Metro

Boris Johnson returns to trail as UK election campaigns come to end

Former Conservative British prime minister Boris Johnson has lent his support to the incumbent prime minister, Rishi Sunak, on the campaign trail.

This is coming as pollsters forecast their party could “win a lower share of the vote than at any past general election.”

At a rally on Tuesday, Sunak hailed the “Conservative family united” after an appearance by his predecessor Mr Johnson and claimed just 130,000 voters could help stem his party’s predicted losses.

He made his speech after Survation pollsters found Labour is on course to win more seats than it did in 1997.

But Labour leader Keir Starmer had previously brushed off claims his party is on for a landslide and said: “Every single vote has to be earned.”

Speaking at the rally, held at the National Army Museum in Chelsea, London, Sunak said: “Isn’t it great to have our Conservative family united, my friends?”

Sunak added: “Now, it suits lots of people to say that the result of this election is a foregone conclusion but I know that it is not.

“Just 130,000 people switching their vote, giving us their support, is what it will take to deny Labour that supermajority they want. Every single vote matters.”

Johnson earlier addressed the crowd of Conservative Party supporters, telling them Starmer would try to “usher in the most left-wing Labour government since the war.”

Making a reference to “other parties” allegedly “full of Kremlin crawlers,” Johnson said: “Don’t let the Putinistas deliver the Corbynistas.

“Don’t let Putin’s pet parrots give this entire country psittacosis – which is a disease you get by the way from cosying up to pet parrots,” referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin and former hard-left Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

He added: “Everybody if you actually want higher taxes next week, this year, if you feel you’ve got a few thousand to spare, then vote Labour on Thursday.

“If you want uncontrolled immigration and mandatory wokery, and pointless kowtowing to Brussels again, then go right ahead, make my day, vote for Starmer.

“But if you want to protect our democracy and our economy and keep this country strong abroad by spending 2.5 per cent of our GDP on defence which Labour still refuses to commit to, then you know what to do, don’t you, everybody?

“There’s only one thing to do – vote Conservative on Thursday my friends and I know you will. I know you will.”

Johnson’s appearance was at one of the Conservative Party’s final campaign events, before polling stations open their doors to voters between 7 am and 10 pm (0600-2100 GMT) on Thursday.

Pollsters have suggested Starmer and the Labour Party are on for a big victory after ballot papers are tallied up in counting halls throughout the country.

Survation pollsters quizzed 34,558 respondents online and by phone and have said a Labour landslide of more than 418 seats – the number which the party took under Tony Blair’s leadership 27 years ago – is “99% certain.”

The MRP poll data suggests prominent Conservatives could lose their seats to Labour, including Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt in Portsmouth North, Defence Secretary Grant Shapps in Welwyn Hatfield in Hertfordshire, and party chair Richard Holden in Basildon and Billericay in Essex.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is set to lose the Godalming and Ash seat in Surrey, and Education Secretary Gillian Keegan her Chichester in Sussex seat to the Liberal Democrats.

“The Conservative Party is virtually certain to win a lower share of the vote than at any past general election,” Survation pollsters wrote in their analysis.

Techne UK’s survey of 5,503 voters for The Independent, also unveiled overnight, has given Labour (40 per cent) a 19-point lead over the Conservatives (21 per cent).

But Starmer refused to entertain suggestions he will lead his party to a landslide victory at one of his final visits.

He told campaigners: “People are saying the polls predict the future – they don’t predict the future, every single vote counts.

“Every single vote has to be earned and in places like this it’ll probably go down to a few hundred either way and therefore the worst thing for people who want change is to think ‘job done’ and ‘we don’t need to vote because there’s going to be a majority in any event.’

“It isn’t ‘job done’.”

Starmer, who is set to visit England, Wales and Scotland on the final day of campaigning, added: “Given that the country is pretty broken at the moment, a lot of things aren’t working, there’s a big job for us to do if we come in to serve and we need a strong mandate for that.

“We need to know the country genuinely wants this change and that we’re sort of all prepared to say this is the change that we want and it gives a real strong mandate to a government to say ‘we’ve asked you to change things, you need to get on with it’.”

In the Liberal Democrat camp, deputy leader Daisy Cooper described Johnson’s intervention as “an insult.”

She said: “Rishi Sunak has reached a desperate new low, turning to a man who discredited the office of prime minister and lied to the country time after time.

“It is time to boot out this tired and sleaze-ridden Conservative Party, and elect Liberal Democrat MPs who will stand up for their communities.”

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