November 25, 2019 / 6:39 PM / 13 days ago

ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL: Shane? Ruth? Reporters go AWOL for UK's PM Johnson

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 speaks during the launch of the Welsh Conservatives' manifesto in Wrexham, Britain, November 25, 2019. REUTERS/Phil Noble/File Photo

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

Following are some colorful snapshots from the election trail:

WHERE’S SHANE?

Johnson launched his Conservative Party’s Welsh manifesto on Monday with a speech, including a word of two of the local language.

“Cyflawni Brexit,” he said to applause, translating his well-worn campaign slogan “Get Brexit Done.”

Having negotiated that hurdle, the subsequent press conference hit the buffers when he began taking questions from journalists.

Instead of calling on those in front of him with their hand raised, Johnson worked through a prepared list of reporters - a tactic that can ensure local and national press get questions and also weed out possible hostile enquiries.

“I’m going to go to Shane Brennon with the Daily Post,” he said.

Silence.

“Is he here? Shane? Paging Shane? ... What rival event could Shane be covering today?”

Try again.

“Is Ruth here?” Silence. “No? Where is Ruth?”

Try again.

“Darryl Robertson from Wrexham.com, if Darryl is here?” Silence. “No? Right, OK.”

He gave up, and went for Sue, who had raised her hand to ask a question.

THERE’S ONLY ONE TONY BLAIR

Former British prime minister Tony Blair gave a speech at Reuters on Monday, warning voters that both Labour, the party he led, and their main rivals the Conservatives, could not be trusted to form the next government.

He advocated tactical voting to stop Johnson becoming prime minister, including voting for parties other than Labour in areas where that was the best chance to defeat a Conservative candidate.

So, who will Blair vote for?

“I’ve got to vote Labour,” he said. “I’m in a particular position: there’s one of me ... I’ve been the longest serving Labour prime minister, I was leader for 13 years, I’ve been a member for 45.”

BRICKWALLING

Keen to address labor shortages, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn visited a college that trains construction workers, and had a go at laying bricks for the cameras.

As he concentrated on his trowel work, one reporter tried to engage him in small talk, with mixed results.

“Are you building for the future, Jeremy?” asked ITV’s Libby Wiener.

“We are indeed,” replied Corbyn, without looking up from his wall.

Wiener tried again: “Not worried your campaign’s hit a brick wall?”

“That’s a really poor joke, you know that? I’d have thought you could’ve done better than that. The campaign’s going just great,” Corbyn replied.

Editing by Mike Collett-White

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