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UK PM's election campaign gets off to rocky start

Video Credit: Reuters - Politics - Duration: 02:11s - Published
UK PM's election campaign gets off to rocky start

UK PM's election campaign gets off to rocky start

Boris Johnson launched his election campaign focused on Brexit, but a minister's resignation, a lawmaker's insensitive remarks about the Grenfell fire and a fake news embarrassment made for a rocky start.

Lucy Fielder reports.

Boris Johnson's election campaign -- spoiler alert: it's all about Brexit -- got off to a rocky start.

Among the own goals by team Conservative: a resignation, a gaffe about the victims of a deadly fire and the doctoring of a video of an opponent.

It started formally enough; an audience with Queen Elizabeth marked the official start of campaigning.

Johnson called the snap December 12 election to break the deadlock over leaving the European Union.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH PRIME MINISTER, BORIS JOHNSON, SAYING: "And that is our mission.

If I come back here with a working majority in parliament, then I will get parliament working again for you.

On day one of the new parliament in December, we will start getting our deal through so we can get Brexit done in January and unleash this country's potential." But within an hour of leaving the palace, Johnson accepted the resignation of his minister for Wales, Alun Cairns.

An aide allegedly sabotaged a rape trial -- and Cairns is accused of lying about how much he knew.

On Tuesday, Conservative lawmaker and arch-Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg had to apologise for remarks about the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire which killed 71 people.

He suggested they should have used 'common sense' to ignore firefighters' instructions and get out of the burning building.

Meanwhile the Conservative chairman spent Wednesday morning defending the party's distribution of an obviously doctored video clip of a rival politician.

A key response had been edited out.

So it looked like Labour's Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer stammered to a halt when asked about Brexit, when he'd actually answered without faltering.

Johnson's Conservatives are still well ahead of Labour in polls -- though pollsters warn they are struggling with Brexit's seismic shifts.

As expected, Johnson laid into Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, saying he hated wealth and likening him to Josef Stalin.

Which Corbyn said was the kind of nonsense the super-rich came up with to avoid paying more tax.




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