Get Red Pepper's email newsletter. Enter your email address to receive our latest articles, updates and news.

×

If Theresa May won’t get rid of Boris Johnson, we must.

Boris Johnson is a local disaster and a national embarrassment. He must go, writes James Clouting

November 8, 2017
4 min read

Boris Johnson became the MP for Uxbridge & South Ruislip in 2015 while he was still mayor of London. He was parachuted into the safe Conservative seat to replace long standing local MP John Randall. This was clearly to enable him to continue his career progression in the Tory hierarchy.

Over the last two and a half years Johnson has been an embarrassment and a disgrace, both locally and nationally. Sightings of him in the area are few and far between. He has failed to hold any constituency surgeries and was ‘empty chaired’ at the 2017 election hustings because he could not be bothered to turn up. There was also a bare minimum election campaign from him and the Tories –  further evidence that he takes his seat and position for granted.

Hillingdon Council, which the constituency falls within, is currently Tory-run. Johnson relies heavily on his friends there to cover for him while he causes havoc in Brexit negotiations and the ongoing cabinet infighting. Compare that to John McDonnell, his neighbouring MP in Hayes & Harlington, who is known for being in touch with local people and issues, carrying out his duties as Shadow Chancellor and campaigning across the country.

Nationally, Johnson is guilty of a catalogue of racist, offensive remarks. His most recent comment came when he said that Libya could become the new Dubai, ‘once the dead bodies had been removed’. Previously, he said that the city of Liverpool was ‘wallowing in their victim status’ after the Hillsborough disaster, and labelled black people ‘piccaninnies with watermelon smiles’. This is our most senior diplomat.

What a difference six months makes. When the snap election was called in April, Johnson sat on a healthy majority of 10,695. On 9th June his majority was halved and the seat is now a genuine and realistic target for Labour at the next election. Johnson might have felt pretty comfortable, cushioned with such a large majority – but the seat has previously seen even more dramatic swings away from a majority candidate. In 1997 the long standing Tory MP Sir Michael Shersby had his majority of over 13,000 votes slashed to 724. The council was Labour, then, too. With a proper campaign and support Johnson could go and Labour can regain the local Council in May.

Since the general election, the Constituency Labour Party have held two hugely successful ‘Unseat Boris Johnson’ events. In July, the journalist and activist Owen Jones, along with MPs Emily Thornberry, Keir Starmer and Marsha de Cordova, joined 350 members and supporters from across the country to knock on thousands of doors. On Sunday, there was another event, in partnership with Jones’ and Momentum’s Unseat campaign, which is targeting eight high profile and vulnerable Conservative MPs.

Owen Jones, Barry Gardiner, Clive Lewis and Rupa Huq joined canvassers, who again came from all over the country, to help deliver Labour’s message of hope and change to locals on the doorstep. The Artist Taxi Driver, who posts popular videos on Twitter, also gave his support by starting the event with a rousing speech and interviewing members. The response to both events has been fabulous, with lifelong Conservative voters making it clear that they are fed up with their party and MP. It’s a great base to work from in preparation for next election, whenever it comes.

We have started the crucial process of selecting our candidate who will evict Johnson at the next election. We will soon have our choice in place. We expect there to be a large number of applicants, but there is a clear list of criteria, including unwavering support for the leadership and manifesto.  

It’s a great opportunity for Labour to deliver a decisive blow on our way to forming the next government. The people of Uxbridge & South Ruislip deserve better. The country deserves better. Change is on the way. Help us  #UnseatJohnson.

Red Pepper is an independent, non-profit magazine that puts left politics and culture at the heart of its stories. We think publications should embrace the values of a movement that is unafraid to take a stand, radical yet not dogmatic, and focus on amplifying the voices of the people and activists that make up our movement. If you think so too, please support Red Pepper in continuing our work by becoming a subscriber today.
Why not try our new pay as you feel subscription? You decide how much to pay.
Share this article  
  share on facebook     share on twitter  

Labour Party laws are being used to quash dissent
Richard Kuper writes that Labour's authorities are more concerned with suppressing pro-Palestine activism than with actually tackling antisemitism

Catalan independence is not just ‘nationalism’ – it’s a rebellion against nationalism
Ignasi Bernat and David Whyte argue that Catalonia's independence movement is driven by solidarity – and resistance to far-right Spanish nationalists

Tabloids do not represent the working class
The tabloid press claims to be an authentic voice of the working class - but it's run by and for the elites, writes Matt Thompson

As London City Airport turns 30, let’s imagine a world without it
London City Airport has faced resistance for its entire lifetime, writes Ali Tamlit – and some day soon we will win

The first world war sowed the seeds of the Russian revolution
An excerpt from 'October', China Mieville's book revisiting the story of the Russian Revolution

Academies run ‘on the basis of fear’
Wakefield City Academies Trust (WCAT) was described in a damning report as an organisation run 'on the basis of fear'. Jon Trickett MP examines an education system in crisis.

‘There is no turning back to a time when there wasn’t migration to Britain’
David Renton reviews the Migration Museum's latest exhibition

#MeToo is necessary – but I’m sick of having to prove my humanity
Women are expected to reveal personal trauma to be taken seriously, writes Eleanor Penny

Meet the digital feminists
We're building new online tools to create a new feminist community and tackle sexism wherever we find it, writes Franziska Grobke

The Marikana women’s fight for justice, five years on
Marienna Pope-Weidemann meets Sikhala Sonke, a grassroots social justice group led by the women of Marikana

Forget ‘Columbus Day’ – this is the Day of Indigenous Resistance
By Leyli Horna, Marcela Terán and Sebastián Ordonez for Wretched of the Earth

Uber and the corporate capture of e-petitions
Steve Andrews looks at a profit-making petition platform's questionable relationship with the cab company

You might be a centrist if…
What does 'centrist' mean? Tom Walker identifies the key markers to help you spot centrism in the wild

Black Journalism Fund Open Editorial Meeting in Leeds
Friday 13th October, 5pm to 7pm, meeting inside the Laidlaw Library, Leeds University

This leadership contest can transform Scottish Labour
Martyn Cook argues that with a new left-wing leader the Scottish Labour Party can make a comeback

Review: No Is Not Enough
Samir Dathi reviews No Is Not Enough: Defeating the New Shock Politics, by Naomi Klein

Building Corbyn’s Labour from the ground up: How ‘the left’ won in Hackney South
Heather Mendick has gone from phone-banker at Corbyn for Leader to Hackney Momentum organiser to secretary of her local party. Here, she shares her top tips on transforming Labour from the bottom up

Five things to know about the independence movement in Catalonia
James O'Nions looks at the underlying dynamics of the Catalan independence movement

‘This building will be a library!’ From referendum to general strike in Catalonia
Ignasi Bernat and David Whyte report from the Catalan general strike, as the movements prepare to build a new republic

Chlorine chickens are just the start: Liam Fox’s Brexit trade free-for-all
A hard-right free marketer is now in charge of our trade policy. We urgently need to develop an alternative vision, writes Nick Dearden

There is no ‘cult of Corbyn’ – this is a movement preparing for power
The pundits still don’t understand that Labour’s new energy is about ‘we’ not ‘me’, writes Hilary Wainwright