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Campaign highlights: Ashworth apologises as Hugh Grant savages PM’s spoof video

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Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth was caught saying the situation facing Labour was ‘abysmal’.

General Election 2019

Labour’s Jonathan Ashworth has apologised to party members after being caught on tape giving a damning assessment of Jeremy Corbyn.

He was caught saying the situation facing Labour was “abysmal” because voters “can’t stand Corbyn” and think the party has “blocked Brexit”.

Meanwhile, Hugh Grant gave a withering response to Boris Johnson’s Love Actually spoof campaign video and Nigel Farage warned the PM’s Brexit deal could cause “many years of indigestion”.

Here are some of the highlights from Tuesday’s campaign trail.

– Labour’s Jonathan Ashworth dismisses criticism of Jeremy Corbyn as ‘banter’

The shadow health and social care secretary described as “banter” leaked comments in which he criticised Mr Corbyn and said a Labour majority at the election was not going to happen.

Mr Ashworth conceded that the leak made him “look like a right plonker”, but said he made the remarks while “joking around” with Tory friend Greig Baker.

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In the recording published by the Guido Fawkes website, Mr Ashworth claimed he thought the civil service machine would “pretty quickly move to safeguard security” if Mr Corbyn entered Number 10.

– Jeremy Corbyn insists the experience of a four-year-old boy left sleeping on a hospital floor while he waited for a bed is a political issue.

A photograph of Jack Williment-Barr, who was waiting for treatment for suspected pneumonia at Leeds General Infirmary, was widely circulated on social media.

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Boris Johnson came in for heavy criticism on Monday when he initially refused to look at the photo on an ITV reporter’s phone before taking the device and putting it in his pocket.

The Labour leader told BBC Breakfast: “It’s an example of what’s happening in our NHS. And it is obviously awful for that little boy and the family, the way they were treated… It is a serious issue. It is a political issue, how we fund the NHS.”

– Actor Hugh Grant gives a withering response to Boris Johnson’s Love Actually spoof campaign video

The clip sees Mr Johnson emulating a scene from the 2003 Christmas film by silently holding up Brexit-themed messages to a woman at her front door after pretending to be a carol singer.

Grant, who played the Prime Minister in the movie, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that he noted the absence of a card that referred to telling the truth.

He said: “I thought it was quite well done, very high production values, but clearly the Conservative Party have an awful lot of money. Maybe that’s where the rubles went.”

– Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage warns the PM’s ‘oven-ready deal’ would lead to ‘many long years of indigestion’

General Election 2019
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage during a press conference at the Emmanuel Centre in London (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Leave-supporting voters in Labour heartlands should “vote tactically” and back the Brexit Party instead of the Conservatives, Mr Farage said.

At the start of the General Election campaign, the Brexit Party stood down candidates in 317 seats won by the Tories in 2017, but it is still standing candidates in Labour seats which backed Leave during the EU referendum in 2016.

Addressing supporters, Mr Farage said his decision to stand down his party’s candidates in Tory-held seats was “difficult” but “the right thing to do”.

– Jeremy Corbyn insists he has the stamina to serve five years as PM

The porridge-eating Labour leader has said he “absolutely” has the stamina to serve a five-year term as prime minister.

The 70-year-old has faced claims that he is too frail to run the country, but told BBC Breakfast he is healthy, fit and active – attributing porridge as his source of energy.

Mr Corbyn said: “I’m very healthy, very fit and very active and I’ve travelled more than any other party leader in this election, I’ve attended more events than any other party leader in this election, and I’ve still not finished yet.”

Tweets of the day

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn launched pop culture-inspired campaign videos in the final days of the General Election campaign.

Mr Johnson emulated a scene from Love Actually as he approached an apathetic voter with a series of placards on her doorstep, while in Mr Corbyn’s spoof video, the Labour leader sat by a fireplace and read out mean tweets about him and his campaign.

Picture of the day

General Election 2019
Prime Minister Boris Johnson drives a Union flag-themed JCB, with the words ‘Get Brexit Done’ inside the digger bucket, through a fake wall emblazoned with the word ‘Gridlock’, during a visit to the JCB cab manufacturing centre in Uttoxeter (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Video of the day

Hugh Grant gives a withering response to the Love Actually spoof campaign video by the Conservatives. Grant, who played the British prime minister in the movie, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that he had spotted the absence of a card that referred to telling the truth.

What’s next?

  • The Conservatives are yet to finalise their plans for Wednesday
  • Jeremy Corbyn is set for a busy day around the UK, with campaign stops in Scotland, the north-east, Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Bedfordshire and London.
  • Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson will also be active on Wednesday, visiting a series of rallies around the Greater London area.
  • Meanwhile Nigel Farage will take the Brexit Party battle bus to Yorkshire to speak to voters and campaign for local candidates.

 

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