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Party leaders issue final rallying cries as UK prepares to head to the polls

The leaders of the political parties have spent a final day in a bid to drum up support. Credit: PA

Political party leaders have issued their final rallying cries as the UK prepares to head to the polls.

Ahead of the polls opening at 7am on Thursday, the leaders of the main political parties spent Wednesday travelling around the country in a big to drum-up last minute support at the ballot box.

As campaigning entered the last day, Jeremy Corbyn said Labour offers a "vote for hope", while Boris Johnson insisted his party is the only one which can "get Brexit done".

In their last speeches of the election campaign, Mr Johnson told supporters at a rally in east London that Tory members had a duty to find "every vote we can to save our country from disaster" in the next 24 hours.

Also in London Mr Corbyn said his party would invest in the country, end austerity and redistribute wealth and power, as he addressed supporters in north-east London.

Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson was also on the campaign trail, while the SNP's Nicola Sturgeon joined candidates in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stirling and Dunbartonshire.

Nigel Farage took to the campaign trail on Wednesday in Yorkshire, where he was backed by local Brexit Party Prospective Parliamentary Candidates.

Labour is a 'vote for hope', says Corbyn

  • Video report by ITV News Political Correspondent Libby Weiner

As the six-week campaign entered the final stretch, Mr Corbyn attended rallies in Scotland, Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Bedfordshire and London.

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell went on the offensive to kick the day off, accusing the Conservatives of resorting to "gutter" politics in order to win the election.

He said: "I just wish we have had the Conservatives being honest with us. I just wish we hadn't been having this gutter politics, fake websites, lies and smears."

Labour also attempted to play down a secret recording of Labour's shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth questioning Mr Corbyn's suitability for high office.

Mr McDonnell said Mr Ashworth was having "banter" with a friend.

He added: "What sort of friend records a telephone conversation like that and then gives it to a conservative disruptive website?

"But that's the nature of Conservative politics now. That's what Boris Johnson has dragged the Tory Party into. I think it's dishonourable, I think it's gutter politics."

Later on Wednesday, Mr Corbyn addressed a rally in Middlesbrough where he took aim once more at the prospect of the NHS being sold off by the Tories as part of a US-UK trade deal.

In front of a lively crowd, he said: "Our NHS is not for sale - now or at any time in the future."

He poked fun at Boris Johnson - who had been up early on a milk round and apparently dodging Good Morning Britain TV cameras - when he said: “I’ve not come here to deliver milk, or to hide in a fridge. I’ve come here with a message of hope.”

He also attacked Mr Johnson's tax breaks for billionaires, the nine years of austerity, the unfairness of Universal Credit, before adding: "Are we seriously going to allow this lot back into office?"

Mr Corbyn's final rallying call was to Labour supporters to get out and vote to help put him in No.10.

Boris Johnson pulls out 'oven-ready pie' in Derby

  • Video report by ITV News Political Correspondent Paul Brand

The prime minister had an early start to the final day of the campaign, delivering milk and warning voters about the possibility of another hung parliament.

He said: "This could not be more critical, it could not be tighter - I just say to everybody the risk is very real that we could tomorrow be going into another hung parliament.

"That's more drift, more dither, more delay, more paralysis for this country."

Pressed on whether he was nervous, Mr Johnson replied: "We're fighting for every vote."

Later, Boris Johnson showed his culinary skills to put the pastry lid on an "oven-ready Brexit pie" during a visit to a Derby catering firm.

The PM then pulled out a separate beef and ale pie that had already cooked for 20 minutes, to which he had made no contribution.

He said: "This is the oven-ready pie, this is a perfect metaphor for what we're going to do in the run-up to Christmas if we can get a working majority, we have a deal, it's ready to go.

"You saw how easy it is, we put it in, slam it in the oven, take it out and there it is - get Brexit done."

The prime minister then reminding voters at rally of his key pledge to "get Brexit done", as well as his domestic policies.

He has promised to leave the EU by January 31, 2020 and boost the number of nurses by 50,000 and police numbers by 20,000.

Mr Johnson also repeated his promise of delivering "40 new hospitals", a figure which has been challenged over recent weeks.

  • Will Boris Johnson think he has done enough? ITV News Political Correspondent Paul Brand has more

He has also promised an Australian-style points-based immigration system, and investment in science, education, infrastructure and action to reach Net Zero by 2050.

He has vowed to honour all of these pledges without raising the rate of income tax, VAT or National Insurance.

He said: "Tomorrow at the ballot box you have the opportunity to tell politicians that you want Brexit done.

"Tell them that the people of this great country will no longer be ignored.

"Tell them that in this country we believe in and treasure our democracy and that politicians don't get to choose which votes they respect."

Swinson says last few hours of campaigning are 'vital'

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Rebecca Barry

While out on the campaign trail in Hersham, Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson stressed the importance of the last day of campaigning.

She said: "The last hours of any campaign are absolutely vital but I think particularly this time."

"So many people are still making up their mind and in so many seats it looks like it will be very marginal indeed particularly how voters choose to vote tactically in these seats."

  • Can the Lib Dems be a force for change? ITV News Correspondent Rebecca Barry answers

Boris Johnson a 'danger to Scotland', say SNP

Nicola Sturgeon published a letter calling Mr Johnson the "greatest danger to Scotland of any Tory prime minister in modern times".

In an open letter to voters ahead of polls opening on Thursday, Ms Sturgeon urged people to support her party.

Ms Sturgeon said recent polling suggests a Conservative victory is "not inevitable", as she urged Scots to back the SNP in Tory-held seats to deny Mr Johnson a majority.

  • Video report by ITV News Scotland Correspondent Peter Smith

She said: "I think the message from the YouGov poll couldn't be clearer - a Tory victory is not inevitable, it can be stopped.

"But in Scotland, where the SNP is the challenger to the Tories, that means voting SNP.

She also condemned Johnson as prime minister saying that he "poses a bigger threat to Scotland and the UK than any prime minister in recent memory".

A bruising last few days for Nigel Farage

Elsewhere, in Doncaster, Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage was already preparing his excuses after the Brexit Party's campaign.

"Our big problem is that the leave vote that is being split is ours, by Conservatives standing in areas that they haven't won in a hundred years, so we'll see, we're doing our best to get over the line."

He said the polls suggested a "narrow majority" for Mr Johnson but insisted that would have been a lot more comfortable had the Tories not been so "arrogant" and accepted his deal to not stand against his candidates in certain key seats.

  • Do the Brexit Party stand a chance of winning any seats? ITV News Correspondent Emma Murphy breaks down their chances