Brexit Party sup­port­ers’ PM vote row

Sunday Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - News - EX­CLU­SIVE BY NIGEL NEL­SON Po­lit­i­cal Ed­i­tor

BREXIT Party sup­port­ers were yes­ter­day ac­cused of in­fil­trat­ing the Tories to in­ter­fere with the race to re­place PM Theresa May.

The Peo­ple’s Vote cam­paign says it has found ev­i­dence on so­cial me­dia that “dozens” of Nigel Farage’s sup­port­ers ad­mit join­ing the Con­ser­va­tives to vote in the con­test.

And lo­cal Tory as­so­ci­a­tions have re­ported an up­surge in mem­ber­ship.

For­mer jus­tice min­is­ter Philip Lee faces de­s­e­lec­tion in Brack­nell af­ter he backed a fresh ref­er­en­dum.

He said: “I have long feared some join­ing us now do not have ei­ther our party in­ter­ests or those of our coun­try at heart.”

A Brexit Party spokesman said: “The idea we have in­ter­est in the Tory lead­er­ship is ridicu­lous.

“It’s Tory mem­bers who are com­ing over to us.”

BORIS John­son’s spin doc­tor lover is keep­ing out of his cam­paign to be the next Prime Min­is­ter.

For­mer Tory di­rec­tor of com­mu­ni­ca­tions Car­rie Sy­monds mas­ter­minded the grass­roots oper­a­tion for Theresa May’s 2017 gen­eral elec­tion. But that was a flop, with Mrs May los­ing her ma­jor­ity.

Now sources close to the cou­ple say Car­rie, 30, will play no part in 54-yearold Boris’s lat­est lead­er­ship bid.

He’s also ruled her out of re­plac­ing £140,000-a-year ex-BBC man Rob­bie Gibb as No10 com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor if he be­comes Prime Min­is­ter.

Gov­ern­ment com­mu­ni­ca­tions of­fi­cials had been alarmed by White­hall whis­pers that Car­rie was ear­marked for the role when Boris en­tered the race.

One said: “The irony is we know she would be bloody good at it, but it would be in­ap­pro­pri­ate as the PM’s girl­friend.”

How­ever Car­rie could yet get to Down­ing Street if ei­ther lead­er­ship con­tenders Sa­jid Javid or Michael Gove tri­umph. She worked closely with the Home Sec­re­tary when he was in charge of lo­cal gov­ern­ment, and along­side the En­vi­ron­ment Sec­re­tary at Con­ser­va­tive Cam­paign Head­quar­ters.

She quit as Tory me­dia chief last Au­gust and now works at tech­nol­ogy and me­dia com­pany Bloomberg as a PR.

Mean­while, Boris yes­ter­day re­ceived the en­dorse­ment of Don­ald Trump as the US Pres­i­dent’s choice for next PM.

Trump said the ex-For­eign Sec­re­tary was “ex­cel­lent” and “very tal­ented”.

Jeremy Cor­byn said: “Pres­i­dent Trump’s at­tempt to de­cide who will be Bri­tain’s next Prime Min­is­ter is an en­tirely un­ac­cept­able in­ter­fer­ence in our coun­try’s democ­racy.

“The next Prime Min­is­ter should be cho­sen not by the US Pres­i­dent, nor by 100,000 un­rep­re­sen­ta­tive Con­ser­va­tive party mem­bers, but by the Bri­tish peo­ple in a gen­eral elec­tion.”

An old school­friend joined news­pa­pers around the same time as me.

I chose the glam­our of be­ing Mir­ror for­eign cor­re­spon­dent while he pre­ferred to fol­low a ca­reer as a sube­d­i­tor on the Daily Tele­graph.

As a re­sult he got to sub Boris John­son’s copy when the lead­er­ship hope­ful was the pa­per’s Brus­sels cor­re­spon­dent, a plea­sure my jet-set­ting de­nied me.

Here is my old friend’s ver­dict: “Oh please, no Boris as PM.

“I’d phone him to say the in­tro­duc­tion to his story wasn’t borne out by the text and he was flam­boy­ant with the facts.

“He’d agree read­ily to my new in­tro. Charm­ing but a chancer.”

Boris ob­vi­ously didn’t learn from his ear­lier sack­ing by The Times for be­ing cav­a­lier with the facts there.

If he was now be­ing hon­est, Boris would choose as his Tory cam­paign slogan: “Charm­ing but a chancer.”

Then see how many peo­ple are will­ing to vote for him.

HANG­ING BACK Boris John­son & Car­rie Sy­monds


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