Boris Johnson tells voters to ‘forget about the government’

Politics

The Tory mayor of the West Midlands is sending voters an endorsement from Boris Johnson which urges people to “forget about the government”, Sky News can reveal.

Andy Street’s campaign website makes no mention of Rishi Sunak on its homepage and is coloured in green rather than Conservative blue, suggesting the mayor is trying to run on his credentials as an independent campaigner rather than under the unpopular Tory brand.

Other campaign literature – including the front page of a campaign “newspaper” seen by Sky News – makes no mention of the Conservative leader.

Boris Johnson and Andy Street during a Conservative party local election visit  in 2021
Image:
Boris Johnson and Andy Street during a Conservative party local election visit in 2021. Pic: Reuters

However, the campaign team for Mr Street, whose battle for re-election is on a knife edge against Labour, is sending out literature with pictures of him and the former prime minister Mr Johnson, which openly admits problems with the Conservatives’ reputation.

Mr Johnson writes in his signed letter to voters: “You might not like everything the Conservatives have done.”

He adds: “Forget about government. Forget about Westminster. The election is about the next four years in the West Midlands – and who do you want in charge.”

The letter – topped with a picture of Mr Johnson and Mr Street – has been received by voters as recently as Tuesday.

Letter from Boris Johnson endorsing Andy Street
Image:
Letter from Boris Johnson endorsing Andy Street

Boris Johnson and Andy Street
Image:
Boris Johnson and Andy Street

‘Damning verdict on PM’s leadership’

A spokesman for Mr Johnson confirmed the veracity of the letter and said he was pleased to write it.

At the weekend, Mr Street gave an interview to The Sunday Times about the moments he has fallen out with Mr Sunak.

The West Midlands mayoral race and the Tees Valley mayoral race both are pivotal on Thursday’s election to the survival of Mr Sunak, but both Tory candidates hoping to cling on are putting distance between themselves and the PM.

Read more:
How key places are predicted to vote – and what it could mean for general election
Everything you need to know about this week’s local elections

Andy Street, the Mayor of West Midlands
Image:
Andy Street, the mayor of West Midlands. Pic: Reuters

A Labour source said: “Rishi Sunak’s predecessor telling voters to forget about the government is a damning verdict on the prime minister’s leadership.

“Andy Street has distanced himself from Rishi Sunak but seems very happy to put Boris Johnson’s name up in lights.

“Rishi Sunak is such a drag that his own candidates clearly feel they need to dump him to win.”

The other candidates in the West Midlands are:

• Siobhan Harper-Nunes, Greens;
• Richard Parker, Labour;
• Sunny Virk, Lib Dems;
• Elaine Ruth Williams, Reform;
• Akhmed Yakoob, independent

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