Boris Johnson’s constituents unimpressed with Tory leadership rivals battling to replace him as Prime Minister

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson  (PA Wire)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson (PA Wire)

Tory voters in Boris Johnson’s west London constituency branded Rishi Sunak “out of touch with the common man” and said they thought Liz Truss was “weak” on Friday.

A focus group of Conservative voters in Uxbridge were unimpressed with both of the candidates fighting to replace Mr Johnson as Prime Minister.

They added that they had largely “lost faith” in the direction of the country.

Former Chancellor Mr Sunak gained the most support from Tory MPs to lead the party, but was mocked by potential voters after turning up to visit a building site wearing expensive Prada loafers.

Tory leadership candidate Rishi Sunak arrives for a hustings event with the Conservative Councillors’ Association in Westminster, central London (PA Wire)
Tory leadership candidate Rishi Sunak arrives for a hustings event with the Conservative Councillors’ Association in Westminster, central London (PA Wire)

One man from the focus group, who works as a postman, said of Mr Sunak: “I think he’s totally out of touch with reality. The money both him and his wife have in the bank is almost like President Trump’s style.

“Last week he did a tour of a building site, and he decided not to wear boots or something like everybody else, he decided to work in £450 shoes.

“Leather shoes to walk around the building site because he thought that was cool to do that. I mean, totally out of touch with the common man. I don’t like him at all.”

While the group said that they thought Mr Sunak was the most experienced, they brought up his fine for breaking Covid rules and the storm involving his multi-millionaire wife, Akshata Murthy, previously claiming non-domicile status.

“I’ve changed my mind on him,” one woman said.

“At the very beginning of the pandemic I liked him because I’m a self-employed hairdresser, so when he announced all the plans it seemed like he’s great,  he’s helping out the self-employed.

“But now more things have unfolded. I feel like I can’t trust him.”

However another said Mr Sunak was the best candidate to “hit the ground running” if he became PM, adding “that has to take priority”

Liz Truss celebrates with her supporters after making it into the final stage of the race to Number 10 (Stefan Rousseau/PA) (PA Wire)
Liz Truss celebrates with her supporters after making it into the final stage of the race to Number 10 (Stefan Rousseau/PA) (PA Wire)

The focus group was also unimpressed with Ms Truss.

One man said: “Truss has got lots of experience in government over the years, but she’s not a strong character….she doesn’t fill me with confidence at all.”

The group also thought the candidates should focus on the cost-of-living crisis, Ukraine and climate change rather than trans rights issues, which became a major talking point of the leadership debates.

One participant, who is Tory party member, said: “I wouldn’t say [trans rights] is a top priority for discussion in these debates right now. It’s not an urgent thing that they have to address right now.”

The focus group, organised by More In Common, said that the scandals which had plagued Mr Johnson’s government had diminished their trust in politicians and they were not confident about the direction the UK was headed in.

However they were keen on Mr Johnson staying on as their MP and not quitting before the next election.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson - In pictures

Boris Johnson speaks during Prime Minister's Questions session (Via REUTERS)
Boris Johnson speaks during Prime Minister's Questions session (Via REUTERS)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his partner Carrie Symonds enter Downing Street as the Conservatives celebrate a sweeping election victory (Jeremy Selwyn)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his partner Carrie Symonds enter Downing Street as the Conservatives celebrate a sweeping election victory (Jeremy Selwyn)
Britain's New Prime Minister Boris Johnson is welcomed into 10 Downing Street by staff (AP)
Britain's New Prime Minister Boris Johnson is welcomed into 10 Downing Street by staff (AP)
Britain's New Prime Minister Boris Johnson is welcomed into 10 Downing Street by staff (AP)
Britain's New Prime Minister Boris Johnson is welcomed into 10 Downing Street by staff (AP)
Queen Elizabeth II welcomes newly elected leader of the Conservative party Boris Johnson (PA)
Queen Elizabeth II welcomes newly elected leader of the Conservative party Boris Johnson (PA)
(PA)
(PA)
(PA)
(PA)
(AP)
(AP)
Boris Johnson speaks with the Queen's Royal Hussars stationed in Estonia at the Tapa military base (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Boris Johnson speaks with the Queen's Royal Hussars stationed in Estonia at the Tapa military base (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
(10 Downing Street/AFP via Getty)
(10 Downing Street/AFP via Getty)
(Simon Dawson / No10 Downing Street)
(Simon Dawson / No10 Downing Street)

One woman said: “I think he should hang on otherwise [the Conservatives] could lose this seat. That would be a disaster for him to do that.”

Luke Tryl More in Common’s UK Director said “That the people we spoke to in Uxbridge had become less confident about the direction of the country since the contest began should worry all the Tory leadership contenders.

“These voters urgently want to hear what the candidates are going to do about the cost of living, how they’re going to continue to support Ukraine and their plan to tackle climate change and they want to hear rather less about the debate on trans issues.”

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