Poulton or Bolton - Boris confuses the two in debate with Fleetwood MP Cat Smith

What’s the difference between the north west towns of Poulton and Bolton?

Thursday, 4th November 2021, 6:45 pm

Seemingly the Prime Minister was not so sure when he got the two mixed up during a debate in the Commons with Fleetwood’s Labour MP Cat Smith.

And that left Ms Smith insisting he knows nowt about towns oop north.

Lancaster and Fleetwood MP Ms Smith was tackling the Prime Minister about return of the Fleetwood to Poulton rail link when he made the slip, even though he isn’t a complete stranger to Poulton, having visited the ancient market town in December 2019 when he made a pre-election pledge to help restore the link.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson appeared to mix Poulton up with Bolton

Ms Smith said in Parliament: “Two years ago the Prime minister visited Poulton, and announced his commitment to reopen the railway line to Fleetwood.

“So can he tell my constituents what progress he’s making with that, and when they can expect to catch the train from Fleetwood into the entire national rail network?”

Boris responded: “What we’re doing is a general programme of Beeching reversals around the country. I will get back to her as soon as I can about what is happening in Bolton, but this is the biggest investment in rail for a century or more.”

Rail campaigners have complained that there has been little progress on the pledge, and Ms Smith said afterwards: “Now I wonder if our funding for this has been going to Bolton instead of Poulton?

Cat Smith during the debate

“Does he even know where Poulton is? Or does it not matter as we’re all just ‘oop’ north?

However, businessman Coun David Henderson, left, the leader of Tory-led Wyre Council and who lives in Vicarage Road in the town, said: “Poulton sounds very similar to Bolton and unless you know the area well or differentiate it by calling it Poulton-le-Fylde, it’s easy for people to make a slip of the tongue.

“When I speak to some of my printing clients they often ask me if I’m referring to Bolton, not Poulton – and they come from Lancashire.”

He added: “Cat Smith is wrong in any case because the £100,000 pledged by Boris Johnson was forwarded to Lancashire Council and the county council has initiated the feasibility study and it is being looked at to take it to the next stage.”

Boris Johnson on his visit to Poulton - not Bolton
Coun David Henderson said it was easy to make a slip over two similar sounding names