ROCHESTER, England (Reuters) – Another campaign day, another crisis for Prime Minister Boris Johnson in his quest to hold onto office and, as he repeated to an audience in southeastern England on Friday, to “get Brexit done” and “get Britain out of neutral”.
Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures during the launch of a general campaign poster at the Kent Showground in Detling, Kent, Britain, December 6, 2019. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls/Pool
Faced with accusations he has lied to the public over his Brexit deal, Johnson rubbishes the criticism, sticking firmly to his script that his “fantastic deal” to leave the European Union is the only one that will see the whole of Britain exit quickly.
It is part of what is a largely defensive strategy before the Dec. 12 election, in which Johnson often has to respond to accusations from his main challenger, opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, rather than setting the agenda.
Knowing that the election is the prime minister’s to lose against Corbyn, who is deeply unpopular in the polls, Johnson’s campaign is playing it safe – focusing on a few core messages and hoping that the criticism fails to stick.
And it seems to be working.
At a planned stop for his well-travelled campaign battle bus in the Conservative safe seat of Rochester, in southeastern England, even failing to turn up does little to dent the enthusiasm of his supporters. For many, it’s just him.
Lauren, a housewife from nearby Dartford who declined to give her last name, said she believed that Johnson was a “man of the people”, someone who would stick up for those who voted for Brexit and want it over and done with.