John­son apol­o­gises for break­ing Brexit prom­ise

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - NEWS -

Boris John­son has apol­o­gised to the Tory mem­bers who elected him leader for fail­ing on his “do-or-die” prom­ise to im­ple­ment Brexit by Hal­loween.

The prime min­is­ter said he feels “deep re­gret” over miss­ing the for­mer dead­line, which he was com­pelled to ex­tend to the end of Jan­uary.

With the EU de­par­ture the over­whelm­ing fo­cal point of the elec­tion cam­paign, Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage ruled out mak­ing an eighth bid to be­come an MP in the De­cem­ber 12 vote.

Mean­while, the main po­lit­i­cal par­ties clashed over poli­cies on the cli­mate cri­sis, the wel­fare state and the EU.

In an in­ter­view with Sky’s Ridge on Sun­day, Mr John­son was told he needed to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for miss­ing the Brexit dead­line and could not just blame other peo­ple.

“Well, I do. I do and I’m deeply, deeply dis­ap­pointed,” he replied.

Pushed on whether he would apol­o­gise to Tory mem­bers who sup­ported him, Mr John­son replied: “Of course, of course.”

Whether the Brexit Party suc­ceeds in get­ting any MPs elected or not, Tories fear the party could play a ma­jor role in split­ting the Leave vote.

The Tories have re­jected his of­fer of an elec­toral pact and yes­ter­day Mr Farage con­tin­ued with his threat to stand can­di­dates in around 600 seats.

But he ruled out stand­ing him­self, telling the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “Do I find a seat to try get my­self into Par­lia­ment or do I serve the cause bet­ter travers­ing the length and breadth of the United King­dom sup­port­ing 600 can­di­dates? And I’ve de­cided the lat­ter course is the right one.”

Mean­while, Mr John­son has ruled out grant­ing per­mis­sion for a se­cond Scot­tish in­de­pen­dence vote while he is prime min­is­ter – de­spite Ni­cola Stur­geon in­sist­ing “things have changed” since the coun­try voted to stay part of the UK five years ago.

Mr John­son in­sisted there was no rea­son to go back on as­sur­ances given by SNP lead­ers in 2014 that the ref­er­en­dum then was a “once-in-a-gen­er­a­tion” event.

Mr John­son spoke out af­ter the SNP leader urged Scots to use the elec­tion to “de­mand the right to choose a bet­ter fu­ture”.

Ms Stur­geon told So­phy Ridge on Sun­day: “Our fu­ture is on the line and it’s a choice of what kind of fu­ture we want.”

Mean­while, shadow cab­i­net mem­ber Re­becca Long-Bai­ley made clear that Labour would not block a se­cond ref­er­en­dum if the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment was to push for one af­ter the 2021 Holy­rood elec­tion.

Scot­tish Lib­eral De­mo­cat leader Wil­lie Ren­nie said this shows Labour “could not be trusted to pre­serve the Union”.

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