Boris un­der fire from elec­tion can­di­dates

Tory hope­ful forced to de­fend him­self against ri­vals’ ac­cu­sa­tions

Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - by Will Ack­er­mann will.ack­er­mann@trin­i­tymir­

UXBRIDGE and South Ruis­lip elec­tion hope­fuls rounded on Tory front-run­ner Boris John­son at a de­bate on Fri­day, ques­tion­ing his abil­ity to serve as an MP while still hold­ing the of­fice of Lon­don Mayor.

Can­di­dates from the five main par­ties – Con­ser­va­tives, Labour, Lib­eral Demo­crat, UKIP and the Green Party – slugged it out at a two hour hus­tings at St Mar­garet’s Church, Uxbridge.

Labour’s Chris Sum­mers led the attack on Mr John­son, telling the packed au­di­ence: “You don’t want a can­di­date who’s al­ready Mayor of Lon­don, which is one of the big­gest jobs out there, who’s also an au­thor, a news­pa­per colum­nist, nu­mer­ous other side lines.

“You’re look­ing for some­one to rep­re­sent Uxbridge and South Ruis­lip and stand up for you on all the is­sues that mat­ter.”

Lib Dem Mike Cox added: “We need some­body who is go­ing to work hard for you ir­re­spec­tive of fear or favour, party or per­sonal in­ter­est and, yes, God for­bid, a burning am­bi­tion to be prime min­is­ter.

“If you want an MP to be a na­tional celebrity, with no moral compass, who para­chutes him­self in from time to time, then vote for that man over there.”

Mr John­son hit back, say­ing: “I do have a record as a pre­vi­ous con­stituency MP and I worked flat out for those peo­ple. I want to try to al­lay any anx­i­eties that any of you might have about how ac­ces­si­ble I would be, or how present I would be.

“I want you to know that I’m re­quired by my party to be as use­ful as I pos­si­bly can to the whole cam­paign, and I hope that you will for­give me for that, but un­less I specif­i­cally tell you oth­er­wise, I am cam­paign­ing here in Uxbridge and South Ruis­lip, to im­prove the lives of every­body in this con­stituency.”

The hus­tings was one of three be­ing held for the con­stituency ahead of the Gen­eral Elec­tion on May 7, the first hav­ing al­ready taken place, at Brunel Uni­ver­sity.

Fri­day’s was the only such meet­ing that Mr John­son is at­tend­ing. The third and fi­nal hus­tings for the con­stituency will be held at Yiewsley Bap­tist Church, in Col­ham Av­enue, on Sun­day, April 26.

Can­di­dates fielded ques­tions from the au­di­ence on ev­ery­thing from Heathrow Air­port’s pro­posed ex­pan­sion and HS2 to reli­gion’s role in pol­i­tics and the Is­rael-Pales­tine con­flict.

On most is­sues, the can­di­dates re­peated their par­ties’ of­fi­cial po­si­tions – a no­table ex­cep­tion be­ing when Labour’s Chris Sum­mers vowed once again to vote against HS2, rather than toe his party’s line.

Mr John­son ad­mit­ted he still held hopes for res­ur­rect­ing his plans for a ‘Boris Is­land’ air­port hub on the Thames Es­tu­ary, which Mr Sum­mers claimed would in­evitably mean closing Heathrow Air­port, cost­ing count­less jobs – a charge Mr John­son dis­missed.

Mr John­son said he was against a third run­way as it would be ‘not de­liv­er­able’, adding: “We need to start think­ing about se­ri­ous and prac­ti­cal al­ter­na­tives, and that’s why I’m stick­ing to my guns.”

Photo by Jon Mikol www.buyapho­ WL152319

HIT­TING BACK: Boris John­son

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