Boris Johnson set to visit Sunderland as Conservatives target Leave-voting Labour strongholds

Boris Johnson is set to visit Sunderland today, Monday December 9, as the Tories begin a blitz of Labour's heartlands.

Monday, 9th December 2019, 8:20 am
Updated Monday, 9th December 2019, 10:49 am
Prime Minister Boris Johnson at Conservative Campaign Headquarters Call Centre, London, while on the election campaign trail
Prime Minister Boris Johnson at Conservative Campaign Headquarters Call Centre, London, while on the election campaign trail

The Prime Minister will spend the three days before polls open targeting voters in traditional Labour strongholds, where people voted to leave the EU which his party views as key to securing a Conservative majority.

Sunderland was famously the first area to declare a leave majority in the UK after 61.3% of voters opted to vote in favour of leaving the EU.

Mr Johnson is expected to make reference to this ‘roar’ in his speech in the city today.

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The Conservative leader is expected to day: “It’s now been 1,264 days since Sunderland’s roar was heard on the night of 23 June 2016. 1,264 days in which parliament should have delivered what you voted for, taken us out of the EU, and addressed all the reasons you voted so decisively for change.

“You voted to leave the EU because you wanted to stop sending the EU money we could spend at home, to end uncontrolled and unlimited immigration from the EU, to take back control from an unelected elite in Brussels – and to force politicians in Westminster to listen to you, not just London and the South East.

“The Labour party has let you down most of all. Under Jeremy Corbyn, they promised to honour the result of the referendum – before voting against Brexit every chance they had. They won their seats on a false prospectus and then stuck two fingers up to the public.

“Now they are proposing another referendum – this time rigging the result by extending the franchise to 2 million EU citizens. It’s been the Great Betrayal, orchestrated from Islington by politicians who sneer at your values and ignore your votes.”

This comes as the former Vote Leave figurehead's pledges on Brexit were brought into question after a second leak poured doubt on the country's ability to be ready to exit the European Union within a year.

A leaked Government document suggests delivering customs arrangements related to Northern Ireland's post-Brexit relationship with Britain by December 2020 would be a "major challenge".

The ex-foreign secretary has consistently vowed to take the UK out of the EU by January 31 and then finalise a trade deal with Brussels within 11 months to meet the transition period deadline.

Arrangements would also need to be signed off that allow Northern Ireland to continue to follow Brussels and Dublin rules on the trade of goods to ensure there is no hard border.

But a Whitehall report seen by the Financial Times states that: "Delivery of the required infrastructure, associated systems, and staffing to implement the requirements of the (Northern Ireland) protocol by December 2020 represents a major strategic, political and operational challenge."

Controversial comments about single mothers and working class man made by Boris Johnson when he was working as a journalist in the 1990s have been unearthed during the election campaign.

Labour’s John McDonnell has criticised Mr Johnson. He said: "The more we learn, the worse it gets. As well as being a danger to our NHS and a pathological liar, it is clear that Boris Johnson is a deeply unpleasant individual."