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Boris Johnson’s Bold Call to ‘Forget About Government’ Reshapes West Midlands Mayoral Race

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Boris Johnson urges constituents to disregard the government

The campaign group for the Conservative mayor in the West Midlands is distributing promotional materials featuring images of him alongside the ex-prime minister.

Assistant Political Editor @SamCoatesSky

Wednesday, May 1, 2024, 12:

Sky News has learned that the Conservative mayor of the West Midlands is distributing an endorsement from Boris Johnson to voters, in which Johnson encourages the electorate to "disregard the government."

Andy Street's campaign website does not feature Rishi Sunak on its main page and uses a green color scheme instead of the traditional Conservative blue. This indicates that the mayor is positioning himself more as an independent activist than aligning with the currently unfavorable Conservative label.

Campaign materials, such as the cover of a campaign "newspaper" viewed by Sky News, do not reference the leader of the Conservative Party.

The campaign group supporting Mr. Street, who is facing a tight re-election race against Labour, is distributing promotional materials that feature him alongside the former Prime Minister, Mr. Johnson. These materials acknowledge issues with the Conservative Party's image.

In his personalized letter to the electorate, Mr. Johnson states, "You may not agree with all the actions taken by the Conservatives."

He emphasizes: "Put aside thoughts of the government and Westminster. This election focuses on the upcoming four years in the West Midlands—ask yourself who you want leading the way."

The correspondence, featuring images of Mr. Johnson and Mr. Street, was distributed to constituents, some of whom received it as late as Tuesday.

How to keep up with Sky News reporting on regional elections

"Harsh judgment on Prime Minister's leadership"

A representative for Mr. Johnson verified the authenticity of the letter and mentioned that he was happy to have written it.

Over the weekend, Mr. Street spoke with The Sunday Times, discussing the times he has disagreed with Mr. Sunak.

The mayoral elections in the West Midlands and Tees Valley on Thursday are crucial for Mr. Sunak’s political future. However, the Conservative candidates in both races are distancing themselves from the Prime Minister as they strive to secure their positions.

Discover more: Insights into crucial voting areas – and their potential impact on the upcoming general election. All the details on this week's local elections.

A source from the Labour Party commented, "The advice from Rishi Sunak's predecessor for voters to disregard the government serves as a harsh critique of the Prime Minister's leadership abilities."

Andy Street has created some space between himself and Rishi Sunak, yet appears quite enthusiastic about promoting Boris Johnson prominently.

"Rishi Sunak is so detrimental that his own party members evidently believe they must distance themselves from him to secure a victory."

The competing candidates located in the West Midlands include:

• Siobhan Harper-Nunes, representing the Green Party;

• Richard Parker, from the Labour Party;

• Sunny Virk, aligned with the Liberal Democrats;

• Elaine Ruth Williams, candidate for the Reform Party;

• Akhmed Yakoob, running as an independent.

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