‘I think he’s a disaster’: Bury voters weigh in on Boris Johnson | Boris Johnson
As the conservative politician with the most marginal constituency in Britain, James Daly should be particularly interested in the leadership of his party. But on Monday morning, the MP for Bury North in Greater Manchester insisted the vote of no confidence ‘comes kind of a surprise’.
So much so that he had campaigned in the Wakefield by-election when he heard the news and had to quickly turn around to catch the next train to London.
Having been elected in 2019 with a majority of just 105 votes over Labour, Daly’s position is particularly precarious. But he said he was sticking with Boris Johnson because his government had ‘provided millions of pounds of investment for Bury’, with behind-the-scenes suggestions of more to come from the shared prosperity fund.
He was unconvinced that Johnson’s rivals would follow suit: “I may just be Billy No Mates, but no one has come to me to lay out their vision for the North of England or Greater Manchester and said to me, “If you vote for me, then we’ll make sure this always happens.
Many who voted for Daly see things differently. Fresh out of her tai chi class in the village of Greenmount, Mary Farrington’s meditative Zen was instantly marred by the Prime Minister’s remarks.
“I voted for him, but I think he’s a disaster,” the retired medical secretary said. “He may be a very smart and funny man, but he is not a good prime minister. It’s very disillusioned. You can’t believe anything and it spreads to the rest of the party. She would no longer vote Conservative, she added.
The parties were less of a problem than lying about their existence, said her friend, Barbara Robinson, a retired pharmaceutical analyst and former Conservative voter. “In terms of partying, it wasn’t a crazy party, although they were drinking and mingling when we weren’t. But constantly lying about it and lying to the House of Commons, that is the problem.
Although she had spent the Jubilee long weekend at her daughter’s wedding, news had still reached Robinson of the reading Johnson had given at the Queen’s Service of Thanksgiving (Philippians 4:8): “All that is true, all that is noble, all that is just … think of such things.”). “He had the nerve to read that out loud,” she whispered. “Someone clearly had a dig that put this verse to read.”
Robin Skinner, the Greenmount butcher, was another disillusioned Conservative voter. “I think [Johnson] was an absolute jerk. You can’t defend it during parties. When it comes to the state of the economy, I don’t think he can do much about it – it’s not just us who are suffering from inflation. But parties, no. It’s up to him to tell the truth about them.
Nurse Jo Slater, a lifelong curator, was conflicted. “Personally, I really like Boris. I think he’s a good prime minister. The only thing he doesn’t have in his favour, which is a real shame, are the parties,” he said. she said, “It’s not really forgivable when people can’t even see their dying loved ones in the hospital. If I didn’t love him as much as I do, I’d say he needs to go.”
Local elections did not go well for the Bury Conservatives, losing three seats and seeing one of their former stalwarts win as an independent (“My values no longer align with those of the Bury Conservatives” , said Yvonne Wright when she left the party in February). His departure came shortly after Christian Wakeford, MP for Bury South, defected to Labor in January, saying he could “no longer defend the indefensible”.
Greenmount is part of the North Manor council ward, a conservative stronghold that typically elects candidates with majorities of 1,000 or more. But this time, Labor was within 207 votes of taking a seat.
With such a slim majority to overthrow in the next general election, Labor looks to have a very good chance of winning back Bury North. But they too may have a leadership problem. “Keir Starmer doesn’t give me confidence either,” Robinson said. “He’s into this Partygate thing now and he looks like he lied too, doesn’t he?”