Boris Johnson says there’s ‘no need’ to cancel Christmas plans
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Mr Johnson made the gaffe during a visit to the constituency of North Shropshire, where voters are expected to make their way to polling stations in two weeks’ time. While visiting the town of Oswestry in the constituency, the premier praised candidate Dr Neil Shastri-Hurst as “fantastic” but unfortunately messed up by calling the Tory candidate Dr Neil Shastri-Hughes.
He said: “I think we have got a fantastic candidate, Dr Neil Shastri-Hughes, who I have just been seen contributing already to the life of the community by vaccinating people, he is a doctor amongst his many other talents and what he is also going to do is work very, very hard for the people of North Shropshire.
“I used to live in this constituency, I used to come shopping in Oswestry, so I know it a bit.”
Mr Johnson, possibly picking up on his mistake, later referred to the candidate as “Dr Neil” as he observed the medic give Covid jabs to the public at a local pharmacy.
He added: “And he is got all the issues, he understands what needs to be done, to support the NHS to get investment into our hospitals here but also make sure we do things like, duelling the A5, looking at the Oswestry to Gobowen railway line, other projects like that, I think he is a fantastic candidate.”
The constituency’s previous MP, Owen Paterson, was suspended from Parliament for 30 days after the Standards Committee found the former Conservative minister had been involved in an “egregious” breach of a ban on paid lobbying by MPs.
Mr Paterson subsequently announced his resignation following a failed attempt to delay the suspension, triggering the upcoming by-election.
The North Shropshire seat is considered a safe constituency for the Tories, with Mr Paterson previously holding onto the position since 1997.
In the previous general election, Mr Paterson won in a landslide victory over his Labour and Lib-Dem rivals, taking almost 63 percent of the vote.
Dr Neil Shastri-Hurst will be facing down Labour, the Lib-Dems, and a number of other parties in the upcoming December 16 vote.
News of the upcoming North Shropshire by-election comes after the Tories stormed to victory in the Old Bexley and Sidcup by-election on Thursday.
Tory candidate Louie French won the race in Old Bexley and Sidcup after receiving 51.5 percent of the vote, while Labour finished in second place with 30.9 percent.
However, the victory also came with a caveat as it saw the Tory majority slashed from nearly 19,000 to 4,478, the equivalent of a vote share swing of 10 percent to Labour.
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Speaking about how the Bexley result could impact Mr Johnson, Professor Michael Thrasher told Sky News: “If this had been a general election then they [Labour] would have done far better than they had done in 2019, the Conservatives would have lost their overall majority, the Prime Minister would have lost his seat, given the size of the swing.”
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