‘Boris Johnson thinks he’s honest’: Devon candidate declines to say if PM trustworthy

“I will be giving my loyalty to somebody who has been given a third mandate by the party. This has happened. We need to move on.”

Questioned a second time if Johnson was fundamentally honest, she replied: “I think Boris thinks that he is an honest person. How I conduct myself is how I conduct myself, and I think you are trying to catch me out here.”

A vote for Helen Hurford is a vote for Boris – Owl

Peter Walker www.theguardian.com 

The Conservative candidate in Tiverton and Honiton has blamed the media for preventing the public from “moving on” from Partygate and twice declined to say that Boris Johnson was honest.

In an interview with the Guardian, Helen Hurford acknowledged the party faced a very tight battle to retain the previously ultra-safe seat and criticised what she called the media’s “persistent regurgitating of Partygate”. Asked if she believed Boris Johnson was fundamentally honest, Hurford twice refused to say.

Hurford, a former headteacher and a Honiton town councillor who now runs a beauty training business, is defending a 24,000-plus majority won in 2019 by the MP Neil Parish, who resigned in April after admitting he had watched pornography on his phone in the Commons chamber.

But the byelection on 23 June, which comes on the same day the Tories defend another seat in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, is widely seen as an ultra-close race between Hurford and the Liberal Democrat candidate, Richard Foord.

Internal polling by the Lib Dems of those intending to vote on the day of the byelection, released on Wednesday, put the Conservatives on 46% and the Lib Dems on 44%.

“I think it’s going to be very tight, and we can’t take anything for granted whatsoever,” Hurford said. “It could come down to very small numbers.”

Asked why a seat that has been Conservative-held in its various geographical variations for well over a century was now under threat, Hurford said issues raised by voters included the cost of living and “what happened with Neil Parish”.

She added: “And thirdly, the media’s persistent regurgitating of Partygate – even though there has been a line drawn in the sand, and there has been a report, it is constantly in the news, and people aren’t allowed to move on from it.”

“So, of course, that’s impacting. That is what I’m hearing on doorsteps as well – people are sick and tired of seeing it. They are sick and tired of hearing it. They want to talk about what’s important.”

Asked if this meant the media were in part to blame for the Tories’ struggles in the seat, Hurford said: “It’s not necessarily the media’s fault, but I think it’s time to stop. There needs to be a change of narrative about what is important.”

Hurford said she did understand voters’ worries about trust as a result of the Downing Street parties, adding: “All I can say is that the byelection is to pick a representative for Tiverton and Honiton, your next MP. As a former headteacher I am very trustworthy. When I say I’m going to do something, I do it. This is what is important – the person who is going to be representing you in Westminster.”

Asked if Johnson was equally trustworthy, she declined to answer directly, saying: “I will be giving my loyalty to somebody who has been given a third mandate by the party. This has happened. We need to move on.”

Questioned a second time if Johnson was fundamentally honest, she replied: “I think Boris thinks that he is an honest person. How I conduct myself is how I conduct myself, and I think you are trying to catch me out here.”

Asked, finally, if she was comfortable going into a parliamentary party led by Johnson, she replied: “I’m comfortable representing Tiverton and Honiton as their MP with the Conservatives, with a prime minister who has once again, for the third time, been shown support by the majority of the party. That is what I will be going for. Everything else has happened. I’m looking forwards to the future.

“I don’t want to play party politics. I don’t want to be drawn into things that have happened. I want to be talking about what I can deliver for Tiverton and Honiton.”

One thought on “‘Boris Johnson thinks he’s honest’: Devon candidate declines to say if PM trustworthy

  1. Well, we will be giving OUR loyalty to a candidate who does not give THEIR loyalty to a Prime minister who does not know the difference between truth and lies.
    No wonder Ms Hurford has twice declined to answer if she believed he was an honest person.
    Her saying “as a former headteacher I am very trustworthy” means very little indeed.
    We know of former councillors not too far from Tivi and Honiton who would once have said the same yet turned out to be untrustworthy, to say the very least.

    Maybe Ms Hurford reads these posts or someone else will put these questions to her.

    When you were a headteacher how did you deal with a pupil who did not tell the truth?
    (The Prime Minister has denied lying to Parliament when it is clear to all that he did.)
    How did you deal with a pupil or parent who asked for advice and support, was given it, costing staff their time, effort and school resources and then that pupil or parent totally ignored that advice?
    (Priti Patel bullying case investigated by Sir Alex Allen. PM overode outcome of that.)
    How did you deal with a pupil whose behaviour was so challenging that staff wanted to leave your school?
    (Some did. Sir Alex Allen and Lord Geidt and probably many more not in headlines.)
    How did you deal with one who behaved as though he was invincible, above all others and broke all school rules, letting others take the blame or ruin their own lives . (Allegra Stratton to name just one.)

    Ms Hurford says she’s tired of hearing about ‘partygate.’ Well, so are we because it’s NOT all about the parties in Downing Street.
    The PM prorogued parliament when it suited him, he was less than transparent over his new wallpaper, pushed to allow his friend and son of ex KGB and Russian Oligarch to sit in House of Lords.

    Well as a constituent I will say this . Anyone who supports him is colluding in that unacceptable. ‘entitled’ behaviour and will be seen as untrustworthy and out of touch with the thinking public.
    There is a very flawed character leading our country. His past history has shown that he is never going to change.

    We wonder why Ms Hurford gave up being a headteacher? Did she just ignore bad behaviour and say ‘lets move on ‘
    Or perhaps her new clientel are not as tiring or as challenging as some young students and she is missing that challenge!

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