Boris’ rousing bid to become British PM

THE frontrunner in Britain's Conservative leadership contest, Boris Johnson, brushed aside questions about his character and trustworthiness as he officially launched his campaign for prime minister with a promise to "get Brexit done."

Mr Johnson told fellow Conservatives that if the country does not leave the European Union as scheduled on October 31, the party will be wiped out by angry voters.

"Delay means defeat," Mr Johnson told supporters at a campaign rally. "Kick the can again and we kick the bucket."

But he appeared to soften his hard line position on a no-deal, saying he didn't want to go for a no-deal, but would get ready just in case, reports The Sun.

 

Boris Johnson is considered the frontrunner to become Britain’s next prime minister. Picture: AP
Boris Johnson is considered the frontrunner to become Britain’s next prime minister. Picture: AP

"I am not aiming for a no-deal outcome," he said.

"I don't think we will end up with any such thing but its only responsible to prepare."

Urging MPs to "come together, get this thing done" he said that if MPs blocked Brexit "we will face mortal retribution from the electorate".

And he dismissed calls he was unfit to be PM, promising to "rise to the challenge" of finally getting us out.

"I am not going to pretend it will be plain sailing, there may be bumps in the road," he warned.

"But my team will hit the ground running.

"I think we will get the result - a sensible, orderly Brexit that allows this country to flourish on a great mission."

Partner Carrie Symonds was by his side for the official launch, alongside dad Stanley Johnson and brother Jo, too.

He was also flanked by a series of allies from across the Brexit spectrum - from ERG big-beasts Steve Baker, Iain Duncan Smith and Jacob-Rees Mogg, to Cabinet bigwigs Liz Truss and James Brokenshire.

Mr Johnson issued a blistering attack on Labour boss Jeremy Corbyn over anti-Semitism, saying "he and what he stands for are a real threat to our fundamental values and our way of life".

Ten Conservative politicians are running to succeed Prime Minister Theresa May, who stepped down as party leader last week after failing to secure Parliament's backing for her divorce deal with the EU. Brexit, originally due to take place on March 29, has been delayed to the end of October amid political deadlock in London.

Mr Johnson is the bookies' favourite and has won the backing of many pro-Brexit Conservatives by promising Britain will quit the EU by October 31, with or without a divorce deal.

The audience for his launch included prominent members of the fervently pro-Brexit wing of the party, whose opposition to 's deal helped end her premiership.

Mr Johnson, a former or of London and foreign secretary, is a popular but divisive figure, and rivals have criticised his low-profile campaign. He hasn't given any television interviews or held public events, in a bid to avoid gaffes that could hurt his chances.

Johnson took six questions from journalists Wednesday, but avoided answering directly when asked to confirm his previous account of trying cocaine when he was a student, and when asked whether he had the right character to lead the country.

 

Boris Johnson’s partner Carrie Symonds was at the launch. Picture: Supplied
Boris Johnson’s partner Carrie Symonds was at the launch. Picture: Supplied

 

The tousle-headed politician has a string of past blunders and provocations that have included calling Papua New Guineans cannibals and accusing people in Liverpool of "wallowing" in victimhood. Last year he was criticised for comparing Muslim women who wear face-covering veils to "letter boxes."

An unrepentant Mr Johnson said people felt alienated because politicians had a habit of "muffling and veiling our language." "Of course I am sorry for the offence I have caused, but I will continue to speak as directly as I can," he said.

In votes starting Thursday, the 313 Conservative politicians will narrow the field of 10 candidates down to two, who will be put to a vote of about 160,000 party members nationwide.

The winner, who will become Britain's next prime minister, is due to be announced in late July.

 

Boris Johnson sees leadership in his future. Picture: AP
Boris Johnson sees leadership in his future. Picture: AP

 

- with The Sun



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