Johnson urges voters to help him ‘change punctured Parliament’

By Richard Wheeler, PA Parliamentary Editor

Boris Johnson has pleaded with voters to give him a House of Commons majority in seven days to help change the “punctured Parliament” he claims has frustrated his vision for Britain.

The Prime Minister repeated lines and jokes about the need to “get Brexit done” and said his deal could be brought back to Parliament “before you cook your Christmas turkey” if the Tories win on December 12.

Mr Johnson also joked during a speech to workers at a knitwear factory that the 635 Tory candidates “haven’t been dragooned, haven’t been lobotomised” in order to get them signed up to support his Brexit deal.

Shouts of “hey, hey, ho, ho, Boris Johnson’s got to go” greeted the Conservative campaign bus as it arrived at John Smedley Mill Shop, near Matlock, Derbyshire.

The PM did not travel on the bus, which led to shouts of “Boris, where are you?” from protesters, who included Labour activists.

Mr Johnson was given a tour of the factory floor and tried his hand at sewing.

Boris Johnson during a visit to the John Smedley Mill in Matlock, Derbyshire (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

He sat behind a machine and tried to sew a label on to a garment with “Get Brexit Done” on it.

“You missed,” he was told on his first attempt.

Mr Johnson replied: “I don’t want to get my finger.”

The PM had more success on his second attempt in getting the Brexit garment done.

Mr Johnson then addressed staff, telling them: “I don’t want to interrupt you for long as this is the run-up to Christmas and I imagine you’re in a production frenzy now making the beautiful jumpers and sweaters and knitwear and tasteful underwear I suppose, and all the things that’ll be under the trees of the nation this Christmas and being exported around the world.”

The PM uses a sewing machine during the visit (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Mr Johnson reiterated his campaign claims as to why he wanted next week’s election, saying: “We just had to do it because we’ve got a broken Parliament, a Parliament that won’t do its job, like a broken down bendy bus jackknifed on the yellow box junction stopping the entire nation from making progress.”

The PM also said if Britain was a “super green supercar” then the “flat tyre” is the “punctured Parliament”.

He said: “All I’m asking is for your help to change that punctured Parliament on Thursday of next week and get us a working majority.

“So we have seven days to do it, seven days to get Brexit done, seven days to end the deadlock, seven days to get out of this three-and-a-half year pit stop that we’ve been in – and the pits is the word – and to get this country motoring again.”

He added: “Seven days to unleash this country’s potential and get it surging forward again.”

Mr Johnson has outlined his plans for the first 100 days of a majority Conservative government, which includes getting legislation approved to complete the first phase of Brexit by January 31.

When told there was still months if not years more of Brexit negotiations beyond getting his Withdrawal Agreement approved, Mr Johnson claimed his approach would “let this country move on”.

Labour’s Andrew Gwynne (Jacob King/PA)

The PM was also pressed to say whether his predecessors cut too much funding when it came to austerity.

He criticised Labour before adding: “It was right to govern prudently, I still think it’s right to govern prudently but what I want to do, as a one-nation Tory, is to invest massively in our public services and we’re going to do that.”

Andrew Gwynne, Labour’s national campaign co-ordinator, said in a statement: “He won’t apologise because he is standing on a manifesto that has austerity baked in.

“The Conservatives want to usher in more cuts to our public services and more giveaways to the super-rich.”