Welsh Conservatives accused of airbrushing Boris Johnson from local election manifesto
The Welsh Conservatives have been accused of “airbrushing” Boris Johnson from their local election manifesto published last week.
The 18-page manifesto for the elections in May, launched on Wednesday, doesn’t feature a single photograph or mention of the Prime Minister, whose popularity amongst voters has declined sharply since allegations were first reported last November that some 10 Downing Street staff had held gatherings during the 2020 Christmas season in contravention of the Covid regulations.
Speaking at the manifesto’s launch, Welsh Secretary Simon Hart, said: “It is important to remember that next month’s election is about local issues. It isn’t about politicians in Cardiff Bay or Westminster, it’s about local authorities and community groups who are best-placed to understand what funding is needed for their local area.
“It is about improving communities, making sure bins are collected on time, potholes are filled in, dangerous pavements are repaired, and that people receive the education and social services they deserve.
Mr Johnson is also notably absent from the Scottish Conservative’s 24-page manifesto which was published on Thursday.
The Telegraph also reports that Mr Johnson doesn’t feature in any of the Conservatives’ online campaign materials and is not mentioned in election material produced by a number of local associations in England, drawing comparisons to the absence of Jeremy Corbyn from Labour Party leaflets when he was the party’s leader.
Mr Johnson, his wife Carrie and Chancellor Rishi Sunak were all fined earlier this week after the Metropolitan Police concluded lockdown laws introduced by Mr Johnson, had been broken.
The fines were issued following a gathering to mark the PM’s 56th Birthday in the cabinet room on 19 June 2020.
Mr Johnson is expected to face further fines having attended five of the 11 gatherings still being investigated by the police.
An opinion poll published today reveal that almost two thirds of voters think Boris Johnson should resign if he is issued with more fines.
36 per cent of those who voted Conservative at the 2019 election also think he should quit if receives more fines, compared with 49 per cent of 2019 Conservatives who think he should stay regardless of how many fines he receives.
During a round of media interviews earlier in the week, Mr Hart defended the Prime Minister and said he shouldn’t step down regardless of further fines.
He told Times Radio: “I don’t necessarily see the difference between one or two (fines), for example, the principle is the same.
“I personally don’t think that for people in public life – or any other walk of life, for that matter – that should necessarily be accompanied by another penalty, which is the removal of your job or similar.”
Mr Hart also denied that Mr Johnson had deliberately mislead people with his initial denials that he had attended any parties during lockdown.
Mr Hart also said he did not want to see a “long, noisy leadership” process “at a critical time as far as our engagement in Ukraine is concerned”.
“For me it doesn’t seem to be in the public interest.”
“The PM bitterly regretted this. Nobody is more frustrated than he for the mistakes which were made nearly two years ago.”
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.