Crawley is ‘ill served’ by its MP’s decision to back Boris Johnson to be the next leader of the Conservative Party, a leading Labour figure has said.
Theresa May stood down as the party’s leader last week but remains Prime Minister until her successor is chosen.
Ten candidates are in the running and earlier this week Crawley MP Henry Smith backed Boris Johnson as he would ‘deliver the record vote for Brexit without delay’.
But Peter Lamb, Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Crawley and leader of the borough council, has written an open letter to Mr Smith criticising the endorsement.
He wrote: “Perhaps it is his intention to deliver Brexit, for good or for ill. Yet, there is no consensus on any of the options in Parliament and without finding common ground there can be no end to the current stalemate.
“Mr Johnson’s behaviour proves him singularly ill-equipped to find such common ground.
“Worse, the fact that before the referendum he drafted a column outlining the case for remain, and once he did opt to campaign for leave made the now infamously untrue pledge that there would be an extra £350m for the NHS if we left the EU, means it can certainly be questioned whether he has any genuine intentions other than promoting his own career.
“As for the other qualities you highlight. I am uncertain whether anyone who has dismissed the concerns of whole industries with the comment ‘F**k business’, who has written columns disputing the evidence-basis for climate change and whose period as Foreign Secretary resulted in the New York Times writing a piece entitled ‘Boris Johnson Has Ruined Britain’, is really cut out to deliver on any of the things you claim.
“Nevertheless, you wish to stand with Mr Johnson, in the same way as your last election address said you were ‘Standing with Theresa May’.
“Perhaps you can tell me then whether you stand by him when he refers to black people as ‘piccaninnies’ with ‘watermelon smiles’.
“Do you stand by him when his careless remarks lead to innocent British journalists being arrested by foreign governments? Do you stand by him when he blames victims for the Hillsborough disaster? Do you stand by him when he refers to Muslim women as looking like ‘letterboxes’?
“Do you stand by him now as he is calling for a tax break for the wealthy at a time almost a third of the children in your constituency are living in poverty and while local public services teeter on the brink of collapse?
“Do you really wish for such a man to be our Prime Minister, a man so prone to mistakes that we now hear his actual Leadership Election strategy involves deliberately avoiding contact with the media for fear of what he might say. Yes, at this stage Mr Johnson looks like the front-runner and loyalty to him now might serve your own career in the long-run, but the people you first and foremost owe your loyalty to are the people you were elected to serve.
“We are ill-served by this decision. It is one you should reconsider.”