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Boris Johnson visits West Country on campaign trail

Boris Johnson on a train to Somerset. Credit: PA
  • By David Wood, ITV News West Country Political Correspondent.

Boris Johnson starts his day with a campaigning visit in the Taunton Deane Constituency.

This is a seat that the Tories won from the Liberal Democrats and held with a convincing majority two years later, but it is now an area where the Lib Dems are feeling confident.

In May, the newly-created West Somerset and Taunton Council was won by the Lib Dems and the party came second across the West Country in the European elections.

Boris Johnson. Credit: PA

Boris Johnson has so far spent much of the campaign in areas of the country like the Midlands and North East, where he hopes to win Labour-held seats that voted to leave the EU.

Winning seats like these would help to create the majority that he desires to get his Brexit deal approved.

For the PM to win that majority, however, then he will have to keep his grip on the West Country.

Back in 2015, David Cameron's Conservatives wiped out the Liberal Democrats in the West Country - and that handed him the keys to Downing Street.

Boris Johnson will start the day in Taunton Deane. Credit: PA

Then in the 2017 election the Tories' majority in the South West dropped, claiming 42 of the region's 50 seats. That's why the party is on the defensive here.

The party's hopes have been boosted by the Brexit Party’s decision not to field candidates in those Conservative held seats.

The Tories hope to pick up a few seats in the South West; Stroud, Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, and Bristol North West are being targeted, but in reality the main focus here will be to keep the 42 seats the party held last time round.

So while the Conservative Party's main focus will be winning Labour seats in significant numbers elsewhere in the country, it can’t afford to ignore the West Country in this election.