Labour Chair ‘won’t fall for Boris Johnson’s act’ or ‘take lectures from him’
Haughty posh boy Boris Johnson will receive no respect as Prime Minister from Labour working-class bruiser Ian Lavery.
The tell-it-as-it-is burly ex-coal miner is the party’s Chair and keen Jeremy Corbyn supporter, who scythed the humiliated Old Etonian down to size at the last election.
He argues: “Johnson’s a huge act, all mouth and ruffling his hair, and we’re not falling for it when he backed the Tory austerity that ruined lives and public services.
“The Tory press laughs with him but there is nothing funny about the man playing the clown when people suffer as a consequence.
“People said I should wear standing up to Boris as a badge of honour. I’ll keep promoting our values and policies to improve the lives of those in communities like my own.
“Johnson had an elitist upbringing, the finest schools money can buy, never had any financial worries and was given everything on a plate.
“I’m a miner who didn’t have much when we were young, not a rough upbringing but my mam and dad had to work for every single penny, so I’m taking no lectures from him.”
Lavery laughs when remembering the live TV encounter in 2017 that went viral on the internet
Hundreds of thousands of voters were cheering as a visibly shrinking Johnson, then Foreign Secretary, backed away as the towering Lavery put the finger-jabbing Buller Boy back in his box.
The MP for Wansbeck in Northumberland snarled: “You divvent understand ordinary people.”
When Johnson tried to talk over him, Lavery growled: “Do you mind, do you mind. Stop being so rude.”
The stupid grin draining from the face of a challenged Johnson illustrated how an arrogant, privileged, indulged Conservative joker accustomed to deference, will wilt when confronted by northern grit.
Lavery says: “You wouldn’t believe the number of messages I received after that. It was unbelievable.
“Some were saying, ‘Ian, you’re going soft and should’v decked him’.
“Another said, ‘He wouldn’t have got away with just a telling off if he’d tried that on the bus from Lucy’s’.”
Lucy’s was a club a much-younger Lavery drank in with friends in Ashington, Northumberland, when he was “a bit of a handful” as a youthful Newcastle United fan.
So did he think of emulating John Prescott by physically connecting wth a hostile voter?
“No,” replies the Left-wing firebrand in mock shock at the question. “If it wasn’t on the telly, I might’ve used much stronger language, though.
“Johnson was just rude. I was aghast at his attitude and lack of manners and I wasn’t going to take any nonsense from the likes of him.
“He might think he is better than the rest of us, born thinking he has a right to rule, but like most bullies he backs off when you challenge them.
“The way he shrank, he might have thought I was going to clip him, but what people saw was a Tory full of bluster who falls apart when you stand up to them.
“He’s going to get no respect from me or anyone else in Labour.”
The council house boy, who spent 22 years working underground at Lynemouth and Ellington collieries in England’s most northerly county, has not lost the “pitmatic” dialect of Ashington, famous for England football stars Jackie Milburn and the Charltons, Bobby and Jack.
The towns also produced England cricket’s speedsters Steve Harmison and Mark Wood, both pals of Lavery.
His other passions include keeping and racing greyhounds and he enjoys a bet “like most people in pit communities”. But the mines were shut by Tories.
Lavery, Arthur Scargill’s successor as President of the National Union of Mineworkers, was arrested repeatedly during the 1984-84 pit strike and beaten up by police.
Elected as an MP in 2010, he has not forgiven Conservatives who mock his accent.
He adds: “None of them ever say anything to my face, mind, probably because they don’t talk sense no matter what their background.”
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