‘Don’t punish us for mistakes at Westminster’: Tory council candidates style themselves as ‘local Conservatives’ in bid to keep a distance from Boris’s Partygate woes
- Leaflets urge voters to not ‘punish’ local Tories for ‘mistakes in Westminster’
- Re-branding efforts of Tory hopefuls emerge ahead of tomorrow’s council polls
- Conservatives fear a local elections bloodbath in the wake of Partygate scandal
The re-branding efforts of Tory hopefuls emerged ahead of tomorrow’s local elections in England, Scotland and Wales.
Some Conservative leaflets have been revealed to include a plea to voters to not ‘punish local Conservatives for the mistakes made in Westminster’.
Tories are fearing a local elections bloodbath in the wake of the Partygate scandal and rising voter despair at the cost-of-living crisis.
The party is braced to lose hundreds of councillors across the UK.
They have also been warned they could lose control of flagship councils such as Wandsworth and Westminster in London, as well as Southampton and Thurrock.
The Prime Minister has promised to take ‘full responsibility’ if the Tories suffer a hammering tomorrow.
It has been suggested that particularly dire results for the Conservatives could bring fresh efforts among Tories to trigger a confidence vote in Mr Johnson and force a leadership challenge.
Some Conservative leaflets have been revealed to include a plea to voters to not ‘punish local Conservatives for the mistakes made in Westminster’
Senior Conservative MP Tim Loughton appeared in a video with a local Tory candidate telling voters: ‘Put aside what may be going on in national politics, this is a local election’
Among efforts to distance local candidates from the party’s national issues are leaflets being delivered in Hartlepool.
They read: ‘This Thursday, please don’t punish local Conservatives for the mistakes made in Westminster.
‘We are local, and proud of where we live, and like you, we want the best for Hartlepool.’
Senior Conservative MP Tim Loughton, who has called for the PM to resign over Partygate, has appeared in a video with a local Tory candidate telling voters: ‘Put aside what may be going on in national politics, this is a local election.’
In Esher and Walton in Surrey, which forms Justice Secretary Dominic Raab’s Westminster constituency, the Tory candidates for Elmbridge Borough Council are officially listed as ‘Local Conservatives’.
This is also the case for Tory candidates for Birmingham City Council and Wandsworth Borough Council.
Some local campaign leaflets have also been reported to omit any Conservative branding at all.
Boris Johnson has promised to take ‘full responsibility’ if the Tories suffer a hammering tomorrow
Conservative polling expert Lord Hayward suggested that the party’s losses could be between 250 and 350 tomorrow.
He told MailOnline: ‘One of the things that is becoming clear is that people you talk to are stating anti-Boris, anti-London, anti-Westminster things.’
On some candidates branding themselves as ‘local Conservatives’, he added: ‘There are a growing number of people who are openly dissenting from Boris and trying to separate themselves from Boris.’
Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner accused Tory candidates of ‘trying to hide from their own Government’s record’.
‘It speaks volumes that Boris Johnson’s own Conservative candidates are ashamed to be associated with him and trying to pull the wool over voters’ eyes,’ she added.