Boris Johnson made an impassioned plea for votes in a ‘tight race’ election today, warning that losing a dozen seats could unlock a ‘catastrophic’ government led by Jeremy Corbyn and Nicola Sturgeon.
Speaking to MailOnline the Prime Minister said the Tories have to ‘fight for every vote’ after a shock eve-of-election analysis revealed the Conservative lead over Labour has been slashed in recent weeks.
Mr Johnson is on course to win the general election with a majority of 28 that would allow him to complete Brexit, according to the YouGov polling analysis which correctly predicted a hung parliament in 2017.
But that majority is down from 68 seats a fortnight ago and the analysis also shows some of his top ministers, including Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, could lose their seats.
YouGov’s final MRP model predicts that the Conservatives will win 339 seats, with Jeremy Corbyn‘s party on 231 and the Liberal Democrats on 15.
YouGov warned that the margin of error could put the Tory seat total as low as 311, which would mean another hung parliament.
Mr Johnson said this morning: ‘I think it’s a very tight race. We have got to fight for every vote. What we need is just nine more seats to get a working majority and then we can get Brexit done.
‘If we lose 12 seats I’m afraid we have Corbyn and Sturgeon in a majority. They would hold the balance of power and their agenda would be absolutely catastrophic for the country.’
Prediction: YouGov’s final polling model of the 2019 general election campaign projects that the Conservatives will win a majority of 28
Down to the wire: Boris Johnson stated his day by delivering milk in Leeds as part of his final election push
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was met by party activists as he visited Glasgow as he tries to move on from critical comments about him from Labour frontbencher Jon Ashworth
YouGov projects a small Conservative majority as the most likely outcome of the election, with this map showing the seats most likely to change hands
The polling company expects Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP to take 41 seats in Scotland to the Tories nine, with Labour taking five
Small Conservative gains in the north of Wales are expected by YouGov, with Labour remaining the largest party with 26 constituencies
The seat-by-seat model, which is based on thousands of interviews, puts the Tories on 43 per cent of the vote and Labour on 34 per cent.
I haven’t watched Love, Actually: Boris Johnson admits he has NEVER watched rom-com that inspired viral election vid
Boris Johnson has admitted to never watching Love Actually after appearing in a campaign video inspired by the 2003 rom-com, although he said he was aware of ‘the general theme’.
The Tory leader also revealed he would seek to emulate the Prime Minister character played by Hugh Grant by ‘standing up to the United States’ on issues including the need to fight global warming.
Asked by Talk Radio host Julia Hartley-Brewer whether he’d actually watched the film, the PM said: ‘I’ve not seen all of it from beginning to end because I’m so busy, but I, I’m familiar with the basic concept and the fantastic work done by Hugh Grant.’
Mr Johnson played the role of milkman as his stunt-laden campaign tour entered its final hours today.
The Prime Minister started his day by helping load milk and orange juice bottles onto a delivery vehicle at Greenside Farm Business Park in Rawdon, West Yorkshire.
He then travelled to Guiseley where he delivered a crate of items to one house.
Two bottles of milk already outside the property were removed before the Conservative Party leader arrived.
He knocked on the door, which was opened by civil servant Debbie Monaghan, 40, who said: ‘Look who’s here.’
She called to her husband Mark, 40, and said: ‘So nice to meet you, Mr Prime Minister.
‘What are you doing up so early?’
The forecast suggests the race has tightened since the previous MRP results on November 27 showed the Tories on course for a majority of 68.
The Conservatives are predicted to gain 22 seats, including in Labour heartlands such as Ashfield, Bassetlaw and Tony Blair’s former seat of Sedgefield.
Remainer-backing tactical voters could BOOT OUT Tory Brexiteer big beasts Dominic Raab, Theresa Villiers and Iain Duncan Smith
Boris Johnson could lose two of his most senior Brexiteer ministers at the general election, a shock analysis reveals today.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers could both be booted out by voters tomorrow.
Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith and ex-minister John Redwood also face a nervous wait to see if they will be returned to the Commons, according to the YouGov MRP survey.
All four are Brexit-supporting MPs representing southern England constituencies that backed Remain in 2016.
Their difficulties come amid signs that pleas from Labour and the Lib Dems for tactical voting are being heeded in Remain-supporting areas.
A majority of 28 would be the Conservatives’ best result since Margaret Thatcher’s third election victory in 1987.
However, there are signs that Labour is ‘patching the cracks’ in its so-called ‘red wall’ of seats across the North and the Midlands.
Conservative strategists fear that an ugly row over the NHS on Monday has damaged their campaign and candidates say the election is now ‘on a knife edge’.
The Tories’ shrinking lead means that Labour are now on course to retain Tory target seats such as Tom Watson’s former constituency of West Bromwich East.
Labour are also favoured to win Workington, home of the ‘Workington Man’ target voter highlighted by a think tank.
In addition, Labour are set to repeat their shock victories in Kensington and Canterbury, the poll suggests.
Two senior Tories – Dominic Raab and Iain Duncan Smith – face close races in their constituencies. Mr Raab leads the Lib Dems by only two points in his Esher and Walton constituency in Surrey, according to the model.
Pollsters say Labour’s recovery has been strongest in pro-Remain areas, where their vote share has increased by an average of six per cent since the last MRP release.
Still, a total of 231 seats would be Labour’s lowest since the 1987 election, when Neil Kinnock was party leader.
The south-west London constituency of Putney is at risk of being won by Labour despite years of being a Conservative stronghold
A graph showing the seats that could change hands between YouGov’s November polling and its most recent figures
Predicted vote share: The seat-by-seat model, which is based on thousands of interviews, puts the Tories on 43 per cent of the vote and Labour on 34 per cent
Final stretch: Boris Johnson, pictured helping on a packing production line in Warrington last night, has seen his lead over Labour shrink in the final weeks of the campaign
Chris Curtis, YouGov’s political research manager, said: ‘Our latest and final poll shows that a small Conservative majority is likely, with the Tories taking 22 more seats than in 2017 and Labour losing 31.
Boris Johnson’s press secretary tells GMB reporter ‘for f*** sake’ LIVE on air as he tries to interrupt PM’s milk round
Boris Johnson‘s exasperated media minder swore on live TV today as the PM refused to speak to Good Morning Britain before trotting into a fridge as he started an early milkround in Yorkshire.
Piers Morgan was visibly shocked and Susanna Reid had her head in her hands as Mr Johnson’s press secretary Robert Oxley declared ‘for f***s sake’ and blocked the path of GMB’s roving reporter Jonathan Swain.
The Tory leader, who was delivering milk in the marginal seat of Pudsey, West Yorkshire, this morning, has repeatedly refused to appear on the ITV1 show.
Mr Swain confronted Boris as he put milk crates in a van and said: ‘Morning Prime Minister will you come on Good Morning Britain? Will you deliver on your promise to speak to Piers and Susanna?’.
A tired-looking Mr Oxley loudly muttered: ‘For f***s sake’ as his boss ignored the calls and wandered into a large walk-in fridge.
‘This would be the best and worst results respectively for each party since the 1980s.
‘But the margins are extremely tight and small swings in a small number of seats, perhaps from tactical voting and a continuation of Labour’s recent upward trend, means we can’t currently rule out a hung parliament.
‘As things currently stand there are 85 seats with a margin of error of five per cent or less.’
A polling error could also work in favour of the Conservatives, giving them a majority larger than 28.
Meanwhile Jo Swinson’s Lib Dems, who are promising to cancel Brexit, are predicted to win 15 seats.
That would be a gain of three since 2017, but a decline in the Commons where the Lib Dems held 21 seats at dissolution after a series of defections.
Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, which is not standing in seats won by the Tories two years ago, is expected to win three per cent of the vote but no seats.
According to the poll, the SNP are on course to win 41 out of 59 seats in Scotland, recouping some of the losses they made in 2017.
If the model is accurate, Plaid Cymru will win four seats in Wales, the same as last time.
The Greens are likely to retain their one seat in Brighton, while new Commons speaker Lindsay Hoyle is expected to keep his Chorley seat where major parties are not challenging him.
Voters in Buckingham will have a choice of major parties for the first time since 2005 after previous speaker John Bercow stepped down.
Changes since 2017: The Conservatives are forecast to gain 22 seats at Thursday’s election, recovering the majority they lost two years ago, with Labour down 31 seats
Changes over time: This chart shows the state of the parties in 2017, at the dissolution of parliament, in the November MRP projection and in last night’s forecast
Trying his hand: Boris Johnson during a visit to The Hut Group in Warrington yesterday. A majority of 28 would be the Tories’ best election result since 1987
Jo Swinson ends election campaign less popular than Jeremy Corbyn
By Daniel Martin, Policy Editor for the Daily Mail
Jo Swinson has ended the election campaign less popular with the voters than Jeremy Corbyn.
A poll by Ipsos Mori found the Liberal Democrat leader has a net favourability rating of minus 31.
That compares to the Labour leader’s minus 30 rating.
Both trail Boris Johnson, whose net favourability rating stands at minus 14.
Unfavourable rating: Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson campaigning in Bath yesterday
The poll is devastating for the Lib Dems, and lends support to the theory that the more people see of their leader, the less they like her.
At the start of the campaign, Miss Swinson had a rating of minus 20. Now the rating is minus 31 (18 per cent favourable, 49 per cent unfavourable).
Mr Johnson’s leadership rating has also fallen from the beginning of the campaign, when it as minus 8.
Now it is minus 14 (33 per cent favourable, 47 per cent unfavourable).
Only Mr Corbyn has seen an improvement in his rating, enabling him to leapfrog Miss Swinson.
At the start of the campaign, the Labour leader was on minus 39.
Now he is on minus 30 (26 per cent favourable and 56 per cent unfavourable).
The previous model results two weeks ago predicted that the Conservatives would win 359 seats, compared to 211 for Labour.
MRP, which stands for multilevel regression and post-stratification, is used to predict results in individual constituencies.
YouGov’s model draws on the data collected from more than 100,000 panellists questioned on their voting intention over the course of the last seven days
The method came to widespread attention in 2017 when it correctly predicted that Theresa May would lose her majority.
Most polls had shown Mrs May on course to increase her majority after calling a snap election.
YouGov says that the model predicted the correct result in 93 per cent of GB constituencies two years ago.
The pollsters warn that the model is based on interviews conducted before polling day, pointing out that voters could change their minds before December 12.
In addition, the model cannot take into account tactical voting or the popularity of individual candidates.
The penultimate day of the campaign was dominated by a secret recording of Labour frontbencher Jon Ashworth lambasting Mr Corbyn in private.
Shadow health secretary Mr Ashworth said Labour’s situation was ‘abysmal’ because voters ‘can’t stand Corbyn’, in a recording leaked to the website Guido Fawkes.
He also claimed the civil service would ‘move pretty quickly to safeguard security’ if the Labour leader became prime minister.
Mr Ashworth insisted he was ‘joking around’ and feeding his friend a ‘bit of b*****ks’, saying it was a ‘dirty trick’ to record the conversation.
However, Boris Johnson immediately seized on his remarks to renew his attacks on Labour.
The PM used an appearance at a JCB plant near Uttoxeter to brand Mr Corbyn a ‘Hamas-backing, IRA-supporting, anti-Semitism-condoning appeaser of the Kremlin’.
‘Don’t just listen to me, look at what his health spokesman Jon Ashworth has said. He is absolutely right,’ he said.
Mr Johnson also provided a bizarre visual metaphor for his election campaign by driving a JCB digger through a wall emblazoned with the word ‘gridlock’.
The Ashworth row was a welcome change of emphasis for the Tories after an ugly row over the NHS on Monday.
Challenge: Jeremy Corbyn (pictured in Glasgow on Tuesday) has gained ground but is still set to lead Labour to its worst result since 1987, the latest polling model predicts
Looking ahead: Boris Johnson’s party is set to win a majority, but Labour appear to be shoring up their ‘red wall’ of seats in the Midlands and North of England, polling analysis suggests
The PM was widely criticised for refusing to look at a widely circulated picture of a young boy lying on a pile of coats at Leeds General Infirmary.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock was dispatched to the hospital in an attempt to defuse the growing media firestorm.
However, his visit prompted further acrimony when false rumours swirled that Mr Hancock’s aide had been punched by a Labour activist.
Labour accused the Tories of ‘bare-faced lying’ after footage showed that the encounter was no more than an accidental brush of the arm.
Polls open at 7am on Thursday. An exit poll prediction will be published once polling stations close at 10pm.
Votes will then be counted through the night and the national picture should become clear in the early hours of Friday.
What is the MRP polling analysis and how does it work?
What is the latest poll?
For the last seven days YouGov has interviewed approximately 100,000 panellists about their voting intentions in the 2019 General Election.
While this is a much larger sample than YouGov’s usual polls, the samples in each of the 632 Parliamentary constituencies are too small, working out on average at only 150 voters per constituency, to produce reliable estimates if they analysed the data as constituency polls.
In order to come up with estimates for each constituency they have used a technique called Multilevel Regression and Post-stratification – or MRP for short.
What is MRP?
YouGov said the idea behind MRP is that it uses the poll data from the preceding seven days to estimate a model which includes interview date, constituency, voter demographics, past voting behaviour and other respondent profile variables to their current voting intentions.
This model is then used to estimate the probability that a voter with specified characteristics will vote Conservative, Labour or another party.
Using data from the UK Office for National Statistics, the British Election Study, and past election results, YouGov has estimated the number of each type of voter in each constituency.
Combining the model probabilities and estimated census counts allows YouGov to produce estimates of the number of voters in each constituency intending to vote for a party.
Humiliated: YouGov’s MRP polling analysis correctly predicted that Theresa May (pictured) would fail to win a majority in the snap election she called in 2017
How does MRP differ from usual polling?
Chris Curtis, political research manager at YouGov, said traditional polling can tell us what happens at a national level, but it does not answer the question of what might be happening in each of the constituencies across the country.
He said MRP is a polling technique aimed at solving that problem, a way of using large samples sizes to project figures on to smaller geographical areas.
Mr Curtis said it works by using an extremely large sample to model people’s vote preferences based upon their demographics, their age, gender, education, past vote and similar factors, and the local political circumstances.
Has the method been used before?
Yes. YouGov used the same method in the 2017 General Election, when the model accurately predicted the results in 93% of constituencies, and pointed towards a hung Parliament when many other election predictions were pointing towards a Conservative majority.
Does that mean it is completely reliable and should be seen as an accurate prediction of what will happen on December 12?
No. It is merely a projection forecasting what may happen based on current analysis. There are still two weeks to go, and a lot can change between now and then.
And just because the model was accurate in 2017 does not necessarily guarantee it will be accurate this time round.
Now 15 ex Labour MPs urge voters to reject Jeremy Corbyn: Risk of him becoming PM is ‘too great’ say former colleagues in devastating open letter hours after shadow minister branded him a security risk
By Larisa Brown, Political Correspondent for the Daily Mail
Fifteen former Labour MPs have launched an unprecedented advertising campaign on the eve of the election urging voters not to back Jeremy Corbyn tomorrow.
In a devastating open letter, they warn the Labour leader will deliver the opposite of a ‘safer, fairer society’, citing his record on anti-Semitism, extremism and national security.
They declare the party is no longer the one they supported all their lives and warn the risk of Mr Corbyn getting into No 10 is ‘too great’.
In the advert they proclaim: ‘We were all lifelong Labour voters and all former Labour MPs.
‘We are voting for different parties at this election, but we have all come to the difficult decision not to vote Labour.’
The poster – organised by campaign group Mainstream – will run as full-page adverts across a number of local and regional newspapers in the North today. It will target dozens of marginal constituencies where Labour could lose seats.
Under fire: Fifteen former Labour MPs have launched an unprecedented advertising campaign urging voters not to back Jeremy Corbyn (pictured at a phone bank in Glasgow yesterday)
Critics: Former Labour MPs Ivan Lewis (left), John Woodcock (centre) and Ann Coffey (right) are among the 15 signatories to an open letter urging voters not to back Jeremy Corbyn
Joan Ryan (left), Michael McCann (centre) and Gisela Stuart (right) are also among the former Labour MPs who have taken out full-page adverts in local and regional newspapers
Just a third of Red Len’s union members planning to back Labour
Barely a third of the members of Len McCluskey’s union plan to vote Labour, according to leaked polling.
Unite, which has given the party £3million during the election campaign, commissioned a private survey of 75,000 of its members last month. It found that just 35 per cent were planning to back Labour, with 18 per cent favouring the Tories.
The Brexit Party was on 11 per cent and the Lib Dems on 7 per cent. Another 18 per cent were undecided and the rest said they were voting Green or Ukip.
Mr McCluskey launched Unite’s ‘Come Home to Labour’ advertising campaign across key seats in the Midlands and North last week. The union general secretary admitted a ‘big number’ of his members were not ready to back Labour, saying there are ‘huge numbers of people who are still undecided’.
He told HuffPostUK: ‘We did a survey of 75,000 of our own Unite members and got a lot of information, different sectors, different areas of our union, and different areas of the country.
‘It’s reinforced the fact that there is still a big ‘don’t know’ group there. And that encourages me to an extent because I believe if people are not sure then trying to get them to look, in a sense, beyond Brexit, and to the type of country we want to be in the future. Our Achilles heel is in our communities, in what’s known as our heartlands, that voted Leave and are not quite sure yet whether they will give their vote to Labour.
‘If we can engage people listening to what’s on offer, what type of Britain and country we want as we go into the future, then we are on to a winner.’
In the extraordinary intervention, the advert says: ‘Thinking of voting Labour? Think again.
‘Everyone wants a safer, fairer society. But in this election the Labour Party is set to deliver the opposite.’
A number of the signatories have previously spoken out against Mr Corbyn, including Ian Austin and John Woodcock who urged voters to back Boris Johnson. But they are also joined by others who have previously not publicly stood against Mr Corbyn.
The advert then goes on to explain why the former Labour MPs will not be backing Mr Corbyn.
It states: ‘Despite what Jeremy Corbyn says about anti-Semitism, we need to accept that most Jewish people have well-founded fears about what Labour has become. British Jews deserve our support.’
On Mr Corbyn’s record on national security, it states: ‘From wanting to ‘end Nato’ to calling members of Hamas and Hezbollah ‘friends’, Jeremy Corbyn has too often sided with those hostile to Britain, from the IRA to Russia.’
The poster concludes: ‘We know it’s a hard decision for Labour supporters to make. It was for us, too.
‘But millions of people who have voted Labour all their lives now think the risk of Jeremy Corbyn getting into Number 10 is too great.
‘The party has changed. Labour is no longer the party we have supported all our lives.’
In excoriating comments, Mr Austin, chairman of Mainstream, said it would be a ‘disaster’ for the UK if Mr Corbyn got the keys to Downing Street. He added: ‘The Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn has changed beyond recognition. It is no longer the party myself and millions of other Labour voters supported all our lives. I’m urging all decent Labour voters not to back Jeremy Corbyn on Thursday.’
Tory candidates said the poster illustrated how unfit he was to become PM. Alan Mak, Tory candidate for Havant constituency in Hampshire, said: ‘Even former Labour MPs know we can’t trust Jeremy Corbyn with our country’s future. He would be an extreme, divisive prime minister.’