Exasperated Yorkshirewoman 'inspired Boris Johnson's Get Brexit Done slogan'

Boris Johnson’s famous ‘Get Brexit Done’ slogan was inspired by an exasperated Yorkshirewoman, Tory election guru Sir Lynton Crosby has revealed

Prime Minister Boris Johnson holds up a banner with the words 'Get Brexit Done' during a visit to the John Smedley Mill, while election campaigning in Matlock, Derbyshire in December 2019. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Sir Lynton said that the slogan, which dominated the 2019 general election and helped Mr Johnson secure a Conservative majority, was born after a frustrated woman in a focus group in Bradford before the campaign used the phrase.

Talking to The Yorkshire Post as his political consultancy C|T Group announced it was launching a northern operation, Sir Lynton said: “This is not widely known and certainly wouldn’t be claimed by Dominic Cummings but actually there is a lady somewhere in Bradford who in a focus group made the simple request, ‘Can the Government just get Brexit done?’

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“We were doing the research for the Conservative Party at the time. That provided the foundation phrase that created the opportunity to get Brexit done. It was relevant, the context was right and it was simple and clear.”

Sir Lynton said that the 2015 general election poster which portrayed then Labour leader Ed Miliband in the pocket of the SNP’s Alex Salmond was also inspired by a focus group conversation.

“I remember a lady in a cardigan in a Liberal Democrat seat who said ‘Imagine if Ed Miliband didn’t win in his own right and was propped up by Alex Salmond, they would be calling the shots and we would end up paying for it’,” he said.

“You never use research to tell you what to think in politics, you use research to communicate in a way that helps you achieve the outcome you want.

“If you are a politician and have something you believe in, research is the GPS system that helps you navigate to achieve that outcome.

“It’s extraordinary. We’ve all met idiots in the world but you put people together and there is a high degree of the wisdom of crowds. You get these gems sometimes in focus groups.”

Some of Sir Lynton’s methods in fighting elections for the Tories have attracted controversy in the past but he said his sees his role as “framing the choice” for voters.

“You want people to make the choice you want for your client so you help frame the choice,” he said.

“The ‘Long Term Economic Plan’ slogan was about David Cameron as Prime Minister and George Osborne stewarding the economy or Ed Miliband in the pocket of Alex Salmond. It is a simple choice.”

Consultancy 'acts within the rules'

Sir Lynton Crosby has insisted his organisation acts “within the boundaries of acceptable behaviour and the rules” after being questioned over reports that his company was behind a series of ‘grassroots’ Facebook advertising campaigns for a no-deal Brexit.

The Guardian reported in 2019 that groups urging people to write to their MPs to call for the toughest possible exit from the EU were connected by a shared administrator who worked for Crosby’s CTF Partners.

When questioned by The Yorkshire Post about the story, Sir Lynton said: “One thing I have learnt long ago is not to take too much notice of what is written in The Guardian.”

Pressed on whether or not the report was accurate, he added: “I don’t know the story you are referring to but we operate within the boundaries of acceptable behaviour and the rules.”

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