November 13, 2019 / 4:01 PM / a month ago

ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL: A storm in the British prime minister's teacup

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain holds an election on Dec. 12, a political gamble by Prime Minister Boris Johnson who sees it as his best chance to break the deadlock in parliament over Brexit.

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson tastes whisky during a general election campaign visit to Diageo's Roseisle Distillery near Elgin, Scotland, Britain November 7, 2019. Daniel Leal-Olivas/Pool via REUTERS

The main parties are on the campaign trail, traveling the length and breadth of the UK to drum up support.

Following are some colorful snapshots from the election trail:

STORM IN A TEA CUP

Boris Johnson’s first official election broadcast provoked immediate disapproval on social media. Not because of what he said about Brexit. Not because of the big election issues like the future of the health service, police or schools.

It was because of another national obsession - tea.

The five-minute broadcast showed Johnson walking through his campaign headquarters, answering questions put to him from behind the camera, greeting staff members, and making a cup of tea in a drab office kitchen.

Johnson put a teabag in his mug, added hot water and then, to the displeasure of some viewers, added milk without removing the bag and continued his tour.

“I can’t be the only one who couldn’t concentrate on what he was saying because he left his teabag in his tea, surely?” asked Twitter user Adam Rowe.

He wasn’t. Dozens of similar comments rolled in within minutes of the video being posted.

The furore prompted Johnson to respond on Twitter: “For those who’ve noticed, this really is how I make my tea. It lets it brew and makes it stronger.”

SHE’S GOT THE POWER

Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson stepped into a boxing ring in North London to spar with club owner Matt Garcia in front of the cameras.

Swinson, 39, put on a pair of boxing gloves in yellow, the party’s color, and enthusiastically threw punches into Garcia’s pads before stopping to do interviews.

“She was great, she had lots of power,” Garcia told Reuters.

The Lib Dems are hoping the same is true on Dec. 13, when the election results come in.

MISTRUST OF MEDIA

Campaign events bring together ardent party supporters and members of the media, who often turn up with awkward questions to ask.

That can make for an uncomfortable mix. Labour audiences have in recent years booed and heckled journalists when they stand to ask a question.

But at this election the party has been trying to stamp that out. At each Labour event, the hosts have pleaded with their audience.

“Sometimes at these events some of our members get a bit excited about the media asking questions,” Labour’s would-be finance minister John McDonnell said during an event on Wednesday.

“We honour the right of the profession of journalism.”

The call for calm has worked. Mostly.

Before things got started on Wednesday a Labour staffer asked a man trying to take a seat in the media row: “Are you media?”

“Oh God no,” came the shocked reply. “Do I look like it? What a horrible thing to say!”

Reporting by William James and Kylie MacLellan; Editing by Mike Collett-White

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