‘Woke-on-Trent:’ Jonathan Gullis’ anti-woke jibe backfires

‘Another eg. of Conservatives’ drift to the unhinged right.'

Jonathan Gullis

The outspoken Tory MP for Stoke-on-Trent North has been throwing his weight around a lot lately. In February, he came under fire for laying into ‘savages’, ‘scrotes’, and ‘scumbags’ blighting his constituency.

The MP’s comments that he made in a video on social media highlighting rising levels of anti-social behaviour in Stoke, received a backlash.

Even some Tories were aghast. Former Conservative MP Anna Soubry, who left the party in 2019, posted:

“It’s not just his language and lack of compassion that’s so shocking but Jonathan Gullis also fails to understand he’s describing his party’s legacy after 13 years in government and his after 3 years as Stoke’s MP.

“Another eg of Conservatives’ drift to the unhinged right.”

This week, Gullis has been at it again, posting provocative messages on Twitter designed to create reaction. Ahead of Keir Starmer’s visit to Stoke this week, where he set out Labour’s position on crime and policing, the MP tweeted:

“Been told Sir Keir Starmer will be in Stoke-on-Trent North tomorrow. Always happy to have more tourists from London come visit.

“Also reminded him (in person earlier today) it’s Stoke-on-Trent, not Woke-on-Trent like he’d like.”

The tweet was ripped apart, and a #GullisOut hashtag started trending. “Is this the type of person the Tories want representing them?” someone asked.

Author Andrew Scott – aka Otto English – casually pointed to how Gullis comes from Salisbury, so is therefore a ‘tourist’ to Stoke himself.

Indeed, Jonathan Gullis was born in Salisbury and attended school near Rugby. When he was elected as MP for Stoke-on-Trent North, unseating Labour’s Ruth Smeeth, he became the first Conservative to represent the constituency.

As MP, Gullis has made a string of controversial remarks. In 2020, he complained of the media’s ‘sick obsession’ with the number of Covid deaths, a comment which even led to criticism by Piers Morgan.

The MP has never been shy on voicing his disdain for so-called ‘wokeness.’ In May 2022, in response to the controversial deportation flights to Rwanda, he said that his constituents were, “flabbergasted that the woke, wet and wobbly lot opposite are on the side of their lefty woke warriors, who are making sure these rapists and paedophiles remain in this United Kingdom, rather than standing up for the British people and their safety.”

In an interview with Channel 4 News last week, Gullis said: “Boris has a star quality that no other politician… could even get close to.” He also spoke of wanting to upset the “Twitterati, the wokerati of North Islington, those champagne socialists who pontificate all day long, the leftie lawyers, Keir Starmer’s best mate, Mr ‘Flip-Flop’ because he can’t take a position on anything in this day and age.”

“Those are the people I don’t mind upsetting because those are the people who call people up here racist bigots, Nazis, like Gary Lineker has done, because they want to take back control of their laws and their borders.”

The interview caused a huge backlash. Gary Lineker joined the criticism, slamming the comments that he had called northern voters ‘Nazis’ and ‘racist bigots’ as fake, as well as ‘outrageous and dangerously provocative.’

Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead is a contributing editor to Left Foot Forward

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