Crit­i­cisms fly at would-be MP Boris

Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

IF BORIS John­son had hoped for a hon­ey­moon pe­riod after be­ing se­lected by Uxbridge and South Ruis­lip To­ries, he was in for a shock.

No sooner had the con­stituency Con­ser­va­tive As­so­ci­a­tion de­cided on the Mayor of London as its can­di­date at next year’s gen­eral elec­tion than the brick­bats were fly­ing.

First was pro-air­port ex­pan­sion group Back Heathrow, which weighed in straight after the vote late on Fri­day last week.

Cam­paign co-or­di­na­tor Rob Gray said: “Many lo­cal res­i­dents must be rub­bing their eyes in dis­be­lief. One minute, Boris John­son is try­ing to put thou­sands of them out of work by shut­ting Heathrow, the next he ap­pears be­fore them as their po­ten­tial MP.

“Hou­dini would have been im­pressed.

“We will not al­low Boris John­son to use this plat­form to crit­i­cise a ma­jor lo­cal em­ployer which pro­vides so many eco­nomic ben­e­fits for so many con­stituents.

“The mayor may win this seat, but should con­sider hav­ing his cur­rent opin­ion on Heathrow sur­gi­cally re­moved.”

Next was ri­val Chris Sum­mers, Labour’s prospec­tive par­lia­men­tary can­di­date for Uxbridge and South Ruis­lip.

“I con­grat­u­late Boris John­son on his se­lec­tion as the Con­ser­va­tive can­di­date, de­spite the chal­lenge of more lo­cal can­di­dates, and look for­ward to clash­ing swords with him over the next eight months,” he said.

“The vot­ers of Uxbridge and South Ruis­lip now have a very clear choice – be­tween a ruth­lessly am­bi­tious ca­reer politi­cian who sees them only as a con­ve­nient step­ping stone, and a com­mit­ted cam­paigner who seeks only to be a con­stituency MP and who would work tire­lessly on case­work and cam­paign on lo­cal causes, such as HS2, with­out fear­ing it would af­fect his loftier am­bi­tions.

“The vot­ers will also have a clear choice be­tween a Con­ser­va­tive can­di­date who wants to close down Heathrow air­port, with the loss of thou­sands of lo­cal jobs, and a Labour can­di­date who wants to re­tain and nur­ture Heathrow.”

Some damned with faint praise, such as Ruis­lip Against HS2’s Lot­tie Jones, who was one of a con­tin­gent of an­tiHS2 cam­paign­ers gath­ered out­side the se­lec­tion meet­ing at Ruis­lip High School.

“Boris John­son’s se­lec­tion to stand here comes as lit­tle sur­prise,” she said.

“His celebrity sta­tus may be a draw for some but we will be con­cen­trat­ing on whether he is pre­pared to rep­re­sent our views in par­lia­ment.

“As Mayor of London he has been vo­cal when call­ing for bet­ter plan­ning and mit­i­ga­tion of HS2 across London, in­clud­ing his support for the Heathrow Spur to be dropped.

“But if he wants to be our lo­cal MP this sim­ply isn’t enough.

“He has in the past made dis­parag­ing re­marks about cam­paign­ers against HS2, which many will find dif­fi­cult to for­give.”

But Boris did find an ally in the chair­man of air­craft noise lobby group, HACAN. John Ste­wart said: “If Boris be­comes the next MP for Uxbridge, it will make it much harder for any Con­ser­va­tive gov­ern­ment to build a third run­way.

“Boris will be put un­der huge pres­sure from a con­stituency within sight of Heathrow. His in­flu­ence over Labour would ob­vi­ously be less but a Labour gov­ern­ment could not af­ford to ig­nore him.

“Boris may yet have a de­ci­sive say in where a new run­way is built”.

But per­haps the most scathing as­sess­ment of Fri­day night’s go­ings on came from Ob­server colum­nist Bar­bara Ellen.

Writ­ing in Sun­day’s pa­per she di­rected her anger not at Mr John­son but the mem­bers of the Con­ser­va­tive as­so­ci­a­tion that se­lected him.

“Put bluntly, there’s no point be­ing an­noyed with John­son.

“He can’t help his ve­nal power crav­ings or bla­tant moral in­con­ti­nence – they’re in­grained now,” she said.

“I no longer blame John­son for his na­ture, and nor should any­one else.

“In­stead, let’s blame Uxbridge and South Ruis­lip for fall­ing for the ex­cite­ment and the star­dust.

“Blame them for es­chew­ing the op­por­tu­nity to se­lect sen­si­bly, for their lo­cal­ity, and in­stead be­hav­ing like stoned stu­dents up for a rag-day laugh.

“How re­fresh­ing it would have been had Uxbridge and South Ruis­lip re­fused John­son’s unique brand of po­lit­i­cal vaudeville, and told him that he was not a good fit, that they pre­ferred some­one who was se­ri­ous.

“How re­fresh­ing if they’d sim­ply re­fused to laugh along with the Boris gang­show. But then, how amaz­ing if any­one did?”

Quite a night for Ruis­lip as the me­dia cir­cus rolled into town. Pic­tures and video at www.getwest­lon­don.co.uk.

Photo by Grant Humphreys www.buyaphoto tms.co.uk NL201410505_04

HOPE­FUL: Boris John­son ar­rives for the se­lec­tion meet­ing with his wife, Ma­rina

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