Boris Johnson will let you down, Tory politician tells voters

Keith Simpson appears on the BBC Sunday Politics East. Photograph: BBC.

Keith Simpson appears on the BBC Sunday Politics East. Photograph: BBC. - Credit: Archant

A veteran Tory politician, who was an MP for 22 years, has savaged the party leader for being unable to deliver his promises and failing to turn up to battle.

Keith Simpson, who was the Conservative MP for Mid-Norfolk until the election was called, appeared on the BBC's Sunday Politics East to claim that age was a factor in his decision to retire, but also he did not agree with the "direction of travel" of his party.

The politician said that Boris Johnson, who he did not support in the leadership election, was also a major factor in his decision.

Explaining his decision he warned that the prime minister was likely to disappoint voters.

He said: "The one thing you can rely upon is that he will let you down and he comes with a lot of baggage."

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Simpson criticised Boris Johnson for removing the whip from Tory colleagues who voted against the government including Philip Hammond and Ken Clarke, both who have now stood down.

"After all many of the people in government in ministerial positions are serial rebels against Theresa May", he continued.

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Pointing out that it was a "damning thing" to say, he said it was a "personal view".

He continued: "Any moderate person looking at his track record over many, many years there is a long list of things in which he didn't deliver on, or he avoided battle.

"You always get the impression of Boris that the first sound of gun fire Boris has got the last plane out as it were."

He added: "It may be that the only people who can succeed as modern leaders and prime ministers of political parties have to have complex personalities, and be able to, not so much as lie, but to dissemble."

Simpson was initially replaced as a candidate by BBC Radio Norfolk presenter Nick Conrad, but within hours of selection was forced to step down as the candidate after outrage over his comments about rape.

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