General election gets underway as Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits the Queen to signal start of Brexit-dominated campaign


The battle for the keys to Downing Street is formally underway as the parties and voters get set for a five-week campaign likely to be dominated by Brexit.

The Prime Minister had a meeting with the Queen this morning after the dissolution of Parliament before he headed back to Downing Street and she headed to Kent.

Boris Johnson today visited the Queen to signal the formal start of the election campaign
Boris Johnson today visited the Queen to signal the formal start of the election campaign

In a brief speech, the Conservative leader Boris Johnson acknowledged that the poll was not what he wanted but urged voters to back the party that would "get Brexit done."

"I don't want an early election... but we've got to the stage where we have no choice, because our Parliament is paralysed," he said.

If re-elected, he pledged he would "get Parliament working for you" and that on "day one" of a new government, he would start pushing his deal through Parliament and "get Brexit done by the end of January"

And while Kent will be an important battleground, Labour has yet to select candidates in constituencies where it will need to make a challenge if it is to loosen the Conservative grip on the county.

Labour has yet to confirm candidates in the three Medway seats - Chatham and Aylesford; Rochester and Strood and Gillingham and Rainham and also Sittingbourne and Sheppey. Other constituencies where it is without a candidate in place include Ashford and Folkestone and Hythe.

Meanwhile the Green party launched its election manifesto and pledged a £100bn "green deal" investment to tackle climate change.

Co-leader Jonathan Bartley told the BBC's Today programme: "It will save us a hell of a lot of money in the long run. The climate emergency, if it comes to fruition, does not bear thinking about in terms of the cost of trillions to the economy."

In other key Kent election developments:

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