Tories pinpoint problem

Top-secret research by the UK Conservative Party has identified the reason behind the massive swing against it at a by-election this week which has sparked speculation about the future of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The North Shropshire by-election saw the seat fall to the Liberal Democrats with a swing of just under 35% after being held by the Conservatives for almost 200 years.

A source within the Conservative Party said analysis of the result was undertaken immediately the extent of the backlash against the government party became apparent.

“We’ve had researchers in the field in the North Shropshire electorate since the declaration of the poll,” the source said. “Our research has found strong evidence that traditional Conservative Party voters were confused about Boris Johnson.

“It seems our party is now paying the price for Boris spending all of his public life engaging in a string of shallow stunts (main picture) instead of developing and articulating a clear vision for the UK backed by strong ideas and solid policy pronouncements.

“In fact our research found that most people in North Shropshire who normally vote Tory totally mistook Boris for Alan “Howling Laud” Hope (pictured), the current leader of the Monster Raving Loony Party which stands candidates for election – as it did in this by-election – purely as a joke.

“That’s why any appearance by the PM during the campaign turned off Conservative voters in droves.”

The Conservative Party source said there was a strong feeling within senior Tory ranks that Mr Johnson needed to change his style of campaigning and public presentation.

A spokesperson at 10 Downing Street reacted angrily to the Conservative Party’s analysis.

“It’s all very well for party HQ to do that sort of research and suggest we drop the stunts and meaningless photo opportunities,” the spokesperson said. “But what do we do instead? After all, they’re all we’ve got.”