Boris Johnson braces himself for a & # 39; mega-heavy & # 39; election fight today – amid warnings he must win 50 Labor seats to compensate for losses for Remainers in Scotland and the South.
Johnson tried to gather his troops for pre-Christmas showdown by attacking Jeremy Corbyn during a brutal PMQs session in the Commons.
The clashes come when Tory strategists complete their plans for an incredibly volatile campaign, where local factors are expected to play a central role.
They focus on & # 39; Workington Man & # 39; – older, white, non-graduated male voters who live in rocking seats in northern England.
Experts have warned that Mr. Johnson's shrill call to get & # 39; Brexit done & # 39; and blueprint for a loose Canada-style relationship with the EU his party can lose at least 20 seats to the shameless pro-Remain Lib Dems and SNP.
Important battlefields are Cheltenham in Gloucestershire and Stirling north of the border.
To compensate for the expected losses, conservatives must make significant progress against Labor – probably need at least 50 profits to get Mr. Johnson the working majority he craves.
Johnson tried to gather his troops for pre-Christmas showdown by attacking Jeremy Corbyn during a brutal PMQs session in the Commons
An image that shows where the vote will be won and lost across the country in the snap poll on December 12
Boris Johnson (left on Downing Street last night) faces Jeremy Corbyn (who leaves London this morning) later in the Commons
The campaign starts after MPs have finally supported a government bill for a poll on Thursday, December 12, after weeks of dither and delays by opposition parties.
Johnson said that a & # 39; revitalized & # 39; Lower House Great Britain would let the EU leave in the new year.
Jeremy Corbyn, who supported an election only 24 hours after his refusal, said Labor the & # 39; reckless & # 39; would kick conservatives and deliver a socialist Britain.
Is Boris Johnson moving to a safer seat?
The prime minister faces a tough fight to keep his own constituency – leading to claims that he can switch to a safer seat to prevent the risk of humiliation.
Boris Johnson is MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, where he has a majority of only 5,034 over Labor.
It would take a swing of just over 5 percent to grab the chair – and Corbynista group Momentum will attack it with hundreds of volunteers.
Their campaign & # 39; Unseat Boris & # 39; Johnson would make the first prime minister to lose his seat in an election in modern times. Labor claims that in the coming days he will announce that he & # 39; the coop & # 39; will take a place with a much larger Tory majority.
Downing Street described the rumors as & # 39; nonsense and nonsense & # 39 ;.
Uxbridge in West London – traditionally really blue – has been represented by Mr. Johnson since 2015. When he first stood, he had a majority of 10,695. But this halved in the disastrous election of Theresa May in 2017.
Labor has chosen Ali Milani, a 25-year-old Muslim, as their candidate.
The prime minister told MPs that the election – the first in December since 1923 – after months of & # 39; inexorable parliamentary obstruction & # 39; Brexit.
He later addressed Tory backbenchers and gave what he claimed a & # 39; King Henry V to Agincourt-type speech & # 39; to be.
He told them that the campaign & # 39; mega-heavy & # 39; and urged them to get everything out of the closet for the win.
Conservative MP Robert Halfon said: & He said: forget the polls, forget everything you read, this will be an incredibly tough election.
& # 39; No one wants to make an election in December, it will be mega-tough and it will be one of the most difficult elections we could ever do. & # 39;
The election breakthrough came after the liberal democrats and SNP reached the ranks with labor and supported an early poll in which they hope to benefit from Mr Corbyn's unpopularity with voters.
But election experts warned yesterday a vote in 2019 – the third general election in four years – was probably the most unpredictable due to the prevalence of smaller parties.
One said the elections could lead to a House of Commons with no fewer than 100 MPs from neither the Conservatives nor the Labor, making it even more difficult for one of the major parties to win a majority – opening the door for a suspended parliament and even more delay about Brexit.
The study by Onward, a right-leaning think tank, said today's swing-voter is no longer & # 39; Worcester Woman & # 39; was – seen as a key figure in Tony Blair's victory in 1997 – but & # 39; Workington Man & # 39; – named after the city in Cumbria.
He is said to be a typical older, white, non-graduate voter who lives in rugby league cities in the north. This voter has lived in his house for more than ten years as a tenant or owner of a home. He prefers security to freedom, thinks that the economy and national culture will abandon his views and voted for Leave.
He works in a skilled manual or in a lower management position and is likely to live in a city or rural area instead of in a city. He is more supportive than most people of a strong leader who doesn't have to worry about Parliament.
Workington Man wants the government to give priority to apprenticeships instead of reducing the cost of student loans and believes it should promote a shared sense of national identity over a variety of identities.
Jo Swinson & # 39; s (left) Liberal Democrats focus on remaining seats in London and the Southwest and Nicola Sturgeon
The likely manifestations for Boris Johnson & # 39; s Tories and Jeremy Corbyn & # 39; s Labor Party for the upcoming December 12 elections
He is more likely than the rest of the population to believe that crime is a big problem for the country and twice as likely that immigration is a big problem.
He is particularly skeptical about the benefits of globalization and thinks we have a special responsibility to protect local institutions such as pubs and post offices from being closed.
Ahead, without the support of Workington Man, a party cannot win a majority. The Labor constituency in which these characteristics are most prevalent among voters is the Cumbric City of Workington, making it the ultimate bellwether seat in the next election.
Crosby acolyte leads the election battle
He is unknown outside of Westminster, but 35-year-old Australian Isaac Levido will play a key role in Boris Johnson's campaign.
Levido is a confidant of fellow countryman Lynton Crosby and is director of politics and campaigning at the headquarters of the Conservative Campaign.
He will be crucial in decisions about how the Tories should try to beat Labor and win a majority. He is a protege of Sir Lynton, the electoral strategist known as the & # 39; Wizard of Oz & # 39; who worked on Mr. Johnson's two winning mayor campaigns.
In 2015 and 2017, Mr. Levido was responsible for Tory campaign messages.
He recently served as Deputy Director of the Australian Liberal Party and was at the heart of the campaign in which Scott Morrison saw a surprise victory. According to Mr. Levido's plans, the Tories focus on 50 rocking seats and defend 50.
He told ministers that he had a & # 39; functional & # 39; majority. In private he has the & # 39; foundations & # 39; from Mr. Johnson described as & # 39; very positive & # 39 ;.
& # 39; The numbers are heading in the right direction, & # 39; he said.
Workington is a long-standing Labor seat in the hands of Sue Hayman, who voted on leave and has a majority of 4,000.
Will Tanner, director of Onward, said: & # 39; This election will be the most fleeting in living memory and no party should be complacent. But it is clear that the Conservatives' path to victory runs through working-class rugby league cities such as Workington, Warrington and Wigan, who usually don't give them a second thought – as well as the leafy core countries of the party in southern England. & # 39;
Workington, Warrington and Wigan, who usually don't give them a second thought – as well as the leafy core countries of the party in southern England. & # 39;
The seven cities that members of the Rugby Super League founded – Castleford, Halifax, Oldham, St Helens, Warrington, Wigan, Workington – have only returned one Tory MP since 1918 and currently have an average Labor majority of 13,273.
Johnson had previously tried to get an election through a provision in the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act that allows an early poll only if it is supported by two-thirds of MPs.
This actually gave Labor a veto, but thanks to the support of the less important parties, Johnson was able to bypass Mr Corbyn and introduce legislation for an early election that only required a simple majority in the Commons.
The Labor leader felt a defeat and made a U-turn yesterday and told his MPs that he now supported less than 24 hours after an election order.
Corbyn said last night that Labor & # 39; would launch the most ambitious and radical campaign for real change that our country has ever seen & # 39 ;.
PM brings 10 Tory rebels back into the fold
Boris Johnson has restored the Tory whip to 10 of the 21 former conservative rebels who were driven out after supporting a bid to block a No Deal Brexit.
The Prime Minister met the 10 MPs in his Lower House office tonight because they had the opportunity to return to the Tory team.
All 10 have accepted the Prime Minister's offer and can now stand as Tory candidates at the upcoming general election if they wish.
The 10 who have restored the Tory whip are: Alistair Burt, Caroline Nokes, Greg Clark, Sir Nicholas Soames, Ed Vaizey, Margot James, Richard Benyon, Stephen Hammond, Steve Brine and Richard Harrington.
The remaining 11 rebels, including Philip Hammond and Ken Clarke, were not welcomed back.
A Tory source said, however, that tonight's events do not mean that the remaining 11 will be permanently robbed because they suggested that there would still be a way back for the Prime Minister's critics.
But veteran Labor MP Barry Sheerman said it & # 39; pure madness & # 39; was to hold an early election.
Fellow Member of Parliament Kevan Jones said: "I will not support an election under any circumstances – it is right in the hands of Boris Johnson." Another Labor MEP said: & # 39; It is amazing that we support this. We're going to be stuffed. & # 39;
Labor MPs made a final attempt to destroy the election bid by trying to extend the vote to EU nationals and 16 and 17 year olds. Downing Street insisted that there was not enough time to register millions of new voters.
In an important intervention that could boost his hope of succeeding John Bercow, Deputy Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle ruled that the amendments should not be discussed.
Downing Street is convinced that Mr. Johnson will have a & # 39; workable & # 39; majority can return, despite being thwarted in his & # 39; do or die & # 39; promise to remove Great Britain from the EU before 31 October.
Senior Tories point to a series of opinion polls that give conservatives a double-digit lead. Polling also suggested that Mr. Corbyn is the most unpopular opposition leader of all time.
But opinion poll Sir John Curtice has warned that Britain could be on course for another suspended parliament, in what could be the most unpredictable election of modern times.
Sir John wrote in the Times today and said that at least 20 Tory seats are at risk because of the SNP and Lib Dems.
He pointed out that the Lib Dems had revived around 18 percent & # 39; and that SNP support in Scotland was comparable to the level of 2017.
& # 39; That means that Mr. Johnson must probably accept that he is likely to lose at least 20 seats to the Lib Dems and SNP, and perhaps even better than that, & # 39; Sir John wrote.
& # 39; The Conservatives will have to win some Labor seats to match the 318 seats that Theresa May won last time.
& # 39; However, if the substantial net swing from Labor to Conservative in the current polls were to be achieved at the polls, there are nearly 50 Labor seats that could fall into the Tory column. Winning it would more than compensate for losses elsewhere. & # 39;
Sir John said that those targeet constituencies were disproportionately located in northern England and the Midlands & # 39 ;. In those areas, around 55 percent of voters supported Leave in 2016, higher than the 52 percent across the country.
Brexit strategist Dominic Cummings was working on Downing Street today as the election struggle took off
Labor MPs do not want to support Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister as former leadership hopeful to STOP Owen Smith and more than 100 of his own troops refuse to find out
Jeremy Corbyn faces a huge battle today to keep Labor together during the election amid claims that some of his own MPs do not want to see him as a PM.
The experienced left winger insists that he & # 39; ready & # 39; is for the dramatic pre-Christmas competition and describes it as a & # 39; chance of change from generation to generation & # 39 ;.
But the extent of the fight within the party was underlined last night when more than 100 of his own members of parliament ignored his orders to hold a quick election.
Meanwhile, former leadership candidate Owen Smith has announced that he will not be in his constituency of Pontypridd, citing & # 39; political and personal reasons & # 39 ;.
Jeremy Corbyn (pictured yesterday with the shadow cabinet) faces a huge battle to keep Labor together today during the elections, amid claims that some of his own MPs do not want him to be seen as PM
Former leadership candidate Owen Smith has announced that he will not be in his constituency of Pontypridd, citing & # 39; political and personal reasons & # 39;
Labor MPs have made fun of Mr Corbyn and his assistants because they believe they are on the & # 39; edge of a brave new socialist dawn & # 39; despite grim polls for the party and him personally.
One told MailOnline: & # 39; They think it's going to happen, he comes in No10. Many Labor MPs don't even want that. & # 39;
Labor was effectively dragged by kicking and screaming to support an election last night.
For weeks the shadow cabinet and the back seat stopped Mr. Corbyn and his close allies, desperately seeking a poll that is generally seen as the last chance for the 70-year-old's power.
But despite voting for a motion to hold an election on Monday, Labor turned around when it became clear that Boris Johnson had received Liberal Democrat and SNP support for a bill that led to a vote in December.
. (tagsToTranslate) dailymail (t) news (t) Christmas (t) Jeremy Corbyn (t) Boris Johnson