The Tory candidate for the upcoming by-election in North Shropshire has responded to the Prime Minister getting his name wrong.
In an interview with The Daily Mail, Dr Neil Shastri-Hurst, a former British Army medical officer and NHS consultant who now works as a barrister, said he “laughed it off”, explaining “I’ve had much worse”.
Boris Johnson visited the constituency to encourage support for Dr Shastri-Hurst’s campaign, and misnamed him, calling him “Shastri-Hughes”.
Mr Johnson said: “I think we’ve got a fantastic candidate, Dr Neil Shastri-Hughes, who I’ve just been seen contributing already to the life of the community by vaccinating people, he’s a doctor amongst his many other talents and what he’s also going to do is work very, very hard for the people of North Shropshire.
“I used to live in this constituency, I used to come shopping in Oswestry, so I know it a bit.
“And he’s got all the issues, he understands what needs to be done, to support the NHS to get investment into our hospitals here but also make sure we do things like, dualling the A5, looking at the Oswestry to Gobowen railway line, other projects like that, I think he’s a fantastic candidate.”
During the visit, Mr Johnson later referred to the candidate as “Dr Neil” after watching him give vaccinations to members of the public at a pharmacy in Oswestry.
The by-election was triggered to replace Owen Paterson after it was recommended by the Standards Committee that he should be suspended from Parliament after 30 days over an “egregious” breach of a ban on paid lobbying by MPs.
Later, Mr Paterson announced his resignation as MP for the constituency after a botched attempt by the government to delay his suspension and overhaul the standards system.
North Shropshire is generally considered to be an ultra-safe Tory seat, with Mr Paterson having won almost 63 per cent of the vote at the 2019 general election.
But in the wake of a series of crisis in government, from the sleaze scandal to the Christmas party furore, bookmakers are now saying the Liberal Democrats are now favourite to win on Thursday.