Boris Johnson calls in Iain Duncan Smith to shake up faltering leadership campaign

Posted On: 
25th June 2019

Boris Johnson has appointed Iain Duncan Smith the chairman of his leadership campaign amid criticism of the way it was being run.

Iain Duncan Smith was Tory leader from 2001 until 2003.
PA Images

The former Tory leader was asked personally by Mr Johnson to take charge of his bid to replace Theresa May as Prime Minister.

Mr Duncan Smith's surprise appointment followed days of negative headlines after police were called to the flat he shares with his girlfriend, Carrie Symonds.

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Mr Johnson campaign team were also criticised for their decision to shield him from the public glare by turning down media interviews and invitations to take part in television debates.

Political strategist Mark Fullbrook has also been drafted in to help with the next phase of the leadership campaign.

His appointment is controversial because he ran Zac Goldsmith's London mayoral campaign, which was criticised for focusing heavily on Sadiq Khan's Muslim heritage.

The shake-up means that former Tory MP James Wharton and ex-Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson will play a less prominent role than they did in the first phase of the campaign, when MPs had to whittle down the list of contenders to a final two.

A source on Mr Johnson's team attempted to play down the significance of Mr Duncan Smith's appointment.

"It always planned as the focus is now on the wider membership electorate," the source said.

"James and Gavin ran an incredible operation but you need more capacity as it grows."

Mr Duncan Smith's introduction has coincided with a change of gear in the campaign, with Mr Johnson doing interviews with the BBC and TalkRADIO as well as a phone-in on LBC.

Labour party chairman Ian Lavery said: "Boris Johnson launched his campaign with a tax cut for the rich, then boasted about being the biggest defender of the bankers who crashed our economy.

"Now he has appointed the architect of Tory attacks on the poor, sick and disabled as his campaign chief.

"Johnson is for an elite few, not the many."