Tories unleash 'attack dog' Boris Johnson on Jeremy Corbyn

Jon Craig, Chief Political Correspondent

The Tories are unleashing Boris Johnson to attack Jeremy Corbyn in the tense final days of the General Election campaign.

With one new opinion poll suggesting the Tory lead over Labour is down to just one point, the Foreign Secretary will say the thought of Mr Corbyn as Prime Minister makes him "shudder".

Survation, which at the start of last month gave the Conservatives a 17-point lead, now puts the Tories on 41.5% with Labour on 40.4%, the Liberal Democrats on 6% and Ukip on 3%.

Mr Johnson's attack comes as Theresa May and the Conservatives attempt to steer the election agenda back to Brexit after facing accusations of cutting police numbers.

Labour is returning to another issue on which the Tories have looked vulnerable during the campaign, Mrs May's social care plans - branded a "dementia tax" by opponents.

Speaking in Brexit-voting north-east England, Mr Johnson will say: "It is this country's destiny to engage not just with our friends and partners in the EU but with the whole of the rest of the world.

"If we are to make the most of that opportunity then we need the right economic policies.

"And it makes me shudder to think that we could seriously be about to elect a Corbyn-led coalition that would impose destructive new taxes on businesses, on homes, on gardens - at the very moment when we could be about to go forward with Global Britain."

Despite accusations from critics he is prone to gaffes, Mr Johnson has been used by the Tory high command as their leading attack dog against Mr Corbyn during this election campaign.

He previously called the Labour leader a "mutton-headed old mugwump" and, after Mr Corbyn linked UK foreign policy to terror attacks in Britain, Mr Johnson called the Labour leader "monstrous", despite making a similar link himself in the past.

On Brexit, the Prime Minister is also promising new trade structures to make sure all parts of the UK benefit from leaving the EU.

A new Board of Trade will bring together leading figures from business and politics across all four corners of the UK.

The Conservatives will also seek to establish a network of new HM Trade Commissioners around the world to promote British exports, seek inward investment and drive UK trade policy overseas.

The Prime Minister will say: "The UK has always been a great trading nation, but 12 months ago the British people chose to build a more Global Britain.

"As we begin this exciting new chapter in our nation's story, we are ready to pursue a bold and ambitious free trade agreement with the EU and strike new deals with old friends and new allies around the globe."

But while the Tories campaign again on Brexit, Labour is claiming Conservative plans to means-test the winter fuel allowance for pensioners could lead to almost 4,000 more deaths this winter.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell has branded the Tory manifesto - including scrapping the pensions "triple lock" and changes to social care - "the single biggest attack on pensioners in a generation".

Labour highlighted public health research that found the fuel allowance was responsible for a 46% fall in excess winter deaths between 2000 and 2012 - accounting for 4,277 less deaths out of the drop of 9,298.

The party calculates that if the Conservative plans were to lead to 90% of pensioners losing the allowance it could be expected to lead to an additional 3,850 deaths this winter.

Mr McDonnell said: "Removing the winter fuel payments from millions of pensioners could leave thousands of the most vulnerable at even more risk this winter.

"On top of their dementia tax, it means that pensioners in our country will struggle to heat their homes and keep their homes under the Tories."

Work and Pensions Secretary Damian Green criticised "irresponsible scaremongering" by Labour and insisted the Tories "will always look after the most vulnerable".

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