GMB’s viewer gives testimony about eating one meal a day and staying ...
Boris Johnson has a rather odd habit of getting himself in trouble with buses.
An innocuous form of public transport, they shouldn't be the prime minister's kryptonite, but it seems every time he comments on them or on a theme connected to them, he ends up in some sort of crisis.
He's made weird comments about painting model buses to relax, used real buses to make dodgy Brexit claims, and today he more than missed the point when told about a pensioner who rides buses all day to stay warm amid rising energy prices.
So let's take a bus journey down memory lane and look at Johnson's odd history with buses.
Boasting about free bus passes in response to a pensioner facing a cost of living crisis
We've arrived at our first stop. In an interview with Good Morning Britain's Susanna Reid today, Johnson was told about a pensioner who rides buses all day so she doesn't have to pay to heat her home. Reid also told him that she is "losing weight" because she eats "one meal a day" and asked Johnson what else she should do to make ends meet.
Part of Johnson's response was truly bizarre. "Just to remind you, the 24-hour freedom bus pass was something that I actually introduced," he boasted.
"Marvellous so Elsie should be grateful to you for her bus pass," Reid quipped back before Johnson talked about tax rebates and government investment in energy.
Susanna Reid - Elsie, 77, has resorted to eating one meal a day & uses her freedom bus pass to sit on buses all day to stay warm... what else should she cut back on? \n\nBoris Johnson - I introduced the freedom bus pass\n\nSR - So she should be grateful to you for her bus pass\n\n#GMBpic.twitter.com/QZhEawhNSQ
It was a jaw-dropping moment and we can only sympathise with Johnson's PR team who will now surely be working overtime to clean up his mess.
Bus 'revolution' fails MOT
But he doesn't just say weird things about buses but has failures with his bus policies too. In February, the Guardian reported that Johnson's pledge to build 4,000 zero-emission buses wasn't making any progress.
Last year, announcing his bus strategy, Johnson said: “I love buses and I have never quite understood why so few governments before mine have felt the same way,” adding that “better buses will be one of our major acts of levelling up”, but the publication said industry leaders said they hadn't received any.
Meanwhile, in April, the Mirror reported that Johnson's promise of a £3 billion “bus revolution” outside London last year with the 'Bus Back Better' scheme wasn't going well with only a third of promised cash on the table and 30 per cent of services across the country in danger of disappearing.
Speaking to Andrew Marr he said: “If you are suspicious about the way in which you are being treated by a police officer and you are worried for some reason, then clearly you should seek help in the way you have described."
People criticised him for his response:
It\u2019s appalling that the PM is repeating this. If your response to the horrific murder of Sarah Everard is to advise women to \u201cflag down a bus\u201d you are not taking violence against women and girls seriously #marrhttps://twitter.com/PippaCrerar/status/1444582099198091264\u00a0\u2026
On a lighter note, Johnson had perhaps one of his most strange bus moments in 2019, when he was the frontrunner to replace Theresa May as prime minister. Asked on Talk Radio about what he does to relax, Johnson replied: “I like to paint. Or I make things. I have a thing where I make models of buses. What I make is, I get old, I don’t know, wooden crates, and I paint them. It’s a box that’s been used to contain two wine bottles, right, and it will have a dividing thing. And I turn it into a bus.
“So I put passengers – I paint the passengers enjoying themselves on a wonderful bus – low carbon, of the kind that we brought to the streets of London, reducing C02, reducing nitrous oxide, reducing pollution.”
This is truly weird. Boris Johnson, likely the next Prime Minister of the UK, gets asked what he likes to do in his free time, to relax. Watch what he says...it's so bizarre that it's mesmerizing. Via @talkRADIOpic.twitter.com/aXp5hmCMVg
During the Brexit campaign, the Vote Leave campaign claimed Britain sends £350m a week to the EU and that if we left the bloc, we could spend that money on the NHS instead.
Johnson appeared by a campaign bus which was emblazoned with the slogan: "We send the EU £350 million a week - let's fund our NHS instead."
It was widely criticised because the sum didn't take account of the country's rebate of £75m a week and the head of the UK's statistics watchdog, Sir David Norgrove called it "a clear misuse of official statistics".