‘You’re our Foreign Secretary and you literally don’t even know where you are.’
In the run-up to the local elections, government ministers were ordered to get out on the doorsteps in a bid to “turbocharge” the Tory election plan.
The Foreign Secretary James Cleverly was keen to show his support, taking to the streets with local candidates and thrashing out claims as to why constituents should vote Tory.
But one clip of the local campaigning went viral, for all the wrong reasons.
Cleverly decided to post a video of himself and the Conservative candidate for Cheshunt South and Theobalds, Tony Siracusa. The clip started badly with the Foreign Secretary unable to pronounce the candidate’s name properly and having to be prompted by Siracusa. He then forgot where they were and had to be reminded by the candidate that it was the Cheshunt South and Theobalds ward.
The cabinet minister clearly knew very little about candidate he was promoting, as Siracusa had to step in and inform viewers he had been a councillor for 12 years. Cleverly then stumbled on whether the seat had low council tax rates, with the candidate having to step in again and say the rates were among the lowest in the country.
The Foreign Secretary posted the clip on Twitter and wrote:
“Lower council tax, better services, hard working representatives. That’s what you get with @Conservaitves running your local council. Vote Conservative in tomorrow’s local government elections.”
The post immediately attracted disbelief and ridicule.
Journalist Matthew Stadlen tweeted: “James, this has to be one of the worst social media clips ever tweeted by a cabinet minister. You’re our Foreign Secretary and you literally don’t even know where you are.”
“I can’t believe you filmed this, watched it back, saw how clear it was that you knew NOTHING about the councillor you were promoting, and thought: “Yeah, this is a good look… “SEND,”’ wrote another dismayed viewer.
Sir Michael Take made a parody comment, writing:
‘Slick. Professional. Efficient. Just watch this wonderful piece of campaigning by our James Bond aka James Cleverly. Inspiring. Beefy. Smelling of Musk. If you want Maths. If you want more Maths. If you want LOCAL Maths. #VoteConservative.’
Others questioned the claims Cleverly made.
“Where are these “better services”? I’ve seen no evidence of any.”
“As for hard working representatives you must forget we have been watching Tories at work and play for 13 years.”
‘“On average, council tax “per dwelling” is £329 lower in Labour-run English councils compared to Conservative local authorities. Comparing Band D properties, the difference between the two parties is more modest (£40).”’
Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead is a contributing editor to Left Foot Forward
Image credit: Twitter screen grab