LoPro BoJo booed at Royal Cornwall Show – staged photo in Tiverton

Normally keen to have the cameras follow his every move, and to offer a soundbite, he tried to keep an uncharacteristically low profile. At the Royal Cornwall Show earlier, the closest he came to meeting the public, he was yet again booed and heckled about Partygate. In the end, he did some staged photos in Tiverton with Hurford and, you guessed it, a cake.

link.news.inews.co.uk

“There’s been a democratic vote, he has had a third mandate now, let’s move forward.” In the wake of Boris Johnson’s narrow no-confidence vote, those were the words not of a Tory MP, but a would-be Tory MP.

But for all her apparent support, Helen Hurford, the party’s candidate for the Tiverton and Honiton by-election in Devon, notably refused to say whether she would have herself voted to keep Johnson in post. “It’s irrelevant, it’s happened, he’s here,” she told Radio Exe.

Hurford’s not exactly ringing endorsement of the Prime Minister is perhaps unsurprising given his deep unpopularity over both his dissembling about Partygate and his sluggish response to the cost of living crisis.

What was striking too was that Johnson’s own visit to the Devon seat today was very different from his usual made-for-TV trips outside London. Normally keen to have the cameras follow his every move, and to offer a soundbite, he tried to keep an uncharacteristically low profile. At the Royal Cornwall Show earlier, the closest he came to meeting the public, he was yet again booed and heckled about Partygate. In the end, he did some staged photos in Tiverton with Hurford and, you guessed it, a cake.

(No selfie with Alison Hernandez and a police station. These photos could be anywhere away from the public eye – Owl)

With the Conservatives facing another possible by-election defeat at the hands of the Liberal Democrats later this month, it’s no wonder that Hurford and Johnson are nervous. Despite the Tories’ huge 24,000 vote majority from 2019, the bookies have already installed Lib Dem contender Richard Foord as the favourite.

Lib Dem leader Ed Davey was on his fourth visit to the constituency today, with a not-so subtle photo-op of his own, focusing on calls to stop the Tories allowing sewage to be pumped into local rivers and beaches. In a by-election triggered by an MP caught watching porn in the Commons, and with a backdrop of Sue Gray’s findings of a red wine-stained and vomit-flecked No 10 during lockdown law-breaking, the message to voters to clean up British politics was unmistakable.

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