HE came, he picked litter and people stood and stared.
Fresh from ‘Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway’, Boris Johnson was yesterday starring in John and Denise’s Blackburn Road Wednesday afternoon clean-up.
Boris bounced into East Lancashire on a whistle-stop tour to bang the drum for the Tories, denying any ambitions to take over from David Cameron as party leader.
The capital’s Mayor promised a Conservative government would spread the ‘London effect’ of prosperity North if the party wins the 2015 General Election.
But it was the ‘Boris-effect’ that drew people to stop and look at one of the few instantly recognisable politicians who creates interest regardless of party loyalties.
Rossendale and Darwen MP Jake Berry basked in the reflected limelight at DHJ Weisters tie factory in Moss Fold Road, Darwen, and Boris later joined Fernhurst councillors Denise Gee and John Slater to get his hands dirty on a community clean-up. Residents living opposite the gathering knot of Tories and passers-by gathered round the famous blond mane, came out of their houses, stared and took pictures.
Janine Royle said: “I was amazed and surprised Boris was really here.”
Her son, Mason Clayton, 17, said: “I’ll be telling my pals about seeing him.”
And his friend Harrison Crookston said: “Boris is the only politician I would stop to have a look at.”
Earlier, Boris was in Euxton to visit to Shackerley (Holdings) Group which makes ceramic granite cladding for Tube stations, before dropping into the Lancashire Telegraph offices. He denied any leadership ambitions saying: “I expect David Cameron will win the next election and be Prime Minister for a long time.
“I am here to say that what is good for London is good for the North.
“A Tory government will spread the London effect to places like Chorley, Blackburn and Darwen.
“I have seen a Chorley company that makes vital products for the London Underground.”
On being the most popular Tory politician, he said: “There isn’t much competition.”
He said his party should field a strong candidate for Blackburn now Jack Straw was quitting, but added: “I have not been asked to stand by the local party and am too busy doing my job as Mayor of London to accept if they did.”
Boris promised: “I shall wear my splendid tie featuring flying turtles from Weisters on my Mayoral duties.
“If I can possibly make it, I will come back to Blackburn, Darwen and East Lancashire before the next election.
“I’ve had a great time.”