By William James and Elizabeth Piper
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.
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:
HE’S GOT RHYTHM?
Boris Johnson visited a college in southwest England on Thursday, where he was invited to clap along to the pupils’ performance of “Lovely Day” by Bill Withers.
Despite an enthusiastic conductor and well-drilled student choir, Johnson looked uncomfortable as he struggled to stick to the beat.
He then stood before the choir while they performed the same song in Makaton – a sign language that supports spoken English. This time he sang along, but kept his arms firmly by his side.
ONE DOWN, QUITE A FEW TO GO
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he wanted to plant 300 million trees across the country during his first five years in office if he wins power next month – starting with one in the garden of the official prime ministerial residence.
Speaking at the launch of his environmental agenda in Southampton, Corbyn – a keen gardener who tends a vegetable plot in North London – said he had been looking after a sapling given to him by climate change protesters earlier this year.
“I’ve got a very nice hornbeam tree in a pot in my back garden which I was given by climate extinction people … I’ve been looking after it very, very carefully, and very, very well, and I can find a really nice place to plant it,” he said.
299,999,999 to go.
‘GET BREAKFAST DONE’
During an election campaign, the 0810 GMT interview slot on BBC Radio 4 is the big one. It’s where ministers, or their equivalents in rival parties, go to promote (and defend) their latest policy announcement while the nation eats its breakfast.
On Thursday it was Conservative health minister Matt Hancock’s turn, responding to criticism by the opposition Labour Party about possible U.S. involvement in British healthcare.
Hancock batted back and forth several times with his interviewer, saying the nation’s National Health Service was not for sale, until he was apparently caught out by a shorter-than-usual question.
Twitter users were quick to pick up on what sounded to them like Hancock talking with his mouth full.
Responding to one comment shortly after the interview ended, he neither confirmed nor denied he had been caught eating on-air, but did suggest a possible new campaign slogan: “#GetBreakfastDone”.
(Reporting by William James and Elizabeth Piper; Editing by Mike Collett-White)