Boris Johnson to go on second holiday instead of joining Tory election campaign trail

Boris Johnson is no longer set to join the Tory election campaign trail amid fears he will alienate Conservative voters in seats the party desperately needs to hold.

Instead, the former prime minister is expected to take a second summer holiday – having just returned from Sardinia.

Mr Johnson has been pulled into the fight to stave off an electoral wipeout and letters signed by the ex-PM exhorting thousands of voters to back the Conservatives are due to land on doorsteps within days.

But he is not now thought to be joining his party’s ground war, as its tries to save ‘blue wall’ seats in the south of England.

Rishi Sunak and Boris Johnson (Getty/Boris Johnson)
Rishi Sunak and Boris Johnson (Getty/Boris Johnson)

The move suggests the party is effectively conceding many ‘Red wall’ seats in the north of England, which Mr Johnson famously helped his party take from Labour at the last election.

One Tory strategist told the Times said: "This is a fight for survival. If you look at the seats we're targeting, they don't have Boris Johnson supporters."

In recent days the former prime minister has used a series of Cameo-style videos to endorse around 50 Tory candidates across the country, many of them his allies.

In one, he said he was “passionate” that voters should re-elect Sir Simon Clarke, who tried to oust Mr Sunak as leader earlier this year warning that the party faced an electoral “massacre” if he remained in charge.

The letters are being sent to voters as part of an attempt to counter the threat posed by Nigel Farage’s Reform UK.

Letters due to drop as Nigel Farage’s Reform UK climbs in the polls (Ian West/PA) (PA Wire)
Letters due to drop as Nigel Farage’s Reform UK climbs in the polls (Ian West/PA) (PA Wire)

Mr Sunak said on Tuesday that Mr Johnson’s endorsements were “great" and would “make a difference".

But a spokesman for Mr Johnson would not be drawn on whether the letters would mention Mr Sunak, although he did describe them as “supportive”.

Asked if they would mention the prime minister, he said their content “will become clear in due course”.

In response, the Lib Dems said Mr Sunak was being “airbrushed” out of his own campaign.

Mr Johnson was defended as "clearly an asset" to the Tory election campaign by a cabinet minister.

Mel Stride, the Work and Pensions Secretary, told Sky News: "I think he is campaigning. I mean, I've been aware that he's certainly been doing videos for specific candidates, writing endorsements, tens of thousands of letters are being sent out in his name, I think, as we speak.

"I think that in this modern way of campaigning, that's probably quite an effective way of getting a message across.

"I mean, Boris is clearly an asset to the campaign, he clearly chosen to get involved and he's clearly urging people to vote Conservatives."

Shortly afterward, Mr Sunak wished the former prime minister a "happy birthday" and said it had been "great having him support the Conservative Party".

The Prime Minister, whose resignation from Mr Johnson's cabinet was instrumental in the former premier's downfall, told LBC: "I hope he's having a good day."