It’s only day one of the Conservative Party’s official election campaign, but there has already been a string of high-profile cock-ups to cause headaches for Boris Johnson.
In case you’ve not managed to keep up with all the blunders and insults (we don’t blame you), we’ve compiled a handy list to get you up to speed.
Backing a candidate who said people on benefits need “putting down”
Francesca O’Brien, one Boris Johnson’s election candidates, once wrote on social media that people on the reality TV programme Benefits Street needed “putting down”. Despite the outrage that ensued after the Guardian uncovered these posts, the Conservatives have said that O’Brien will not be forced to resign.
Given that Johnson’s adviser and puppeteer Dominic Cummings once said that poor people have bad genes, perhaps their defence of O’Brien isn’t surprising.
Belittling victims of the Grenfell fire
Jacob Rees-Mogg is facing calls to resign today, after he callously questioned the intelligence of victims in the Grenfell fire, claiming that they should have had the “common sense” to leave the building.
After a public outcry, Rees-Mogg apologised for his comments.
Defending Jacob Rees-Mogg’s Grenfell comments
But instead of castigating his the incendiary words of his colleague, Andrew Bridgen decided to defend Rees-Mogg, claiming that the politician “would have made a better decision” if he had been in the blaze due to his natural intelligence.
Faking a video of Keir Starmer
Yesterday, CCHQ posted a video of an interview with Keir Starmer – edited to make it seem as if he couldn’t answer a question about Labour’s Brexit policy. In reality, Starmer had answered the question immediately.
The Tory party has been vilified for its blatant attempt at propaganda, but chairman of the party James Cleverly merely told the BBC: “We needed to shorten the video”.
Not turning up to interviews
But at least Cleverly gave a response to an interview in this instance. Hiding from the glare of TV cameras, Cleverly later failed to attend an interview with Sky’s Kay Burley. The Sky presenter then addressed her questions to an empty chair instead.
Refusing to publish report on Russian interference
Boris Johnson has refused to publish a report examining Russian interference in UK elections, ahead of December’s ballot.
Dominic Grieve, chair of the Intelligence and Security Committee, said that the government’s reasons for holding back the findings are “plainly bogus”. Downing Street has said that it usually takes weeks for these kinds of sensitive reports to be published, whereas Grieve (who knows a thing or two about this sort of thing) says the PM usually responds within 10 days.
With another vote looming, it’s evidently in the public interest for a report on Russian election interference to be released, yet Downing Street has remained steadfast in its cover up.
“Sabotaging” a trial
Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns has this morning resigned over claims he knew his former aide had “sabotaged” a rape trial.
Trivialising millions of deaths
Johnson launched the Tory campaign with a barb against Jeremy Corbyn that has already been accused of trivialising millions of deaths.
The PM claimed that Corbyn treats free enterprise with the “relish and vindictiveness not seen since Stalin persecuted the kulaks.”
It’s estimated that Stalin’s persecution led to the deaths of six million kulaks. Not something that an ordinary person would joke about.
On the whole, a great start for the Tories. If this goes on any longer they’ll be calling for the return of Theresa Maybot.