General Election 2019 briefing: Blow for Corbyn as deputy quits | Boris Johnson heads north

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Welcome to The Scotsman’s daily election briefing as Britain prepares to go to the polls on December 12. Here’s all you need to know for the day ahead.

Tom Watson quits

Both the Tories and the Labour Party campaign launches were overshadowed by high-profile resignations yesterday, as Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns quit over his former aide's alleged role in the collapse of a rape trial, while deputy leader of Labour Tom Watson stunningly quit frontline politics.

Mr Watson, who insisted that his decision was 'personal, not political' has resigned as deputy to Jeremy Corbyn and will not stand as the candidate for the West Bromwich East constituency he has represented since 2001.

The former Digital Services Minister - who underwent an incredible transformation to lose seven stone and reverse type-2 diabetes - has said he will dedicate himself to tackling the 'Tory-created public health crisis.'

Welsh Secretary quits but will try and remain as MP

Tom Watson

Tom Watson

For their part, the Conservatives also lost a frontline politician yesterday as Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns quit the cabinet but is defying calls to step down as a candidate for his constituency over claims he lied about his knowledge of the collapse of a rape trial.

READ MORE: Opinion: Why excluding SNP from TV debates is wrong

Mr Cairns endorsed Ross England, a Welsh Assembly candidate, despite Mr England being accused by a judge of deliberately 'sabotaging' a rape trial by claiming on the stand he had a casual sexual relationship with the victim.

However, BBC Wales uncovered emails that showed Mr Cairns was in fact told of Mr England's role in the trial several months ago, with rival parties urging him to quit as Tory candidate for the Vale of Glamorgan.

Boris Johnson heads North

Following a Trump-style rally in the West Midlands to launch his campaign in earnest, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected in Scotland today to boost the Conservative campaign to retain as many of their 13 seats as possible.

The Prime Minister is heading North, where the party is in tight fights with the SNP in a number of seats, and will visit the Moray constituency of Douglas Ross, where an unfortunate activist was captured by Channel 4 News cameras suffering a spectacular fall.

Mr Johnson said: “Only a vote for the Conservatives will stop the SNP’s plans to break up the UK – the most fantastic and successful political union in the world. I will never give up on our incredible union."

Economy clash

While Brexit and the NHS look set to to be the main battlegrounds of the election campaign, fierce clashes over the economy have taken prominence, amid continued fallout from Boris Johnson comparing Jeremy Corbyn to Soviet leader Joseph Stalin.

Sajid Javid, the Chancellor is set to tell a campaign meeting: "Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell are like the anti-vaxxers of economic policy.

"Not only did they reject the treatment needed to heal our economy and get the deficit down by four-fifths, they now want to take every step imaginable to make the country sick and unhealthy again.

However his Labour equivalent, John McDonnell pledged: "An irreversible shift in the balance of power and wealth in favour of working people.

"That means change, means investment on a scale never seen before in this country, and certainly never seen before in the North and outside of London and the South East."