General Election 2019: Seven things you may have missed on Yorkshire's campaign trail this week

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Elections are exhausting and keeping up with the news can seem like a colossal task.

So every week until we know the result The Yorkshire Post rounds up what you may have missed on the election trail in the region in the last seven days.

Brexit Party regional or-ordinator Roger Tattersall dresses as Guy Fawkes during the opening of the party's Doncaster office. Photo: Brexit Party

Brexit Party regional or-ordinator Roger Tattersall dresses as Guy Fawkes during the opening of the party's Doncaster office. Photo: Brexit Party

The lights might be on, but no one is home

With much of the chatter in political circles focusing on Boris Johnson's efforts to win marginal Labour seats in northern England, a good way to guess which seats the Tories might be targeting is to look at where they already have candidates in place.

Sure enough, Conservative Prospective Parliamentary Candidates for Keighley (majority 249) and Penistone and Stocksbridge (majority 1,322) have been in situ for some time now.

But what about Leave-backing Rother Valley, number 50 on the list of Tory targets with a Labour majority of under 4,000 and a new Labour candidate, 23-year-old Sophie Wilson, bidding to replace veteran MP Sir Kevin Barron?

As yet there is no sign from local Conservatives as to who they are picking.

Remember, remember….

Speaking of parties who wants to sweep up northern seats, the Brexit Party opened their Doncaster office this week, with regional organiser Roger Tattersall pitching up dressed as Guy Fawkes for the occasion saying he would put a “truth bomb” under Parliament.

But the homage to the original man of the people may bring the Brexit Party closer to the current PM than ever before - despite leader Nigel Farage dismissing his Brexit deal - as after he was arrested Mr Fawkes gave his name to authorities as one J Johnson…..

Comparing apples with oranges

They are on a high in the polls, but have the Liberal Democrats been somewhat optimistic about their chances in two key Yorkshire seats?

Election literature hitting the doorsteps in York Outer suggests their candidate Keith Aspden is polling at 27 per cent, second only to Tory Julian Sturdy, adding: "It's Keith Aspden or the Conservatives here."

The claim comes as quite a surprise given that in 2017 the Lib Dems finished third in 2017, 15,000 votes behind Labour. One critic wrote on Twitter: "If you’re going to claim something, make sure you have data rather than made up graphs."

The election material cites data from polling organisation Flavible but has been criticised for using national polls and localising them to project the voting intention for certain constituencies.

Approached by the YP, York Lib Dems defended the claims. Fellow councillor Andrew Hollyer said they were "backed up by their own independent polling, as well as recent election results". He cites the fact that the party won 18 out of 23 seats in York Outer in the local elections this May and came first, across the city in the European elections.

While in a Facebook post targeted at Calder Valley voters, the party used a council by-election in one ward to prove they could win the whole constituency for Westminster.

The post which proclaimed “Liberal Democrats can win in Calder Valley” showed the results on just one ward - Walsden - where a by-election for Todmorden Town Council in July saw a Lib Dem win.

The post said: “It demonstrates that the Liberal Democrats can win in elections within the Calder Valley Constituency”.

But in the 2017 General Election their candidate got just 3.4 per cent of the votes in Calder Valley as a whole - 1,952 votes out of a total of 58,054. In Walsden, their man Matthew Doyle got 28 votes in total for his win, ahead on Labour’s Liz Thorpe on 186.

One tweeter imagined the scene at Lib Dems HQ:: “If we can win Walsden goddammit we can take the whole damn country!”

Labour skewers Lars

Spare a thought for Green Party candidate Lars Kramm after his party announced they would not field a candidate in the York Outer constituency in the upcoming General Election as part of a series of electoral arrangements with the Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru.

Lars is stepping aside to ensure that the Remain vote on 12 December is unified and that the Tory candidate Julian Sturdy is not successful in the constituency - but he doesn’t sound overjoyed by the prospect….

He said: “With mixed feelings, I just informed our members that I will not be standing as the Green party candidate in the York Outer constituency for the upcoming General Election.”

He added: “I do believe that these arrangements are good for local people and good for the country. However, I also want to make clear that this does not mean we agree with Plaid Cymru or the Lib Dems on all issues or endorse their manifestos!”

Maybe the situation is a bit of a sore point as the Greens had originally said they would step aside if an alliance was formed with the Lib Dems and Labour. And yet here is Labour’s pick Anna Perrett still on the ballot paper.

HS-who?

In a time long ago, in a galaxy far far away, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps promised the Oakervee Review into the future of HS2 would be published this autumn.

Cue a General Election and it seems, mysteriously, the review is now not expected until early next year.

Rachel Maskell, the then Labour MP for York Central, said in the Commons earlier this month: “Not only has the Williams Review not yet seen the light of day but the Oakervee Review is ready. His team have pulled out all the stops to get this to the minister next week.

“So why is the Secretary of State saying he will not publish it until after the General Election? Is it because he intends to cut off the economic opportunities of the North or is he worried it will upset voters in the South?”

And a source tells the YP the report is indeed finished, and ready to go. So one ponders why it could possibly be delayed if votes depend on it…

“Where’s Yorkshire again?”

Health Secretary Matt Hancock paid a visit to Scarborough Hospital on Thursday, speaking to staff and patients about the Tories pledges on the NHS.

But in a bizarre Alan Partridge-esque video posted on Twitter early today, where he announced he would be hitting up more NHS spots, it seemed he was reassuring himself he was still in Yorkshire - but didn’t have much to say past the weather.

Recorded on a country road, where some suggested it looked like he had just got out of a ditch (was Boris in there with him?), Mr Hancock clutched a disposable coffee cup and announced “it’s Yorkshire, it’s before seven in the morning, it’s raining, and we’re ready to go” before jumping into a waiting car.

But you can see why Mr Hancock was confused. He’d said he was going to visit NHS upgrades but instead he popped up in Pudsey with a video about Labour candidate Jane Aitchison, who was caught up in a furore yesterday over allegedly comparing celebrating Tony Blair’s death to that of Hitler... that’s a funny looking NHS site.

We'll see if Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is more familiar with his surroundings when he visits Yorkshire tomorrow.

Don't mention the war

One of those rare election-defining moments happened in Pudsey on Thursday when an excruciating 12.5 second of silence played out on the Emma Barnett Show on Radio 5 Live as Pudsey Labour PPC Jane Aitchison was asked about a fellow candidates social media postings, where she compared celebrating the death of Tony Blair with celebrating the death of Hitler.

To be fair to Ms Aitchison - who has had her own social media run ins - she said she didn't know about the situation and was ambushed live, but even that being the case would-be politicians should be remind of Godwin's law - never resort to reductio ad Hitlerum.

Have you seen something funny, odd, or strange on the election trail in Yorkshire? Email geraldine.scott@jpimedia.co.uk