'Don't punish Tories at the ballot box', pleads Boris Johnson

PUBLISHED: 13:33 29 April 2019 | UPDATED: 14:42 29 April 2019

Boris Johnson is surrounded by Vote Leave and Vote Remain activists as he speaks in Winchester, as part of his tour on the Vote Leave campaign bus.

Boris Johnson is surrounded by Vote Leave and Vote Remain activists as he speaks in Winchester, as part of his tour on the Vote Leave campaign bus.

PA/Press Association Images

Boris Johnson has urged voters not to use the local elections to take out their frustrations about Brexit, insisting it was not the key issue on voters' minds.

The Conservatives are expecting a kicking in the polls in the loal elections, with officials accepting that it will be a “difficult night” for the party.

Brexiteer Boris Johnson said that there should be a “crucial distinction” between the Tories running for local elections and the governing party in government.

He said he believed the electorate would be able to tell the difference and continue to vote for his party.

He wrote: “Whatever they may think about what is going on at Westminster – and our current dismal failure to leave the EU – they can see that there is no point in taking out their frustrations on effective and hard-working Tory councillors.

“Ask any MP about the really tough problems they get in their surgeries – the truly heart-breaking frustrations of our constituents. Nine times out of 10 it is about some aspect of their immediate domestic circumstances.

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Despite Johnson's newspaper column and politicking mostly focusing on the Brexit issue, he insisted that it was not the key issue on voters' minds.

He said: “It's not Brexit that moves them to tears (or not that often); it's much more likely to be a problem related to housing, and the answer almost invariably lies with the council.”

He continued: “So much depends on the efficiency and responsiveness and capacity of those councillors. They can make all the difference, for many families, between misery and contentment.”

His call was echoed by fellow Brexit leader Jacob Rees-Mogg who was speaking on LBC radio.

Rees-Mogg, whose sister is standing for the Brexit Party, told listeners: “People, I hope, will think as they go to the polling station, that this is about their council tax, about their bin collection, about their road maintenance. It's not about Brexit.

“I completely understand why people are fed up with the Tories over Brexit. We haven't had any proper leadership, it's been indecisive, weak and we've been led by the nose by the European Union.

“That's not what these elections are about and it would be very sad if some very good councillors lost because of Brexit-related muddle.”

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