How Has Boris Johnson’s Election Campaign Played Out?

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson will find out on Thursday if his General Election gamble has paid off.

Here is a look at what has happened on the Conservative campaign trail.

– What was the campaign high?

Emerging relatively unscathed from a week in which US President Donald Trump visited the UK for a summit of Nato leaders and the second leaders’ debate took place.

Boris Johnson and Donald Trump
Boris Johnson met Donald Trump during the Nato conference (Steve Parsons/PA)

The Conservative Party leader urged Mr Trump not to interfere in the election and, bar the odd comment, his pleas were heard.

A few days later Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn enjoyed another good performance in the leaders’ election debate but Mr Johnson emerged without suffering any fatal blows.

– What was the campaign low?

Mr Johnson decided he would take a reporter’s phone and put it in his pocket after refusing to look at a photo of a child who had to sleep on a hospital floor.

The Prime Minister was being interviewed by ITV News political correspondent Joe Pike, who asked Mr Johnson to look at a photo of four-year-old Jack, whose mother Sarah Williment covered him with coats to keep warm as he waited for a bed at Leeds General Infirmary.

The Prime Minister later looked at the photo but it was a bizarre moment and was pressed home by Labour, a party which is keen to stress its own support of the NHS while casting doubt on the Tories’ commitment to it.

– Where did Mr Johnson visit the most?

The Midlands was the preferred destination for Mr Johnson in the opening days, with return visits throughout the campaign.

The Tory campaign also made sure it travelled to Devon and Cornwall, the North East and everywhere in between.

Areas which voted Leave in the 2016 EU referendum also featured as the Tories seek to snatch seats from Labour and drum up support for its Brexit message.

– What was the most memorable quote?

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

Its meaning might be heavily disputed but it is hard to escape “Get Brexit done”. Mr Johnson has made an art form out of trying to crowbar it in to nearly every answer he has given.

Mr Johnson is focused on ensuring his Withdrawal Agreement is approved by January 31, although the Brexit process will not be done at this point and the prospect of a no-deal exit at the end of December 2020 remains a real prospect.

The slogan takes a leaf out of the 2016 referendum playbook, in which the Leave campaign consistently repeated the message “take back control”.

– What was the defining moment?

This will arrive on Thursday when Mr Johnson will learn if he has secured the parliamentary majority he desires or whether he becomes the latest victim of a hung parliament.

It could be the last chance for Brexit to progress in some form and the voters have the power in their hands.

Richard Wheeler is PA Parliamentary Editor.

Richard Wheeler
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