Boris Johnson flies 4,000 miles with taxpayer to meet billionaire donor at his factory

The Prime Minister is on a two-day state-funded visit to India – and his first business engagement was to visit a new JCB factory, where he enjoyed a pleasant stroll with Conservative donor Lord Bamford

Boris Johnson climbs over a JCB excavator at a Tory billionaire's facility in India today
Boris Johnson climbs over a JCB excavator at a Tory billionaire’s facility in India today

Boris Johnson has traveled more than 4,000 miles to India – where he managed to schedule a visit to a Tory donor’s factory on his first day.

The Prime Minister made room in his packed schedule to tour a new JCB facility in Vadodara, Gujarat, owned by fellow Conservative Lord Bamford.

JCB Chairman Lord Bamford, his family and companies have donated around £14m in cash and gifts to the Conservative Party since 2001.

Lord Bamford, who backed Mr Johnson’s Conservative leadership bid in 2019, was pictured with the Prime Minister on a visit to the factory.

Mr Johnson arrived in an Indian Air Force Chinook helicopter to get to the site, having arrived in India today for a two-day visit.

Boris Johnson strolling with JCB chairman and Tory donor Lord Bamford this morning at the company’s new factory in Vadodara, Gujarat



Earlier in the day, Boris Johnson observed a worker spinning cotton on a wheel during his visit to the Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad



Speaking to reporters at the scene, the Prime Minister hailed the factory as a “living, breathing incarnation of the umbilical cord between Britain and India”.

“This is a world-leading factory – 600,000 excavators come out of India every year and are exported from India to 110 countries using British technology.”

The prime minister has also been challenged to raise sensitive issues with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, such as using bulldozers to demolish Muslim homes.

He said: “Of course we always raise the difficult issues, but the fact is that India is a country of 1.35 billion people and it’s democratic, it’s the largest democracy in the world.”

The Prime Minister is fooling around on a JCB excavator



The crisis-ridden Prime Minister received a warm welcome upon landing in Ahmedabad this morning, where he was greeted by Gujarati Prime Minister Bhupendrabhai Patel and presented with a series of red bouquets.

Organized displays of well-wishers lined his route, with placards adorned with his face and the message “Welcome to Gujarat” on billboards. Mr Johnson attempted to put his Partygate woes behind him on the trip, which began with a visit to Mahatma Gandhi’s ashram in Gujarat.

Two women showed the Prime Minister how to spin the fabric promoted by the Indian independence leader on a traditional wheel.

Mr Johnson told them: “It’s a bit of an art, this spinning.”

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