News, Culture & Society

Jeremy Corbyn denies Boris celebrity status by branding him ‘Johnson’

Jeremy Corbyn deploys cunning plan NOT to use Boris Johnson’s first name amid fears it gives the new PM ‘celebrity status’

  • Jeremy Corbyn has been referring to new PM simply as ‘Johnson’ in interviews
  • Use of surname seemingly intended to counter premier being known as ‘Boris’
  • There are complaints media calling the PM ‘Boris’ grants him ‘celebrity’ status
  • Strategists highlighted the tactic but warned it could come across as rude  

Jeremy Corbyn has been trying out a new tactic to beat Boris Johnson – avoiding using his first name.

Political strategists have highlighted the way the Labour leader has referred to the new PM simply by his surname ‘Johnson’ in interviews. 

They told MailOnline he seemed to be trying to counter the premier being known as ‘Boris’ in the media – something that has long infuriated Labour MPs.

There are concerns the habit grants Mr Johnson ‘celebrity’ status and makes him more appealing to the public. 

However, there is a risk that Mr Corbyn could come across as rude. 

Labour sources did not dispute that the tactic was deliberate, pointing out that the media did not ‘refer to May as ”Theresa” or Cameron as ”David”’. 

Mr Corbyn is facing the threat of a Tory ‘bounce’ in the polls after Mr Johnson took over at No10 last week promising to force through Brexit by the end of October and unveiling a slew of crowd-pleasing policies.

Speculation over a snap election has been mounting, with surveys over the weekend suggesting the Conservatives have gained up to 10 percentage points of support under the new PM and are now back in the lead. 

Political strategists have highlighted the way Jeremy Corbyn (pictured at a rally in Manchester on Friday) has referred to the new PM simply by his surname as 'Johnson' in interviews

Political strategists have highlighted the way Jeremy Corbyn (pictured at a rally in Manchester on Friday) has referred to the new PM simply by his surname as ‘Johnson’ in interviews

Mr Corbyn is facing the threat of a Tory 'bounce' in the polls after Boris Johnson (pictured giving a speech in Manchester on Saturday) took over at No10

Mr Corbyn is facing the threat of a Tory ‘bounce’ in the polls after Boris Johnson (pictured giving a speech in Manchester on Saturday) took over at No10

In an interview on BBC Radio 5 Live as he visited Liverpool on Friday, Mr Corbyn said: ‘If Johnson wants to push that forward… we will then demand the people of this country have a say,’ 

‘We are on the side of protecting jobs and industries and rights in this country. Johnson is on the side of big business and tax giveaways.’ 

Giving a speech in Cheetham Hill in Manchester the same day, Mr Corbyn said: ‘Our job is to take Johnson and his team to task…

‘We will do everything to protect jobs, investment, workers rights, consumer rights, environmental protections and all of the things that go with it, because at the back of it all for Johnson is a sweetheart deal with Donald Trump.’ 

In a Sky News interview yesterday, Mr Corbyn said: ‘Johnson has put together a Cabinet of ideologically extremely right wing people.’ 

The Labour leader also referred to ‘Boris Johnson’ during the Sky News interview yesterday.

But former Labour adviser and communications expert James Robinson said other senior politicians from the party had been using the same tactic, and it ‘made a lot of sense’.

‘Only icons or national treasures are known by their first name,’ he said. 

‘Referring to the PM by his surname makes him sound less like a celebrity. 

‘It may sound rude to some ears but it’s an effective way to remind voters that the man who once made amusing appearances on TV quiz shows is now engaged in the serious business of running the country and that’s how he will be judged’. 

Mr Corbyn visited Liverpool on Friday (pictured with Labour mayor Steve Rotheram) as he tries to combat the frantic start Mr Johnson has made to his premiership

Mr Corbyn visited Liverpool on Friday (pictured with Labour mayor Steve Rotheram) as he tries to combat the frantic start Mr Johnson has made to his premiership

In a Sky News interview yesterday, Mr Corbyn said: 'Johnson has put together a Cabinet of ideologically extremely right wing people.'

In a Sky News interview yesterday, Mr Corbyn said: ‘Johnson has put together a Cabinet of ideologically extremely right wing people.’

Giles Kenningham, a former No10 spin doctor for David Cameron, said the approach showed how ‘rattled’ Mr Corbyn was.

‘This is the clearest sign yet how rattled Labour are by a Boris Johnson premiership,’ he said. 

‘Few politicians are actually recognised outside Westminster, let alone referred to by their first name. 

‘The PM’s potential appeal in traditional Labour heartlands means that whilst Corbyn may be publicly calling for a general election, it’s the last thing he wants given the current state of the party and the contradictory positions they’ve taken on Brexit.’ 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


Comments are closed.