Portsmouth News hits back at Boris

The News in Portsmouth has launched a stinging attack on Boris Johnson after the MP branded the naval city "one of the most depressed" places on the south coast.

Johnson, the shadow minister for higher education, wrote in a car review for GQ that he had not been enamoured of the area when driving through on a visit to its university, describing it as "too full of drugs, obesity, underachievement and Labour MPs".

The News retaliated with a front-page story headlined "You twit! Meet the big mouth MP who says it is us who are overweight and hopeless".

The paper published 10 reasons to be proud of Portsmouth and the following day printed responses from readers about the comments.

Assistant editor Colin McNeill said: "The attitude we took is that he might have some valid points about the area, but we're no different from an awful lot of cities. Surely a car review in GQ is not the best place to raise this — there are better platforms he could have chosen.

He's got a track record for it and he seems to have opened his big mouth without thinking yet again. That's Boris.

"We've got a great new 570ft Spinica tower with views of the Isle of Wight over the Solent, a great seafront, we have HMS Victory and a rich heritage of people from here, including Brunel and Charles Dickens. There are crimes and drugs, but show me a city that doesn't [have that] — they are problems that are being actively addressed."

The News is trying to contact Johnson but he was said to have gone on holiday shortly after his comments were published.

Johnson has previously upset the inhabitants of Liverpool and Papua New Guinea with his unguarded comments about them.

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