Boris Johnson makes surprise appearance at Tory rally as he urges voters not to abandon party for Reform UK

Boris Johnson makes surprise appearance at Tory rally as he urges voters not to abandon party for Reform UK

Boris Johnson made a surprise appearance at a Tory campaign rally to warn 2019 Conservative voters against backing Reform UK and allowing what he described as a “Labour supermajority”.

The former Prime Minister was greeted with chants of "Boris, Boris, Boris" as he joined Rishi Sunak at the National Army Museum in Chelsea on Tuesday night.

He thanked Conservative activists at the event, which began at 9.30pm, for "coming so late, way past Keir Starmer's bedtime" in a dig at the Labour leader's comment that he largely avoids working after 6pm on Fridays to spend time with his family.

Mr Johnson added: "When Rishi asked me to come and help of course I couldn't say no.

"We're all here because we love our country."

He told the crowd that voting for Labour or backing Nigel Farage’s Reform UK at the general election on Thursday would “achieve nothing but usher in the most left wing government since the war”.

“We must not let it happen,” he said. “If you actually want higher taxes, if you feel you have a few thousand to spare then vote Labour on Thursday.”

Mr Johnson led the Tories to a landslide victory against a Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn in 2019. But he was ousted by his own MPs in September 2022 after a number of scandals.

He has filmed endorsement messages for some Conservative election candidates and has been supportive of the party in his newspaper column. But he had been notably absent from the campaign trail until now.

 (James Manning/PA Wire)
(James Manning/PA Wire)

In an impassioned speech, Mr Johnson said Tory voters needed to prevent Sir Keir winning a “sledgehammer majority” and what he described as “Starmergeddon”.

"They will scrap the Rwanda plan," he said before describing candidates standing for rival party’s as "Kremlin crawlers".

Mr Johnson told the cheering crowd that votes for other parties “can achieve nothing in this election except to usher in the most left-wing Labour government since the war with a huge majority, and we must not let it happen”.

"Don't let the Putinistas deliver the Corbynistas,” he said.

“Don't let Putin's pet parrots give this entire country psittacosis - which is a disease you get by the way from cosying up to pet parrots.

"Friends, if you actually - everybody if you actually want higher taxes next week, this year, if you feel you've got a few thousands to spare, then vote Labour on Thursday. If you want uncontrolled immigration and mandatory wokery, and pointless kowtowing to Brussels again, then go right ahead, make my day, vote for Starmer.

"But if you want to protect our democracy and our economy and keep this country strong abroad by spending 2.5 per cent of our GDP on defence...There's only one thing to do - vote Conservative on Thursday my friends and I know you will. I know you will."

Mr Sunak, who is trailing his Labour rival by around 20 points in the polls, thanked Mr Johnson for his support.

The PM said: “Every single vote matters… I know you are tired, I know you have worked hard but we have got to give it one more push.”

However, political rivals branded the disgraced former PM’s appearance on the campaign trail as an “insult to everyone who made heartbreaking sacrifices during the pandemic”

Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper said: "Rishi Sunak has reached a desperate new low, turning to a man who discredited the office of Prime Minister and lied to the country time after time.

"It is time to boot out this tired and sleaze-ridden Conservative party, and elect Liberal Democrat MPs who will stand up for their communities.”