The electoral battle for Brexit and Britain begins

Video Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on October 30, 2019 - Duration: 02:03s

The electoral battle for Brexit and Britain begins

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn traded barbs on Wednesday, as a six week campaign for British votes began.

David Doyle reports.


The electoral battle for Brexit and Britain begins

(SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH PRIME MINISTER BORIS JOHNSON, SAYING: "I look forward to contesting it at the barricades" The electoral battle for Brexit and Britain has begun.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson set out his stall on Wednesday (October 30).

(SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH PRIME MINISTER BORIS JOHNSON, SAYING: "This is the party that supports wealth creation." That claim was dampened somewhat, however, by a thinktank report saying that Johnson's EU withdrawal deal will leave the UK billions of pounds poorer.

The National Institute of Economic and Social Research estimated that in ten years time the economy will be 3.5% smaller under Johnson's plan than if it stayed in the EU.

That's roughly equivalent to ยฃ70bln.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) UK OPPOSITION LEADER JEREMY CORBYN, SAYING: "The prime minister's talking nonsense." Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn focused on the National Health Service - once the main issue concerning voters, before the 2016 EU referendum that is.

Though, as with much in British politics, all roads lead to Brexit - in this case what the impact would be on the NHS of post-Brexit trade deals struck with the United States.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) UK OPPOSITION LEADER JEREMY CORBYN, SAYING: "Despite the Prime Minister's denials, our NHS is up for grabs by U.S. corporations in a Trump-style trade deal." There'll be plenty more barbs exchanged over the next six weeks... (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH PRIME MINISTER BORIS JOHNSON, SAYING: "I think he frankly must be out of his mind." ... but the outcome of the election is highly unpredictable.

The UK is both fatigued and angered by Brexit.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) COMMUTER, GEORGE WORMSLEY, SAYING: "I think most people just want the whole Brexit saga to be over." And support for the two main parties has been eroded.

As well as unclear, the outcome could also be inconclusive - keeping Britain firmly in the Brexit quagmire.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) COMMUTER SEAN HARRIS, FROM LONDON, SAYING: "Realistically, there are so many unknowns I think we'll probably end up in the same place but just four months down the line." Johnson's Conservatives currently lead the opposition Labour Party by ten percentage points according to polls, though pollsters underestimated the support for Brexit in 2016 and admit that their models are wilting beside the Brexit furnace.

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