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Candidates make last-minute appeals as British election tightens

By
Don Jacobson
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivers his final rallying speech Wednesday before voting starts Thursday to determine who will be Britain's new prime minister. Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivers his final rallying speech Wednesday before voting starts Thursday to determine who will be Britain's new prime minister. Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 11 (UPI) -- British political candidates made frenzied last-minute appeals for votes Wednesday, a day before a national general election in which the long-held Conservative Party lead appeared to be dwindling.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson began Wednesday by delivering milk to homeowners in northern Britain, the first stop in a day of cross-country campaigning, while Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn appeared at a rally in which he promised "investment for the future."

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Both sides campaigned with frantic energy with the expectation the race will come down to the wire following the results of the final major poll, released Wednesday, showing that while Johnson's Conservatives are maintaining the lead they have held since campaigning began 51 days ago, the margin is shrinking.

Johnson has based his campaign on a promise to "get Brexit done" by grabbing an outright majority in Parliament, enabling the passage of a withdrawal agreement he has negotiated with the European Union.

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But his once comfortable lead in the polls has narrowed considerably in the last two weeks. Instead of a winning a parliamentary majority by a healthy 68 seats as previously forecast, the new projections point to a slender Conservative majority of 28 seats in Britain's 650-seat House of Commons.

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The narrowness of that margin has raised hopes among Labor Party, Liberal Democratic and the Scottish Nationalist Party leaders the election is close enough to result in a "hung Parliament" with no party getting an outright majority.

Sensing the opportunity, Corbyn urged supporters at a rally to "go flat out" in campaigning for marginal seats that could decide the outcome in a close vote.

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