Boris Johnson ridiculed for ‘trying to emulate Putin’ with dumbbells in latest PR stunt

PUBLISHED: 16:38 07 August 2020 | UPDATED: 17:38 07 August 2020

Prime minister Boris Johnson lifting a few rounds of weights at a branch of The Gym Group in his South Ruislip constituency; Archie Brooksbank/The Gym Group/PA Wire

Prime minister Boris Johnson lifting a few rounds of weights at a branch of The Gym Group in his South Ruislip constituency; Archie Brooksbank/The Gym Group/PA Wire

Boris Johnson has been ridiculed after he hit the gym to pose for cameras in a bit to promote his new anti-obesity campaign.

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Johnson launched the new policy following his own weight struggles, which he has said impacted his ability to recover from the coronavirus.

The government says it plans to ban junk food advertising before the 9pm watershed, an end to buy-one-get-free deals on fatty and sugary foods, and calorie counts on menus.

Johnson using a preacher curl bench; Archie Brooksbank/The Gym Group/PA WireJohnson using a preacher curl bench; Archie Brooksbank/The Gym Group/PA Wire

Johnson took the time to promote the new campaign with a visit to a local gym in his constituency of South Ruislip and was shown around by staff where he was spotted shoulder pressing dumbbells and doing bicep curls in his white suit and tie.

Photographs were used on the fronts of pro-Tory newspapers, including the Express, which accompanied it by the caption: “Shows his mettle... Boris visits his gym in his constituency.”

But the spectacle of Johnson’s attempt to look active in front of the cameras was far too much for some on Twitter.

“This is the sort of front page you’d expect from the official newspaper of a dictatorship,” tweeted leftwing commentator Owen Jones.

Sam Capps said: “Johnson trying his hardest to emulate Putin and Kim Jong Un.”

“I see the Daily Express has found an equivalent macho image for Boris Johnson to replicate the one of a bare chested Vladimir Putin riding a horse,” posted Andy Wheately.

“It feels like we are living in a Putin meme but without our political leader having any muscles,” noted Andrew Hedges.

Joe Dunne wrote: “If he’s not like Ronnie Coleman by Christmas then he’s failed the nation.”

“Boris Johnson’s latest gym stunt is another reminder he definitely ‘doesn’t believe in gestures’,” reminded Mike P Williams. “At least when it comes to anti-racism, anyway”.

One user, commenting on Johnson light choice of gym equipment, said: “Ffs. My 83-year-old mum could lift that pole with two steering wheels on it.”

“Pumping iron. He couldn’t pump an air bed,” quipped @cynthiascott69.

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Duncan Reid decided the PM’s choice of sportswear would not go unscathed: “Nothing like showing ‘em how it’s done ... in a white shirt and suit trousers eh. #dressedforit.”

But it was @coolforcars who came on top, suggesting Johnson should give up his gym days.

“Getting trim with 10 seconds of curls,” he observed. “May I suggest lipo?”

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