General election: Boris Johnson calls for end of 'groundhoggery' on Brexit

13 November 2019, 00:00 | Updated: 13 November 2019, 09:17

Boris Johnson is back on the campaign trail after a one-day break with a speech in which he will call for the end of "groundhoggery" on Brexit and make a lewd attack on Jeremy Corbyn.

Visiting an electric vehicle manufacturer in the West Midlands, he will claim the Conservatives will drive a clean energy revolution to tackle climate change.

But a highly personal attack on the Labour leader and his use of a word that relates to a sex act - in an advance trail of his speech - is bound to attract strong criticism.

Issuing a plea for a Tory majority in the election, Mr Johnson will say: "If we can get a working majority we can get parliament working for you, we can get out of the rut. We can end the groundhoggery of Brexit.

"We can honour the wishes of the people, or else we can waste more time, at the cost of a billion pounds per month, and have two more referendums, one on Scotland and one on the EU - an expense of spirit and a waste of shame, more political self-obsession and onanism.

"Imagine waking up on Friday 13 December after the election to find the Corbyn-Sturgeon coalition in Downing Street."

Onanism is a rarely used word referring to masturbation or withdrawal of the penis during sexual intercourse. Its use by Mr Johnson to refer to the leader of the opposition is likely to cause offence and outrage.

As he returns to campaigning, the prime minister's hopes of a Tory majority may have hit another setback with the announcement by David Gauke, the former cabinet minister who lost the whip over Brexit, that he will stand as an independent in his South West Hertfordshire constituency.

Mr Gauke, whose Tory majority was 19,550 at the 2017 election, says he wants to deny Mr Johnson the chance to deliver a "very hard Brexit".

He has told The Times it would be "no bad thing" if "traditional, long-standing" Tory backers lent their votes to the Liberal Democrats and is endorsing for the first time calls for backing a second referendum.

While Mr Corbyn campaigns in Scotland, shadow chancellor John McDonnell is claiming Labour will "end the Tory NHS crisis" with a £26bn real terms healthcare funding boost.

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According to Mr McDonnell, the extra funding will provide safe quality care, recruit thousands of staff, rebuild crumbling facilities, provide state-of-the-art equipment and is £6bn in real terms more than the funding announced by the Tories last year.

"The world-class health service we all need and depend on needs proper funding," says Mr McDonnell.

"Labour's policies to tax the richest in society and invest for the future through our social transformation fund mean we will be able to improve millions of lives.

"And ending privatisation means that money can be spent on healthcare rather than dividends for Boris Johnson's friends in the private healthcare industry."

Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth added: "A decade of Tory underfunding and cuts have driven our NHS into year-round crisis. Over 15,000 beds have been cut, hospitals are crumbling and our NHS is chronically short of nurses and family doctors.

"Just last week we all were shocked by the heart-breaking image of an 88-year-old woman, left languishing for hours and hours on a trolley in a hospital corridor.

"With experts warning this winter is set to be one of the worst, the truth is our NHS is crying out for a financial rescue plan to deliver real change for patients."

Responding, the Conservatives claimed Labour's four-day working week plans would harm the NHS. Mr Ashworth told Kay Burley@Breakfast there would be no four-day working week imposed on the NHS.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock had claimed the four-day week would mean there would actually be a cut in the NHS budget.

He said: "Jeremy Corbyn's plans for a four-day working week will cripple our economy and cost the NHS billions every year. That leaves a huge funding shortfall in Labour's plans and it is patients who will pay the price for Corbyn's incompetence.

"Corbyn's Labour also have no policies to deal with the pressure that their plan for unlimited and uncontrolled immigration would put on our NHS."

Mr Ashworth called the comment from Mr Hancock "laughable" and said a four-day week in the NHS was "nonsense".

The Liberal Democrats, meanwhile, are pledging to hand local authorities £500m to spend on youth services to help tackle knife crime.

"We are in a knife crime epidemic, but successive governments have taken the wrong approach to dealing with it," said Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson.

"For 25 years, Conservative and Labour governments have been competing to seem tough on crime, without doing enough to actually prevent crime.

"Liberal Democrats will build a brighter future for young people by investing £500m a year in youth services and taking a public health approach to youth violence.

"With a Liberal Democrat government, young people will have the support and opportunities they deserve, our communities will be stronger and people will feel safer."

SNP leader, Nicola Sturgeon, is also campaigning on climate change and green energy, demanding more action from Westminster on tackling long-term energy challenges.

"Scotland is already a world-leader on tackling the climate crisis and delivering green energy," she said. "By contrast, Westminster has wasted years obsessing over nuclear power and a complete lack of vision and ambition over the energy technologies of the future.

"Put bluntly, there is no more time to waste - it's time for Westminster to get its act together."

The Brexit Election on Sky News - the fastest results and in-depth analysis on mobile, TV and radio.

  • Watch Dermot Murnaghan live from 9pm on 12 December
  • See the exit poll at 10pm
  • Watch KayBurley@Breakfast election special on 13 December
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