Boris Johnson pulls out of major red wall summit at last minute

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Boris Johnson has pulled out of a major red wall conference with northern Tory MPs, councillors and business leaders in Doncaster.

The prime minister's spokesperson announced he will not be attending the summit on Friday afternoon, just hours before the Tory leader was expected to make a speech.

Sky News understands the reason for Mr Johnson's no-show could be revealed in the next hour, fuelling speculation over his absence given he may have faced a rough ride following the partygate scandal and a major revolt by his own MPs.

Sky News' deputy political editor Sam Coates said organisers are "mystified" at the PM missing the event, but have been told there is a "good reason" and that it is of "sufficient significance".

The inaugural Northern Research Group Conference had been titled Levelling Up The North.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is understood to have attended a private dinner with conference-goers on Thursday evening.

The agenda included MPs hosting policy sessions on a range of subjects, including tax and the economy, defence, health and devolution.

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