Tory candidates for two upcoming by-elections have been struggling to defend the reputation of their party and that of the Prime Minister.
Helen Hurford, the Conservative candidate for Tiverton and Honiton in Devon, twice declined to say that Boris Johnson is honest during an interview with the Guardian, according to the newspaper.
Ms Hurford, who is defending the Tory stronghold after Neil Parish resigned as an MP for the area over watching pornography in the Commons, instead said “Boris Johnson thinks he’s honest”.
This comes after Nadeem Ahmed, the party’s candidate for Wakefield in West Yorkshire, compared trust in the Tories following the resignation of disgraced former MP for the constituency, Imran Ahmad Khan, to faith in GPs despite the crimes of mass murderer Harold Shipman.
When asked the same question again, Ms Hurford, who is currently deputy mayor on Honiton Town Council, said: “I think Boris thinks that he is an honest person.
“How I conduct myself is how I conduct myself, and I think you are trying to catch me out here.”
Meanwhile, Government minister Paul Scully has distanced himself from the comparison made by Wakefield candidate Mr Ahmed.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Mr Ahmed said Khan was “one bad apple”, after he was found guilty of groping a teenage boy.
Asked whether the Conservatives deserve to lose the by-election, Mr Ahmed added: “No they don’t because Mr Khan, for his offences, the right things happened to him, he’s in prison.
He was also filmed saying what Khan had done was “wrong” and “disgusting”.
“As you know, Harold Shipman committed suicide in Wakefield prison. He was a GP, he was a trusted professional like teachers and others.
“When they put a vaccine in our arms, we trust what they are putting in us.
“Have we stopped trusting GPs? No, we still trust GPs and we know that he was one bad apple in there.”
Both by-elections, scheduled for June 23, are expected to be closely fought.