Tory MPs claim they are being told to drop Boris Johnson’s ‘Levelling Up’ slogan because ‘no-one knows what it means’
- Tory MPs claim they are being told to drop Boris Johnson’s ‘Levelling Up’ slogan
- The ex-PM frequently used the phrase to tout his flagship policy while in No10
- But MPs now say they have been advised to use alternatives like ‘stepping up’
The former prime minister frequently used the phrase to tout his ambition to spread opportunity more equally across Britain.
In order to pursue his flagship policy, Mr Johnson even set up a ‘Levelling Up’ department and unveiled 12 ‘Levelling Up’ missions.
But some MPs have said they are now under orders to shun the phrase and encouraged to use alternatives.
One Tory told The Times that MPs in marginal constituencies had been advised by party staff to use phrases such as ‘stepping up’, ‘gauging up’, or ‘enhancing communities’ instead.
An MP supportive of Mr Johnson said other advice, given during briefing sessions ahead of the next general election, was to talk about ‘difficult decisions’ rather than ‘tough decisions’.
‘They’ve been told they have to drop “Levelling Up” from all their literature,’ they added.
Another MP said: ‘The session is about language and they want us to still point to the projects, but “Levelling Up” as a phrase? It’s clear no one knows what it actually means.’
Boris Johnson frequently used the ‘Levelling Up’ phrase to tout his ambition to spread opportunity more equally across Britain
New PM Rishi Sunak also previously promoted the slogan – but Tory MPs have claimed they are now being told to use alternatives
James Frayne, a founding partner at Public First, a consultancy that has carried out polling for No10, told the newspaper that banning the use of ‘Levelling Up’ would be a ‘mercy killing’.
‘It’s hard to think of a more stupid phrase,’ he added. ‘The weird thing is, the Conservatives have always known voters hated it.
‘In many dozens of focus groups over the last three years, voters said they loved the concept but hated the language — but the more voters said they hated it, the more the Government used it.’
Labour’s Lisa Nandy, the shadow Levelling Up secretary, quipped that ‘screwing up’ would be a ‘more accurate’ alternative phrase for Tory MPs to use.
She said: ‘Since the last election regional inequality has got worse and nearly every “Levelling Up” promise has been broken.
‘Tory MPs can try to quietly bury it but what they can’t hide is their utter failure to deliver on their promises.’
However, a Tory source rejected the suggestion that MPs were being told to stop using the phrase ‘Levelling Up’ and described it as ‘a complete fabrication’.
They told MailOnline: ‘In fact the exact opposite is the case. MPs are receiving briefings by CCHQ to show them how to use the phrase to best promote the improvements that are being made in their local areas, as one would expect.’