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Johnson dismisses suggestion that conduct allegations could harm Welsh Conservative election chances

26 Apr 2021 4 minutes Read
Prime Minister Boris Johnson on a visit to the Net World Sports factory on Wrexham Industrial Estate. Source: Liam Randall

Liam Randall, local democracy reporter

Boris Johnson has dismissed the suggestion that allegations over his conduct could harm his party’s chances of making gains in the Senedd elections.

The Prime Minister was speaking during a visit to a factory in Wrexham, which was foreshadowed by claims he said he would rather have “bodies pile high in their thousands” than implement a third coronavirus lockdown.

He described the allegations as “total, total rubbish” after details of a discussion, which was said to have been held in Downing Street in the autumn, were reported by the Daily Mail.

Mr Johnson’s tour of Net World Sports on the town’s industrial estate also followed shortly after claims by his former chief aide Dominic Cummings that the refurbishment of his flat was being funded by Conservative Party donors.

The Tories made significant gains during the 2019 general election, including  in Wrexham, Clwyd South and Delyn, which once formed part of Labour’s so-called “Red Wall”.

When asked whether the allegations surrounding his conduct could harm his party’s chances of a similar performance in next month’s Welsh elections, the Prime Minister said he believed people were more interested in his plans for easing lockdown restrictions in England.

He said: “I really think that that’s not where the public are that I’m talking to today.

“What they wanted to hear about is our plans for job growth, for delivering on the roadmap from the April 12th step to the May 17th step.

“Going through to June 21st, (they want to hear) what the world is going to look like and to what extent are we really going to be powering through this.

“As things stand, I think you’ve got a very good chance of really opening everything up. But we’ve got to be cautious, and we’ve got to go on the data and not the dates.”

‘Heartless’

Although Mr Johnson has denied making the comments, his reported remarks on lockdown have been slammed by Plaid Cymru candidate Carrie Harper, who is standing to be elected to the Senedd in Wrexham.

The politician, who represents Queensway on Wrexham Council, has called for him to resign over the issue.

Speaking after his visit, Cllr Harper said: “This man’s heartless comments are an utter disgrace. People are suffering, they are mourning loved ones and he is taking about ‘piling the bodies high’ in private.

“This latest scandal shows us that Boris Johnson is unfit to be a leader on any level, let alone a Prime Minister presiding over the biggest crisis since World War 2. He should resign.”

A Welsh Labour spokesman described the alleged comments as “repugnant”.

They said: “People in Wales know the Tories never put the interests of Wales first.

“They have acted irresponsibly throughout the pandemic and are now consumed by Downing Street leaks and allegations about repugnant comments attributed to Boris Johnson in the media.

“Contrast the vacuum of moral leadership from Boris Johnson and the Tories, with Mark Drakeford’s cautious and compassionate leadership and it’s clear that why people across Wales are saying they will support Welsh Labour on 6th May.”

The full list of candidates standing to represent Wrexham in the Senedd is as follows:  Paul Ashton (Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party), Charles Dodman (Reform UK), Lesley Griffiths (Labour), Carrie Harper -(Plaid Cymru), Jeremy Kent (Conservatives), Aaron Norton (Gwlad), Sebastian Ross (UKIP), Tim Sly (Liberal Democrats).

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