THE Conservative chairman defended Boris Johnson’s initial reaction to a photo of a sick four year-old boy lying on the floor of a hospital during a visit by the PM on Monday.

James Cleverly was asked about the incident by the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDR).

The photo of the boy called Jack lying on coats at Leeds General Infirmary has been widely reported, as has Mr Johnson’s response when asked about it by an ITV reporter.

Mr Johnson visited the area to address a crowd of party supporters at shoemaker Gardiner Bros & Co in Quedgeley.

Asked by the LDR whether Mr Johnson did not show sympathy, Mr Cleverly said: “What the PM did when he looked at the image of the little boy in the hospital, any parent would have huge sympathy for the situation there.

“What he did was be absolutely committed to making sure the NHS was well funded so that situations like that don’t happen in the future.

“Leeds will get a new hospital. We want to see that money going to the frontline of the NHS so we can relieve the pressure.

“There are always times when the NHS is under acute pressure, and we want to make sure we give it the funding that it needs so it can deal with it.”

A small group of protesters gathered outside the Gardiner Bros warehouse before Mr Johnson entered.

He was introduced to supporters by Mr Cleverly and Conservative candidate for Stroud Siobhan Baillie.

According to the latest analysis, Stroud could be determined by barely 100 votes.

Labour’s David Drew is defending the seat with a majority of just 687.

The other contenders are Molly Scott Cato (Green), Glenville Gogerly (Libertarian Party) and Desi Latimer (Brexit Party).

On Thursday evening, the Electoral Calculus website predicted the Conservatives would win with 45.3 per cent in Stroud, just 0.1 per

cent ahead of Labour, which was predicted to win 45.2 per cent.

If turnout remains the same as 2017, then 0.1 per cent equates to around 64 votes.

By Friday lunchtime however, it was predicting the gap swinging the other way with Labour predicted to be 0.2 per cent ahead of the Conservatives.