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)
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.
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.
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.
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."