine.

Consider, by contrast, Germany, where the center right is reeling and the extreme-right AfD has 91 seats in the Bundestag. Or, for that matter, France, where the mainstream right has collapsed and Marine Le Pen won 34 percent in the last presidential election. Compare it with the U.S., where the GOP has been overthrown by a far-right insurgency and turned into a disturbingly fascistic personality cult. Or Hungary and Poland, where reactionaries control the entire system. The Tories under Boris, helped in part by the winner-takes-all electoral system, have kept the far right at bay, now favor tax cuts for the poor, have a strong program for climate change, and have proposed an Australian-style immigration policy to defuse native panic. They are not socially conservative in the American sense. And all of this has been made possible by Boris Johnson’s shameless ability to shift and reinvent his politics, betray his allies, lie to the public, and advance his own career. One of those close to him told me that the next group he will betray is the ERG, the hard-right Tory Brexiteers. And if he wins this election by a solid margin and seizes the center, he may force the Labour Party to reexamine how far left it has traveled in the past few years.

When this election is over and the dust has finally settled, its most important legacy may prove to have little to do with the party leaders themselves – at least not directly. After decades of technocratic stasis during which the main options on the ballot paper were relatively indistinguishable, 2019 represents, for many voters, the first opportunity they’ve ever had to choose between two plausible but radically different options for government.

Far from being apathetic, or “anti-politics”, that choice has spurred vast numbers of people out into the streets to join rallies, to hand out leaflets, and to knock on doors throughout a cold, wet winter. Most are not even members of the Labour party, and many will never have been involved in any campaigning before.

Helping to create the conditions under which that shift was possible – a move from electoral politics being primarily something that people experience passively from above, to it being something that many now pursue actively from below – may be Corbyn’s most significant achievement to date.

“Of course I’m enjoying the campaign,” Corbyn insists as we pull into his final event at Haverfordwest, and prepare to say goodbye. “I’ve got a new pair of glasses, a trim beard and we’re about to do some communal dancing. We’re absolutely fine.”


Losing candidates standing in Dominic Raab’s former constituency may not be invited to deliver speeches after the declaration as council officials try to manage overwhelming interest from the world’s media and the public.

The electoral authorities overseeing the count for Esher and Walton have said they will only guarantee that the winner will be able to address the crowd assembled at the count. An Elmbridge borough council spokesperson said: “If the winning candidate would like to make a short speech, following the result declaration, that is fine.”

This decision represents a U-turn, sources close to candidates say. The returning officer’s staff had initially warned on Tuesday that they would break with convention and stop any statements from a stage at the count at Sandown Park Racecourse.

Raab is one of the big names who could be unseated in Thursday’s election, and provide Friday with a so-called “Portillo moment”, according to new analysis by YouGov released on Tuesday.

Officials say that the council is trying to cope with a series of logistical problems brought on by a demand for access to the count.

More than 33 media outlets are seeking accreditation at one of the most keenly anticipated results – usually Elmbridge Borough council has zero requests for media access for elections in a seat that has been held by the Tories for more than a century.

Raab is facing a challenge from Monica Harding, the Lib Dem candidate, in the prosperous, leafy seat. YouGov’s analysis says the foreign secretary’s 23,000-strong majority in Esher and Walton could be overturned by the Liberal Democrats, who are currently just 2% behind him.

Dominic Raab.
Dominic Raab. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA


The Labour leader in Wales, Mark Drakeford, has described Boris Johnson’s visit to a Welsh wrapping present factory (see 3.16pm) as a Christmas gift for the prime minister’s opponents. Drakeford said:

His being here is a bit of present for the Labour party. Nothing motivates our voters more than the sight of a genuine Tory. Mr Johnson is a recruiting sergeant for Labour in Wales. I don’t hope to see him here often but him being here will motivate our people.

But Drakeford also admitted that Jeremy Corbyn was not going down well with everyone in Wales. He said:

Mr Corbyn is a Marmite candidate on the doorstep. When I say that to him, he says: ‘Don’t forget Marmite is very good for you.’ There are people who are going to vote Labour who are uncertain about Jeremy. But for every one that I meet like that I meet someone else who says the reason they vote Labour is because of Jeremy. That is certainly true of the hundreds of young people who have turned out to help our campaign this time.

Drakeford was doing some last-minute campaigning in Bridgend with his party’s candidate, Madeleine Moon.

He said this was a “fork-in-the-road” election. Ending up with the Tories would be disastrous for Wales, he said. “More cuts, more neglect, more focus on things that matter to a few people and don’t matter at all to most people.”

The alternative was a Labour government “with a genuine hope about something different, serious about climate change, determined to invest in our public services, determined to change the nature of our country so it works for the bulk of people rather than being organised around the things that only reward those who have already got more than they will ever know what to do with.”

Welsh Labour leader Mark Drakeford in Bridgend with candidate Madeleine Moon.

— steven morris (@stevenmorris20) December 11, 2019


Fifteen former Labour MPs have signed a message for an advert that has been placed in the Manchester Evening News and other regional newspapers urging people not to vote Labour. It says Jeremy Corbyn is not fit to be prime minister.

Asked about the message, Corbyn said the ex-MPs should “look themselves in the mirror” and ask if they really want to let in the Tories again. He went on:

People who have left the Labour party and decided to join up with the party that has imposed austerity, poverty and injustice on the poorest people in this country should look themselves in the mirror and decide what they are doing.

Are they really wanting a Tory government re-elected? I put that question simply to them.

But I say this - our party is very big and very strong, very welcoming and very open.

Jeremy Corbyn addressing supporters in Middlesbrough.
Jeremy Corbyn addressing supporters in Middlesbrough. Photograph: Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters

Boris Johnson’s campaign took a festive turn as he visited a south Wales firm which is said to be the Queen’s Christmas cracker supplier, the Press Association reports. He helped box up rolls of wrapping paper - a case of putting round tubes in a square hole - before joining staff at IG Design Group in pulling crackers. 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.”

As PA reports, 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 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 prompt the movie The Good, The Bad And The Ugly”.

Boris Johnson pulling Christmas crackers with staff during a visit to IG Design Group in Hengoed.
Boris Johnson pulling Christmas crackers with staff during a visit to IG Design Group in Hengoed. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA


Nicola Sturgeon, with SNP candidate for Edinburgh South Catriona MacDonald (second from right), during a visit to Digin Community Greengrocer in Edinburgh.
Nicola Sturgeon, with SNP candidate for Edinburgh South Catriona MacDonald (second from right), during a visit to Digin community greengrocer in Edinburgh. Photograph: Jane Barlow/PA

Here is Paul Williams, the Labour candidate in Stockton South, a Labour-held marginal, welcoming the fact that he has had an endorsement from his Lib Dem opponent. (See 12.23pm.)

***Breaking news*** my Liberal Democrat opponent has been even more explicit in endorsing me in the Tory/Labour marginal in Stockton South

— Dr Paul Williams (@PaulWilliamsLAB) December 11, 2019

This move has been backed by the Vote for a Final Say campaign, which wants a second referendum on Brexit. It has released this list of constituencies where it is urging the third-placed candidate to “step aside” for the person who has the best chance of beating the Tories.

(At this point candidates cannot “step aside”; the ballot papers have been printed, and names cannot be removed. But candidates can vote for other people, and urge their supporters to vote for other people.)

Tactical voting list
Tactical voting list Photograph: Vote for a Final Say


Boris Johnson with some rolls of Christmas wrapping paper during a visit to IG Design Group, wrapping paper designer and producer in Hengoed, south Wales.
Boris Johnson with some rolls of Christmas wrapping paper during a visit to IG Design Group, wrapping paper designer and producer in Hengoed, south Wales. Photograph: Ben Stansall/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

The comedian Steve Coogan has said Alan Partridge would have voted for Brexit. Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s PM programme, Coogan said:

Yes, [Partridge] would [have voted leave] because Alan is like one of those people who is very confident.

There are lots of people in government actually who are very like Alan Partridge in that they are super confident and not that well informed.

Alan Partridge, his points of view and attitude is influenced by the likes of Boris Johnson.

As Max Hastings said, Boris Johnson thinks he is Winston Churchill but he is more like Alan Partridge.


Brexit was supposed to be all about taking back control. But, as my colleague Jennifer Rankin points out, one of the ironies of the current situation is that at the EU summit taking place tomorrow the person who might end up casting a vote on behalf of the UK will be Charles Michel, the former prime minister of Belgium who is the new president of the European council.

The flags are out, but nobody’s coming. Boris Johnson (no surprise) will not attend the EU leader summit this Thursday and Friday. ⁦@eucopresident⁩ Charles Michel will represent UK instead.

— Jennifer Rankin (@JenniferMerode) December 11, 2019

Jennifer sent me this explanation of how this will work in practice.

This basically means that Charles Michel as president of European council would take any decisions on behalf of the UK.

For example, on Thursday the EU may agree an EU-wide net zero carbon emissions target for 2050. Michel would confirm that the UK supports that text in the council conclusions. That’s not controversial as Theresa May signed up the UK in June and it’s already part of UK government policy.

In legal terms European council conclusions only have legal standing if adopted by all EU member states. Giving the vote to the president means that the texts still have legal standing, even if a prime minister or president is absent.

In ministerial meetings, countries can be replaced by their ambassadors. The UK often does this now. But it’s deemed inappropriate for EU summits, where access is very restricted at certain moments to the leaders and interpreters.

It is also worth remembering that under the government’s empty chair policy (not attending some EU meetings), Finland (current holders of the EU rotating presidency) is empowered to cast the UK’s vote (to ensure that a UK no show does not block the EU from moving forward, eg when a unanimity vote take place, or when the QMV is tight).


From my colleague Heather Stewart, who is on the Boris Johnson battlebus

Now we’re awaiting the PM at a factory in South Wales that makes Christmas wrapping paper. I fear another visual metaphor may be incoming.

— Heather Stewart (@GuardianHeather) December 11, 2019

Leave supporters suffering 'racism of opinion', claims Brexit party candidate

Earlier I quoted the Brexit party candidate in Doncaster North, Andy Stewart, saying he had been a victim of “racism of opinion”. (See 10.18am.) The Press Association has now filed his quotes. Stewart said, as a mixed-race man, he had seen racism first-hand. But he claimed the abuse he has witnessed in the past month as a Brexit party candidate had been quite different.

There’s a new kind of racism about.

It’s not for colour, it’s not for creed or race, and it’s not for religion - it’s for opinion. It’s racism of opinion.

You are then charged with being of this kind of opinion, and you’re ostracised.

People turn around and tell you that your opinion’s not worth anything, you’re charged with being different to other people.

Thanks for all your questions

Our political team will answer any questions you have about the election results on Friday at 12.30pm.

You can ask your question via our form here.

A few more questions from readers below:

Q: Will the Fixed-term Parliaments Act mean that we can expect all elections to be winter elections from now on or will that act be done away with should Boris get a majority? Avi Smith, 55, Yorkshire

Both the Conservatives and Labour have vowed to scrap the FTPA if they win a majority. Regardless, elections default to May under the act so the next election is unlikely to be December again.

Q: Some former Tories are running their campaign as independents because they were expelled from the party. How are they faring overall and do they have a chance? It seems to me that in all the electoral reports their campaigns have been a bit overlooked. F Spaak, 40, PR consultant, Twente, the Netherlands

They are quite unlikely to win because all of them are running in seats with huge Tory majorities but some surveys suggest they could come second.

Q: For those of us who have to work on Friday so need to sleep but also want to catch exciting election moments live, do you have any advice on whether it’s best to stay up late or get up early? Any specific times to look out for? Chloe, 50, self-employed, Bristol

It depends how excited you are and able to cope with sleep deprivation. The exit poll published at 10pm will give a good steer about the result. But to be sure which way the result is going you probably would need to stay awake for the first bellwether seats in the early hours of the morning. It will be clear by then whether the Tories are making gains in Labour’s northern heartlands that would give them a majority. By 6am, it should be obvious who has won or whether it looks like a hung parliament unless there really is only a few seats in it.


Corbyn says David Cameron once said we are all in it together.

But we are not, he says. There are 150 billionaires in the UK. Tax breaks have helped the rich, he says. We are a seriously divided society.

Corbyn urges activists to go “flat out” to get people voting.

Tomorrow is a chance to elect a government that people can trust, a government that won’t just be working for billionaires, but a government that will be working to improve the life chances of everyone, he says.

Corbyn has now finished, and the crowd is chanting: “Oh, Jeremy Corbyn.”


Jeremy Corbyn is speaking at the Labour rally now.

He says he is not here to deliver milk, or hide in a fridge.

He wants to lead a Labour government that will properly fund the NHS and social care, he says.

He praises Andy McDonald’s work as shadow transport secretary, particularly developing plans to bring rail services back into public ownership and to improve bus services.

On the NHS, he says he has been contacted by someone whose mum went into A&E on Monday, and who is now still waiting for a bed. And it is only December. What will the NHS crisis be like in January or Febuary.

Corbyn says Boris Johnson’s comments on the supposed 40 new hospitals he will build have been “a complete piece of dishonesty”. He does a brief Johnson impression (ruffling his hair and harrumphing) when he mocks Johnson’s response to his first questions on this. He says Johnson eventually gave up claiming there would be 40 new hospitals.

Under Labour, the NHS would be “not for sale”, he says. The crowd chant the phrase.

He says Labour figures have had to put up with unbelievable levels of abuse and character assassination during the 51 days of the election campaign. But he won’t do the same thing, he says.

If you wish to inhabit the gutter, that’s absolutely fine by me, but I will not be joining you there.

Jeremy Corbyn campaigning in Middlesbrough.
Jeremy Corbyn campaigning in Middlesbrough.
Photograph: Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters


Just over 15 minutes left to ask any questions you may have on the general election. Send them in to us here.

Q: Are elderly voters less likely to come out and vote in a cold, December election and could this affect the result? Danny, Amsterdam

We won’t have much recent past data as general elections are usually in May. The conventional wisdom is that winter elections hurt Labour because their traditional voters are less likely to own a car, but this seems outdated. If it were to snow, it seems more likely this would affect the Tories, whose voters are older, and whose “get out the vote” operation is weaker than Labour’s.

Q: This election has seen a rise of dirty tactics and dishonesty from most of the parties, especially the Conservatives. These include the the fake Fact Checking incident, false smears of other parties and all the lies within adverts on Facebook etc. How can this be allowed and how come not more is being done about this? Andrew, senior designer, London

Election laws are seriously wanting when it comes to advertising and social media use. It is essentially the Wild West as there is no regulation of it. It is illegal for people to make false statements about candidates but not for parties to present misinformation. The problem is that the winning party in an election has little incentive to make better laws.


Ian Lavery, the Labour chair, is speaking at the Labour rally now. He gets the crowd singing “Prime Minister Corbyn” to the “Oh, Jeremy Corbyn tune”.

Holding up a copy of the Labour manifesto, he says he calls it the “book of hope”.

This election is not about Brexit, he says. He says it is about the type of society we want to live in.

Britain cannot afford another five years of the Tories, or another five days, he says.

He says Boris Johnson should be kicked out of Downing Street “like a dog”.

Ian Lavery.
Ian Lavery. Photograph: Guardian


Laura Pidcock, the shadow employment minister, is speaking at the Labour rally.

She says Labour has campaigned with integrity. Unlike the Tories, its has not resorted to lies, she says.

She says there are still people who have not decided how to vote. Labour must show them a better world is possible.

She says Labour is campaigning on behalf of the 14.3 million people in poverty, on behalf of the 4 million children in poverty, and on behalf of the Waspi women who are entitled to receive the money they’ve lost.

Laura Pidcock
Laura Pidcock Photograph: Guardian


You have been sending in your questions about the general election which I will be answering until 1.30pm. You can share your questions with us via our form here.

Q: 326 is the target number of seats for a majority, but it is generally accepted it can be a bit lower than this for a party to still have a working majority. What is the minimum number of seats the Conservatives can have and still realistically expect to govern without having to rely on other parties? Martin, 29, lecturer, Wirral

The Conservatives need around 320 seats because the DUP are unlikely to play ball because of Johnson’s Brexit deal that creates a border down the Irish Sea. No other parties are keen to work with them either. There are 650 MPs – around seven Sinn Fein who do not take up their seats and four non-voting speakers. Half of that is 319.5 so the Tories are aiming for 320 as their magic number.

Q: To what extent could young voter turnout sway the election result? Alice, 23, working in tech, Brussels, Belgium

It could be crucially important. Last time, Labour took Canterbury off the Tories in a shock result attributed to the student vote. Younger voters could make the difference in Labour targets such as Putney and Chingford. Different polls have different predictions for turnout among each age group which partially accounts for wildly varying leads for the Tories of between six and 15 points.


At the rally, Andy McDonald, the shadow transport secretary, is warming up for Labour. He says opinion is “on the move”. Labour can win this election, he says.

Andy McDonald.
Andy McDonald. Photograph: Guardian


Jeremy Corbyn is now arriving to address the Labour rally in Middlesbrough.

There is a live feed at the top of the blog.

From the Labour rally in Middlesbrough

Andy McDonald leads the crowds in a Christmas themed tune to warm them up for Corbyn's arrival

— Kate Ferguson (@kateferguson4) December 11, 2019

Boris Johnson eats a portion of pie on his campaign bus after a visit to the Red Olive catering company.
Boris Johnson eats a portion of pie on his campaign bus after a visit to the Red Olive catering company. Photograph: WPA Pool/Getty Images

Boris Johnson flew from east Midlands to Cardiff airport as he continued his election campaigning in south Wales, the Press Association reports. The PM’s flight took around 40 minutes. He has previously taken short-haul flights on the campaign, including between Doncaster Sheffield airport and Teesside, prompting criticism from Labour and climate campaigners.

Boris Johnson arriving at Cardiff airport.
Boris Johnson arriving at Cardiff airport. Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP via Getty Images


Opinion polls have generally not had a good record at recent elections, but in 2017 one exercise run by a polling company did prove remarkably successful. As well as doing conventional polling (finding a representative survey, and asking people how they will vote), YouGov also tried something called a MRP (multilevel regression and post-stratification) model, which involves getting detailed data on how particular demographics vote and then, mapping that against what is know about the demographic make-up of constituencies, trying to predict results on a constituency by constituency basis. In 2017 this was more or less the only polling exercise to predict a hung parliament, and so obviously there has been huge interest in what it is saying this time.

Last night YouGov published its second and final MRP poll for this campaign. Here is an extract from the YouGov summary by Anthony Wells.

YouGov’s latest and final general election MRP model shows the Conservative party headed for an overall majority. Predicted vote shares in our final poll have the Conservatives on 43%, Labour on 34%, the Liberal Democrats on 12% and the Brexit party on 3%.

These vote shares translate into 339 seats for the Conservatives, 231 for Labour, 41 for the SNP and 15 for the Liberal Democrats – giving the Conservatives an overall majority of 28.

Like all predictions our model comes with some uncertainty, and the margin of error here could put the final number of Conservative seats from 311 to 367. This means that we absolutely cannot rule out the 2019 election producing a hung parliament - nor can we rule out a larger Conservative majority.

And here is a chart from the detailed YouGov analysis showing which seats would change hands under this scenario.

Seats that would change hands under result forecast by YouGov MRP poll
Seats that would change hands under result forecast by YouGov MRP poll Photograph: YouGov
YouGov MRP polling
YouGov MRP polling


Some of your questions so far have been about the Green party and what will happen on 1 February:

Q: On the subject of getting Brexit done, the PM says we will come out of the EU on 31 January, but what will actually be different on 1 February? For the ordinary person, and for businesses? Bill Muskett, 66, retired, Cheshire

It will mostly be a symbolic exit as the UK will still be in transitional arrangements meaning trading relationships, free movement and links to EU institutions remain until the end of 2020 at least. Johnson has insisted a new immigration system and EU trade deal will be ready by then. If not, he can seek an extension to transition or face a cliff-edge where the UK would trade on WTO terms.

Q: Why has the Green party failed to make much impact in this election given the success of XR and acceleration of the climate breakdown? Steve, 57, lecturer, Southend

All the smaller parties have been squeezed in this election as the choice between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn is so stark that voters seem to be making decisions based on who they would rather see as prime minister.

We’re now on stop two of Jo Swinson’s tour of London and commuter-belt marginals, in Guildford – where the decision of former Tory MP Ann Milton to stand as an independent could split the Conservative vote tomorrow.

The Lib Dem leader was in a small, packed room in a village hall, where she gave assembled activists much the same message as she had half an hour down the road in Horsham – in such a volatile election, getting out the vote matters hugely.

Swinson told me at the last stop that she was hopeful the Lib Dem ground game, buoyed by local election gains in May and a record-high membership, could be crucial.

She also said she would enjoy a nervy election night all the more if tactical voting saw the Lib Dems eject some high-profile Brexiter MPs (she began the day in Dominic Raab’s seat): “I think it’s fair to say that would certainly be the case.”

Stop two of Swinson’s last-day bus tour and we have another gathering of local activists in another car park - this time in Guildford, where the Lib Dems hope the decision of ex-MP Ann Milton to stand as an independent could split the Tory vote.

— Peter Walker (@peterwalker99) December 11, 2019

Swinson is now addressing the local activists in a tiny village hall. This through-a-window view was the closest I could get amid the massed camera crews.

— Peter Walker (@peterwalker99) December 11, 2019


I’m Rowena Mason, deputy political editor for the Guardian, and I will be answering any questions you have on the general election today. I have written about Westminster politics for eight years, covering three elections and two referendums. During this election, I have been tracking the Tories since Boris Johnson’s first stump speech in Birmingham.

If you have a question you can send it to us by filling in the form here.

Jeremy Corbyn is due to address a Labour rally in Middlesbrough shortly.

There is a live feed here.

Jeremy Corbyn speaking at a rally in Middlesbrough

A last-minute push for tactical voting has seen one Lib Dem candidate in a highly marginal seat effectively endorse his Labour opponent, advising local people to support him to avoid the constituency falling to the Conservatives.

In a series of tweets, Brendan Devlin said that while he could not support either Labour or Jeremy Corbyn, the incumbent Labour MP, Paul Williams, was “an honest, sincere man, and if I needed help, I know he’s reliable and committed to social justice”. He added:

To be crystal clear: vote tactically for someone who cares about the NHS and social care. Those are important in Stockton South.

To be crystal clear: vote tactically for someone who cares about the NHS and social care. Those are important in Stockton South.

— Brendan Michael William Devlin (@BrendanDevlin50) December 11, 2019

The 2017 election saw Williams defeat the Conservatives by just 888 votes, but polling for Thursday’s election puts the Tories marginally ahead.

Stockton South is one of the seats being highlighted by Vote for a Final Say, an anti-Brexit campaign group which is urging people to vote tactically, and has called for a series of Labour and Lib Dem candidates to step aside where polling suggests they are in third place in a marginal constituency – with Devlin among them.


Ask our experts a question

As part of a series you can ask our political team any questions you have about the general election, and they will post their responses on the politics live blog between 12.30pm and 1.30pm today and Friday.

Today, Rowena Mason, deputy political editor for the Guardian, will answer any questions you have on the general election. You can ask your question via our form here.


Here is a question from below the line.

@Andrew (or Heather?)
If able, please could you give us a rough indication of a schedule to when results may start coming out up to when the election winner could possibly be called?

We published this guide a few days ago.

As for when a winner will be announced (assuming there is a winner, and we don’t have a hung parliament), that tends to happen quite late in the night – nearer dawn than midnight. The broadcasters won’t formally declare a winner until one party has reached 326 seats.

But we will get an exit poll at 10pm. Since 1997 these have always been a fairly accurate guide to the final result, and in some recent years they have forecast the final tally precisely.


Britain will face another Brexit crisis in the spring if Tories win, says Farage

Here are the main points from Nigel Farage’s speech earlier.

  • Farage, the Brexit party leader, said Britain would be “back in [Brexit] crisis by May” because at that point the government would be under pressure to agree to an extension to the Brexit transition. The Conservatives have ruled out in their manifesto extending the transition period beyond December 2020. But most EU experts think that this will be another promise that Boris Johnson will have to break (like not extending beyond 31 October) because it will be impossible to negotiate a UK-EU trade deal by the end of next year. If the transition is going to be extended, that decision is going to have to be taken by next summer, and Farage said this would precipitate a crisis. Johnson claims that a vote for the Tories will “get Brexit done”, but Farage is probably right in arguing that this claim is bogus. Farage also complained that there had been very little public debate in the campaign about the detail of Johnson’s plans. He said:

They call it the Brexit election. There has been almost no discussion about the withdrawal agreement whatsoever ...

If we get a Conservative majority, which I still think we will, we will be back in crisis by May next year as we face extension to the whole process, which has to be done by 1 July ... I know that a botched Brexit, frankly, is barely worth having.

Farage is right to say that Johnson has been able to get through the campaign without his Brexit plan being subject to sustained scrutiny. As an example, yesterday Johnson said at an event: “We can literally rip up the EU rule book and write a new one for ourselves [after Brexit].” Yet the day before, when asked by workers about the impact of Brexit on factories dependent on just-in-time supply lines in the north east, Johnson said: “The thing about the deal we’ve got ... it makes sure we have complete equivalence when it comes to our standards, our industrial requirements and the rest of it.”

  • Farage said a newspaper campaign to get Brexit party candidates to stand down was unworthy of a proper democracy. Claiming that there had been “real nastiness” in the campaign, he said:

I have seen people who want to put themselves forward for election be hounded and bombarded in just the most extraordinary way. Not just horrible abuse on the streets ...

Isn’t it amazing an attempt [was] led by a mainstream national newspaper to intimidate people out of standing for public office? That is what has been happening. If this was Bolivia, you would be calling for the United Nations to be brought in. But it’s been happening in this country and it’s still happening today.

Farage was referring to the Daily Mail, which campaigned for Brexit party candidates to stand down when it was worried they would split the leave vote and damaging Johnson’s chances of winning.

  • Farage said that after the election he would write a book about the campaign making the case for proportional representation. He said it would cover:

Why I think the first past the post electoral system, which might have served us perfectly well in centuries gone by, is no longer fit for purpose, and actually leads to general elections conducted on the basis of endless negativity. ‘Do you think we’re bad? Look at the other lot. They’re even worse’ ...

I do think it’s time for real, fundamental change and political reform. We are living in the 21st century with a 19th century set of institutions. It isn’t working any more. And that bond of trust that needs to exist in a civilised democracy between the electors and those that govern them, that actually has been breaking down over the course of the last few years.

One of the ironies of this campaign is that the Brexit party, which is generally seen as a reactionary, rightwing outfit, is the party that is probably doing most in this campaign to champion electoral reform, a cause generally associated with the progressive left. The Liberal Democrats used to be the most vocal advocates of PR. They still support it, but it is not an issue they highlight much. This is probably a consequence of Nick Clegg’s doomed referendum on the alternative vote in 2011, which effectively killed PR as an issue in mainstream politics for the rest of the decade.

Nigel Farage speaking in Doncaster this morning.
Nigel Farage speaking in Doncaster this morning. Photograph: Lindsey Parnaby/AFP via Getty Images

The second stop of the day for the PM was a brief visit to a catering firm called Red Olive, in the Derby North constituency, where former Labour MP Chris Williamson is standing as an independent after being suspended over antisemitism.

Boris Johnson helped to put the lid on a pie and brush it with egg wash, before placing it in the oven (“oven ready”: get it?).

He then took another pie, which had already been cooked, out of the oven and displayed it for the cameras. Perhaps it represented Theresa May’s deal.

“How can we express this deal more succinctly or more clearly?” he asked.

Boris Johnson preparing a pie at the Red Olive kitchen in Derby.
Boris Johnson preparing a pie at the Red Olive kitchen in Derby. Photograph: POOL/Reuters


Here is the story from my colleagues Heather Stewart and Aamna Modhin about Boris Johnson’s unconventional approach to avoiding a TV interview this morning.

I’m standing in a sunny rugby club car park in Hersham, in the Surrey commuter belt, for the first stop of the Lib Dems’ final election push.

They have used both their bright orange battlebuses – one diesel, one electric – to bring along Jo Swinson as well as their deputy leader, Ed Davey. The buses will now head off on different routes, but both focusing on London and surrounding commuter towns – where the party hopes tactical voting could help them overturn big Conservative
majorities from 2017.

Hersham is in Dominic Raab’s Esher and Walton constituency, where polling shows he is vulnerable to the Lib Dems if enough Labour voters switch sides.

Swinson’s brief speech to activists was a summary of the party’s late-campaign message – rather than arguing she can become PM, the aim is to, as she put it, “Stop Brexit, stop Boris”.

She exported the activists to make a final push for voters. As with many election events, there were no actual members of the public here – it was staged in part to buoy local members, but also for the TV and photo optics.

Next stop is Guildford, I’m told.

Jo Swinson speaking to supporters in Surrey this morning.
Jo Swinson speaking to supporters in Surrey this morning. Photograph: Lisi Niesner/Reuters


Farage says he expects turnout tomorrow to be lower than it was in 2017, when it was 69%. He says he thinks people are fed up of being asked to vote repeatedly. And he says he thinks Labour voters will stay at home because they dislike Jeremy Corbyn.

After the election Farage intends to write a short book about the campaign. He says one of the points he will be making is that first-past-the-post needs to go. He says it may have worked in the past, but it does not work now. And he claims it encourages “endless negativity”, because it encourages parties to campaign negatively, instead of focusing on their positive message. He sums up:

We are living in the 21st century with a 19th century set of institutions.

And that’s it. The Farage speech is over.


Nigel Farage is speaking at the campaign event in Doncaster now. (See 10.18am.)

He says he expects the Conservatives to win. But he says that he thinks Britain will face by another Brexit crisis in May, when the government comes under pressure to agree to an extension to the transition period.

He is now complaining about there being too much nastiness in politics. Brexit party candidates have faced horrible abuse, he claims.

Johnson 'greatest threat to Scotland of any Tory PM in modern times', says Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon has launched the final day of the Scottish National party’s election campaign with an “open letter” to voters making a direct attack on Boris Johnson’s character and conduct.

Setting off at a greengrocers cooperative in Edinburgh South – a brave choice given the seat is held by Labour with a 15,000-vote majority, Scotland’s largest - Sturgeon hopes to cement her line the SNP is the best choice for anti-Brexit voters in Scotland.

@NicolaSturgeon⁩ starts final day of ⁦@theSNP#GE2019 campaign at greengrocers coop in #EdinburghSouth, held in 2017 by Labour’s ⁦@IanMurrayMP⁩ with Scotland’s largest majority 15,000 votes

— Severin Carrell, Esq (@severincarrell) December 11, 2019

The SNP has shifted Sturgeon’s core campaign message away from the heavy focus it first had on promoting a second independence referendum next year. Recent opinion polls have shown the independence message has not been landing with voters; a YouGov poll for the Times last week found backing for independence had fallen five points to 44%, excluding don’t knows.

Arguing that SNP candidates are the closest challengers in all 13 seats being defended by the Scottish Conservatives, she put heavy emphasis on Johnson’s personality, and the SNP’s centre-left anti-austerity credentials. Her statement said:

Boris Johnson, without question, represents the greatest danger to Scotland of any Tory prime minister in modern times. It is not just the appalling language he has used - about for example, children from single parent families, or working class men - or that he can’t be trusted.

Or the lack of compassion when faced with an image of a sick child being treated on the floor. It’s what he wants to do in government for the next five years that confirms why he must be defeated.

Tilting heavily at Labour voters, she added:

He is a threat to the NHS. He will put many more children into poverty. He will rob young people in Scotland of rights they currently enjoy.

He’s a danger to workers’ rights and environmental standards. And he will trample all over the Scottish parliament if it gets in his way.

YouGov’s final MRP poll, which found the Tories could win 339 seats across the UK, forecast the SNP will win 41 seats, lower than the party’s expectations. It said the Scottish Tories will hold nine, losing four it won in 2017, the Lib Dems hold its four wins in 2017, while Labour could hold five seats, despite repeated polls suggesting it could only retain Edinburgh South.

Nigel Farage, the Brexit party leader, is due to speak at an event in Doncaster shortly. There is a live feed of the event here.

Andy Stewart, the Brexit party candidate in Doncaster, is speaking at the moment, claiming that leave supports are the victims of a form of “racism of opinion”, because people are discriminating against them for what they think.

Nigel Farage speaking at Brexit party event.

UPDATE: I have posted more on this, with Stewart’s quotes, at 1.51pm.


As we reported earlier (see 8.39am), Boris Johnson was seen scurrying for cover earlier this morning when a reporter from ITV’s Good Morning Britain tried to get him live on air for an interview with Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid. Johnson ended up heading off into what seemed to be a large, industrial fridge.

Here is some Guardian video of the incident.

Labour supporters holding placards in Govan in Glasgow, where Jeremy Corbyn was speaking this morning.
Labour supporters holding placards in Govan in Glasgow, where Jeremy Corbyn was speaking this morning. Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Ruth Davidson, the former Scottish Conservative leader, has promised to swim naked in Loch Ness if the SNP win 50 seats at the election. Writing in the Daily Telegraph, she said conditions were markedly different from 2015, when the SNP won 56 seats, and that she did not expect them to reach 50. In 2017 the SNP won 35 seats. Davidson wrote:

I will happily wager to strip naked on the banks of Loch Ness and subject myself to a Hogmanay wild swimming session should such a result occur, safe in the knowledge that my modesty (and others’ eyeballs) will remain unmolested.

The YouGov MRP poll released last night, which is thought to be one of the best guides to what might happen in the election, suggested the SNP would win 41 seats.

Neale Hanvey, the candidate sacked by the Scottish National party over antisemitic social media posts, will still be announced as the SNP MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath if he wins on Thursday.

Hanvey has continued campaigning to win, using the SNP’s yellow colour and typefaces, despite being officially dropped by the party after he admitting two weeks ago to two antisemitic posts, one using material from the Kremlin-funded Sputnik website.

Fife council has said because Hanvey was dropped after nominations closed, he will be described as the SNP’s candidate when the results are declared.

That raises the stakes for the SNP, since Nicola Sturgeon has been highly critical of Labour’s failure to tackle its antisemitism crisis. Hanvey’s party membership was suspended when he was dropped as its candidate; it still needs to put him through a full disciplinary hearing or allow him to rejoin the party. He wants to be readmitted.

Fife council has also said the SNP has not officially told its returning officer Hanvey has been dropped. The council said on Tuesday morning it has only had an email from Hanvey’s SNP election agent, David Barratt, simply saying he was no longer in that post.

The SNP disputed that. “Fife council was informed on 29 November,” a spokesman said. “We would expect the returning officer to be fully aware that political parties have no ability under electoral law to withdraw a candidate after the close of nominations.”

Although Hanvey has been publicly disavowed by the SNP and Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish Labour officials still believe he could beat the Labour incumbent Lesley Laird, who regained the seat for Labour by a very narrow 259-vote margin in 2017.

They say SNP activists have ignored an instruction from Sturgeon to stop campaigning for Hanvey. His Facebook page still carries SNP videos and his leaflets reproduce the ballot paper which shows his name beside the SNP logo.

Labour officials believe the SNP has deliberately taken a soft-touch approach to avoid alienating activists. “They could be so much more robust than they have been,” said one. After the Labour candidate in Falkirk was sacked for antisemitism, every Labour members was stood down. “You won’t find anyone campaigning for that candidate,” he said.


Boris Johnson loading a crate into a delivery van during a visit to Greenside Farm Business Park in Leeds.
Boris Johnson loading a crate into a delivery van during a visit to Greenside Farm Business Park in Leeds. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA

In his speech in Govan Jeremy Corbyn also said that voting Labour was the only way to beat the politics of despair in Scotland.

Corbyn tells activists: the only way to defeat the politics of despair is the vote Labour all across Scotland #GE2019

— Libby Brooks (@libby_brooks) December 11, 2019

Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish first minister, has responded on Twitter, arguing that Corbyn is wrong because the SNP are best placed to defeat the Tories in Scotland.

There’s not a single Tory/Labour marginal in Scotland. Only @theSNP can beat the Tories in Scotland. Voting Labour will help the Tories.

— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) December 11, 2019

Jeremy Corbyn told activists in Glasgow this morning that the country could defeat the politics of despair and division, in a rousing speech as he begins a final day tour of the UK. He said:

Our party has suffered the most unbelievable levels of abuse from some of the media and the right in British politics. But our strength our idea our principles and our determination are stronger than ever.

But I do think there’s an issue of trust. I’ve set up what the principles of our movement are: that we will never accept racism or discrimination in any form, that we want to create a society that works for everybody. We do not pass by on the other side.

Activists were in buoyant mood following the release of YouGov’s second constituency-by-constituency poll overnight, which suggests that – while the Tories remain the favourites – the possibility of a hung parliament can not be ruled out.

Glasgow was the first stop in a tour that will take Corbyn to the north of England and the Midlands, before ending with a rally in Hoxton, east London tonight.

The early campaign stop took place in the constituency of Glasgow South West, where Labour’s Matt Kerr is hoping you overturn the SNP majority of just 60 votes in 2017. The Nationalists’ Chris Stephens, a former trade union official, has held the seat in the SNP landslide of 2015.

Activists held up signs reading ‘scrap universal credit’ as they gathered in front of the Govan Cross Christmas tree, and shouted “Thank you Jeremy”.

Jeremy Corbyn speaking in Govan this morning.
Jeremy Corbyn speaking in Govan this morning. Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images


Gove says PM pocketing phone with sick boy picture was 'single moment of absent-mindedness'

Good morning. I’m Andrew Sparrow, taking over from Aamna Mohdin.

Michael Gove, the Cabinet Office minister, is being interviewed on Today.

Q: Dave Merritt, whose son Jack was killed in the London Bridge terror attack, has accused Boris Johnson of exploiting this attack for political purposes.

Gove pays tribute to Jack Merritt. And he stresses the importance of rehabilitation. But he says that, particularly in relation to Islamist terrorism, sentencing policy must keep people safe.

Q: Dave Merritt says there should have been a dignified response from politicians.

Gove says his heart goes out to Merritt. He cannot think what he must be going through. But politicians must answer questions about policy, he says.

Q: Was it dignified for the PM, when he was asked to look at a picture of a sick child sleeping on a hospital floor, to ignore it and put the phone in his pocket?

Gove says Johnson did look at the photograph. He sent Matt Hancock, the health secretary, to the hospital.

Q: He put the phone in his pocket.

That was “a single moment of absent-mindedness”, says Gove.


Boris Johnson’s first stop in West Yorkshire got off to a shaky start.

Johnson was ambushed by Good Morning Britain reporter Jonathan Swain in Leeds before the aide mouthed “oh for f***’s sake”. The show’s hosts, Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid, were both shocked by the aide’s reaction. “The look on his face,” Reid exclaims.

During the exchange, reporter Swain asks if Johnson if he will come on the programme and “deliver on your promise to talk to Piers and Susanna”.

When Swain presses the prime minister, stating he is live on the show, Johnson replies to say “I’ll be with you in a second” and walks off, before Piers exclaims “he’s gone into the fridge”. Johnson walks inside freezer with his aides. One person can be heard saying: “It’s a bunker.”

“It’s a very frosty reception we’ve had so far,” Swain said after Johnson disappeared, to which Morgan responds: “That was heroic work.”

Cowardice is never a good look...

— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) December 11, 2019

UPDATE: Here is some video of the incident.

Our @SwainITV has located Boris Johnson, who's doing a milk round this morning, to see if the PM will finally speak to @piersmorgan and @susannareid100.

It looks promising. Watch this space...

— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) December 11, 2019


Boris Johnson began the final day of general election campaigning with a chilly pre-dawn visit to a business called Modern Milkman, in the Tory-held constituency of Pudsey, in Yorkshire.

He donned an overall and helped load a minibus with crates of milk and orange juice.

Journalists were then loaded back on the Get Brexit Done bus and driven to a pleasant residential street in nearby Guiseley, where Johnson made a delivery to one handpicked house, chatting to a delighted resident.

Now we’re back on the bus, with another four stops to go today, taking in Wales and Essex before ending the day with a rally in London.

Prime minister Boris Johnson delivers milk to Debbie Monaghan in Guiseley, Leeds, ahead of Thursday’s General Election.
Prime minister Boris Johnson delivers milk to Debbie Monaghan in Guiseley, Leeds, ahead of Thursday’s General Election. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA

John McDonnell has accused the prime minister of using the London Bridge terrorist attack as “an opportunity”.

The shadow chancellor said:

I just wish we have had the Conservatives being honest with us. I just wish we hadn’t been having this gutter politics, fake websites, lies and smears.

Speaking on BBC’s Radio 4 Today programme, McDonnell said he wished Boris Johnson had respected the wishes of Jack Merritt’s parents. Meritt was one of two victims of the London Bridge attack, the other being Saskia Jones. Both were involved with the prisoner rehabilitation conference where Usman Khan launched his knife attack.

McDonnell added:

I wish Boris Johnson had not seen that as, to quote the father of Jack Merritt, as ‘an opportunity’. I just wish he’d shown sympathy and respect and empathy.

I just wish Boris Johnson had shown empathy about a child being treated, suffering from pneumonia lying on a hospital floor. That’s the sort of politics the Conservatives now have under Johnson.

When asked about Jonathan Ashworth leaked phone conversation criticising Jeremy Corbyn, McDonnell said Labour’s health spokesman was “joshing” and criticised the Tory activist friend for leaking the conversation.

He was in a joshing mood, that is what he said and I believe him. It’s interesting, it says more about this so-called Conservative friend than Jonathan Ashworth.

What sort of friend records a telephone conversation like that and then gives it to a conservative disruptive website?”

But that’s the nature of Conservative politics now. That’s what Boris Johnson has dragged the Tory party into. I think it’s dishonourable, I think it’s gutter politics. But it says more about Conservative politics than it does about anything Jonathan Ashworth who has behaved completely properly.


Plaid Cymru calls for law to stop politicians lying to public

The Plaid Cymru leader, Adam Price, has proposed a bill to make lying by politicians a criminal offence.

Called the elected representatives (prohibition of deception) bill, under the legislation elected politicians in the European, Westminster and devolved parliaments would face criminal charges if they knowingly mislead the public.

The party would seek to introduce a form of the law in the next parliament.

Price said:

People have lost faith in our politics, and we have a duty to restore it before it’s too late. It’s depressing that it has come to this, but if we need a law to stop politicians from lying then that is what should be in place.

Price said he proposed a similar draft law more than 10 years ago, following the Iraq war.

Our politics, once again, faces a crisis of confidence thanks to the fake news, fake views and fake figures that have been peddled, particularly by the main two Westminster parties.

Over half a century ago we made it illegal for companies to lie to us with the Trade Descriptions Act. Sadly, it looks like now we need the same principle to apply to politicians.

Honesty is the most important currency in politics. We have to protect it, before it reaches moral bankruptcy.

Remember, the Guardian’s factchecking team is here to help decipher what claims are true and what are false.

Adam Price in the ITV leaders’ debate.
Adam Price in the ITV leaders’ debate. Photograph: ITV/PA


Boris Johnson’s first stop on the last day of the campaign

Prime minister Boris Johnson carries a crate during a visit to Greenside Farm Business Park in Leeds, ahead of Thursday’s General Election.
Prime minister Boris Johnson carries a crate during a visit to Greenside Farm Business Park in Leeds, ahead of Thursday’s General Election. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA

Morning, I’m Aamna Mohdin, taking over the blog from Kate Lyons on the last day of the campaign.

Boris Johnson started his day helping load milk and orange juice bottles on to a delivery vehicle in West Yorkshire. He will be crisscrossing around the country, making stops in the Midlands, Wales and London, urging voters to give him the majority he needs to “get Brexit done”.

Last night, YouGov’s second much-hyped constituency-by-constituency poll suggests Labour is two points up, cutting the predicted Tory majority down from 68 seats to 28. YouGov said that while the Tories remain favourites, a hung parliament cannot be ruled out.

When asked about the narrowing polls, the prime minister told broadcasters:

This could not be more critical, it could not be tighter – I just say to everybody the risk is very real that we could tomorrow be going into another hung parliament.

That’s more drift, more dither, more delay, more paralysis for this country.

Pressed on whether he was nervous, Johnson replied: “We’re fighting for every vote.”


The papers today

GUARDIAN: Final scramble for votes in ‘most important election in a generation’ #TomorrowsPapersToday

— Neil Henderson (@hendopolis) December 10, 2019

TELEGRAPH: PM pledges to get tough on serious criminals #TomorrowsPapersToday

— Neil Henderson (@hendopolis) December 10, 2019

MIRROR: ⁦@BorisJohnson⁩ saw my son’s death not as a tragedy but as an opportunity #TomorrowsPapersToday

— Neil Henderson (@hendopolis) December 10, 2019

MAIL: Britain’s future down to the wire #TomorrowsPapersToday

— Neil Henderson (@hendopolis) December 10, 2019

THE TIMES: Tory lead narrows ahead of final election rallies #TomorrowsPapersToday

— Neil Henderson (@hendopolis) December 10, 2019

I: ⁦@jeremycorbyn⁩ closes on ⁦@BorisJohnson⁩ as race tightens #TomorrowsPapersToday

— Neil Henderson (@hendopolis) December 10, 2019

EXPRESS: Demolition job on ⁦@jeremycorbyn⁩ .... by his own man! #TomorrowsPapersToday

— Neil Henderson (@hendopolis) December 10, 2019

SCOTSMAN: Poll predicts a small Tory majority as race tightens #TomorrowsPapersToday

— Neil Henderson (@hendopolis) December 10, 2019


Boris Johnson is up and running, as is the Guardian’s political editor Heather Stewart.

Good morning! We’re up bright and early (well, dark actually) in Yorkshire with the PM, who is visiting a dairy as he kicks off a final frantic day of campaigning.

— Heather Stewart (@GuardianHeather) December 11, 2019

Other election news at a glance:


Here’s Labour’s campaign ad this morning, invoking the Blitz spirit.

Let's get back on track.

— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) December 11, 2019

The day ahead

A busy day all round. Johnson will be travelling from Yorkshire to the Midlands, Wales and London.

Jo Swinson will be making appearances at a series of rallies. She is targeting Lib Dem seats around Surrey and the London area.

Nigel Farage is back on the campaign trail and will be in Yorkshire backed by local prospective parliamentary candidates.

Nicola Sturgeon will join SNP candidates on the final day of campaigning in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stirling and Dunbartonshire.


Hello and welcome to our politics liveblog, the last of the campaign.

This is it, the end is in sight, but not before one final flurry of campaigning effort from all the parties.

Labour and the Conservatives are in a frantic scramble for votes as the last day of campaigning begins. Both parties have labelled Thursday’s vote the “most important in a generation” .

Neither Boris Johnson nor Jeremy Corbyn are wasting a moment of their last day. The prime minister will be crisscrossing the country from Yorkshire to the Midlands, Wales and London on Wednesday, delivering his message that the Conservatives need only another 12 seats to win a majority and that only his party can “get Brexit done”.

Meanwhile, Corbyn will start his day in Scotland before visiting at least five key seats in a whirlwind tour across England, calling for those who are undecided to “vote for hope in this election”.

Both sides insist the election remains closely fought and that polls giving the Conservatives a lead could be wrong.

The release of YouGov’s second and much-hyped constituency-by-constituency poll suggests this is not just a line from the parties and we are in for a nerve-jangling finish. Compared with the first poll, Labour is two points up, meaning Boris Johnson’s notional majority has been cut from 68 to 28 as his party’s predicted seat count falls by 20 to 339 and Labour’s improves by the same amount to 231. The SNP takes 41 and the Liberal Democrats 15, with some particularly surprising Lib Dem gains predicted.

Thanks for travelling this campaign road with us. We’ll bring you all the news today (and of course tomorrow when the vote actually happens).



Nadeem Badshah (now); Andrew Sparrow, Aamna Mohdin and Kate Lyons (earlier)

The GuardianTramp

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