BORIS Johnson visited Yate yesterday as the Conservatives sent in a big hitter to try to help Luke Hall hold on to his seat in Parliament.
With Mr Hall winning by just 1,495 votes in 2015 in a surprise victory over long-standing Liberal Democrat MP Sir Steve Webb, the Tories know the Thornbury and Yate constituency is far from a safe seat.
So Foreign Secretary Mr Johnson descended on Yate to tell voters why they should back Mr Hall on June 8.
Mr Johnson visited two business in the town, the Vintage Birdcage Bakery near Kingsgate Park and a Fruit and Veg stand in Yate Shopping Centre.
He told the Gazette he hopes South Gloucestershire residents make the “right choice” on June 8.
“I’m here today to voice my support for Thornbury and Yate candidate Luke Hall,” he said.
“South Gloucestershire need him as their representative to ensure that we have a strong and stable government in this critical time, and as we proceed with Brexit.”
He added: “Jeremy Corbyn is floundering all over the place, and his approach to Brexit will cause great damage. His manifesto is filled with crazy policies from the 1970s.”
Mr Johnson began his day at the Vintage Birdcage Bakery, where he baked cupcakes and decorated them with an edible picture of his face.
“I’ll give it some welly,” he said, as he churned up buttercream.
Owners of the business, Suzanne Jenkinson and Nicole Jones, served Mr Johnson a traditional afternoon tea, which he described as tasting “better than the Ritz”.
“It’s not every day you get such a well-known visitor coming into the café,” Suzanne said.
“I will be backing the Conservatives in the upcoming election because they support small businesses like ours.”
The duo also presented Boris with a ‘Boris Freakshake’, a giant milkshake they had named in his honour.
Comprised of strawberry milk, a whole donut and whip cream, the drink was designed to look like the foreign secretary, who drank it with relish.
Mr Johnson then moved on to Yate Shopping Centre, where he met residents and visited the outdoor fruit and vegetable stand.
He spoke with enthusiasm of his support for local business.
“Our government is very business friendly,” he told the Gazette.
“Unemployment is very low in the area at the moment, let’s not put it at risk.”
When asked about the current foodbank crisis, which has seen an increase in demand of up to 250% in parts of South Gloucestershire over the past year, he said that the government is committed to “supporting working people.”
He said: “I’m firmly behind people on low incomes receiving a rise in the national minimum wage. As a government, we do need to protect these people.”
Although parents in South Gloucestershire have recently been protesting against school funding cuts, Mr Johnson reiterated comments made by Luke Hall, who said that funding in the area has actually increased.
Mr Hall said: “During my tenure as the MP for Thornbury and Yate the amount of funding per pupil has risen, with an average increase of £195 per pupil between 2014-15 and 2016-17.”