Jeremy Corbyn supporters will flood Boris Johnson‘s London constituency just days before he is likely to win the race for Downing Street as part of a massive effort to make him the first sitting prime minister to lose their seat at a general election.
The Momentum campaign group is planning to bus in hundreds of Labour-backing activists to knock on doors across the Uxbridge and South Ruislip seat on Sunday July 21 with more events planned in the coming months.
Theresa May‘s successor is due to be appointed on July 24 and Mr Johnson remains the prohibitive favourite in the leadership race against Jeremy Hunt.
But Labour believes Mr Johnson is vulnerable to being ousted after his majority was cut in half at the 2017 general election from almost 11,000 votes to just over 5,000.
However, sources close to Mr Johnson said they believed the concentrated effort to get rid of him was because Labour is ‘scared’ of the former foreign secretary after he beat the party twice in London mayoral elections.
The next general election is not scheduled to take place until 2022 but the Brexit impasse means many in Westminster believe a snap poll in the not too distant future is almost inevitable.
It came as Mr Hunt vowed to put Whitehall on a war footing if he becomes the next prime minister in order to prepare for the possibility of a No Deal Brexit on October 31.
Mr Hunt sought to bolster his standing with Tory Eurosceptics as he set out a £20billion plan for a disorderly divorce from the EU.
Meanwhile, allies of Mr Johnson said the front runner will ‘show some love’ for public sector workers if he succeeds Theresa May by handing out bigger pay rises.
Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary and supporter of Mr Johnson, said there would be ‘money available’ and Mr Johnson would loosen the purse strings.
Boris Johnson, pictured today on the campaign trail in Kent, saw his constituency majority cut in half at the 2017 general election and Momentum believes the former mayor of London in vulnerable
Mr Johnson, pictured today talking to people at the Sevenoaks garden centre in the south east of England, would be the first sitting PM to be ousted at a general election if Momentum’s plan works
Mr Johnson campaigned alongside his pro-Remain brother Jo in Orpington before heading to Kent. Both men represent London seats but the former foreign secretary’s backing for Brexit mean he faces more difficulty at the ballot box than his sibling given the capital’s pro-EU majority
The Jeremy Corbyn-backing campaign group will bus in hundreds of activists to the Uxbridge and South Ruislip seat on July 21, just days before Boris Johnson could become PM
Hunt unveils £20bn No Deal Brexit plan
Jeremy Hunt today vowed to put Whitehall on a war footing for No Deal as he unveiled a £20billion plan to brace for hard Brexit.
The Foreign Secretary said he would immediately order the government to work on the assumption that there will not be an agreement – and threatened to cancel all holidays for senior civil servants.
He insisted ‘turbocharging’ preparations for No Deal would send a message the EU that the UK is ‘willing and able’ to walk away if negotiations fail.
In a series of sharp swipes at Boris Johnson, Mr Hunt warned ‘belief’ and ‘rhetoric’ was no substitute for meticulous planning – and said it was wrong to minimise concerns about the potential impact of leaving without a deal.
However, he faced an immediate rebuke from Chancellor Philip Hammond, who jibed that a PM who pushed through No Deal would not have any money to spend because of the ‘hole’ left in the public finances.
Momentum believe that if Mr Johnson is selected by Tory members to take over from Mrs May he would have a smaller majority than any prime minister since Ramsay MacDonald in 1924.
Momentum and Labour believe that replicating an effort like the one seen at the Peterborough by-election in June when the party managed to cling onto the seat could be enough to oust Mr Johnson from the seat he has held since 2015.
Labour held onto Peterborough by just 683 votes after the sitting MP, Fiona Onasanya, was kicked out of Parliament for lying about a speeding ticket.
However, the second-place-finishing Brexit Party has demanded an investigation into the by-election over allegations of voter fraud.
Labour has insisted it won the by-election ‘fairly and squarely’.
Becky Boumelha, a member of Momentum’s National Coordinating Group, said Mr Johnson ‘isn’t fit to hold any form of public office, let alone become prime minister’.
‘At the Peterborough by-election last month Labour unexpectedly beat the Brexit party after Momentum mobilised more than 1,000 activists to knock on doors and make phone calls,’ she said.
‘Now we’re launching a campaign to make sure Johnson goes down in history as the first sitting prime minister to lose his seat.
‘At the last election we slashed his majority in half, and now even Tories admit his seat is vulnerable to a surge in young voters at the next election.’
Research conducted by the Onward centre-right think tank earlier this year showed Mr Johnson was one of a number of senior Tories who could face be kicked out of parliament at the next election.
The former foreign secretary, pictured today, is the favourite to win the Tory leadership race but he is facing a battle to keep his Uxbridge and South Ruislip seat in west London
But sources close to Mr Johnson suggested the move by Momentum was because Labour was ‘scared’ of facing a candidate who had beaten the party twice in the London mayoral elections
Momentum believes changing voter attitudes and more younger voters could help Labour win the west London seat.
The group’s bid to get rid of Mr Johnson will also see a social media campaign aimed at persuading swing voters to ditch the former mayor of London.
Ali Milani, the Momentum-backed Labour candidate in Uxbridge and South Ruislip, said: ‘Ever since Boris Johnson was parachuted into Uxbridge and South Ruislip, he’s neglected his constituents and concerned himself only with his own career.’
A source close to Mr Johnson said: ‘If I were Labour, I’d be looking at shoring up my own position.
‘Boris is the only candidate who can defeat Corbyn’s Labour Party at the next election.
‘He beat them in London, twice – no wonder they’re so scared of him becoming Conservative Leader and Prime Minister.’
Mr Johnson campaigned alongside his brother, the Remain-backing Conservative MP Jo Johnson, in Orpington this morning as he continues to seek support in the Tory leadership race.
Both men represent London seats but the former foreign secretary’s backing for Brexit mean he faces more difficulty at the ballot box than his sibling given the capital’s pro-EU majority.
Boris to ‘hand out pay rises to public sector workers if he becomes PM’
Supporters of Mr Johnson, pictured on the campaign trail in Kent today, believe he will splash the cash if he becomes PM
Boris Johnson will ‘show some love’ for public sector workers by handing out bigger pay rises if he becomes PM, allies insisted today.
The Tory front runner has vowed to loosen the purse strings in Downing Street, with his Cabinet backer Matt Hancock saying there was now ‘money available’.
But rival Jeremy Hunt delivered a withering verdict on Mr Johnson’s bullish post-Brexit plans, suggesting he was trying to leave the EU ‘on a wing and a prayer’.
The latest brutal clashes came as the candidates kicked off their second full week of campaigning – and the latest before Conservative members start voting.
Mr Hancock said: ‘Now that there’s money available we need to show the public sector some love – they do a brilliant job for the country,
‘People in the public sector need to be properly rewarded for the brilliant job they do.
‘Higher pay, not higher taxes, means a pay rise for everyone, including in the public sector.’