Local election 2022: Five gaffes on the campaign trail from Boris Johnson’s bus passes to value food

Politicians putting their foot it in is as reliable as death and taxes

Thomas Kingsley
Friday 06 May 2022 04:12 BST
Minister advises struggling families to use ‘value brands’

Britain goes to the polls on Thursday to vote in local elections that could determine Boris Johnson’s future.

While council polls are supposed to be about local issues like rubbish collection and potholes, the activities of national politicians often loom large.

A poor result in local voting can increase pressure on Parliament

With the Partygate saga rumbling on and the cost of living crisis biting down on homes across the UK, there’s no lack of talking points to trip people up.

From the Prime Minister putting his foot in it over pensioners to unfortunate photos on social media, we look at some of memorable gaffes from the campaign trail.

1. Buy ‘value brands’ to cope with living crisis, Tory minister says

Pressed on how Britons can cope with the cost of living crisis, cabinet minister George Eustice suggested that shoppers should buy “value brands” to help live within their means.

It comes as the British Retail Consortium-NielsenIQ price index reported a 2.7 per cent year-on-year increase in prices which is at its highest level since 2011 and up from 2.1 per cent in March.

George Eustice, the cabinet minister overseeing food and farming, told Sky News food prices were going up because of the knock-on effect of higher energy costs, pushing up fertiliser and feed costs.

George Eustine has been criticised for his ‘tone deaf’ comments on cost of living
George Eustine has been criticised for his ‘tone deaf’ comments on cost of living (PA)

He said: “Generally speaking, what people find is by going for some of the value brands rather than own-branded products – they can actually contain and manage their household budget.

“It will undoubtedly put a pressure on household budgets and, of course, it comes on top of those high gas prices as well.”

Households are currently facing the largest increase in energy bills since the energy regulator’s price cap was introduced, as Britain is set for the biggest drop in living standards since the 1950s.

In the same interview, Mr Eustice referred to 77-year-old Good Morning Britain pensioner, Elsie as Elsa.

2. Boris Johnson takes credit for free bus pass after hearing of struggling pensioner

Boris Johnson told pensioner rides bus all day to keep warm.avi

Mr Johnson took credit for introducing free bus passes for pensioners after was told at least one elderly woman uses public transport just to keep warm.

In an interview on ITV’s Good Morning Britain this week, the prime minister was told of a 77-year-old pensioner who rode the bus because she could not afford heating.

“To cut down on spending, Elsie has resorted to eating one meal a day,” host Susanna Reid said.” She’s losing weight, she’s 7.”

Mr Johnson replied, with a boast: “Just to remind you that the 24 hour freedom bus pass was something that I introduced.”

“Marvellous, so Elsie should be grateful to you for her bus pass!” Ms Reid snapped back.

As mayor in 2012 Mr Johnson restored free travel for Londoners aged 60 years and older.

But as a 77-year-old the pensioner cited on Good Morning Britain would have qualified for the bus pass with or without Mr Johnson’s intervention.

3. Labour candidate’s obscene gesture at war memorial

Iman Less later apologised for the gesture
Iman Less later apologised for the gesture (supplied)

A Labour election ­candidate posted a picture of herself making an obscene gesture in front of a war memorial.

Iman Less took a selfie of her middle finger at the Guards Crimean War Memorial, in London.

The candidate, who is standing for Westminister council in the election, caption the post: “How do you sleep at night? When you don’t even fight for your right?”

Ms Less later apologised for the post after calls for her to be kicked out of the party.

“I unreservedly apologise for the posts. I have the highest respect and regard for our armed forces,” Ms Less said.

4. Prime Minister doesn’t know his Teesside from his Tynside

Boris Johnson appeared to mix up Teeside and Tyneside in a tweet
Boris Johnson appeared to mix up Teeside and Tyneside in a tweet (PA Wire)

Mr Johnson faced ridicule after he appeared confused about the location of his campaign activity in north-east England on Bank Holiday Monday.

In a since-deleted tweet, the prime minister called for his followers to vote Conservative in Thursday’s local elections and stated that he was in Teesside where the Tories are “delivering a massive programme of investment as part of our plan to level up the whole of the UK”.

However, social media users soon pointed out that the prime minister was in Whitley Bay, which is in North Tyneside and not Teesside.

Bridget Phillipson, MP for Houghton and Sunderland South, shared her frustration at the prime minister: “Teesside, Tyneside, all the same to him. He doesn’t even know where he is. Britain deserves better. On Thursday, vote Labour.”

6. “Who’s Lorraine?”

Lorraine reacts brilliantly to Boris Johnson not knowing who she is

After being quizzed about Partygate and the cost of living crisis on his first interview with Good Morning Britain in three years, Boris Johnson asked “Who’s Lorraine?” following his interview with Susanna Reid ended.

Reid replied: “Who’s Lorraine…? Lorraine’s a legend.”

Mr Johnson appeared to have misunderstood the situation, thinking he was being passed over to Ms Kelly for another interview. “Fantastic, well I didn’t think I was talking to Lorraine, OK…” he muttered.

When Ms Kelly appeared on the screen, she simply said: “Wow. Thank you, Susanna. A masterclass in a political interview.”

Viewers who tuned into watch the interview expressed their derision at Mr Johnson’s gaffe on social media.

“I thought he was out of touch but this is stratospherically out of touch,” one audience member tweeted.

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