This is why Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in Yorkshire today

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be in West Yorkshire today as he launches a national campaign to recruit 20,000 police officers over the next three years.

Thursday, 5th September 2019, 11:40 am
Updated Thursday, 5th September 2019, 14:49 pm

The PM will be hoping to briefly put his Brexit troubles aside as he pushes on with one of highest-profile pledges, in what many observers say is the start of an expected General Election campaign.

It is reported that Mr Johnson will stand alongside Home Secretary Priti Patel and a group of police force trainees as he launches the push to reverse the cuts to policing numbers since 2010.

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Mr Johnson is expected to be on his feet at around 4pm, with questions from the media to follow. He's likely to be asked about his ongoing struggle to get Brexit over the line, following his defeat last night in the Commons on calling a snap election. His brother Jo Johnson's decision to quit politics is also likely to come up.

And in his speech today he is likely to ramp up the rhetoric against "cowardly" Jeremy Corbyn as he effectively kicks off the campaign for a General Election he has not yet been able to call. He will aim to appeal to the public over the heads of MPs who have so far blocked his plan for an early election.

Claiming that Mr Corbyn wants to "surrender" to Brussels by "begging" for a delay beyond the October 31 Brexit deadline, he will repeat his claim that legislation blocking a no-deal exit is a "surrender Bill" and stress that he will not seek a delay to Brexit.

Boris Johnson at HMP Leeds. Pic: Getty

The cross-party bid to require a Brexit extension cleared the Commons on Wednesday and, after a deal struck in the early hours of Thursday, the Tories have agreed not to attempt to talk it out in the Lords.

But his visit to Yorkshire is likely to see him highlight his pledges on key issues for voters such as the NHS, schools and policing.

The region is likely to be a key battleground in any upcoming election, with all but three of the local authority areas voting to leave the EU in the 2016 referendum. Labour-held Keighley, Colne Valley and Wakefield are likely to be target seats for the Conservatives, while in Pudsey Tory MP Stuart Andrew is protecting a majority of just 331.

The Prime Minister came to Leeds just a few weeks ago, visiting Armley prison where he announced a £100m package to improve security in prisons.

Boris Johnson gives a speech in Manchester. Pic: PA

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Mr Johnson walked around HM Prison Leeds, the category B prison which was one of the country's most overcrowded when it was inspected two years ago.

And a few weeks earlier he appeared at a hustings in York as part of the Tory leadership race as he faced off against rival Jeremy Hunt. Before appearing at the Barbican he went into the Yorkshire countryside, being photographed shearing a sheep and with a chain of sausages around his neck at North Yorkshire firm Heck.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson shears a sheep in North Yorkshire