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Boris Johnson is an 'asset' for the Conservatives' general election campaign | Politics | News

Boris Johnson is an 'asset' for the Conservatives' general election campaign |  Politics |  News
Boris Johnson is an 'asset' for the Conservatives' general election campaign |  Politics |  News


Boris Johnson is clearly an asset to the Conservatives' election campaign, even if he did not turn up in person, a Cabinet minister has insisted.

Mel Stride said the former prime minister supported the Conservatives in a modern way by making promotional videos urging people to vote for the party.

His remarks came as it emerged the former Conservative leader is no longer expected to appear on the campaign trail.

Explaining his absence, the Work and Pensions Secretary said Mr Johnson was making promotional videos for individual candidates remotely.

It's probably a pretty effective way of getting a message across, Mr Stride told Sky News.

I mean, Boris is clearly an asset to the campaign, he's clearly chosen to get involved and he's clearly urging people to vote Conservative.

Mr Johnson, who turned 60 yesterday (Wednesday), has backed 50 Conservative candidates across the country and put his name to tens of thousands of letters sent to voters in a bid to counter the threat posed by Reform UK.

It is understood he will instead take a holiday in the coming days, although the trip was planned well before Rishi Sunak called a snap summer election.

He is due to return to the UK on July 3, the day before the election.

Mr Sunak did not tell his predecessor he was planning a snap election and did not speak to him during the campaign.

The Prime Minister's allies are said to be concerned that Mr Johnson could prove a distraction due to the “media circus” surrounding him if he spent a day on the campaign trail.

Mr Johnson's team says he acted in accordance with what party headquarters asked him to do to support the campaign.

The former Prime Minister led the Conservatives to a historic landslide victory in 2019, which brought down the so-called Red Wall in the Midlands and the north of England.

The Times reported that an initial plan to deploy Mr Johnson in those constituencies had been abandoned amid gloomy projections for the party that continue to put it on course for a historic defeat in the July 4 election.

The Conservatives have focused their campaign this week in traditional Tory heartlands in the south of England, where they hope to defend their seats against the threat from Labor and the Liberal Democrats.

The Prime Minister, whose resignation as chancellor in Mr Johnson's cabinet was instrumental in his downfall, said his support would make the difference as a poll published on Tuesday revealed the party could be reduced to only 115 seats.

Mr Sunak said the supports were being co-ordinated by Tory headquarters, but Andrea Jenkyns, a staunch Johnson ally in Leeds South West and Morley headquarters, suggested his support was more targeted.

Boris helped candidates who contacted him, as you saw with online videos, she said in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

He (Mr. Johnson) is keen to help those of us who are loyal to him. But he is NOT officially part of the campaign. Rishi has not spoken to him since the start of the campaign.

In a phone call with LBC on Wednesday, Mr Sunak avoided answering questions about whether Mr Johnson would join him on the track.

When told it was the former prime minister's birthday, he replied: Happy birthday Boris. I hope he has a good day. And it was great to see him supporting the Conservative Party.

Asked by journalists during a campaign visit to East Anglia whether Mr Johnson's absence from the trail would be better given he could not appeal to so-called blue wall voters, Mr Sunak replied : No.

He added: I am grateful to him for supporting the Conservative Party. He has provided numerous endorsements to candidates across the country.

This week Mr Johnson returned from holiday in Sardinia.

His wife Carrie shared photos on Instagram from their trip, including the family on the beach. The photos were captioned: “Beautiful Sardinia. Pasta, ice cream, beach. Repeat.”




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