Boris Johnson has been apparently airbrushed from Conservative party leaflets at next month’s local elections in the wake of the Partygate row.
The prime minister is not mentioned in the Welsh or Scottish Conservative manifestos or some campaign literature produced by local party associations.
Mr Johnson has also not been seen knocking on doors with Conservative candidates for the campaign, which was not given an official launch and was just referred to in passing at the party’s spring conference in Blackpool.
The decision to play down the role of Mr Johnson in campaign leaflets will draw comparisons to the way some Labour politicians omitted Jeremy Corbyn from leaflets when he was their leader.
The news comes ahead of a crunch week for Mr Johnson when he will try to convince his MPs not to submit letters of no-confidence in him after he was fined for an illegal party during a Covid lockdown.
There were reports last night that Mr Johnson is due to appear with Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, in front of a mass “clear the air” meeting with Conservative MPs on Tuesday.
Mr Johnson is expected to ask any MPs to challenge him about the Partygate fines so he can answer their criticism.
MPs could vote on whether to ask a parliamentary committee to investigate whether he misled the House of Commons on Wednesday, when Mr Johnson is expected to leave the country on an overseas trip.
One friend said the mutinous atmosphere among MPs was nowhere near where it was four months ago.
The Daily Telegraph reported that it found Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrat leader, and Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, appear in adverts that are currently being promoted by the Conservatives on Facebook.
Images of the two opposition leaders accompany captions that read “Say no to Labour’s Council Tax waste” and “Stop Lib Dems’ Council Tax waste here”.
While the prime minister has appeared in three online Labour attack ads in the last month, Mr Starmer featured in four of his own party’s sponsored posts in the past two days alone.
However, there is no sign of Mr Johnson in the Conservatives’ online campaign materials.
Mr Starmer and Mr Davey were at the centre of their respective election campaign launches in Bury and south-west London.
However, the Tories have not published a local election manifesto in England and claimed their campaign in England was launched at their spring party conference in Blackpool.
A Conservative source said: “The campaign was launched at the spring conference as usual! There was no such launch last year. The PM has several full days of campaigning in his diary very soon.”
The UK local elections are due to take place on May 5.
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