Mr Gyimah defected from the Conservatives over Brexit to join the ardently Remain Liberal Democrats in September. Jo Swinson’s party has since adopted an extreme stance on Brexit, calling for the revocation of Article 50 if she is elected Prime Minister on December 13. But the stance has infuriated many voters, even Remainers, who view it as an affront to democracy.

Asked on his party’s plummeting support since the start of the campaign, Mr Gyimah attempted to defend the abysmal polling outlook.

The BBC’s Mr Stayt asked: “When we look at the polls, the suggestion from the polls – and we treat them all with caution – is that your party’s popularity has fallen since the beginning of the campaign.”

Mr Gyimah said: “Which I was answering if you were to give me just a few seconds to lay out the argument.

“Of course our poll rating is under pressure. But part of the reason it is under pressure is the presentation that we have a red-blue fight and that is the only choice.

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“But we know in the seats we are targeting to win where we are very competitive, we are the ones who are taking votes off the Conservatives.

“We are also taking votes off the Labour Party because there are millions of people in this country who do not want a hard Brexit Government or a hard-left Labour Government.

“And they see voting for the Liberal Democrats as the best of both worlds.

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“And so in seats where we are competitive we are doing very well and there will be surprises on election night.”

But the BBC host pressed the Conservative defector: “Why is Jo Swinson not making an impact in this election campaign?”

Mr Gyimah said: “Well, as I said there was a head-head-to-head debate on the BBC yesterday and it was Boris Johnson versus Jeremy Corbyn.

“And presenting this election as a presidential system puts pressure on smaller parties.”

Stunned, Mr Stayt hit back: “So you are blaming media organisations for Jo Swinson’s inability to make a mark in the campaign?”

But Mr Gyimah insisted he was not. He said: “I am not. What I am saying is that in terms of how the campaign is perceived of course when you have a head-to-head debate that makes people think ‘we are choosing who will be Prime Minister’.”

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The grilling comes after Mr Johnson and Mr Corbyn went head-to-head in a “Prime Ministerial debate” on Friday night on the BBC. 

A snap YouGov poll conducted immediately afterwards put Mr Johsnon as the clear winner as the Labour leader was trounced in the contest.

The survey declared Mr Johnson the winner by a decisive margin of 52 percent to 48 percent.

On who came across as most prime ministerial, 54 percent in the poll backed the Tory leader against 30 percent for Mr Corbyn.



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