Boris Johnson in Doncaster: Visit divides opinion from ward councillors as resident takes PM to task over austerity

The visit of Prime Minister Boris Johnson to Doncaster divided opinion from borough councillors.

Tuesday, 17th September 2019, 5:27 pm
Conservative councillors Steve and Jane Cox with Prime Minister Boris Johnson

The PM, who was seen strolling around talking to shoppers and stall holders in the town centre markets, dropped by before his speech at a convention of northern political leaders at Magna Science Adventure Centre in Rotherham.

But the visit divided opinion from councillors on DMBC – one councillor said he 'wasn’t welcome’ while another said the PM’s appearance boosted the image of the town’.

The PM, who took over following Theresa May’s resignation earlier this year, was seen mingling with locals and posed for selfies but one woman was captured on film confronting Mr Johnson over austerity.

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The PM gets a grilling from a resident in Doncaster market

She said: “Where’s the money coming from now? We’ve suddenly got loads of money?

“People have died because of austerity and then you’ve got the cheek to come here and tell us austerity’s over and it’s all good now.

“I’m more interested in the fact that you’ve drained Doncaster – Doncaster has had no funds from central government and every year there’s less money and you have the cheek to come here.”

The PM responded by saying Doncaster was in line for £25 million as part of the Stronger Towns fund and more money was being put into schools and the NHS.

The PM with Doncaster Council chief executive Damian Allen and Doncaster Conservatives chairman Nick Fletcher

Labour Town ward councillor Dave Shaw only found out about the visit when contacted by the Local Democracy Reporting Service and said he would’ve ‘liked to have had a chat’ with the Prime Minister on a number of issues.

His visit was welcomed by Conservative Coun Nick Allen, who represents Bessacarr.

“It was fantastic to see Boris Johnson visit Doncaster Market today. It’s a real boost for the town and helps improve our image,” he said.

He got a warm reception from local people who were keen to talk to him and he was eager to listen. There’s clearly a lot of support for leaving the EU on October 31.

“Doncaster will be getting an extra £25 million pounds of investment and Stainforth will receive an extra £25 million too.

“This is a huge improvement for our local economy. It’s going to really help the town and that’s what Boris’s visit was all about.”

But Labour’s Coun Shaw the PM was ‘bolstering a chaotic no-deal Brexit’.

“I’m very surprised he’s rocked up in Doncaster – he's a discredited PM in a very very short time and I don’t really know what he's doing here to be honest.

“If he wants to come to Doncaster and try and exploit the divisions in our community through Brexit then he’s not welcome through bolstering a chaotic no-deal exit from the European Union.

“If I’d have known he was in Doncaster, I’d to have loved to have had a chat with him – I’ve got a lot of questions.”