No Brexit, no worry: Britain kicks off election campaign
On the day Britain was supposed to have left the European Union, voters instead faced the start of an election campaign, with opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn pledging to overthrow a "rigged system" he said was run by billionaires and tax dodgers.
(Text from Reuters)
After failing to deliver Brexit by the October 31 deadline, Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the December 12 election to break what he cast as a political paralysis that had thwarted Britain's departure and undermined confidence in the economy.
Johnson set to lose?
Opinion polls suggest the election is Johnson's to lose. His Conservative Party is leading Labour by 15 to 17 percentage points, according to IpsosMORI and YouGov. Yet the overshadowing issue of Brexit, which has divided both major parties and their voters, could confound conventional calculations.
Corbyn calls to overthrow corrupt elite
In his first major speech of the campaign, Corbyn said the election was a once-in-a-generation chance to overthrow what he cast as a corrupt elite which profited by exploiting workers, lying to the public and polluting the environment. He proposed nationalisation of rail, mail and water services and higher taxes on the bankers who have made London the pre-eminent international financial capital.
First winter election since 1923
The first December election in Britain since 1923 will be one of the hardest to forecast in years. Brexit has variously fatigued enthused and enraged voters while eroding loyalties to the two major parties.
Unexpected results - unexpected referendums
A five-year flurry of two historic referendums - on Scottish independence in 2014 and Brexit in 2016 - and two national elections in 2015 and 2017 have delivered often unexpected results that ushered in political crises.
No 'do or die' Brexit
Johnson, who has failed to deliver on his "do or die" promise that Britain would leave the EU on October 31, is pitching the election as a chance to get Brexit done, and he will accuse Corbyn of threatening the United Kingdom's future.
Johnson says Labour's plan to hold another referendum on Britain's membership of the bloc, and the possibility of Labour agreeing to another referendum on Scottish independence, risk ripping the United Kingdom apart. "Today should have been the day that Brexit was delivered and we finally left the EU," Johnson said in pre-prepared remarks provided by his office.
Lethal post-Brexit deal
Corbyn repeated his claim that Johnson intended to sell off Britain's National Health Service (NHS) to American companies as part of a post-Brexit trade deal with US President Donald Trump. Johnson has denied any such intention. His party was on Thursday campaigning under the slogan: "Back Boris for more NHS funding."