From changing tactics to naff photo ops: ITV News analyses the party campaigns so far and where they'll go next

They're tirelessly following the main parties across the UK covering every press conference, rally and impromptu voter encounter.

But after passing the midpoint of the 2019 election campaign, how do the ITV News correspondents think things are going for their respective party?

Here they deliver some quickfire analysis.

So read on to find out which party is now more like a pressure group, which leader's jokes are badly over-cooked and which campaign bus is hot with debate on classic Christmas songs...

Paul Brand (tracking the Conservatives)

Boris Johnson has adopted some interesting stances while drumming the same message. Credit: PA

How has the Conservative campaign changed since day 1?

The Conservatives have been relentlessly consistent in their campaigning since day one.

Despite several events threatening to divert them from their key message, they have continued to ensure that all roads lead back to Brexit.

Which means we’ve definitely lost count of the number of times we’ve heard that joke about sticking their oven-ready Brexit deal on gas mark 5/just adding water/stirring it in a pot.

Though hearing the PM deliver it in Welsh this week did at least make for some variation (see Paul's report below).

What are the key moments in the campaign so far that stand out to you?

So far this election has been defined mostly by events outside of it - from the November floods to the worst A&E statistics on record.

These have provided the biggest test of the Conservative campaign, shifting the debate temporarily back to domestic issues on which the Tories are far less comfortable.

Adding to that discomfort was the sheer anger in South Yorkshire when the PM visited flood-hit communities. Moments like that in any election can prove fatal, but the campaign appeared to bounce back.

Boris Johnson helped with the clean up at an opticians in Matlock, Derbyshire. Credit: PA

Can you share a particularly telling encounter with a voter?

Two things have struck me when speaking to voters in this election.

Firstly, the number who say they hate all the options open to them and express a real reluctance to vote for any. And second, the number of life-long Labour voters who appear to be cautiously considering the Conservatives.

Having grown up in Wales, I couldn’t quite believe the son of a miner from Llangollen, who told me his father and grandfather would turn in their graves, will be voting Tory.

These surveys aren’t scientific and minds can still be changed, but the relatively recent phenomenon of Brexit (less than four years old) appears to be breaking political ties that stretch back generations.

What are three things that you think will develop until election day?

  • I think we’ll see the Conservatives up the energy in the final weeks - they still believe they’re on course for a majority, but they want it to be a big one.

  • Questions about Boris Johnson’s character, particularly the issue of trust.

  • At least another dozen renditions of that oven ready joke...surely it’s a little over-done by now.

It's been a bit of a glum election. What's made you smile while on the road?

My producer Rachel and our great crew, especially Dave the driver who slips us sweets whenever we’re flagging.

Though add in the service station stops for dinner, and at this rate I’m gaining pounds as quickly as we’re clocking up miles...

Romilly Weeks (tracking Labour alongside Libby Wiener)

Jeremy Corbyn has put claims over NHS trade deals at the centre of his campaign. Credit: PA

How has the party's campaign changed since day 1?

In one way it’s stayed very consistent with Labour trying to hammer home an advantage on the NHS.

At the very first event we went to on day one of week one - NHS "not for sale"’ was the chant:

That has now reached its high point with Labour releasing the so-called secret documents that they claim show the NHS is "on the table" in any future trade talks.

However the campaign has been thrown badly off course by Jeremy Corbyn’s vulnerability on the issue of anti-Semitism.

Back in the first week I raised the issue with John McDonnell in Liverpool:

The fact that it is still haunting this campaign should be really worrying Labour strategists.

What are the key moments in the campaign so far that stand out to you?

The launch of the Labour manifesto - with its huge re-nationalisation programme, massive spending pledges and promises to rebalance the economy in favour of workers - an unapologetically radical and uncompromising programme for government.

The intervention of the Chief Rabbi and particularly Jeremy Corbyn’s refusal to apologise for Labour’s handling of anti-Semitism.

An inexplicable decision given that members of his shadow cabinet HAVE said sorry and even he has done so in the past, and one that has ensured this story is not going away.

Can you share a particularly telling encounter with a voter?

Two stand out particularly.

There was one man who I interviewed about the Labour manifesto, who had set out in detail why a massive council house building programme was needed - exactly what Labour was just spelling out they were promising - and yet this former Labour voter was saying he would not vote for Jeremy Corbyn.

Equally a significant number of Corbyn supporters I have talked to at rallies are convinced that even the anti-Semitism issue is cooked up by the "mainstream media" (despite the criticism coming from Jewish leaders and Jewish ex-Labour MPs).

What are three things that you think will develop until election day?

The NHS - because Labour feel they are making headway on this.

The issue of leadership. I asked Jeremy Corbyn at one event whether the party would be doing better without him.

The focus on this is only likely to increase, his resignation has already been mooted as the price of any post-election deal with the SNP and Lib Dems.

And unfortunately anti-Semitism.

It's been a bit of a glum election. What's made you smile while on the road?

There are big days and then rather less weighty days.

One of my favourite events was Jeremy Corbyn visiting a floating cafe where his security detail outnumbered members of the public tenfold and where he gave the only interview of the day to Waterways World (the country’s "best selling inland waterways magazine".)

We spent a great deal of time trying to work out why.

Rachel Younger (tracking the Liberal Democrats alongside Rebecca Barry)

Jo Swinson has had time enough for reflection to change the key tone of her campaign. Credit: PA

How has the Lib Dem campaign changed since Day 1?

Jo Swinson has spent months telling us she could be our next prime minister and that’s how she kicked off her campaign.

Not any more.

The half way point of the election trail has been marked by a change of tack from her party.

The Lib Dems still want your vote but not because they believe they can win.

Instead the message now is vote for Jo Swinson to deny Boris Johnson a majority.

What are the key moments in the campaign so far that stand out to you?

The moment that’s defined this campaign for the Lib Dems has actually been a Brexit Party decision.

The announcement they’d be giving the Tories a clear run in over half of the country completely changed the Lib Dems' calculations.

Without the possibility of voters splitting between four parties Swinson’s hopes of really meaningful gains were scuppered. And that’s why we’ve seen a change in their messaging.

What they are less keen to respond to is another key moment for me - the audience turning on a beleaguered Swinson during BBC’s Question Time in Week 3.

Her campaign team insist she’s popular in the kind of swing seats where she needs to be - we’ll only know if they’re right about that on election night.

Jo Swinson got a brief lift on a cherry picker during a visit to an eco home building site in Sheffield. Credit: PA

Can you share a particularly telling encounter with a voter.

I’m tempted to say the volunteers Swinson met in Fishlake, the area of Yorkshire hit by the floods.

A fair few of them had no idea who she was.

But that’s often been the fate of Lib Dem leaders.

What’s been really notable about the campaign is how rarely Swinson has been allowed to come into contact with anyone who isn’t a Lib Dem voter.

Which is odd as she’s much more likeable in person than you might imagine from her television appearances.

What are three things that you think will develop until election day?

What’s clear from the past few days is that Swinson will save most of her fire for Boris Johnson - a departure from the first fortnight of her campaign when she said neither of the main parties’ leaders were fit to govern.

She’ll be pushed harder on who she’d work with if the Lib Dems end up holding the balance of power - there’s already been a notable shift away from saying neither of the main parties to neither of their existing leaders.

And the big focus on London will continue - wins for big political names who’ve shifted allegiance like Chuka Umunna and Luciana Berger in Westminster and Finchley respectively are critical to the party's future.

Jo Swinson shared her penchant for The Darkness. Credit: PA

It's been a bit of a glum election. What's made you smile while on the road?

Inspired by the festive lights we’ve seen from the road we’re currently whiling away the hours on rainswept motorways by voting for our favourite Christmas song.

The George Michael classic “Last Christmas” is the team’s current favourite.

But I can exclusively reveal Swinson is most partial to a bit of Mel and Kim with their 80s remake of “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree”.

She did also mention The Darkness - although I’m assured its no reflection of her mood as we plough through Week 4.

Angus Walker (tracking the Brexit Party alongside Emma Murphy)

Nigel Farage has entered the boxing ring a few times but will this campaign prove to be his final political fight? Credit: PA

How has the Brexit Party campaign changed since day 1?

Nigel Farage has gone from issuing an ultimatum on day one - challenging Boris Johnson to join a Leave Alliance or he would deploy candidates in around 600 seats and describing the PM’s deal as a "treaty you’d only sign if you’d been defeated in a war" - to now claiming to be the inspiration for key lines in the Conservative manifesto and standing down candidates in 317 Tory held seats.

It now feels like a campaign by a pressure group rather than a political party.

The aim now is to get a few MPs elected to put pressure on Boris Johnson, if he wins, as he negotiates a trade deal with the EU.

Never mind a pivot this has been more of a pole vault.

What are the key moments in the campaign so far that stand out to you?

The speech Nigel Farage made on the second Monday of the campaign when he announced the Brexit Party would not stand in seats the Tories won in 2017 will possibly prove to be a defining moment.

That’s if Boris Johnson goes on to win a majority.

Whether Nigel Farage will see any reward remains to be seen.

Nigel Farage rowed back on his threat to Boris Johnson by the second week of the campaign. Credit: PA

Can you share a particularly telling encounter with a voter?

On a street in Ebbw Vale, in South Wales, 80-year-old John Rogers stopped Nigel Farage during a walkabout and to his face told him he "hadn’t got the courage" to stand for election himself.

"You’re the only Party leader not standing", he pointed out.

The decision not to stand because the Brexit Party leader says he’s more effective touring the country supporting candidates has been perhaps the most difficult to explain.

It seems many voters like to see their leaders put their money where their mouth is.

What are three things that you think will develop until election day?

The polls are not being kind to the Brexit Party.

The decision not to field a full slate of candidates led to a drop in the numbers.

At the beginning of the campaign the party was polling around the same levels that Ukip achieved in 2015 and that percentage saw them win approximately 4.5 million votes in that year.

Now the party seems to getting around 3-5% in the polls. The figures have almost halved.

In 2017 the Labour manifesto proved to be popular and support for Jeremy Corbyn swelled.

Given that the Brexit Party is targeting Labour seats, the results will show how vulnerable, or not, the Labour leader is to attack on two fronts from the Tories and from the Brexit Party.

As we near polling day the closer we get to the question: how relevant will Nigel Farage be if Boris Johnson wins a majority and delivers Brexit?

This could increasingly be seen as Farage’s last stand.

It's been a bit of a glum election. What's made you smile while on the road?

When you’re following a politician around, you often pick up the comments from people who are wondering what’s going on when the party leader, entourage and assorted media suddenly appear in a shopping street or market place. The often unprintable reactions always make me chuckle.

It’s the classic British "who do you think you are?" moment and a reminder that we seem to suffer our politicians rather than shower them with compliments.