Tory leadership election shows 'Nasty Party' is back – Lesley Laird

Don't be fooled. Boris Johnson is no comedy character, says Lesley Laird
Don't be fooled. Boris Johnson is no comedy character, says Lesley Laird
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As was to be expected, Boris Johnson topped the poll of Tory MPs to become the next Prime Minister. He’ll be joined by Jeremy Hunt in the final two and, for once, the thought of Mr Hunt as Prime Minister doesn’t sound too bad when compared to Mr Johnson.

That being said, there’s something else that we can take away from these results – that the nasty party are well and truly back.

It speaks volumes that Tory MPs have just endorsed a man who said Muslim women looked like letterboxes and that African people have watermelon smiles to be our next Prime Minister.

Of course, it will be for the Tory membership to decide who is coroneted as Prime Minister, and that is the crux of the problem that we face. Just over 100,000 Tories will determine the fate and future direction of the country. Surely that can’t be right?

Yet that is where we find ourselves. If it wasn’t so frightening, it would be funny.

READ MORE: Commons uproar as SNP's Ian Blackford brands Boris Johnson 'racist'

It’s easy to trivialise the issue and the circumstances that we find ourselves in. It’s easy to shrug Boris Johnson off as something of a comedy character. His ruffled hair, his oversized suits and his mumbling voice are somewhat amusing to see in action, but we must never forget that a woman is imprisoned on spying charges in Iran partly because of his buffoonery and his inability to be on top of his brief in the way that we would expect a Cabinet minister to be.

Is that a record that should land you the most coveted job in politics? Is that a record that inspires confidence among the general public? Is that a record that will make our friends in the EU take us seriously? No, it’s far from it. It’s a record that should have resulted in him being given his P45 and in any other job that would certainly have been the outcome.

However, there is one thing it absolutely confirms amongst the madness of today’s politics – that we need a General Election more than ever.

Lesley Laird MP is Labour's Shadow Scottish Secretary

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