The Labour leader’s latest tactical move comes after party officials suggested they had been jolted by Mr Johnson’s “energy” as they scramble to prepare for a snap general election, which could be imminent. Last weekend a YouGov poll showed Mr Johnson’s entry into Number 10 boosted the Tories by six points, giving them a 10-point lead over Labour. Now it has emerged as the Opposition leader grapples with Mr Johnson’s newfound power he is having a hard time calling him by his first name.
In an interview with Sophy Ridge on Sunday, Mr Corbyn said: “Johnson has put together a Cabinet of ideologically extremely right-wing people and the leader of the House, instead of getting on with reforming Parliament, seems more concerned about apostrophes at the end of letters.”
On Friday Mr Corbyn told BBC Radio 5: “If Johnson wants to push that forward, we will then demand the people of this country have a say.
“We are on the side of protecting jobs and industries and rights in this country.
“Johnson is on the side of big business and tax giveaways.”
The same day, during a visit to Cheetham Hill in Manchester, he said: “Our job is to take Johnson and his team to task.”
But last week during a trip to Mansfield to support a holiday hunger fund backed by the town’s parliamentary Labour candidate he used Mr Johnson’s full name, referring to “a Boris Johnson-led government” in a campaign video.
Mr Johnson, whose full name is Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, is perhaps the only British politician best-known on a first name basis.
During his two terms as Mayor of London, some of his key projects were given nicknames that would forever tie him to the initiatives.
Cycles, which were originally sponsored by Barclays, became known as “Boris bikes” instead of “Barclay bikes”.
And a floating airport on the Thames estuary, which was eventually scrapped, became known as “Boris Island”.
Social media users reacted to the news with amusement.
Peter Titmus wrote on Twitter: “Short on charisma and short on appeal, the Labour Party is now reduced to a name unfriendly farce.
“Oh yeah, so thin skinned and so clueless.”
But Mel Poole said calling Mr Johnson “Boris” would only contribute to the “deliberately created mis-characterisation of him as a naughty but nice, lovable little rogue; as if he’s a friend you’re on first name terms with”.
Labour sources did not deny Mr Corbyn was using the tactic.