It’s not Boris Johnson week. After suffering a major defeat in no-deal Brexit vote, Johnson saw his younger brother, Jo Johnson, step down as member of Parliament and minister for the Conservative Party on Thursday evening.
Meanwhile, Twitter user Alex Andreou had spotted a short sequence in a video clip in the BBC six o’clock news and tweeted it. It immediately went viral.
“Please leave my town.”
“I will, very soon.” pic.twitter.com/3gqW2SwqMi
— Alex Andreou (@sturdyAlex) September 5, 2019
The British prime minister, visiting Yorkshire in northern England on Thursday, was strolling through the town of Morley kicking off an informal election campaign when he had an unexpected encounter.
He was approached by a man who shook his hand, slapped his back and simply and politely said: “Please leave my town.”
“I will, very soon,” Johnson replied.
The short sequence has since been shared endlessly on social media and received hundreds of thousands of views. It has also been picked up in memes:
— Clare the collaborator 🎪 (@ClareLaw23books) September 6, 2019
“Well done” seemed to be the general consensus among the people who reacted to the footage on Twitter.
Comments included “Perfect thing to say to that minister,” “Makes me proud to be a Yorkshire man…” and “Legendary Yorkshire gentility and politeness.”
“Note the nice touch of the pat on the back he gives as Johnson walks away: reinforcing his dominance in the relationship. It’s something Johnson has often done to other politicians,” analyzed another Twitter user, @LiterallyYarn.
Labour politicians, too, couldn’t let the opportunity pass to share the video and a comment:
— Dan Carden MP (@DanCardenMP) September 5, 2019
Another passerby in Morely on Thursday accosted Johnson with the words “You should be in Brussels, negotiating.”
"You should be in Brussels, you're in Morley"
Boris Johnson was challenged by a passer-by moments after he arrived in the West Yorkshire town
— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) September 6, 2019
With the hashtag #PleaseLeaveMyTown now trending in Germany, German media have also noted how Twitter users in the country are particularly impressed by what is perceived as a typically British form of protest: “Simply very British and above all very cool” to “That’s how angry citizens react in Britain! We can learn a lesson” are some of the reactions to the clip.
Andreiou, the initial Twitter poster, offered his insight as to why the moment went viral: “I feel #PleaseLeaveMyTown is the Johnson hashtag we’ve been waiting for.”