Tory local election candidates are leaving Boris Johnson off their campaign leaflets amid fears they could be tainted by his unpopularity with voters, HuffPost UK has learned.
Conservative hopefuls across the country have chosen not to use the prime minister’s image as his poll ratings plummet.
Many are promoting themselves as “local Conservatives” as a way of trying to distance themselves from the national party’s woes.
A new poll by Survation this morning gave Labour a nine-point lead over the Tories, with partygate and the cost of living crisis taking their toll on the government’s fortunes.
Voters across the UK will go to the polls on May 5 in what will be a key test for all the party leaders with the general election due in just two years’ time.
Speculation is mounting that a particularly bad night for the Conservatives could see moves to remove Johnson as leader
In Ealing, 12 Tory leaflets have been sent out without using a single picture of the prime minister.
In North Tyneside, local Conservative candidates have even ditched the traditional Tory blue and are urging voters to “go green”.
Meanwhile, in Tynemouth, Conservatives are calling themselves “local councillors” and issuing leaflets in Labour red in an apparent attempt to disassociate themselves from their own party.
Leaflets being put through voters’ doors in Redbridge feature pictures of local MP and former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith rather than Johnson.
And in Leeds, the Conservative leader on the city council makes no mention of the party on his mailshot to voters.
Other areas where the PM’s image is notable by its absence include Bromley,
Southampton, Reading, Lewisham and Tunbridge Wells.
Shabana Mahmood MP, Labour’s elections co-ordinator, said: “From Exeter to Tyneside, you can’t find a single Tory leaflet with Boris Johnson’s face on it.
“But pretending the PM doesn’t exist can’t help them hide from his disastrous handling of the cost of living crisis, which will see households across the country £2620 worse off this year.”
The Conservatives have been contacted for comment.