WATCH: PM unable to name Tory mayor as Starmer confronted by Covid denier

Sienna Rodgers

Boris Johnson in Gloucestershire has appeared unable to name the West of England metro mayor who is a Conservative, while Keir Starmer in Bath has been confronted by a pub landlord opposed to Covid lockdowns.

Asked whether he knew who the mayor was, the Prime Minister replied: “I’m very much in favour of powerful mayors in the West of England and elsewhere. But what I want to see is a strong Conservative mayor in London and across the West Midlands, the West of England and across the whole of the country.”

When the reporter pointed out that the current West of England mayor – Tim Bowles – is a Tory, and asked whether he knew who it was, Johnson said: “Well, I can tell you I’ll be out campaigning for the West of England mayor and all Conservative candidates throughout the weeks ahead.”

Johnson then agreed that the May elections in areas with various contests taking place on the same day are “confusing”, adding: “There’s a very simple solution. It’s vote Conservative. You won’t go wrong.”

The Labour leader is also on the campaign trail in the West of England today with Labour candidate Dan Norris. Visiting a pub in Bath called The Raven, a man asked Starmer: “Do you understand we have fucked our economy because old people are dying?”

The man, who described himself as “incandescent”, added: “I have been a Labour voter my entire life. You have failed to be the opposition. You have failed to ask whether lockdown was functioning.”

Starmer replied by telling the voter – identified as Rod Humphris, who runs the pub – that his wife works in the NHS. The Labour leader said: “I really don’t need lectures from you about this pandemic.”

Humphris was then seen angrily telling Starmer to “get out of my pub” while being restrained by security. Tim Perry, who runs the pub with Humphris, later said the anti-lockdown views expressed do not reflect the pub’s position.

Labour Press said: “A clip circulating online shows Keir Starmer being confronted by someone spreading dangerous misinformation about the Covid-19 pandemic. We will not be amplifying it.

“Keir argued that our NHS staff have been working tirelessly to protect public health and that restrictions – while painful – have been absolutely necessary to save lives.”

Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, a Labour MP and NHS doctor, said it was “good to see” Starmer “calm and calling out Covid denial”, adding: “Denying that Covid exists, or that measures don’t work, is an insult to the families who have lost loved ones.”

There are elections across the country on May 6th for 5,000 councillors, 40 police and crime commissioners, the Scottish and Welsh parliament, five local authority mayors and seven metro mayors including the West of England.

Labour members have selected Dan Norris, a former MP, as their mayoral candidate. The incumbent is Tim Bowles, who was first elected in 2017 and is standing down. The new Tory candidate is Samuel Williams.

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