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Corbyn 'kick starts' last campaign tour of election in the West

Credit: PA

Today we are expecting to start the week with appearances from the two men who stand the most chance of securing the keys to Number 10 by the end of the week.

First up is Jeremy Corbyn, we haven’t seen a huge amount of him in the West Country so far in the campaign.

The Labour Leader on a visit to Filton in November. Credit: Aaron Chown/PA Wire

After the election was called, but before Parliament broke up at, he visited his party’s top three targets in the West of England (South Swindon, Filton & Bradley Stoke as well as Gloucester).

Today’s visit will see the Labour Leader on the defensive, trying to help shore up voters in seats his party held going into this election. Under his leadership in the 2017 election Labour in the West held onto three seats in Bristol (East, South and West) and gained Bristol North West and Stroud. It is these seats Mr Corbyn is expected to focus on today.

Whilst this election hasn’t all been about Brexit parties like the Conservatives, Lib Dems and the Brexit Party have tried to keep Brexit in the spot light. All of these key seats for Labour voted remain and the party is hoping its promise of a second referendum, with a new Corbyn Brexit deal verses Remain on the ballot, will help it attract remain voters in constituencies like these – whilst not alienating Labour voters who backed Leave (especially in the North of England and the Midlands).

Yet again though the party will try and focus the campaign today on domestic issues away from Brexit. The main topics will be the NHS and criticism of waiting times and also education and university tuition fees in particular.

Credit: Aaron Chown/PA Wire

Expect also criticism from the party of Boris Johnson’s character, today voters in the West will have a rare chance to see both Mr Corbyn and Mr Johnson in the region and judge them for themselves.

It is interesting that in this crucial week Jeremy Corbyn is starting on the defensive, rather than going on the attack in other constituencies in the West, I think it hints towards a nervousness in the party.

It should be said that Boris Johnson is also expected to be on the defensive in the West this evening. The problem for Labour in the five seats it had going into this election is that the threats to the party come from a number of other parties; for example, the Greens are targeting Stroud and Bristol West in particular, while the Conservatives have their eyes on Bristol North West and also Stroud.