Tories write out Boris and party as election leaflet fails to mention either in ex-PM’s former constituency

Exclusive: The leaflet instead made loud claims about Tory candidate Steve Tuckwell’s anti-ULEZ policies

Oliver Pritchard-Jones
Thursday 06 July 2023 11:03 BST
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A Conservative by-election campaign leaflet has been branded "frankly embarrassing" for failing to mention the party or former prime minister Boris Johnson who previously held the seat.

Instead, the leaflet for Uxbridge and South Ruislip vote made loud claims about Tory candidate Steve Tuckwell's anti-Ultra Low Emission Zone policies while attacking his Labour counterpart Danny Beales over his apparent support for its controversial expansion.

London mayor Sadiq Khan plans to drastically expand London's zone – which charges certain vehicles to enter it – in an attempt to improve air quality.

Despite going on the attack, the leaflet failed to mention Rishi Sunak's party or the constituency's disgraced former MP.

One of the flyers, which was recently distributed in the area, was passed to The Independent by a local resident.

They said: "It is as if they are ashamed of their party, ashamed of Boris, ashamed of everything."

A Labour source said: "People won't be hoodwinked by the lack of a Tory logo" on the leaflets.

"He [Mr Tuckwell] stands for the same Conservative chaos that crashed the economy and left everyone with less money in their pockets," they added.

The leaflets attacked Mr Beales pereceived support for ULEZ expansion (PA)

A Lib Dem source branded the leaflet "frankly embarrassing" and said the Tories were "so mired in sleaze and scandal that they are airbrushing themselves out of their own leaflets".

Rebecca Jane, UKIP's deputy leader and candidate in the upcoming poll, was equally scathing.

She told The Independent: "In my opinion, Steve knows his leadership have failed this country.

"Which is why he has ignored it and pressed ahead with denouncing ULEZ."

Labour said “people won’t be hoodwinked” by the lack of a Tory logo on the leaflets (Supplied)

She added: "I think the Conservative leadership are toxic, corrupt and need removing from power.

"However, I absolutely want it known – Labour are NOT the solution."

Meanwhile, Queen Mary University of London political scientist Tim Bale said while the move didn't constitute a breach of electoral law, "you could argue that it's being less than honest with those you're hoping to persuade to vote for you".

"When your party's brand – and, in [Mr] Tuckwell's case, your predecessor's brand – has turned seriously toxic, it's understandable that you'd want to minimise your association with it.

"Whether such a laughably disingenuous strategy will end up paying off, though, is surely doubtful.

UKIP deputy leader and parliamentary candidate Rebecca Jane said the omission proved that Mr Tuckwell knew his party has “failed” the country (Rebecca Jane)

"Voters aren't stupid – even if you decide to treat them as such."

The by-election was triggered last month when Mr Johnson sensationally quit the Commons before the publication of a damning probe into lockdown-breaking parties at Downing Street. That inquiry eventually found Mr Johnson had lied to parliament about whether rules were followed at No 10.

Had he remained an MP, it would have been recommended that he be suspended for 90 days.

And despite the seat being retained by the Tories since 2015, many pollsters believe Sir Keir Starmer's party will reign victorious in the poll later this month.

UK Polling Report has Labour on course to overturn the Tories' 7,000 vote majority by winning 53.4% of the vote.

Mr Tuckwell has been contacted for comment.

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