‘Now is the time to re­mem­ber our duty to the peo­ple’

Boris John­son launches his lead­er­ship bid with one mis­sion: leave the EU on Oc­to­ber 31

The Daily Telegraph - - Front Page - By Gor­don Rayner Political Ed­i­tor

BORIS JOHN­SON promised he had the “guts and the courage” to take Bri­tain out of the EU by Oc­to­ber 31 as he launched his cam­paign to be­come Prime Min­is­ter.

The for­mer for­eign sec­re­tary said yes­ter­day that the time had come “to re­mem­ber our duty to the peo­ple and the rea­sons for the Brexit vote”.

He promised to pro­vide the “clar­ity” of vi­sion needed to de­liver the re­sult of the EU ref­er­en­dum with or with­out a deal, and warned MPS they would face “mor­tal ret­ri­bu­tion” from vot­ers if they tried to stop Brexit.

Mr John­son re­lied heav­ily on his record dur­ing eight years as mayor of Lon­don as ev­i­dence that he could beat Labour at the bal­lot box, and af­ter fac­ing ques­tions about his in­tegrity, he in­sisted: “I do what I prom­ise to do as a politi­cian.”

Hours later, his plans were given a huge boost when an at­tempt by Labour and Re­main-sup­port­ing MPS to block a no-deal Brexit flopped in the Com­mons. Euroscep­tics were ju­bi­lant af­ter the ef­fort to hi­jack the par­lia­men­tary timetable in or­der to pass leg­is­la­tion pre­vent­ing a no-deal Brexit was de­feated by 309 votes to 298.

The re­sult si­lenced crit­ics of Mr John­son, in­clud­ing Philip Ham­mond, the Chan­cel­lor, who had ear­lier ac­cused the Con­ser­va­tive lead­er­ship front-run­ner of promis­ing the “im­pos­si­ble” with his pledge that there would be no fur­ther Brexit de­lays.

Mr John­son moved a sig­nif­i­cant step closer to Down­ing Street yes­ter­day as he se­cured the back­ing of 81 MPS, more than twice as many de­clared sup­port­ers as any other can­di­date.

As Tory MPS hold the first round of vot­ing in the lead­er­ship elec­tion to­day, he knows he will ef­fec­tively be through to the fi­nal head-to-head if he can se­cure 105 votes, which would be more than a third of the par­lia­men­tary party.

MPS are al­ready de­bat­ing whether other can­di­dates will pull out rather than face a bat­tle with Mr John­son if he has the back­ing of both Tory MPS and mem­bers. Speak­ing in front of a broad coali­tion of sup­port­ers from both the Leave and Re­main wings of the Con­ser­va­tive Party, Mr John­son said he would “unite this coun­try and unite this so­ci­ety” by com­plet­ing Brexit.

He said he was not “aim­ing” for a nodeal Brexit but it was “as­ton­ish­ing that anyone could sug­gest dis­pens­ing with that vi­tal tool of ne­go­ti­a­tion”.

Bet­ter and “vig­or­ous” prepa­ra­tion for no deal was needed, he said, be­cause: “It is only if we have the guts and the courage to get ready for it that we will carry any con­vic­tion in Brussels and get the deal we need.”

Asked about those who wanted to stand in the way of Brexit, he said: “I think if we now block it, col­lec­tively as par­lia­men­tar­i­ans we will reap the whirl­wind and we will face mor­tal ret­ri­bu­tion from the elec­torate.” Mr John­son also said the Bri­tish peo­ple wanted a “res­o­lu­tion” to Brexit, adding: “That is our mis­sion to­day and that is why I am stand­ing be­fore you, be­cause now is the time to re­mem­ber our duty to the peo­ple and the rea­sons for the Brexit vote.”

Ge­of­frey Cox, the At­tor­ney Gen­eral, yes­ter­day be­came the 81st MP and the sixth Cabi­net min­is­ter to come out in sup­port of Mr John­son.

Michael Gove, Mr John­son’s arch-ri­val, cur­rently has 32 public back­ers, two ahead of Jeremy Hunt, while Do­minic Raab has 22 sup­port­ers, Sajid Javid 18 and Matt Han­cock 16.

If MPS back­ing other Brex­i­teer can­di­dates such as Mr Raab, Es­ther Mcvey and An­drea Lead­som switch their votes to Mr John­son as back mark­ers are elim­i­nated, Mr John­son would have 121 votes, more than enough to reach the last two.

The re­sult of the first lead­er­ship vote will be an­nounced at 1pm to­day. The last-placed can­di­date will be elim­i­nated, along with any can­di­date who fails to get at least 16 votes. Four fur­ther votes are planned for next week, but with Mr John­son build­ing such a com­mand­ing lead, few MPS be­lieve all four elim­i­na­tion rounds will be needed.

One prom­i­nent sup­porter of Mr John­son said last night: “Once the first round is out of the way, you will quickly see other can­di­dates fold­ing be­cause they will have one eye on a Cabi­net job.”

Ear­lier, Mr Ham­mond said it was not “sen­si­ble” for can­di­dates to “box them­selves into a cor­ner” by promis­ing Bri­tain would leave the EU by Oct 31. But his pre­dic­tion that “Par­lia­ment will not al­low a no-deal exit” was un­der­mined by the Com­mons vote in which eight Labour MPS voted with the Gov­ern­ment to keep no deal on the table and only 10 Tory MPS re­belled.

Mr Javid, the Home Sec­re­tary, be­came the last of the lead­er­ship can­di­dates to launch his cam­paign yes­ter­day, say­ing Mr John­son was “yes­ter­day’s news” and that the party needed some­one who rep­re­sented the fu­ture.

Boris John­son said at the launch of his party lead­er­ship cam­paign that MPS would face ‘mor­tal ret­ri­bu­tion’ if they thwarted Brexit

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.