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Live Reporting

By Francesca Gillett, Hamish Mackay and Alice Evans

All times stated are UK

  1. A summary of the penultimate day of campaigning

    What happened today?

    That's the end of today's live coverage of the general election campaign.

    Tuesday's headlines included:

    Join us tomorrow for the final day of campaigning before the UK heads to the polls on Thursday.

  2. Wednesday's Daily Mirror: Johnson saw my son's death not as a tragedy but as an opportunity

    Mirror

    The full BBC paper review will be published later this evening.

  3. Wednesday's Sun: Boris ticks all the boxes

    The Sun
  4. Wednesday's Daily Telegraph: PM pledges to get tough on serious criminals

    Telegraph
  5. What happened in the BBC Northern Ireland debate?

    The five main Stormont parties discussed Brexit, healthcare and the collapse of the assembly in the BBC election debate.

    It took place in the BBC's studios in Belfast on earlier this evening.

    The general election takes place on Thursday with 18 Westminster seats in Northern Ireland at stake.

    Four of the Stormont leaders attended the debate, while the Democratic Unionist Party was represented by Sir Jeffrey Donaldson.

    On Brexit, there was little meeting of minds between the parties.

    Sinn Féin's Stormont leader Michelle O'Neill came under fire for her party's policy of abstentionism.

    To read the full story of the debate, click here.

  6. Wednesday's Guardian: Final scramble for votes in most important election

    Guardian
  7. Wednesday's Daily Mail: Britain's future down to the wire

    Mail front page
  8. Wednesday's Times: Tory lead narrows ahead of final election rallies

    Times
  9. Reasons to be cautious about the YouGov poll

    Robert Cuffe

    BBC head of statistics

    As a reminder, the 2017 version of this model correctly predicted there would be a hung Parliament 10 days before polling day, and it called 93% of seats correctly.

    But there’s not enough of a track record for us to know whether that was a one-off success or not.

    There is also a wide margin of error of around 30 seats for Conservative seat shares and 25 for Labour.

    Also, in 2017, YouGov's correct-call-rate was lower (80%) for marginal seats - so we must be extra wary of predictions about individual seats - especially, alas, the interesting close ones.

    Things can change between now (or the fieldwork dates) and polling day.

  10. More on the YouGov poll

    There was a big deal made of the last YouGov poll, released towards the end of the last month.

    The model, based on the views of 100,000 voters, applies national trends to individual constituencies.

    But it comes with a big margin of error and does not reflect local issues that can have an impact on polling day.

    YouGov said the margin of error could put the final number of Tory seats anywhere between 311 and 367, suggesting a hung Parliament cannot be ruled out.

    If an election was held tomorrow, the poll predicts:

    • Tories to have a 28-seat majority
    • The Conservatives would have 339 seats, up 22 from 2017
    • Labour would have 231, down 31 on 2017
    • Lib Dems would have 15, up three, while the SNP would have 41, up six
    • And Plaid Cymru and the Green Party would both have the same number of seats (four and one respectively).
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  11. How will your party tackle the climate crisis?

    NI debate

    The last question on the BBC Northern Ireland election debate is on climate change.

    How will your party tackle the climate crisis, and what do you do personally?

    Ulster Unionist Party leader Steve Aiken since his party wants to get to net-zero carbon by 2035 in Northern Ireland.

    (For context - the UK government is currently working towards a target of 2050 for the same thing.)

    But first of all, "we must accept the fact there is a climate emergency," he says.

    Social Democratic and Labour Party leader Colum Eastwood says his party would like to hit the net-zero carbon target by 2030.

    "I have two daughters... we are leaving them some inheritance if we don't tackle this," he says.

    Alliance leader Naomi Long says "no one needs to convince most of us here that the climate emergency is real".

    "We have set a target of zero emissions by 2030", she says, and wants to see more investment in renewables.

    Challenged over whether the DUP believe in climate change, the party's chief whip Sir Jeffrey Donaldson says: "Yes we do believe that we need to change radically to prevent this climate change and its impact on the planet."

    And Sinn Fein vice-president Michelle O'Neill says the party wants to see an independent climate change agency as well as a green new deal to create green jobs.

    "Personally by myself, I'm becoming so much more aware," she says, citing Greta Thunberg as raising awareness of the issue.

    You can read the full story of the debate here.

  12. YouGov final election poll predicts small Tory majority

    A major YouGov poll has predicted the Tories will win a parliamentary majority of 28 seats at the general election.

    The second YouGov MRP poll - the final one before the election - suggests the Conservatives will win 339 seats in 2019, a rise of 22 from 2017, while Labour will lose 31 and end up with a total of 231.

    It is a smaller Tory majority than predicted in a previous YouGov poll in November that said the Tories would have a 68-seat majority.

    The research suggests that if the election was held tomorrow, the Lib Dems would win 15 seats, while the SNP would gain six.

    An MRP poll - which stands for the punchy multi-level regression and post-stratification - uses data from a poll to discover relationships between people’s characteristics and their answers to the voting intention question, YouGov says.

    It then constructs estimates of how vote intention would look in each constituency.

    Check the latest opinion poll trends with the poll tracker here.

  13. This was Labour's turn to be on the back foot

    Laura Kuenssberg

    BBC political editor

    Jonathan Ashworth
    Image caption: Jonathan Ashworth was forced to explain secretly taped comments

    As the Tories discovered to their cost yesterday, the election is not over.

    Boris Johnson's weirdly robotic response to a young child's experience in an NHS hospital saw to that.

    Conservatives were certainly cross with their boss's unforced political error.

    But one cabinet minister told me they didn't think it "would really tip things"; it was simply too late in the day.

    There is no question it gave Labour an opportunity to hammer home their message all day yesterday, and may well have planted more seeds of doubt in voters' minds about which way to go.

    A group of women in Staffordshire today, some of whom hadn't yet made their up their minds, all said worries about the health service were the number one factor for them, mentioning the picture that caused such a stir yesterday.

    But another last minute story bust its way into these closing moments of the campaign, grabbing headlines today, and putting Labour on the back foot this time.

    Read more from Laura here.

  14. Is it time for direct rule to tackle the health crisis?

    Michelle O'Neill
    Image caption: Sinn Fein's vice-president Michelle O'Neill

    The next question comes from a bank worker from Belfast, who asks whether, considering Sinn Fein and the DUP can't work together, is it time we have direct rule to tackle the health crisis?

    The DUP's Sir Jeffrey Donaldson goes first. "We need our assembly back and we need it back today," he says, adding that health will be the priority.

    He says once talks are back up and running next week, if there's no agreement in Stormont by 13 January "then I think we have to look at handing this back to Westminster".

    He reminds the audience of the £1.5bn the DUP MPs negotiated in 2017, in exchange for their support for the Tory government.

    Sinn Fein vice-president Michelle O'Neill says "direct rule is not an option".

    "We can never go backwards, we can only go forwards," she says. "I believe we need to give people the hope and the vision which was there back in 1998 when we signed the Good Friday Agreement."

    She says people in the community "want the assembly up and running... but it also needs to be sustainable and credible".

    On the health service, she says: "I think we need to have a very substantial financial injection from the British government...The health service is in crisis because of Tory austerity.

    "The health service is on its knees."

    Read more here about the deadlock over Northern Ireland's power sharing government.

  15. The DUP 'had power to push for soft Brexit in 2017'

    BBC Northern Ireland debate
    Image caption: Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, Colum Eastwood and Naomi Long

    Social Democratic and Labour Party leader Colum Eastwood - who is backing another referendum - tells the Northern Ireland election debate that the DUP "had all the power" in 2017.

    "They had 10 MPs, they had Theresa May at their beck and call," he says.

    "The DUP at any point, at the beginning of all of this, could have forced Theresa May to seek the softest possible Brexit. They could have had their political Brexit, but not an economic Brexit.

    "But they didn't. They refused to do it, they followed Jacob Rees-Mogg and the rest of them down the rabbit hole and they've been left behind.

    "And now we're in a situation where we're forced to protect this deal... which does real, real economic damage."

    Alliance leader Naomi Long says "business will have to adapt" to Boris Johnson's Brexit deal.

    "But will business be as economically sound as stable as if we don't Brexit? No."

    She adds: "So yes business will adapt... but that does not mean to say we will be in a good situation post-Brexit."

  16. Alliance and UUP leaders clash over Brexit

    Steve Aiken
    Image caption: Ulster Unionist Party leader Steve Aiken

    The panel are still on the same question: how could Northern Ireland make the best of a new reality?

    Ulster Unionist Party leader Steve Aiken says there is "such a degree of uncertainty" among business from Boris Johnson's Brexit deal.

    "It's going to fundamentally undermine the principles of the Northern Ireland economy.

    "That's why we need to have Ulster Unionist MPs in Westminster because we need to negotiate suitable mitigation factors that means... that we can't have any borders north, south, east or west."

    Alliance leader Naomi Long replies: "Because, like every other policy, Steve, whatever you might say... when I speak to the next Ulster Unionist candidate, they'll be saying something entirely different."

    Answering the original question, Sinn Fein vice-president Michelle O'Neill says we need to "adapt to that new changing situation".

    "We need a new economic strategy that looks at sector by sector. It looks at what are the needs of our industries.

    "Even before Brexit, our economic performance is really poor," she says, adding that there's a "dearth here in terms of economic development".

    "By the nature of business, people will adapt," she adds.

  17. How could NI make the best of Brexit?

    Jeffrey Donaldson
    Image caption: Jeffrey Donaldson suggests DUP MPs could have the chance to use their influence again

    If Brexit happens, how could Northern Ireland make the best of a new reality? That's the next question, posed by a Bangor businessman, facing the line-up of politicians on the NI election debate.

    Asked how he will deal with the checks on goods - which would come into force under Boris Johnson's Brexit deal - DUP Chief Whip Sir Jeffrey Donaldson says this election "is going to be quite close" and he reckons there is "every prospect" NI MPs can use their influence again in the House of Commons to get the changes necessary to the Brexit deal.

    There will be opportunities to amend the bill to "safeguard Northern Ireland", he says.

    In the 2017 election, the DUP entered into a confidence and supply agreement with the Conservatives, meaning they had influence as they were being relied on to prop up the government.

    Alliance leader Naomi Long says she thinks that despite having 10 MPs in Westminster, Sir Jeffrey's DUP team have delivered "chaos and uncertainty".

    She says we have to assume that the Conservative MPs elected on Friday will support Mr Johnson's Brexit deal.

    "I think first of all we look for mitigations," she says to ensure there are no hard borders at all.

  18. Ashworth: Leaked phone call was 'dirty stitch-up'

    LBC

    Video content

    Video caption: LISTEN: Excerpt from secret recording

    Labour's shadow health secretary has been in the news all day because of a leaked secret recording of him criticising Jeremy Corbyn to his Tory friend.

    And now Jonathan Ashworth is telling LBC radio listeners he's been the victim of a "dirty trick".

    "Greig [Baker, Mr Ashworth's Tory friend] had been telling me in a panic that Jeremy Corbyn was going to win and all these terrible things were going to happen and he had been saying this throughout the campaign via text," he tells presenter Iain Dale.

    "We spoke on the phone and he started asking me all these bizarre questions... he was sort of doing my head in with all of this. I gave him a bit of nonsense and said we weren't going to win so don't worry about it."

    He adds: "In the past he has been very rude about the Conservatives to me and at some points he has given us little bits and pieces to undermine his own Conservative government."

    Mr Ashworth says it was a "dirty trick" to record the conversation and that he's been "too trusting".

    "I've been stitched up like a kipper, played like a fiddle - whatever the right metaphor is," Mr Ashworth says.

  19. Do you believe Brexit makes a united Ireland more likely?

    Colum Eastwood
    Image caption: Social Democratic and Labour Party leader Colum Eastwood

    The first question in the Northern Ireland leaders' debate is: Do you believe Brexit makes a united Ireland more likely?

    Social Democratic and Labour Party leader Colum Eastwood is first to answer.

    "We have to deal with the crisis that we're in, which is Brexit," he says, adding: "It's already shaken our peace process."

    Mr Eastwood says he's backing another referendum and wants to be part of a "pro-Remain coalition".

    DUP chief whip Sir Jeffrey Donaldson says he does not believe there's an "existential threat" to NI's position within the UK.

    "We can't go on with this situation where we ignore what people say," he says. "The poll was held, the people voted."

    He said the DUP has been "absolutely crucial" when it comes to Brexit, adding that it blocked the Brexit deal.

    Ulster Unionist Party leader Steve Aiken clashes with Sir Jeffrey over the DUP's stance on the Brexit deal.

    Mr Aiken says that on the 2 October, DUP leader Arlene Foster said the deal was sensible. "You agreed on the 2 October to put a border down the Irish Sea."

    Sinn Fein vice-president Michelle O'Neill says: "There's nothing good to come from Brexit."

    Referring to the original question about a united Ireland, she says Brexit "certainly makes people focus their minds about where people think their interests are best served".

    The leader of Alliance, Naomi Long, says Brexit has "certainly made Northern Ireland less stable".

    She says it has brought arguments around borders back to the fore.

  20. Father of attack victim: No condolences from PM

    Earlier, we reported on the comments from David Merritt, the father of Jack Merritt - who was killed in a knife attack by Usman Khan on London Bridge last month.

    Mr Merritt - who has been critical of Boris Johnson previously - told Sky News he believes Mr Johnson "saw an opportunity" to score political points, when "what was required was just a dignified approach".

    He's been tweeting again, this time to say that no one from Downing Street has "expressed their condolences towards my family".

    This directly contradicts a quote from a spokesperson for the PM, reported by Sky News, who said Mr Johnson had expressed his deepest condolences.

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