Britain is now just days away from a general election, which could seal the fate of Brexit, and the UK for years to come.
While the polls still show Boris Johnson’s Conservatives ahead of the Labour opposition party, data released over the past few days suggested that gap is narrowing.
Johnson called the early election in an attempt to resolve the Brexit crisis which has been ongoing since the referendum in 2016.
The Prime Minister himself warned over the weekend that “the horses can still change place”, as he urged activists not to be complacent in the hunt for the 320 or so seats he needs to win to ensure he can remain as Prime Minister and carry out of his promise to “get Brexit done”.
Here are the major developments from the last weekend before the election.
Tories lead the narrowing polls
Four opinion polls published on Saturday (December 7) put the Conservative ahead of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party by between eight and 15 points.
Johnson’s lead has narrowed in recent weeks, and such polls largely failed to predict the 2016 referendum result or Theresa May losing her majority in the 2017 snap election.
Polling expert John Curtice told the BBC that the Conservatives were not far ahead enough to be guaranteed to win.
Johnson told supporters in a campaign speech on Sunday: “We are now in the final furlong of this race and that is when of course the horses can still change place. We are still not quite there yet and do not forget what happened in 2017. This is a close fought election.”
Asked if he was nervous about narrowing polls, Johnson said: “Of course, we are fighting for every vote. I think that this is a critical moment for this country.”
The Conservatives are also worried that people who voted to leave the EU won’t turn out to vote because they are fed up with politicians’ failure to carry out the 2016 referendum decision, Matthew Goodwin, a visiting senior fellow at the Chatham House think tank told the Associated Press.
“”One thing to keep your eyes on, the Conservatives are very aware that a lot of their leave voters have gone missing,” Goodwin said. ““They’ve gone back into apathy. They’re not planning to turn out. One the of the big things they are trying to do with their campaign is find missing leavers.”
Classified documents leak investigated
One of the key issues in this election is the future of the National Health Service. Corbyn has accused Johnson of offering up the NHS for sale as part of a future trade agreement with the US, once the UK leaves the EU.
The Labour leader referenced classified trade documents that were leaked online when making these claims. Social media company Reddit then said an account that spread the documents on its platform was linked to a previous Russian disinformation campaign.
This has further fueled fear of Russian interference in the UK’s democratic process.
The Kremlin, which says the West is gripped by anti-Russian hysteria, has denied it meddles in Western democracies.
The UK government said it is looking into the matter with support from the National Cyber Security Centre, part of the GCHQ intelligence agency.
Boris Johnson has dismissed Corbyn’s claims as “pure Bermuda Triangle stuff,” insisting “I believe very passionately in the NHS.”
However Johnson has also faced questions over whether Russia is meddling in British politics, with the Prime Minister refusing to release a Parliament intelligence committee report on Russian interference until after the election.