BORIS Johnson has popped in for tea with a floating-voter Sun-reader couple – and issued them new promises to end charges for rubbish dumps as well as a wonder drug.
We arranged for the PM to drop in on Ash and Sam Parker to see if he could win their votes while campaigning in the North East.
The pair grilled the Tory leader on behalf of all Brits who once supported Labour but are now contemplating switching in Thursday’s General Election.
The mum and dad of two live in the key battleground seat of Darlington, one of series Mr Johnson must take off Labour to secure a Commons majority and stay in No10.
During the Parkers’ interrogation over a cuppa – that ranged from Brexit to knife crime and housing – Boris also:
- Pledged to make a life-changing new ‘wonder drug’ free on the NHS after hearing about Sam’s suffering from a rare condition.
- Dropped a big hint he is planning to propose to live-in girlfriend Carrie Symonds after the General Election.
- Admitted his new terrier dog Dilyn is “very lustful” and regularly digs up Downing Street’s flowerbeds… but still dubbed him “a genius”.
- Confessed to how he worries his weight has ballooned during the six week-long election campaign, confessing: “I am so fat, I must lose weight”.
- Vowed to stand up for voters in the North who he said voted Leave “because they thought they were not being listened to”.
THE PM WHO CAME TO TEA
The Prime Minister’s Jaguar limo and following police motorcade pulled up outside of the Parkers’ average semi at 5pm on Monday.
Plumber Ash and stay-at–home mum Sam live there with daughter Grace, aged four and son Harry, three, and their four spaniels.
The couple – who both voted Leave in the 2016 EU referendum – have voted for an array of parties in the past, including Labour and UKIP, and backed a local independent candidate in 2017’s nationwide poll instead of the Tories.
Labour held onto their long-standing marginal constituency with a majority of 3,280 two years ago.
The party have kept hold of Darlington since 1992, but it has changed hands repeatedly between Labour and Tories for the past 100 years.
After giving Boris a cup of tea and a well-buttered bun, Ash kicked off the interview for the nation’s top job by telling the PM: “Come on then Boris, convince us”.
As the knife-edge election campaign enters its final few days, the Tory leader tried to talk straight to the couple.
The PM was left fuming at the local council when Ash told him about the high costs he now must pay to take rubbish to the dump in his van.
The 36 year-old dad told the PM: “You get so many free tickets off the website but apart from that you have to pay whereas before you could just drive in”.
Promising new action on that, Boris replied: “This is ridiculous, we have got to sort that out. Every time I have been to the dump in the last few years, I have done it free. But I am living in London.
“We need to address that.”
The PM also delighted Sam, 39, when he promised to do all he can to make a new life-transforming drug that treats her rare condition free of charge from the NHS.
Sam is one of 14,000 people in Britain who suffers from inherited disorder PKU (phenylketonuria), which means she cannot properly digest amino acid and leaves her having to currently take 138 different pills a day.
The very expensive drug which helps sufferers – Kuvan – is not currently available to NHS patients but Sam says it is in other countries such as the US and Australia.
Hearing Sam’s story and plea, Boris said he would put the Health Secretary on the case, promising: “My goodness. I will immediately get Matt Hancock to look into getting Kuvan on the NHS.
“We will do our absolute utmost to get you Kuvan.”
After the couple tackled Boris on the need for more apprenticeships, Boris also attacked his Tory PM predecessors for giving too little money to further education colleges, declaring: “We have allowed them to be underfunded. That is why we are putting £2billion more into them”.
But it was only when Sam pushed the PM on his intentions for his relationship with live-in girlfriend Carrie that he began to look uncomfortable.
Sam asked Boris: “Are you going to buy her a rock any time soon? Every girl likes a diamond”.
The embarrassed PM replied: “That is a very good question. Sam, I have got to take my hat off to you, you have just asked me the question that no journalist has asked. They are just too embarrassed”.
Cutting in on Boris’s prevarication, Ash told him: “You still haven’t answered the question”.
Boris finally replied with a strong hint he might pop the question soon: “Well I think wait and see is probably the best answer I can give”.
Sam asked: “Are you happy though?”
Revealing the depth of his feelings for the first time, the PM replied with a big smile: “Very happy, yes. Very happy”.
As proud dog owners all of them, the couple also swapped canine stories with Boris.
The PM told them: “I have got a dog. A Welsh terrier, called Dilyn. He is a very lustful Welsh terrier. He is lovely. He is very intelligent. I think he is a genius”.
But Mr Johnson also complained about the mess Dilyn makes in No10’s pristine back garden, revealing: “I take him out in the morning obviously first thing and he just goes straight to the flower beds, and starts to dig everything up and I have to get him out from them and by the time he is out he is covered with mud.
“So I have to take him upstairs and wash him, and then they shake themselves.”
Boris’s appeal worked, and the couple decided they would both now vote Tory.
Ash said his view of Boris had changed, now that he has “seen him as more of a human being, not just someone on the news”.
Sam dubbed the PM “overall a very nice man, friendly and warm”, and added: “Hopefully he’ll deliver what he says and keep his promise”.