General election campaigning gets underway as Parliament is officially dissolved

5 November 2019, 23:43

The general election campaign is now officially underway
The general election campaign is now officially underway. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

The UK Parliament has been officially been dissolved, paving the way for a general election on the 12 December.

Boris Johnson is understood to be visiting the Queen on Wednesday morning at Buckingham Palace for an official audience, before returning to Downing Street to announce the formal start of election campaigning.

From today until the ballots are counted, the House of Commons does not have any MPs, and instead Parliamentary hopefuls up and down the country will be pounding the pavements hoping to convince their constituents to put an 'X' next to their name on the big day.

Mr Johnson's promise to "get Brexit done" has so far proven to be a challenge, and he has lost a number of key votes in the Commons which would have allowed him to push through Brexit.

At one point, Mr Johnson even claimed he would "rather be dead in a ditch" than go to the EU and ask for an extension to the exit date.

When Theresa May called a snap election in 2017, she wanted to increase her already tiny majority - but instead ended up with the opposite result, losing MPs to both the Liberal Democrat and Labour parties.

Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson has fought hard for a new election
Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson has fought hard for a new election. Picture: PA

Mrs May was so determined to have some form of a working majority, she struck a £1 billion deal with Northern Ireland's DUP to ensure their 10 MPs would back the Conservative Party.

But the DUP have since turned their backs on the government over their dissatisfaction with the proposals for trade deals over the Irish border.

Since coming into power a little over three months ago, Mr Johnson has lost the majority Mrs May risked so much to achieve.

Following a knife edge vote on the Benn Amendment, 21 Tory MPs were ousted from the party after they rebelled against the government to vote in favour of the legislation, which forced the prime minister to seek a Brexit extension if the House did not agree to a deal.

A further three resigned, including Mr Johson's brother Jo Johnson, who cited in inability to resolve family and national loyalties as the reason behind his decision.

Jeremy Corbyn has already made some digs at Mr Johnson
Jeremy Corbyn has already made some digs at Mr Johnson. Picture: PA

This morning, as the nation goes into the election, the Conservative Party is ahead in the polls.

But despite the Tories enjoying a similar lead in the 2017 election, Labour surged back and made gains across the country, meaning anything is possible in the coming weeks.

But LBC's political editor Theo Usherwood has said Nigel Farage's Brexit Party could be the Tory's "bogeyman" and split the vote, derailing Mr Johnson's hopes for a majority.

The Labour Party's Jeremy Corbyn has already accused the Mr Johnson of trying to "hijack Brexit to sell out our NHS and working people by stripping away their rights” as the party leader's made their initially speeches earlier this week.

Speaking on Tuesday, Mr Corbyn said that during the 2016 EU referendum "many people who voted to leave tell me they were voting for change. Johnson and the Leave campaign promised to rebuild our NHS."

On Brexit, Mr Corbyn said that in place of Mr Johnson's deal Labour will “get Brexit sorted in six months by giving the people the final say” so Britain can “get beyond Brexit."

Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson is going into the election with the aim to stop Brexit
Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson is going into the election with the aim to stop Brexit. Picture: PA

The Liberal Democrats, led by Jo Swinson, have made it their promise to stop Brexit altogether, and are determined they can achieve a majority - despite only polling 8 per cent of the vote two years ago.

Speaking at the launch of her election campaign on Tuesday, she said: "Don’t let anyone tell you what has to happen. Change is possible, and you get to choose.

“I never thought I’d stand here and say that I’m a candidate to be prime minister. But when I look at Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn, I am absolutely certain I could do a better job than either of them.”

While each candidate may be determined they are the best occupant of Number 10, the power ultimately lies in the hands of the voting public.

If If you haven’t yet registered to vote, you have until midnight on 26 November to do so.

For anyone who needs still needs to register - click here.