Cumbria's Tory politicians back prime minister Theresa May - but blast 'out of order' Boris Johnson over 'dead bodies' comment

5 October 2017 5:56PM

CUMBRIA'S leading Tory politicians are resolute Theresa May is the right person to lead their party throughout its next term of office as the prime minister delivered her party conference speech.

Elected members from across the county quashed speculation of a rift within their party over leadership - unanimously backing Mrs May to lead the country until the next general election.

But gaff-prone foreign secretary Boris Johnson failed to win their admiration after making controversial comments over "dead bodies" in Libya during his own speech in Manchester - with Conservatives in Cumbria describing his words as "out of order" and "sick".

Conservative group leader in Cumbria, Councillor James Airey, said of the 53-year-old: "You won't change Boris.

"Clearly what he said is out of order.

"You just have to let him get on with it. He is a very well liked politician and that's partly because he's not politically correct."



Ulverston-based Cllr Airey added: "But I think Theresa did a tremendous job under difficult circumstances today.

"She is without doubt the right person at the right time to lead this country."

Carlisle councillor Fiona Robson was also strong in her support of the prime minister, stating personal attacks against Mrs May's character were totally unfounded.

Speaking from the Tory conference, she said: "I absolutely think we've got the best person for the job.

"When it came down to who was going to step forward and lead this country through Brexit, everyone disappeared.

"It took a woman to have the guts to do it.

"But people are unkind towards her personally when she has proven herself already.

"She has the maturity and the stamina to do this."

 Councillor Fiona Robson

Councillor Fiona Robson

On Mr Johnson, who faced calls for his resignation after he stated British investors were ready to transform the Libyan city of Sirte into a new Dubai once the "dead bodies" were cleared away, Cllr Robson went on: "It's not acceptable but it's Boris.

"It's a bit sick and a silly thing to say."

Windermere businessman and councillor Ben Berry said he had not seen Mr Johnson's full speech in order to comment on it.

But he added his confidence in Mrs May as prime minister remained high.

He said: "I think she will be leader for the next 12 months and for quite some time.

"People like a united party and the Conservatives are united."

Solway coast representative, Councillor Tony Markley, reiterated Cllr Berry's view.

He said: "I think Theresa May is doing a good job at the moment and I think she will continue to do it."

The Tory party conference - Who is Boris Johnson and what did he say?

Mr Johnson is a Conservative party politician and the UK's foreign secretary.

 Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Photo: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Photo: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

He is famed for his floppy blond hair, polished accent and gaff-strewn career.

The 53-year-old delivered his conference speech yesterday at the annual event in Manchester.

He said a set of British investors had a plan to transform an area near to the war-torn Sirte, in Libya, into a new Dubai.

But he added: "All they have to do is clear the dead bodies away."

Sirte has been the site of bloody clashes between government fighters and extremists from so-called Islamic State.

Mr Johnson's critics branded his comments "cruel and crass" and called for him to be sacked by prime minister Theresa May.

But the 53-year-old, a former mayor of London, took to Twitter to defend his comments, stating those angry at his remarks had 'no knowledge or understanding of Libya'.

What happened when Boris had a night out in Cumbria?

Boris Johnson defended his scathing comments about Carlisle's after hours scene following a night out in the city in 2006.

The blonde mop-topped politician had headed to Botchergate after being invited to Cumbria.

Council chiefs were keen that the maverick Tory MP should visit after he slated a night out in the city in a Daily Telegraph article, mentioning its "Hogarthian nightscape" and "pagan semi-nudity", declaring there were "far better places to be".

The then future mayor of London used the night out to highlight the worst excesses of Britain’s binge-drinking culture at the time.

He wrote about one Friday night when he became stranded in Carlisle just before closing time.

He described how he was stunned by the noise, the crowd, the smoke and the quantities of alcohol being necked by drinkers in one Carlisle pub.

The MP, famed for his upper class accent, jokes, bumbling manner and appearances at the time on TV's Have I Got News for You, then became embroiled in an argument with a drunk man.

Mr Johnson claimed he was only saved from a beating after the man’s even-drunker girlfriend intervened and he slipped out of the pub, leaving the couple in the midst of a ferocious argument.

He said: “I snuck quietly for the door and onto the streets of Carlisle, where things were, frankly, very little better.

“Everywhere there was a pagan semi-nudity. There were queues to buy kebabs, and the pavements were Jackson Pollocked with the results of eating a kebab on top of eight pints of lager.”

He continued: “Faces leered and weaved towards me, pale and waxy with drink, and everyone seemed to be hurling strange oaths and invitations.”

Mr Johnson said he then fled to the railway station and sat shivering, waiting on the platform until the night train arrived.

The excesses witnessed in Carlisle, Mr Johnson argued, demonstrated the British love of booze.

Following his comments he came back to the city and was shown around by then mayor of Carlisle, Judith Pattinson, and the former Penrith and the Border MP David Maclean.

He visited several city pubs including The Border Rambler, The Caledonian and Bar Rouge.

In Bar Rouge he chatted to new students and reporters, where he said: "I don’t think I’m going to apologise for what I said. People don’t seem to have been offended by it.

"What happened on my last visit to Carlisle could have happened anywhere in Britain. It just so happened that it happened here."

Comment on this article

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Don   M , Carlisle Thursday, 05 October, 2017 at 11:37AM
Love or Loathe Boris Johnson you have to give him credit for having a personality unlike most of todays cardboard cut out politicians.
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