I have been a Tory supporter since I was a child. My parents were as Tory as they come, our home hosted MP surgeries. Our front room was often piled high with election literature and envelopes. That is my dad in the photo.
I have had the privilege of meeting three Prime Ministers: Macmillan, Heath, and Douglas Home, who came to our home when he was Foreign Secretary. However, there are no circumstances in the world that could bring me to vote for Johnson.
The Tory Party that I knew and supported stood for One Nation, for constitutionalism and respect for our legal system. Johnson stands for none of those things. Worse, he stands for only one thing: himself.
I have only encountered him once personally, at a Spectator Parliamentarian of the Year Awards lunch. He arrived late, shambling through the room unclear what was happening, guided by his clearly stressed staff.
Friends who worked with him at the Foreign Office, told me that the shambolic fool persona was not an act but reality. He has no eye for detail, little in the way of an attention span nor a particularly great work ethic.
However, Johnson’s biggest flaw is his almost complete lack of honesty. The ‘PartyGate’ fiasco was not about partying whilst people said goodbye to loved ones on their iPads but was about Johnson’s lies.
Johnson is not stupid, he is lazy and venal but he is not stupid. He knew what the rules on gatherings were but lied to Parliament about the rules not being broken. It was not about cake but the key Tory values of truth, honesty and respect for the law.
Johnson lies as a matter of course. Sometimes it’s his incompetence. When he ‘misspoke’ about Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe, condemning her to linger in an Iranian jail, it was incompetence but he would rather bluster than admit his inadequate grasp of detail.
He lies to everyone. To the electorate when he said there was an oven ready deal (or indeed that he ever really supported Brexit). To the Queen when he sent Jacob Rees Mogg to seek an illegal prorogation. He lied at Despatch Box over parties.
If you are a Tory supporter now and value the beliefs that have underpinned the Tory Party then you cannot support Johnson. If you want the Tories to win the next election you cannot support Johnson.
If you are wavering, worried about “chaos under Starmer” or whatever, then I would say this. There is no surer way of getting a Labour Government or a hung Parliament in the next General Election than to have Johnson remain in Number 10.
A vote for the Tory Candidate in Tiverton and Honiton is a wasted vote. It will not support the Government or the Tory Party but will prolong the tenure of Johnson in No 10. That’s in no one’s interest.
A vote to keep Johnson is neither in the interest of the Tory Party nor the country. As a lifelong Tory supporter, please vote Lib Dem or spoil your ballot if you would rather do that.