The leadership election

I am all in favour of choice, but a possible offering of 17 candidates or more for Prime Minister creates a  muddled field with too many candidates offering a very similar package. The endless launches of new campaigns also takes attention away from those who claim to be front runners, making their task more difficult to be front runners. The MP electorate is proving hard to persuade, showing that the candidates need to come up with  better answers to my two fundamental questions for any wannabe leader. How do you get us out cleanly and promptly from the EU, and what is your programme for taking advantage of Brexit with a range of new policies to promote greater prosperity, wider ownership and better public services?

I will not write about all of them, and suspect some of the 17 will decide on reflection not to put in Nomination papers. I have written about two of the four front runners so far. According to Conservative Home Jeremy Hunt leads with a possible 29 MPs in support, Michael Gove and Boris Johnson are joint second with 26 MPs each and Dominic Raab is fourth on 22 MPs. To get into the last two for election  by members the top two have got to get around 155 MPs each if the vote is split evenly, or less  if one is much more popular than the other amongst MPs. The second placed is likely to have  at least a third of the party in support.  Today I will say something about Boris Johnson and soon I will also say something about Dominic Raab. Thereafter I will be guided by who seems to be an interesting candidate because of their platform, or because someone is picking  up more support.

The MP electorate needs to believe that the winner can deliver Brexit and can rebuild the Conservative vote. Too many candidates are defining the problem as trying to find compromises a Remain Parliament can accept, which Mrs May failed to achieve. They should instead be telling us how they are going to persuade by their actions the big Leave vote that they can and will achieve Brexit. If they cannot do that they will not rebuild the Conservative position.

Boris Johnson is the most popular candidate with the members so far, with many members of the party wishing him to be on their ballot paper. There is a widespread feeling that the court case against him for the Bus figures is an attack on democracy and an unfair diversion. Many like the way he gave voice to Brexit in the referendum and respect him for resigning from the May government when she decided to back the Chequers plan which most Leavers see as a needless delay and dilution of Brexit. He has reach and appeal to the wider electorate as his Mayoral wins showed that other Conservatives might struggle to achieve. In view of this I asked Boris to send me his statement of why we should vote for him as he had been talking to me about the leadership. His office sent me the following:

“Our next Prime Minister must be someone who can deliver Brexit, unite our Party and, crucially, defeat Labour.  Jeremy Corbyn is the single greatest threat to the prosperity of our country and Boris is the man to beat him.  Polls of the public and of labour members repeatedly underline this point and his track record of winning, whether as London mayor or in the referendum, speaks for itself.  Added to a positive vision for brexit and the energy and enthusiasm which he has to take forward our economy it is clear he is the right man for the job.”

What do you think of this prospectus?

In order to get more MP support he does have to flesh out how he will get us out of the EU cleanly and quickly, and what new directions he would want for the UK once out. He also needs to deal with his critics about his past alleged gaffes and changes of view.


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  1. Pominoz
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 5:20 am | Permalink

    Sir John,

    Boris does need to convince everyone that he will not adopt May’s awful WA, although like many others, he is probably making sure he is not too dogmatic at this stage of the leadership race.

    As regards his past ‘gaffes’, acting the ‘buffoon’ has worked well for him, in the main, so far. His eccentric hairstyle has accentuated his off-beat personality. Interesting, perhaps, that he has already had his barber trim him up with a more Prime Ministerial haircut and this is perhaps the first sign that, when needed, he can be as serious as is required.

    He is undoubtedly intelligent and intuitive, so, if he is elected without the ‘Remainers’ subsequently calling a GE to dislodge him, he will probably do a very good job.

    • Peter
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 6:27 am | Permalink

      Well the prospectus itself is fine and difficult to challenge. He does not mention leaving on WTO terms but that might be the issue that keeps him out of the final two.

      It is the start of the Derby festival today at Epsom. I have little luck predicting a winner although the horses’ form is there for all to see and all colts carry the same weight. The next Conservative leader is as difficult to predict. Remain are similar to the trainer Aidan O’Brien in flooding the field with lots of entries.

      • PeterM
        Posted May 31, 2019 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

        I saw written that when O’Brien does not have any good horse he multiplies the entries. Isn’t it the same for this choice of CUP leader?

    • Barbara Castle
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 7:22 am | Permalink

      Are you really suggesting Boris should get the job because he’s had his hair cut?

      • NickC
        Posted May 31, 2019 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

        Barbara, Has it weakened him? Are you really suggesting he shouldn’t get the job because he’s had his hair cut? Oh, you mean he shouldn’t get the job because he’s popular with Tory party members, popular with the general public including some inclined to vote LibLab, and he might get us out of the EU? Can’t have a winner in the Tory party can we? Especially if he’s had his hair cut.

    • L Jones
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 8:12 am | Permalink

      Agreed, Pominoz. It’s a pity we don’t hear why he decided to vote for Mrs May’s ”deal” at the third opportunity. Why did he consider it was suddenly worth voting for, and how do we know he wouldn’t just take it forward as a basis for so-called ‘leaving’?

      That he should have lost some credibility in that IS a pity, because he most definitely appears to be a much better choice than any of the other ‘front runners’ (since it seems they won’t include Ms Patel, Mr Baker, etc).

      • rose
        Posted May 31, 2019 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

        He didn’t suddenly decide it was worth voting for; nor did the others – Raab, Miss McVey, Philip Davies, Mogg etc. They calculated that because the PM was now colluding with Parliament to prevent Brexit, it was the only way out and could be renegotiated afterwards. 28 others, including our own Sir John, didn’t agree with their tactic. It was still a bad treaty and should not be passed. Steve Baker jolly nearly caved in too.

    • Mitchel
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      “acting the “buffoon” has worked well for him,in the main,so far.”

      No,it hasn’t;not during his tenure as Foreign Secretary where his lack of attention to detail,lack of preparedness,loose tongue and general ineffectiveness was on display.

      Of one of the highlights of that period,his trip to Moscow with the UK media circus in tow ,the Russian MFA Press Director said simply:

      “We wined him,we dined him and then we sent him home.”

      • Tad Davison
        Posted May 31, 2019 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

        Just an observation, and one that continually gnaws away at me because I don’t know the truth of it, but it is bound to come up during the leadership contest.

        Boris is derided for giving inaccurate information to a House of Commons committee about a British subject locked up in an Iranian prison. I was of the impression it was the job of the civil service – the information gatherers – to provide the Foreign Secretary with up-to-date info which he then delivers for proper parliamentary scrutiny. Somebody failed in their duty, but it wasn’t necessarily Boris.

        • PeterM
          Posted May 31, 2019 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

          Boris was pushed away/sacked twice from his job as a journalist for being very economical with the truth.

        • Mark B
          Posted May 31, 2019 at 5:25 pm | Permalink


          He may not have been to blame, but it is his department and it is therefore his responsibility.

        • Original Richard
          Posted May 31, 2019 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

          I agree and it’s worth reading the Wikipedia entry for the British subject in question.

          • stred
            Posted June 1, 2019 at 6:38 am | Permalink

            He only said that she was not a spy but had s junior role working for, as reported twice before in the Guardian, the BBC. The Iranians can read the Guardian. The BBC should have told her not to go there, as other staff had been threatened. It’s on video. See comment below.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

      Well said.

      The ones Boris seems to rub up the wrong way most of all with his ‘indiscretions’, are the PC Brigade – and that’s fine by me! I have never liked the breed anyway.

      Britain needs to change, but before that can happen, Westminster needs to change! We need to have free speech, yet parliament has some of the worst professional politicians in this nation’s history tip-toeing around hyper-sensitive minorities, and both need to get real and get a life!

      If Boris is sincere and can provide answers to the very serious questions on crime and inadequate police numbers, wholly inadequate sentencing, immigration, lack of affordable housing, severance from the EU on or before the 31st October, rolling back the nanny state, making sure the NHS is properly run and adequately funded, our kids are properly educated, our universities aren’t just churning out little leftie clones, and our armed forces have the capability to do the things they are tasked with, then a government led by Boris would probably get my vote.

      However, the Tories have given us some of the most duplicitous self-serving pusillanimous politicians I can ever recall, so there is another test for whoever wins the Tory leadership election – restoring the faith and trust of the people – and given the dark times they have been through over the past thirty years, that won’t be easy. It really will take a thorough clear-out of all the crap in the stable!

      • PeterM
        Posted May 31, 2019 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

        Make it forty years and I agree with you.

      • M Davis
        Posted May 31, 2019 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

        Tad Davison for PM and SJR for Chancellor! Please, won’t someone get rid of that remainer, Hammond?

        • Tad Davison
          Posted June 1, 2019 at 12:43 am | Permalink

          Thank you, but I’d prefer it were my name substituted with that of Steve Baker, Boris Johnson, or Nigel Farage. Any one of those three would do an exemplary job and finally get this nation out of the mire of Theresa May’s making.

    • David King
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

      It may have been said but it is such a tragedy he was betrayed (not too strong a word INV) by Mr Gove. One wonders where we would be today had he been our PM.

      Thanks again Sir John for your faithfulness to the 2016 Ref and to our manifesto’s over the many years.

  2. Peter Wood
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 5:21 am | Permalink

    Good Morning,

    From recent polling it appears that traditional political party issues are being put aside; there is only one issue – do you vote for remain or leave. The Tory Parliamentary Party does not seem to have got that message. The LibDem’s are for Remain, so what is the Tory Party for? You better make your minds up quick!

    • jerry
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 6:54 am | Permalink

      @Peter Woods; If you think Brexit is the only issue you are simply leaving (sorry…) an empty goal-mouth for the Labour party (perhaps even the LDs) to exploit. Brexit is like one screwdriver amongst many, it might well be the best tool for the job but other screwdrivers will still get the job done non the less, fixing the NHS, Education, public services, public transport etc.

      • NickC
        Posted May 31, 2019 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

        Jerry, Right now, Brexit is the only issue. Not least because almost every other issue is dependent on whether our government is in London, or in Brussels.

        • jerry
          Posted May 31, 2019 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

          @NickC; It’s not to the non-obsessed, wake up and smell the coffee!

          • NickC
            Posted June 1, 2019 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

            Jerry, Who governs us is just as important now as it was in 1979.

          • jerry
            Posted June 1, 2019 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

            @NickC; It is important that we do not get so obsessed by Brexit that in securing Brexit we allow Corbyn to govern us because we stopped debating the other more mundane but (for many) equally important issues.

            We need to do both…

    • Julie Dyson
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 7:19 am | Permalink

      Actually, Peter, I suspect they have indeed now got the message — loud and clear — but being politicians they are of course putting a brave face on it. The show must go on. Even, for instance, Hammond’s firm anti-Brexit stance, rather than being further denial is in fact a signal that he can see which way the wind is blowing but is nonetheless determined to go down with the ship — or even scupper it himself if needs be, rather than see it fall to Boris’s merry band of pirates.

      Boris would not be my own first choice, I must admit. He’s a bit too much of “a man’s man” for my tastes, but I must admit his record as Mayor of London seems pretty darn impressive when distantly viewed from here up north. Maybe actual Londoners have a different impression, I don’t know, but I wouldn’t be surprised if most now regret having Khan instead?

      Would I trust Boris to deliver a clean Brexit? Yes, all considered, I would. For all his supposed or perceived faults, I don’t doubt his true intentions should his party put the faith in him that he will need to push ahead with this.

      It’s not Boris I doubt — for either a proper Brexit or the ability to defeat Corbyn — it’s the blinkered Europhiles like Hammond who may well yet scupper the whole thing and serve only to confine the party to the dustbin of history.

    • Timaction
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 7:28 am | Permalink

      Indeed. Further Barnier is reported as saying in the last few days that we have a choice of the awful Merky/May remain deal, no deal or revoking article 50. So what is the Tory Party going to do as there is no renegotiation?
      If undecided lets have another election so we can elect the Brexit Party to finish the job this Parliament won’t for us! Time to clear the swamp, the BBC and the established remainer cohorts!

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 9:14 am | Permalink

      @ Peter Wood

      I think that in the end, the Conservative Party will not be unanimous about the type of brexit that will be available. We know that two years of fact-finding by experts have resulted in one way to arrange for the termination of UYK membership, with a transition period . To what end state that transition should lead is still pretty open. During past Parliamentary voting, that arrangement (the WA) was largely approved with two important provisos: Labour does not want a future relationship that is very vulnerable to a subsequent Tory government than wants to transform the UK in a low wage, log reg country (they want to go in the opposite direction). A minority of Tory MPs want more clarity about the future trading relationship and yet another minority (the people around the ERG) want to open the way to an economic foreign policy that favours the US more than the EU, dressed up as imdependence. In my view no one wants an orphan (ie no preferential trade agreements with anyone. It should not be too hard to figure out how to create a cross party coalition based on these “facts” (you may disagree about the divisions in the Conservative Party) in a country that is not captive to binary and heavily contested politics. Politics should never get in the way of good government, but in some countries that seems to be hard.

      • NickC
        Posted May 31, 2019 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

        Rien, What a turgid piece of self-serving totalitarian bunk! The WA was not a “transition”, but continued membership of the EU via a new treaty. We voted for independence – we were promised independence if we voted Leave – we voted Leave. What the UK becomes after we have left is a matter for future electors and the future governments that represent them. Not the EU, or its shills.

        • Steve
          Posted May 31, 2019 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

          Just ignore him Nick. He’s a European and doesn’t live in England, therefore nothing to do with him anyway. Our internal affairs are our business.

          • stred
            Posted June 1, 2019 at 6:49 am | Permalink

            Some of us like to have comments from Peter and Rien. They give us a picture of the submission of EU citizens to the bureaucracy in Brussels. They just can’t envisage life without directives. Their army is already merged with the Germans, so next time they can invade themselves.

    • forthurst
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      On current form, it is for mass third world immigration, the obliteration of our English culture through its deprecation in favour of imported cultures, the promotion of transexualism to tiny tots, the focus on thoughtcrime, a uniquely English failing, whilst giving lower priorities to the lesser crimes of gang-rape, blade-based violence and hard drug distribution, all largely imported phenomena.

      We are beginning to get a flavour of what it must have been like for ethnic Russians living under the Bolsheviks.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted May 31, 2019 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

        Well said.

        • JoolsB
          Posted May 31, 2019 at 5:27 pm | Permalink


  3. Leslie Singleton
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 5:25 am | Permalink

    Dear Sir John–He is the only one that can inspire and persuade the country–The others are non events, plus I have contempt for most of them for allowing the dreadful Mrs May, the very epitome of non-event-ness, to become (by default, yet) and subsist as PM.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 6:39 am | Permalink


    • jerry
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 6:59 am | Permalink

      @Leslie Singleton; You appear to have forgotten that Boris (like others) marched us all up the top of the hill only for him not to follow back in 2016, thus allowing May to have a coronation. Sure he was let down by Gove, to put it mildly, but that in its self did not stop him from standing.

      • NickC
        Posted May 31, 2019 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

        Jerry, You of all people should not use that line of attack. When most on here had already rumbled Mrs May’s duplicity, you were still defending her and the Tory one nation middle ground (or wets for short).

        • jerry
          Posted May 31, 2019 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

          @NickC; What ever, but thanks for yet again proving the hard right do not do facts.

          • NickC
            Posted June 1, 2019 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

            Jerry, What, Mrs May’s duplicity is not a fact?

          • jerry
            Posted June 1, 2019 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

            No NickC, the fact that Boris failed to stand for election in 2016.

  4. Mark B
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 5:26 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    There is no doubt that Alexander Johnson MP has appeal. But not with me.

    Despite everything the man is too ambitious by far. But there is no doubt about his intelligence, ability and charisma. All that makes for an interesting after dinner speaker but, I want a PM with vision and principles, not one who sees building a bridge across the English Channel and giving illegal immigrants citizenship.

    If this is the best the Tory party can do God help them.

    • jerry
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 7:29 am | Permalink

      @Mark B; “If this is the best the Tory party can do God help them.”

      It’s a sign of a deeper issue, a problem that has been festering since the 1980s, the semi-abusive term “Wets” caused polarisation [1], you were either with-us or a against-us, alternate thought was unwelcome, now the political sands have shifted but the parties mindset has not.

      Some are also reading far to much in to the EP elections, they were akin to the UK local elections or by-elections, a safe place to protest or simply not bother voting, the turn out last Thursday was dire, if even half of those who did not vote are not supporters of The Brexit party then TBP is actually no more relevant in a GE than CUK is…

      [1] now manifesting its self on political social media, just look at the average views expressed on this site alone, those not “with-us” can get a very ruff ride just for expressing an opinion! 😥

      • NickC
        Posted May 31, 2019 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

        Jerry, Oh diddums! But you only get a rough ride when you are inaccurate, or when you peddle your opinion as fact. Even if half of the non-voters do not support the Brexit party, then the Brexit party is still in fact vastly more important than ChUK, contrary to your claim. And people like you typically moan about “polarisation” only when you are losing – I’ve not seen you criticise the polarisation caused by Major or the europhiles within the Tory party.

        • jerry
          Posted May 31, 2019 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

          @NickC; “Oh diddums!”

          Oh the irony. Thanks for proving my point…

          As for the EP elections, turnout was 37%, in the last few GEs turnout has been around 66%, so at least 29% of voters were sitting on their hands…

          “And people like you typically moan about “polarisation” only when you are losing”

          I want a WTO exit, no point leaving otherwise (and that had nothing to do with the WA either), but you are correct, I do believe Brexit is being lost – because of the over simplistic arguments TBP, and UKIP before, put forward that get lapped up by dreamers such as yourself and demolished so easily by the europhile MSM.

          • NickC
            Posted June 1, 2019 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

            Jerry, What point are you making? My point was that you complain about being abused, yet in the same comment you abuse others. Pot, kettle, Jerry.

          • jerry
            Posted June 1, 2019 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

            @NickC; Please quote what you think was abusive in my reply to Mark B.

            The only abusive word I used was the term “Wets”, a term often directed towards people like myself in the past, I must have been abusing myself then!…

            I guess your real problem is, the truth about TBP hurts.

      • libertarian
        Posted May 31, 2019 at 5:08 pm | Permalink


        Your political analysis is woeful. You just dont understand what is happening, not for the first time either

        • jerry
          Posted May 31, 2019 at 10:02 pm | Permalink


          I could say the same back to you, in fact I will; Your political analysis is woeful. You just don’t understand what is happening, not for the first time either.

          Unlike you Walter I do understand that at least 29% of voters did not express any preference last week.

          Try playing the ball rather the man Walter, debate the EP voting figures, and explain how you can be so sure that you know how that missing 29% (who voted in 2010, 2015 and 2017 but did not vote in the EP elections) would vote in a GE were one held next week…

          Walter, in the 1970s us mere plebs used to ask ‘Superstars’ like you who’s shirts they wore, these days we seem have to ask who’s makes your crystal balls!

      • Caterpillar
        Posted May 31, 2019 at 7:07 pm | Permalink


        Exactly the point, it was the time for remainers to protest and they didn’t. Total turnout (including EU27 voters) as a percentage of the electorate was only equal to what leave alone received at the referendum. The remain numbers simply don’t exist, they didn’t turn up.

        • jerry
          Posted May 31, 2019 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

          @Caterpillar; LOL…

          That would be why the LibDems statistically did almost as well as he Brexit Party (made up of ex UKIP MEPs and supporters), because Remain voters failed to get out and vote.

          The Brexit Party entered the EP elections with 14 sitting MEPs, the LibDems had just one, TBP winning an extra 15 to the LDs 14.

          As a share of the vote, TBP net gain is thus a mere 7.41%, by compared the LDs net gain of 13.4%, or are you seriously suggesting that ex UKIP support sat on their hands – perhaps they voted LibDem, quite possible on those figures if Remain voters really did sit on their hands as you claim!

          • stred
            Posted June 1, 2019 at 7:02 am | Permalink

            A lot of the socialist remain yoof and mad Andy types have gone to the Libs. They realize that Corbyn lied about free uni fees and have forgotten that Vince expanded them. Labour has lost the Jewish and other student and middle class vote because of the antisemitism problem. If they want a socialist remain party and don’t want to be ruled by Marxists, why not choose the Dums.

          • jerry
            Posted June 1, 2019 at 7:43 am | Permalink

            @Stred; Perhaps, but that doesn’t change the stats, and those who switched their vote can switch back, as true for the LDs and TBP as it has been for the Con and Lab parties in the past.

            @Caterpillar’s argument was about Remain voters, not labour party support, that said a LD-Lab coalition is actually more dangerous to Brexit than a Corbyn majority govt.

          • jerry
            Posted June 1, 2019 at 8:26 am | Permalink

            @stred; “don’t want to be ruled by Marxists, why not choose the Dums.”

            Funny how some commentators on this site object to the use of the phrase “hard right”, but feel the need themselves to band about wild-card words such as Marxist and (Lib)Dums, perhaps they should treat others as they wish to be treated. Double standards?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 8:46 am | Permalink

      Boris Johnson was the MP for Henley back in the days when I could go round to our local shop in Maidenhead and buy a copy of the Henley Standard and read his weekly column, and then send another letter to the editor pointing out his many errors and misrepresentations about the EU. At a public meeting in Henley his stated position on the euro was ambivalent, to say the least, rather like that of his party, and as for leaving the EU altogether that clearly did not form any part of his plan. Not only is he like a bull in a china shop when what is needed is calm and clarity and precision and a degree of subtlety – look at Michel Barnier – I simply do not trust him to carry through on whatever he appears to be promising.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted May 31, 2019 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for that insight Denis, I will seriously bear your valuable first-hand experiences mind.

        It could just come down to the best of a very bad bunch. I have been in touch with the MP I really want to stand for party leader, but as yet, they haven’t made their move despite me assuring them they would get a lot of support, and advice from senior Tories.

        This potential candidate is one who would make a brilliant job of PM having experienced ministerial office, and has been consistently vehemently opposed to the EU all along. They’re also of the new generation. Maybe that’s what we need, and let this largely failed and tainted generation fall by the wayside.

      • Fred H
        Posted May 31, 2019 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

        Denis….the EU well ahead of the need, selected Barnier for specific negotiation and subtlety skills, whilst screwing UK. He is clearly adept and trusted. We however, seemed to wake up one day with the thought err…who is going to go to the EU and tell ’em how it’s going to be. Big mistake, in no forethought, no planning, no selection process (that must be obvious) and inability to put forward detail that ‘er indoors approved of. Not surprisingly once each in turn discovered the bottom of the barrel we had been dropped in, resigned. The mess goes back to Cameron, and the assumed the plebs will accept what I say and vote Remain.

      • Mitchel
        Posted May 31, 2019 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

        Interesting that Peter Oborne endorsed him in his column in the DM a couple of Saturdays ago – on the grounds that once in power he would tack back to the centre ie do what the Establishment wants.

    • Mitchel
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      “If this is the best the Tory party can do God help them.”

      Indeed.A bunch of faded starlets, ambitious incompetents and media tarts….Put them all together in the Big Brother House,or the Celebrity Jungle (where,I suspect,some will end up anyway).

    • NickC
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      Mark B, Why single out Boris Johnson for being “too ambitious” when there are already 16 like him with the same ambition? I’m not sure how a person can want to be PM without appearing ambitious.

      As for principles – most of the contenders seem to have other principles, if you don’t like the ones they’re touting at the moment. The only principle that interests me is the principle of accepting that the UK should leave the EU treaties, as was promised, and as we voted for.

      • Mark B
        Posted May 31, 2019 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

        There is nothing wrong with ambition so long as you do not let it consume you and others as the previous encumbence of Number 10 have.

  5. oldtimer
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 5:27 am | Permalink

    Boris Johnson clearly has voter appeal and recognition that other candidates cannot match. But the statement you quote otherwise says nothing about how he would deliver Brexit. Support for him would be an act of faith. So questions about how he would seek to deliver Brexit in the circumstances left by May or the direction of travel thereafter remain unanswered, as you point out. I am unconvinced.

    • NickC
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      Oldtimer, Civil life is impossible without trust. Theresa May stretched trust beyond breaking point. That is her legacy. Remain MPs have prevented Leave happening, which in many ways is worse than Mrs May’s breaches of trust. Naturally, in turn, we now distrust any candidate, indeed any politician, and any of our institutions.

      There simply must be a change of heart amongst MPs. We get it that they don’t like what we voted for. But they offered the Leave option, and promised to implement it. MPs must now deliver. It is not simply up to one of the leadership candidates on his/her own.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted May 31, 2019 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

        Theresa May didn’t just stretch that trust, she was downright cynical in her betrayal, but she’s not on her own, and the damage she has caused is incalculable.

        I have fallen out with lots of politicians who convinced me they were Eurosceptic, then became an avid Europhile virtually over night when they judged the time was right.

        I keep coming back to the phrase, ‘My word is my bond’. Save for a few, we aren’t dealing with virtuous people who have a keen moral code, we are dealing with social-climbing back-stabbing shysters, and we’d better get used to it or we’ll get shafted yet again.

        • NickC
          Posted June 1, 2019 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

          Tad, Indeed.

  6. Glenister
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 5:30 am | Permalink

    Mr Johnson does not do detail. His statement is fatuous – we need detail on what is going to happen, not airy nonsense like having “a positive vision for brexit”. If this is the best he can offer three years on from the Leave vote, he is clearly not up to the job.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 6:57 am | Permalink

      Detail would be dangerous for him at this stage as everyone is out to get him.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted May 31, 2019 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

        This contest could yet turn into a circular firing squad. I really have never seen the Tories in such disarray, but it’s what we can expect from people of such low calibre.

    • Nigel
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 8:19 am | Permalink

      Yes, this is a very unsatisfactory statement. He should sack whoever wrote it for him.

    • NickC
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 10:08 am | Permalink

      Glenister, Rubbish. Detail is not possible at this stage. The last 3 years have been a waste – we’re starting again. It comes down to character and judgement, not a five year plan.

  7. The Quiet Man
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 5:34 am | Permalink

    Rory Stewart does not even belong in the Tory party much less going for leader.
    Appointed a minister by Cameron and May says it all. The only hope for Brexit is Boris this is why he’s been attacked from all sides.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 6:45 am | Permalink

      True, but the sad thing is at least half of Conservative MPs are not remotely Conservatives” they are Libdims at best. Lefties who thought they had a better chance of getting elected in a pleasant Tory constituency as a fake Conservative.

      May, Hammond, Soames, Greg Clark, Rory Stewart, Hunt ….. and certainly all the 200 who idiotically voted that they had confidence in Theresa May last December.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 7:59 am | Permalink

      No. The only hope for Brexit is that they appoint someone like Rory Stewart and then when the General Election comes Leave voters have no choice other than the Brexit Party whereas Remain has a choice of four parties to split their vote.

      • JoolsB
        Posted May 31, 2019 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

        Think you might have something there Roy. Not sure we are ever going to get Brexit with this remainer parliament whoever the next Tory leader is. Better to wait for a GE where it would be a no brainer between a remainer such as Stewart and most of the Tory candidates for that matter or Nigel Farage.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

      I’m right with you on that nonentity Rory Stewart. It is difficult for me to think of him as a Tory, yet I find myself saying that of any number of them these days, Cameron and May included. They have no resonance with ordinary folk of which I am proud to say I am one. So why might I take a chance with the election of a privileged old Etonian like Boris?

      Perhaps because like myself, he’s a renegade and wont let an injustice pass without either saying something about it, or doing something to change it. I’m just disappointed he gave Theresa May any support whatsoever, but at least he did the honourable thing and resigned his cabinet position when he saw what that snake oil saleswoman was up to which surely elevates him.

      • Lento
        Posted May 31, 2019 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

        Could you name an injustice he has addressed?

        • Tad Davison
          Posted May 31, 2019 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

          How about when Mr Johnson made a stand against the duplicitous undermining of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU by Theresa May and her unelected place-people who carried on underhanded parallel negotiations away from public scrutiny?

          When being corralled into accepting May’s deplorable Chequers deal, he refused to accept it ‘calling it polishing a turd’ and resigned from a cabinet position many people would kill for. I would say that showed character and principle.

  8. Nigl
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 5:40 am | Permalink

    Hammonds latest arrogant intervention ‘in the national interest’ in other words his own view is more important than the Leave voters with Patience Wheatcroft ludicrously saying we are a Remain nation ignoring the latest votes for the Brexit party, sums up how out of touch your party is and why I regrettably, and I suspect many other traditional Tory supporters couldn’t care less who your next leader is albeit Boris is your only chance.

    Give us a clean break, no fudges by Oct 31st. If not whenever the election comes it will be the Brexit party.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 6:55 am | Permalink

      Baroness – Patience Wheatcroft’s interview on Nick Ferrari LBC (just after 7am yesterday) showed her total & utter contempt for Brexit voters (doubtless how many others of her ilk think). If anything it was far worse than the “white van man with England flags” tweet by that other lawyer totally contemptuous of voters Labour’s Emily Thornbury.

      At least Emily had the decency to resign.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted May 31, 2019 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

        Baroness Wheatcroft typifies everything that is wrong with the political class. (In general they are ed) Snotty, disparaging, entitled, distant, unaccountable for the most part, (some are also ed) tax-payer funded gravy train feeders, with a disregard and disdain for a democratic decision arrived at in a proper manner.

        I’d love to see the back of them once and for all. We need a political revolution, and we might just be closer to getting one than any of us ever thought possible not too long ago.

    • Timaction
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 7:33 am | Permalink

      The former Conservative Party hasn’t caught up with its own Party members let alone the wider electorate whilst the leadership candidates are navel gazing!!
      Bring on the election and the new leader can lead his/her 6-7 MP’s!

    • Gary C
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 8:19 am | Permalink


      I agree with all you say other than I wonder why we should wait until Oct 31st for a clean break.

      The EU are not willing to change anything that TM (not the country) agreed with them so there’s no point in wasting any time, LEAVE NOW!

      • jane4brexit
        Posted May 31, 2019 at 11:23 am | Permalink

        Even better there is a Court case by Robin Tilbrook arguing that we are already out, as the extension from 29th March was illegal meaning the extension did not happen. It is getting very little publicity and worryingly recently his Facebook page was taken down without explanation, although he explains on his blog how he is fighting this.

        I do not know this area of law but have read some interesting comments, especially on The Conservative Women online, which make it sound logical. If you ‘search’ Robin Tilbrook’s blog online, it sets out all the case details.

        It would be exciting if one of the candidates were to put himself forward on that basis and argument ie: his prospectus is that we are already out and they will, if elected. proceed on that basis. I cannot see many willing to do this but Boris is at least unconventional enough to do something different, such a move would certainly make whoever did it stand out from all the other candidates.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted May 31, 2019 at 12:38 pm | Permalink


    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 9:02 am | Permalink

      She started on that kind of line not long after her side lost the referendum.

      From a comment on this blog on August 31st 2016:

      “She’s hoping time will allow people to contemplate the full consequences of pulling out and is hopeful public and parliamentary opinion will shift.”

      Which may well be what Theresa May was also hoping.

      • Timaction
        Posted May 31, 2019 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

        I’m fairly certain that was her disastrous plan all along. It explains the 3 years of delay and nonsense in Parliament. All the trickery of words on second votes to try and hoodwink. No one is fooled in the age of the internet we just need rid of the analogue MP’s!

  9. /IKH
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    Hi John,

    Boris is a popular figure with the public and is undoubtedly the most likely to lead the party to a General Election victory. However, he is also mostly a One Nation Tory and I think an opportunist I.e. when he suddenly decided to become the face of Brexit. I strongly suspect that he made that decision by whether it was good for Boris instead of from principal. I think Dominic Raab is more a conviction candidate for Brexit.

    How can Brexit be delivered by 31/10 ? By a combination of mini-deals with the E.U. and starting a free trade agreement, running down the clock, and refusing an extension at the last moment. But mo candidate can come out and say that.

    The arch Remoaners like Dominic Greive will vote down a confidence motion in the government in support of the opposition at any hint of ‘No Deal’.

    My tuppence worth.


    • Simeon
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 7:44 am | Permalink

      You are surely right about the prospect of the government falling in the event of ‘No deal’. The successful candidate needs to acknowledge that they will fight a GE on a platform of delivering a proper Brexit (though I think it necessary at this stage to also offer a referendum, if only to secure a mandate for this course. Given the muddied waters of UK politics, such a mandate does not exist, despite the referendum result. This is an absurd state of affairs, but then if absurdities are indulged and pursued, absurdity is where you land).

      You may also be right about Raab. I’ll be interested to hear Sir John’s view of him. But his explanation for voting for the WA, and his claim that subsequent events Brexit delayed and Euro elections held) vindicated him, was laughable – and a slap in the face to the consistent and coherent MPs that rightly voted against. If indeed Raab is the best of the bunch, this would illustrate just how dire the Tory predicament is.

      • NickC
        Posted May 31, 2019 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

        Simeon, Of course a mandate for Leave exists – Leave won the Referendum. The government promised to implement what we voted for – Leave. Both campaigns made it clear that Leave meant leaving the single market, leaving the customs union, leaving the CCP, CAP, CFP, etc – that is, leaving the EU treaties. Even the EU’s TEU Art50 confirms that invoking Art50 results in leaving the EU treaties.

        • Grant
          Posted May 31, 2019 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

          Totally untrue. A series of Leavers – Gove, Hannan , Davis and yes Farage – said we would trade on unchanged terms like Norway, which means staying in the single market

          • Edward2
            Posted June 1, 2019 at 5:24 am | Permalink

            Read the Leaflet

          • NickC
            Posted June 1, 2019 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

            Grant, Totally untrue. Leaving the EU treaties entails a change in the terms of trade by definition. If you did not understand that, you’re thick, as you Remains are fond of saying. But it does not stop trade continuing though.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      @/IKH (what an interesting pseudonym btw)

      Of course a number of conservative MPs will vote down a government that will be to lazy to accept no deal. It is their duty. Even if that means the end of their political careers. Plus, some MPs do have members that care about the country. You hear very little about the consituencies that do not conform to the 65+ white brexiteer type. But they do exist.

      • NickC
        Posted May 31, 2019 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

        Rien, The duty of MPs is to implement what we voted for in the legal national Referendum of 2016. As they promised.

    • Oxiana321
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      Are you quite sure that a Conservative would vote down the Government knowing that by doing so they would open the way for a Marxist regime? That is a big ask, even for a dyed in the wool Remainer.
      Isn’t the answer for the Conservative party to enter in to a de facto arrangement with the Brexit party; one in which it is agreed by both parties that leaving on WTO terms is the default option (unless the EU is prepared to provide something much better). In doing so, I am presuming that the BREXIT party would withdraw from the race for the GE, confident in knowing that the Conservative party would leave the EU on terms that it approves of.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted May 31, 2019 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

        On past form, the Brexit party or indeed anyone else would be absolutely MAD to trust the Tories’ promises to deliver on the referendum – I don’t.

        If another remainer Prime Minister took office and cheated the public yet again on the leave date, or perhaps by the revocation of article 50, thus precipitating a General Election, then they would deserve to lose every last vote to an insurgent party.

        The choice then is very easy, they need to put a strong solid no-nonsense uncompromising leaver who keeps their word into number 10, or get wiped out.

  10. William Pentelow
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    Ref, Boris Johnson’s statement.

    Thats a statement?

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 6:02 am | Permalink

      The two excellent and cutting questions of Sir John go to the heart of the matter.
      If a politician – a politician for heaven’s sake – can’t come up with a decent answer, then, frankly, they are not up to the job.

  11. Dominic
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    What is clear is that the next leader of the Tory party cannot be a pro-EU politician. If Tory MPs are stupid and ignorant enough to elect such a politician then I believe everything is off the table in terms of further attacks on British democracy as we are now seeing with regards to Johnson. Europhile forces will become even more emboldened and reckless in their contempt for freedom of expression and the normal rules of political debate

    Johnson is the man to destroy Labour but will he deliver on Brexit? Is he a conviction politician or does he have a tendency to pander to wet causes?

    Does he understand that our nation’s democracy, our freedoms and our general environment is under attack from forces intent on crushing debate?

    Does he have the energy and spine to confront and purge and then dismantle the Labour-EU client state embedded by Blair when he came to power in 1997?

    Will he be able to depoliticise the State sector and restore freedom of expression while crushing liberal left authoritarianism that’s been on the rise since the mid-1990’s?

    The next PM must be prepared to confront and not work with a State that’s now infected with pro-EU and pro-Labour employees all signed up to one vision

    I would like to see the next PM conduct a public inquiry into the State itself and how New Labour nobbled the aforementioned using political appointees (using Quangos) loyal to Labour and the EU

    We need a reforming PM and one who will take no prisoners

    • bigneil
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 6:21 am | Permalink

      We take lots of prisoners – usually other country’s prisoners who have been released back home, with the order to get to the UK for a free life, where they can walk in freedom, while getting everything for nothing, warm in the knowledge that whatever they do, they’ll never be deported back.

      • rose
        Posted June 1, 2019 at 11:33 am | Permalink

        This is the subject, and mass immigration as a whole, on which I fear Boris is weak. But then who isn’t nowadays, once in office?

    • Fred H
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 8:10 am | Permalink

      Dominic….I hope Boris’ office were not paying attention, and a letter opener cobbled the words together. This is not what we hoped to see. Indeed, your numerous points put the issues very clearly, you should do his publicity! Boris does need to address what you have said.

      Reply I asked Boris himself to supply the copy stating his case

      • piglet
        Posted May 31, 2019 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply.

        In that case, he was a fool to pass it over to his “office”, if that is indeed what he did.

    • Mockbeggar
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 8:19 am | Permalink

      I agree that Mr Johnson is the man to beat Labour in a General election, but I’m less sure of his ability to run the country subsequently. His track record at the Foreign Office is not reassuring.

      In any case, I think it quite likely that the next government, if it isn’t Labour, will be a coalition between the Conservatives and the Brexit Party. Many long term Labour supporters in the North particularly will probably vote for the Brexit Party rather than go over to the Conservatives.

      • NickC
        Posted May 31, 2019 at 10:16 am | Permalink

        Mockbeggar, The FCO is corrupted by the EU. The FCO’s employees are used to trundling off to Brussels to negotiate with fellow civil servants. And when they have a consensus, presenting it to the Minister to sign off – which he usually does without a murmur.

    • Iain Moore
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 9:43 am | Permalink


    • Iago
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 10:49 am | Permalink


    • Tad Davison
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

      I’d very much agree with that Dominic. We need a really strong Prime Minister who will deliver us from this madness, perhaps even stronger willed than Margaret Thatcher. One who says they will do something, then works as hard as they can to get the job done.

      It gets easier if they can take the rest of their party with them, but therein lies the difficulty. This parliament is stuffed full of the very people we need to get rid of. Democratically elected they may be, but it seems as though their tenure is looking very shaky now they have let us down.

    • Oxiana321
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

      Good points Dominic. Brexit is just the first step on the road to reversing the state and public sector’s direction of travel. It is deeply worrying to observe so much politicisation and leftwards drift in organisations that are supposed to be impartial. Top of the list must come the Civil Service, which should be one of the first organs of state to be re-balanced and de-politicised.

  12. Lifelogic
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    Indeed, though were Boris to spell out a route to a real Brexit in detail it might be rather dangerous to his chances of getting into to the last two. And perhaps his chances of actually being able to deliver it – (a war leader does not usually give away his detailed plans to the enemy and Brexit had very many enemies). This particularly as Boris seems to be the main target that all the other candidates, the establishment, the courts, the BBC …. want to damage at every turn.

    The party members will surely choose someone who is a strong leaver. So all the dire “Theresa in Trousers” candidates might as well give up now. This would leave only Boris, Rabb and Mc Vey. The rest have zero credibility and would surely bury the Conservative Party – probably taking it down to just a handful of MPs.

    That party has to become a real Brexit party or die. The members want it and the voters want it anything else and the party and most current Conservative MPs are done for.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 6:36 am | Permalink

      Hammond was crowing yesterday about his having increased the National Minimum Wage by £2,750 (gross) in three years. I am sure those unemployed as a direct result of this are most grateful for a law preventing them from working (even if they want to). As doubtless are the companies who have to pay for it all (plus the increased NI on to of it). Thus giving them far less to invest in growth, new staff, equipment & productivity improvements.

      Those on about this wage level are not really much better off either after inflation either, increases taxes/NI/enforced pension contributions (20% increase in Hammond’s insurance tax for example) and withdrawal of many benefits due to their now notionally higher salary. So it is basically yet another tax increase he is boasting of delivering and another impediment to productivity and growth.
      Hopefully this dire tax, regulate, make endlessly complex, borrow and usually tip the money down the drain, Chancellor is very nearly gone.

      Plus we have the new university loan proposals (no longer to be written off after 30 years but 40 years). Effectively yet another tax increase for many.

      The real problem is that at least 50% of university degree are worth nothing like the £50K plus loss of three years earnings & learning on the job that they cost. Half the people going to study at universities have 3 Ds at A level or lower. They should surely get a job and resit at night school or learn on the job a practical skill or similar.

      The government are selling a pig in a poke on credit to students and wasting vast sums of tax payer’s money in the process.

      • hefner
        Posted May 31, 2019 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

        Ofqual results for 2016 show slightly more than 25% of students getting A+/A at A levels all subjects included. How do you square that with your « Half the people going to study at universities have 3Ds at A level or lower ». Or are you simply making it up?

    • Andy
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 6:46 am | Permalink

      There you go again. ‘Real Brexit’. No details of course because you can’t say what a real Brexit is. Three years on and none of you have figured it out yet. Embarrassing.

      • NickC
        Posted May 31, 2019 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

        Andy, Leave means leaving the EU treaties. There, that’s not so difficult for you to understand, is it?

        • Andy
          Posted May 31, 2019 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

          Which EU treaties do you want to leave?

          Bear in mind that to allow planes from the UK to land in the EU you need an agreement with them to allow it to happen. By agreement I mean treaty. But you are leaving the treaty. What are you replacing it with?

          You want to leave the treaties which allow us to travel there and them to travel here. We can’t just go without their permission. We need an agreement with them to do so. By agreement I mean treaty.

          The same applies to trade. And to research. And to a huge range of, well, just about everything really.

          So you are leaving all that. All those treaties. What are you replacing them with?

          Remember they are all areas which need us to work with the EU and vice versa which means we need agreement on how to do it. Or, in other words, treaties. Which you are leaving.

          This, incidentally, is why no deal does not exist.

          • Edward2
            Posted June 1, 2019 at 5:33 am | Permalink

            Planes are international treaties.
            One of the more ridiculous Project Fear 2.0 claims.
            Even the EU has played that one down.
            Are you claiming the EU will refuse to accept our UK passports?
            They have never said that and neither has the UK said anything either.
            Your similar claims about trade and research are equally ridiculous.
            Where were the treaties with Japan in the decades before they just recently signed a trade deal with the EU?
            Notice any shortages of Japanese goods in the last 40 years?
            The Withdrawal Agreement is not a deal.

          • NickC
            Posted June 1, 2019 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

            Edward2, Well said, thank you.

    • MPC
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 7:16 am | Permalink

      I agree and hope you are right. Unfortunately no prospective leader can afford to spell out a Brexit route in detail in advance, with the Remain forces reasserting themselves more strongly each day and ready to pounce on any statement. Carolyn Fairbairn was saying on TV this morning that small businesses cannot prepare for No Deal by 31 October. So we stay in the EU then as there’s no other deal than Mrs May’s available. The CBI has become a representative of SME interests!

      But will the new leader be a strong one able to resist the Remain MPs who are no doubt colluding with the Speaker right now? It’s our last hope and it seems forlorn.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 7:30 am | Permalink

      He still has questions to answer about his support for MV3. That whole business was a few Tory MPs (though not our host) voting to save the Tory party rather than the country. He needs a minder in Farage, else he’ll get shunted off into an EU siding again.

    • cynic
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 8:19 am | Permalink

      Totally agree LL, but we also don’t want any faux leavers like Gove who supported May.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 31, 2019 at 10:22 am | Permalink

        Indeed he knifed Boris to give us May, voted for her £39 billion cufflinks three times, supported her to the end, is full of endless green wash drivel, seems to want to be friends with Extinction Rebellion supporters (who now want to close Heathrow with more protests shortly), wants to kill private schools (which would cost a fortune for the state and inflict huge harm), cannot it seems stack a dishwasher and took his driving test 7 times. Also as he is an English graduate so one assumes he is not very numerate and has little grasp of science, negotiation, energy, climate alarmism, business or game theory.

        No thanks.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted May 31, 2019 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

          handcuffs not cufflinks!

    • Sharon Jagger
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 8:48 am | Permalink


      I agree with much you say and about the Teresa May in trousers candidates….who are they trying to kid?

      I think Boris and Raab maybe……, but having both once voted for the surrender treaty, how do we know they won’t cave again?

      There are ways being explained of us getting our clean Brexit – but, it’s totally away with the fairies for any PM to be able to break the EU’s stubbornness with the WA now. Apart from the fact that practically, they are not there in Brussels for much of the summer.

      I’m not convinced for either Raab or Boris.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 31, 2019 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

        Well they are not perfect but that is the best we seem to have. Hopefully the Brexit Party and the anger of the voters will deter them from ratting on a real Brexit.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      @ Lifelogic

      And what should the PM be doing after brexit is past (either no deal or no brexit)? Retire? There are important things that require much more than just ideological purity. You might as well take a person like Farage, if brexit is all that matters.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 31, 2019 at 10:27 am | Permalink

        Farage has sensible policies in many areas.

        Lower taxes, smaller government, less green crap, UK based democratic government, less PC drivel, freedom and choice in health care and education, cheaper energy, pro business and jobs. law and order with real deterrents, sound defence, no pointless counterproductive wars, quality immigration at sensible levels.

        Farage polices would just fine.

        • Richard Evans
          Posted May 31, 2019 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

          LL. Fully agree but we must get out of the EU first. Once we are out we are freer to govern ourselves and do as we want, to save our country, not as dictated to by the EU. I have said all along, the Establishment will not allow a Brexiteer PM and the leadership “contest” is a joke. The convoluted and tactical voting system will not allow a BREXITEER PM and the Establishment will ensure that is the result.
          Check the agenda of the Bilderberg Group conference and BREXIT is up for discussion as the Globalists are planning their next attack.
          We possibly have one saving grace.The Donald visits next week and if you follow Qanon, Westminster is in PANIC mode at present, a la Washington DC. Also, why did May and other figures really resign, hopefully there will be some fireworks!!!!!

      • stred
        Posted May 31, 2019 at 10:29 am | Permalink

        The Brexit Party will get rid of the Lords and introduce proportional representation, cull wasteful EU inspired projects and excessive foreign aid and spend the money on people in need of a health service as good as those in Holland. Also, hopefully, reduce taxes SMEs.

      • NickC
        Posted May 31, 2019 at 10:38 am | Permalink

        Rien, Brexit is not all that matters, but it is all that matters at this point for us. As you can see.

        It is indeed time that the EU set aside its “ideological purity” and accepted that whilst European nations want trade and friendliness, most of them do not want an EU empire run on the current rigid EU ideological lines.

        If “no Brexit” happens then the EU will have succeeded in crushing the UK, as has been the EU’s ambition from the start. That would be devastating for us, but it would not be good for the EU either. The genie cannot be put back in the bottle.

      • libertarian
        Posted May 31, 2019 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

        Rien Huizer

        You ask And what should the PM be doing after brexit is past (either no deal or no brexit)?

        NOTHING, nothing at all. If only we could get politicians to STOP interfering, STOP coming up with new plans life would be so much better

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      I suspect that after the first round some of the fat tail of no hope candidates will drop out and publicly endorse the most pro-EU candidate.

      Look at the latest addition – oh, we must leave, and maybe without a deal, but not in October, we will definitely need another extension …

      (And then another … and another … until we end up not leaving at all.)

      • L Jones
        Posted May 31, 2019 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

        And that’s EXACTLY the way they want us to think, DC. Just give up and bow our heads.
        So we shouldn’t. And we won’t.

        • NickC
          Posted May 31, 2019 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

          L Jones, Well said – we won’t give up.

  13. Andy
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 5:52 am | Permalink

    Where is my vote in all this?

    We know you care very much about democracy Mr Redwood. You’ve been telling us for 40 years that we must leave the EU because it it undemocratic.

    Yet I had my vote for the EU last week and when picking the next PM I have no vote at all.

    A party rejected by 91% of voters in elections last week here its small, elderly membership to impose a leader on the country. How is this democratic exactly?

    Incidentally note that the PM can send my children to war while the EU can not.

    As for Boris – he has no chance of winning London ever again.

    • Richard1
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

      All parties choose their leaders by means of votes by the members. Quite why this is unreasonable for the Conservatives is not clear. As a parliamentary democracy, the PM can and does change without an election, as has happened many times before. At least the Conservatives will choose from amongst two people acceptable to MPs as required by the Constitution.

    • L Jones
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

      We don’t much care about YOUR vote, Andy. Any more than YOU would have cared for OURS, had your side won.

      But perhaps if you would kindly read today, you might answer the question for us: ”Which EU do Remain MPs want to remain in?” You believe yourself to be insightful and percipient, therefore tell us how these people are thinking.

      (PS The EU can’t send your children to war YET – but soon, if you had your way. We’re in the process of saving them from being part of the EU’s own army. Perhaps they’d rather die for their own sovereign country than for an expansionist and imperialist regime.)

      • Andy
        Posted May 31, 2019 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

        Facts 4EU is the one that made the incorrect claim about how many independent states had no deal with that EU. I am still waiting for their list of 179 partly made up countries.

        Narnia? Gondor?

    • NickC
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      Andy, Your vote was at the general election in 2017. Just like everyone else’s. Since you may have voted for the Labour racist party rather than for the Tory party, you’ve already had your vote. To vote for a leader you must be a member of a party, duh. You can always join UKIP and vote for our leader.

    • Glenn Vaughan
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

      “Where is my vote in all this?” – Andy

      Judging by your many fatuous comments I suspect you aren’t old enough to vote.

  14. Anonymous
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    Yes, I think Boris is the best prospect for the Tories. His court case will come to nothing and backfire on Remain as did the Gina Miller case.

    The big question though – do *I* consider myself to be a Tory supporter anymore ?

    Forget polls showing LibDems winning. Look at election results.

    “But Brexit Party can’t put together a manifesto.” Well. Better than putting together manifestos that they don’t keep !

    • Anonymous
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 8:01 am | Permalink

      With the LibDems first and not Corbyn it will make Tory voters more relaxed about voting BP/UKIP or not turning out at all at the next general election.

  15. jerry
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    “The MP electorate needs to believe that the winner can deliver Brexit and can rebuild the Conservative vote.”

    The MP electorate, followed by the membership, need to assess the real reasons why the Conservatives are loosing votes, Brexit is not the only issue that the general electorate are worried about, for many it might not even be the most important, your party and this site is to obsessive about Brexit – back in the world away from Westminster and Brussels…

    “Jeremy Corbyn is the single greatest threat to the prosperity of our country and Boris is the man to beat him.”

    Well is that not the admission! The right is becoming truly worries if they think the only person capable of beating Corbyn is Boris, just a pity that the general electorate appear to be saying ‘anyone but Boris’! I quite like the man, and I thought he did a good job in London (although he too fence sat, neither pro private car nor pro PT for example, and very happy to carry on with stealth taxes), but would he be any better than Corbyn as PM, now that’s a $64m question…

    I do not think the public will hold it against Boris that he is willing to change his views/policies as fresh evidence emerges, if anything that’s a plus point with the public, if only some other politicos (and journalist) would do so rather than repeating “The debate is over” dogma!

    • jerry
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 8:11 am | Permalink

      Off topic, can all Brexiteers please take a break from the leadership election to respond to the outrageous statements from the CBI, actively promoted by the BBC, the CBI are not representative of UK bossinesses, they represent a few medium to large (possibly multinational) businesses, for the vast majority of small and sole-trader business a WTO exit will make zero difference to them – and could actually improve their productivity due to less eurocrat red tape etc.

      • libertarian
        Posted May 31, 2019 at 5:15 pm | Permalink


        Brilliant post, thank you.

        Sadly when this is pointed out to journalists etc they ignore it. The CBI has just 250 members ( they count the membership of the NFU for example as all being members even though they aren’t ) There are 5.8 million businesses in the UK and 86% do no business outside the UK what so ever

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted May 31, 2019 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

        Or, as I put it in a comment which JR chose not to publish:

        “I have to admire Carolyn Fairbairn, who over the past few years has done a great job for the narrow sectional interests that she represents; but it was listening to her and to the likes of Philip Hammond that destroyed Theresa May’s premiership, and while the next Tory Prime Minister should not descend to the crudity of “**** business” he or she should not allow the CBI to dictate public policy.”

  16. Bryan Harris
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    The brief statement from Boris certainly ticks most of my boxes.

    He does of course need to ‘beware the ides of March’ – or perhaps that should be July? … and avoid several knives in the back.

    I hope that when the Tory membership get to vote, there is a ‘NONE OF THE ABOVE’ option, so that if no candidate is suitable to members then two other MP’s can stand…

    What is the current membership level and how many are remainers?

  17. Peter D Gardner
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    I think the threat of Corbyn is exaggerated. I would have thought that a general election fought on the issue Nigel Farage has so clearly defined as Parliament versus the people, would be easy enough to win if the crisis causing the election is the refusal of parliament to allow UK to leave the EU on WTO terms (among others).
    If the Tories wouldn’t campaign on that platform, The Brexit Party will – it has already made it its platform – and it would win.
    One of the main reasons Conservatives switch to the Brexit Party is that the Tory leadership cannot or will not understand the voting public. Why is it still so blind after the EU elections?
    The second reason is that they put country before party. It’s stupid to argue, as many Tories do, “Oh they’ll come back in a general election so we can ignore the EU elections and the local elections.” They won’t if the general election as about ‘parliament vs the people’ with a second and related theme of party before country.

  18. formula57
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    Mr. Johnson’s statement would have been compelling had it continued after “Jeremy Corbyn is the single greatest threat to the prosperity of our country..” with “save for Theresa May”. He did after all once vote for the May Withdrawal Surrender and needs to demonstrate distance.

    I am not fussed about the alleged gaffes but I would like to know he would form a strong team around him, choosing wisely and well (despite the apparent dearth of talent and with so many compromised by association with the failed May government).

    My chief concern alights on whether or not he can once more be the people’s Blue Boris. If you can endorse him on Brexit matters, then with confidence and luck and a clear focus on Conservative virtues, he might be and so strive towards at best becoming a second Thatcher.

    (Intruding upon your patience, I note at the FCO he failed to deliver the Johnson – Lavrov Non-Aggression Pact. (Would Salisbury have been attacked had we had that?) He does need to sharpen up a bit.)

  19. agricola
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    Winston Churchill had a less than perfect CV when he became PM. Prior to this he had worked out and confirmed in his mind the evils of National Socialism in Germany. He also had the courage and determination not to bend to it, unlike many around him. At that time information for the population was limited, these days it is much less so.

    Based on the information in the public domain the electorate decided they had no wish to be part of the EU or it’s proposed federal state. A large number felt naked without membership of the EU and those with vested interests egged them on. The HoC failed the electorate because within it there was more vested interest than democracy, and attitudes tempered with the arrogance that we your representatives know best.

    To carry out the wishes of the electorate the new PM must possess a quality of ruthless single mindedness. Compromise has had it’s moment and been found wanting. The solution has been alluded to in this diary and confirmation that it is doable has been given. It will lead to the screaming of the headless chickens in the HoC because in the final analysis their time has passed. In law we have already confirmed we are leaving, it remains for a leave PM backed by a leave Cabinet to make a governing decision. That is their function.

    I suspect that Boris and a small number of others have that degree of resolution. The outcome is initially in the hands of a future EU. We can leave on WTO terms with a deal or without one, it is the EU’s choice. Get it wrong and it is the EU who must face the wrath of their own industrialists.

    If the conservative party in the HoC make the wrong choice and fail to give the party at large a candidate they want then it is bye bye conservative party. They will then be condemned to months on death row while the Brexit Party build for the next GE.

    • agricola
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

      Surely this was posted in time to achieve moderation.

  20. Grahame ASH
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    Boris is I think the best of a very weak selection of candidates. I don’t see any strong leadership qualities amongst any of them. I did fancy Rees Mogg but he blotted his copy book by voting for the WA, only once I know, but he should have shown courage and leadership and voted against it.

    Mind you the same leadership weaknesses exists in the Labour Party.

    Indeed the only person in the HOC to show any leadership qualities is, in my opinion, the speaker Bercow. He is consistent, persuasive (a bully) and remarkably charming when he wants to be. Whilst I don’t agree with his views and many of his decisions, that should not disqualify or prevent him from being another MP to throw his hat in the ring. Only another hundred or so candidates to go…

    • Tad Davison
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

      Bercow, as a Tory Prime Minister! That’s if he doesn’t cross the floor. I’m struggling. How do I give a response without the use of profanities?

  21. Bob Dixon
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    Next Thursday Peterborough will choose a Brexit Party MP.

    • Mark B
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

      I think it wise never to second guess the electorate.

  22. Dave Andrews
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    I wish Boris would desist from statements like “go whistle”, when referring to the EU. These sort of comments might resonate with section of the CP and some in the country as well, but it hardly gives the impression of willingness to engage in constructive negotiations with the EU. David Davis had the right approach – “the UK will pay all its debts”, with the only coded message that we believe we don’t owe anything at all after we leave.
    Esther McVey please, but Boris will have to do, and so long as he has a sound leaver cabinet around him.

    • rose
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

      “Go whistle” was spoken by a backbencher in a question to him. Boris just good naturedly repeated it back to him in his answer.

  23. formula57
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 6:26 am | Permalink

    “I will not write about all of them…” – a huge relief to the excluded for the gentleness of the dismissals thus far has only emphasized their persuasiveness.

  24. Alan Jutson
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    Not sure about Boris, he certainly has the ability and charisma, but can he really get down to basics and grind something out with shear determination if that is what is needed at the time, he seems to leapfrog about rather too much for my liking, but certainly he is popular with many, but is that enough ?

    He did vote for WA3 having done the hard work, making a stand, and voting against WA1 & 2
    What made him give up fighting WA3, did he get bored with it all ?

    Having said the above, he is one of the front runners.

    • forthurst
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

      Trying to keep a foot in both camps?

  25. DaveM
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 6:32 am | Permalink


    I’m agnostic regarding Hunt, but recent reactions to the EU elections suggest serious naivety. Gove will lead to the death of the Con party.

    Johnson is more popular among Labour voters than his own PP it seems. Therefore Raab with a strong pro-British cabinet might just work, despite the fact he voted for MV3; Leadsom on the other hand was far more vacillating than that.

    If Parliament continues to block everything, a GE is inevitable, and with Corbyn and a May-type leader in place, there’s only one outcome.

    Ultimately it comes down to whether the parliamentary Con Party prefers the EU or being in government.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

      Or, as I put it in a comment which JR has chosen not to publish:

      “It is now becoming very clear that the parliamentary Tory party is riddled with interlopers whose primary loyalty is to the EU, not to the UK, and who would be perfectly prepared to bring down a Tory government to keep us under its thumb in one way or another.”

  26. Helen Taylor
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    The would be PM not only needs to say how they would deliver Brexit , but what they will do after we have left. We have had 3 years of the same monologue. What is needed is talk about how as a Country we will go forward. I have heard you say many times what should be done to boast our economy. No one else so far has stated what they are going to do after we have left. They need to stop going on about Corbin and just start saying how they will take the Country forward. People want to have a vision of how their lives will be post Brexit. That is the only way that remainers can be brought over if they can truly see what life will be outside of the eu.

  27. John Sheridan
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    The statement from Boris’s team is too bland. He needs to tell the members (and the country) what he will do to rescue Brexit from the mess that Mrs May made.

    I would like to hear him say that the WA is not a sound basis for moving forward and that he rejects it. Then he can tell us his plans for leaving on the 31st of October.

  28. Gordon Riby
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    I agree with your observation that there are now too many candidates. As things currently stand, the front runners are as you say Boris Johnson, Dominic Raab, Micheal Gove and Jeremy Hunt. Esther McVey, James Cleverly are interesting and in their own respects assets to the party. A part of me wants Steve Baker to run. Here is my take on the leading four:
    1. Boris Johnson: A very well known politician with a clear and huge upside. Somebody who could and would restore moral and re-engerise the party at a time of dire need. He does have many enemies in the parliamentary party and in the media. He is clearly feared by both remainers and the Conservative Party’s political opponents. I would be delighted if he were leader of the party and would follow him.
    2. Dominic Raab: Another excellent candidate and my MP. In marked contrast to others in the government, he has demonstrated a clear willingness to stand up for British interests in the Brexit negotiations. When the leadership hustings, interviews and debates take place I am very confident he will demonstrate his formidable ability and show that he is capable of leading the party in these very turbulent times. I would be delighted if he became leader of the party and would follow him.
    3. Jeremy Hunt. His position on Brexit is not clear. He strikes me as somebody who is probably a shrewd political operator and a clever man but devoid of any political principle at a time when public trust needs to be re-established.
    4. Michael Gove. I hold him responsible for foisting Theresa May on an unsuspecting party and country. This could have been overlooked if he had resigned after the Chequers summit but he didn’t. His ability as a communicator and a minister must be acknowledged but his conduct since the referendum has generated too many bad outcomes for the party and the country. I suspect many share this view.

  29. Kevin
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    That reads like a very “low energy” prospectus, if I may borrow one
    of President Trump’s expressions. Peterborough has the chance to send a
    message to the Tories and Labour that the world around them has changed. It
    may be that the local Tory is sound on Brexit, as Owen Paterson assures us,
    yet one more potential “Spartan” is worth less than a Brexit Party revolution.

  30. Sakara Gold
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    Johnson may be popular with the party, but how did he perform as Mayor of London? Do you remember Boris’ bendy buses that repeatedly caught fire? Or the water cannon? A profligate waste of money!

    His tenure as Foreign Secretary was disastrous. An intellectual lightweight, he was unable to read his briefs, repeatedly opened his mouth before he put his brain in gear over our hostage in Iran, insulted our Nato allies, fell over drunk at a diplomatic reception and infuriated his civil servants, who were said to be relieved when he resigned.

    Not all Tories favour him. Lord Patten recently used candid language to describe Johnson’s qualifications for the top job and his track record –

    “He’s lied his way through life, he’s lied his way through politics, he’s a huckster with a degree of charm to which I am immune,” Patten said in an interview with Bloomberg Television in London. “As well as being mendacious he’s incompetent.”

    Many Tory women feel very sorry for Johnson’s estranged wife. Not everyone is going to vote for him. His lying to the public over his utterances during the Leave campaign has resulted in him being summonsed to court and one hopes he will be advised to withdraw his application. There are much better candidates.

  31. Mick
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    Watched QT last night and the bbc up to there total bias as usual with a remainer audience and a panel of 5-1 remoaners including the bbc employee , the sooner the license fee is scrapped and this bias organisation goes to the wall

  32. J Bush
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    The ‘statement’ , unfortunately says a lot but tells me nothing. Reminiscent of Cameron fetish for strutting the rostrum and enjoying the sound of his own voice. Not a good start.

    How is he going to achieve what the majority voted for?

    How is he going to shut down the likes of Hammond with his threats (which are disgraceful), Gove’s slippery manoeuvrers and all the other undemocratic shysters?

    I would really like to hear them being called out in public to fully explain why they think May’s vassal state treaty should be resurrected? To fully explain how and in what way the insidious clauses contained therein are reciprocal to both sides, to justify calling it a deal, when clearly it is not? And why they think it is necessary to have a one-sided international treaty just to commence the consideration of negotiating a trade agreement? Especially as the EU itself has stated a trade deal cannot be considered until we have left!

    I would like to hear that Parliament has been advised the UK will leave the EU not with one, but with multiple trade deals. These consist of trade agreements already struck with other country’s and just waiting to be signed off on exit from the EU. GATT under Article 24 of the World Trade Order to continue trade with the EU, if the EU through its intransigence it will not agree a FTA with their largest customer on reciprocal terms.

    Is Johnson capable of this?

    How many of the current crop of career politicians have had any real experience of negotiating a trade deal? I suspect very few and none of the current candidates.

  33. Christine
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    As far as I am concerned, Boris Johnson is a big, fat NO. He is gaffe prone, shoots from the mouth (you only have to hear how he insulted President Trump in 2015 saying re his proposed visit to London that he wouldn’t want to expose the people of London to him – how rude!) to realise that he is completely unsuited to the office of PM. He flips flops all the time because it’s all about his ambition and nothing to do with principle or the good of the country. Just a few of his ‘policies’ in the past have included supporting Turkey joining the EU (really? so that helps our economy how?), building a garden bridge over the Thames (stupid waste of millions of pounds just so that he can show support for luvvies) and granting amnesty to EU criminals (and what about us, the potential victims?). A previous contributor suggested he is a good after dinner speaker, which sums up very succinctly the extent of his talent.

    As far as I am concerned, any candidate for the leadership who voted for the WAG cannot be trusted. Right now that leaves you, Sir John, and Steve Baker.

  34. Glenn Vaughan
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 7:01 am | Permalink


    Last December Boris Johnson made a rambling, incoherent speech regarding the withdrawal agreement. Shortly after that he came to the House to confess to having forgotten to declare £52k in income (if only we all had that luxury). This year he had to confess to the House he had failed to declare an interest in a property in Somerset. Make what you want of those memory lapses!

    As for his personal qualities, I do not consider indolence, ignorance of subject matter, poor judgment and an absence of wisdom to be desirable attributes in a Prime Minister. We’ve had enough of those over the past 80 years with the honourable exceptions of Churchill, Attlee and Thatcher.

    Mr Johnson has a role as party chairman attending Conservative association garden parties, cheering the doorknockers, raising morale with his eccentric behaviour. A sort of English version of Tommy Cooper complete with fez but Prime Minister of this great country? Ugh!

  35. Ian wragg
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    So now we have Mark Harper throwing his hat in the ring. He’s going to request a short extension to renegotiate the WA.
    Just what planet are these people on
    Today it is reported Tories and Liebor are on 19% behind the Limp Dumbs and Brexit Party
    Boris will never be allowed on the final ballot as he may just get us out before bonfire night.

  36. AndyC
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    Boris is a bit of a gamble, but at this point what is there to lose? (I think I wrote something similar here a year ago) My hunch is that he is sincere about brexit; he has a tendency to do his thinking in public, which is unusual in a politician. He’s perhaps not a man for detail, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing in a PM provided the strategy is right. Get him in as PM and let Raab/Davis do the heavy lifting with Brussels.

    Away from brexit, well, he won London twice. What other Conservative would have managed that?

    • NickC
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      AndyC, Yes, I believe you’re right. I think the Tory party is so far down the hole that rescuing it requires superhuman effort. I am not convinced anyone can. But Boris is the best of a nondescript – or even a bad – bunch, because he has wide appeal outside the Tory party.

  37. Ian
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    Most of the contributors here have it spot on. It is clear that there is a noisy few in Cabinet and elsewhere that should never have stood on the Conservative ticket – they are truly LibDems. As such they are being disingenuous to their local Conservative Associations.

    That would suggest in the long term the selection of candidates at root level has to change, so the Conservative Party gets Conservative MP’s.

    The country as a whole is conservative, in nature and attitude. Which is why it doesn’t sit well inside the elitism of the EU

    As a side note: Given the majority in parliament lied in their manifestoes, would it be right to follow the populist remain trend of bringing a crowd funded legal case against them?

  38. sm
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    1. ‘Deliver Brexit’ – sorry, don’t trust that he would

    2. ‘Unite the Party’ – sorry, given the levels of distrust he engenders in his fellow MPs and some of those who have worked with him, don’t think he would

    3. ‘Defeat Labour’ – sorry, given his personality/background/metropolitan attitudes he wouldn’t convert moderate Left voters, nor convince those who prefer our Conservativism to be Redwood-ish rather than Cameron-ish.

    • NickC
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      SM, Quite clearly Boris did “convert moderate Left voters” because he won London twice.

      • PeterM
        Posted June 1, 2019 at 9:22 am | Permalink

        That’s the point, the electorate in London is more diverse and open-minded than in the rest of the country.

  39. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    The longer this leadership process continues the more damage is being done to the Conservative party. For many in the country the issue is one of trust, or total lack of trust, in politicians who asked us to decide on EU membership and then have done all they can to frustrate and reverse it because it wasn’t what they wanted. Boris blotted his reputation when he voted for Mrs May’s WA at the third attempt even though he had previously shown clearly its unacceptability. This raises the question of trust yet again.
    Finally, Mrs May’s political legacy: Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s party for one’s friends in the EU.

  40. A.Sedgwick
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    Not surprised that Hunt leads the MP poll – end of the Conservative Party coming nearer.

    Boris and Nigel, Donald’s mates, are the only two likely to beat the wily Corbyn.

    Unless No Deal is on the table, when the EU WILL then behave commercially rather than politically, this Irish backstop nonsense should be in the Beano, a general election is certain in the Autumn with the politburo giving an extension.

  41. Simeon
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    Johnson says he wants to deliver Brexit AND unite the party. This is the same as saying he wants to square the circle. Delivering a proper Brexit means splitting the party, because there are those who are implacably opposed. If he attempts to unite the bulk of the Parliamentary party through delivering a fudged Brexit, which is of course no Brexit at all, then I would assume that consistent, coherent MPs opposed will have no choice but to split from the party. Brexit is a binary issue. Farage understands this. The Lib Dems understand this. Johnson doesn’t seem to.

    What is required is strong, decisive leadership. The difficulty is that Farage has already begun to lead this march. Somehow, a Conservative leader would have to overtake Farage and persuade people to follow them instead. This would necessitate winning the trust of voters, which is difficult, given where the Conservative party is. Forming and articulating clearly a plan for delivering a successful Brexit would be hugely helpful – but this then needs to be sold, and that requires great leadership.

    Great leadership is more than just media-friendly charisma. It is clarity of thought, firmly held principles, and the strength of character and integrity necessary to implement these principles and ideas. Charisma is well down the list of requirements – though if you possess the fundamentals of great leadership, you will have charisma credited to you. I have yet to see evidence that Johnson has leadership qualities. A ‘winning’ personality is not enough. And as for previous electoral successes, I do not see why these are relevant. Times have changed. Politics has changed. A clearly expressed, coherent position on Brexit is essential, non-negotiable. Enough of the electorate seem to understand that Brexit is binary, such that if you offer a third way, they will see right through you.

  42. Everhopeful
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    I always get the impression that Boris checks which way the wind is blowing ( popularly speaking) before he says anything.
    He seemed to go very quiet at crucial Brexit times?
    However in the absence of the likes of JR being able to run ( why?..some rule?) he looks like the best choice.
    Thanks to May we are now staring down the barrel of Cable or Corbyn. Oh dear. Or even an alliance of the two.
    It just gets worse and worse.
    Seriously it is making me feel ill and sleep deprived.

  43. Richard1
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    Following three catastrophic years of Mrs May’s leadership it could be the negotiating position on Brexit is now so bad we end up with a second referendum. After all, the EU are emboldened by their victory over the May/Robbins joke negotiating team and will not agree any renegotiation. Parliament will block no deal. So it could be a choice between an election and a referendum. What if Remain win? Perhaps We need a leader who can ‘pivot’ in that event and still go on and make sure we don’t get a Marxist govt, which is the most important thing.

    I think Gove is the man on the grounds of his achievements in office, his radical inventiveness and ability to articulate argument. I see Matthew Parris supports Boris on the grounds he thinks Boris would choke at the last minute if faced with no deal.

    • Richard1
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 7:59 am | Permalink

      Mind you I think Boris will be greatly helped by this latest attempt by the judiciary to control the outcomes of democracy. Indeed £350 pw couldn’t be spent on the NHS unless the farmers get no subsidy etc. But was that worse than the bogus claims of project fear? If judges are going to start becoming overtly political then they need to be elected, as in the US.

  44. JoolsB
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    Boris, Raab & McVey would be the dream ticket to get us of the EU with a clean break but I don’t expect any of them to be on the final ballot if the party calling itself ‘Conservative’ gets it’s way. Too many remainers amongst them. In which case the ‘Tory’ party are well and truly finished especially as many Conservative voters now have a true alternative Conservative party to vote for, i.e. the Brexit party.

    John, when we have senior Ministers such as the Chancellor threatening to bring his own Government down rather than allow a no deal, should he not have the whip taken away from him? Or at the very least get some kind of warning.

  45. Lynn Atkinson
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    I am assuming that Boris has not asked your advice on the economic opportunities?

  46. Longinus
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    I would be more interested in the proposed members of each candidate’s cabinet. That would tell us more than this charade.

    • sm
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

      That’s something that occurred to me. I’d look seriously at any candidate, regardless of their Brexit credentials, if they would tell us who they would appoint as Chancellor, Foreign Secretary, Home Secretary, Health Secretary and Minister for DexEU.

  47. Anthony
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    I think I don’t know what Johnson thinks about anything. There is a culture war going on. Will he position himself against most members as Mrs May did (a part from in immigration)? Will he have an opinion? Will he aim to reduce immigration or merely “control” it? What is his attitude to training and education? How will he get house building up and make houses more affordable (community land trusts strike me as interesting). Will he increase the defence budget, be honest about it reduced capabilities or continue the deceit?

  48. Caterpillar
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Given that he stepped out of cabinet and has had time to prepare the statement is weak. Obviously he may be holding back for debates, but his preparation and policy direction ought to be strong enough to be open. Even though he won London as Mayor, he will struggle to get the vote there – as it reflects the remain elite. Can he win an election in the rest of UK – at the moment this looks doubtful, aside from the Liverpool history, the Iran more recent history, he has spoken against HS2 i.e. against the one national project. The conservatives (though not alone in this) need to turn away from London and think of the whole of the UK. This needs actions as well as words. Though one of the most capable runners, Mr Johnson gives no indication of knowing how to do this.

    With so many candidates, the Conservatives currently look like they cannot organise a brewery visit. The candidate needs to be a true Brexit believer, someone who can clean the swamp and someone who escaped London centricity. He/she then needs to be supported by other MPs – is there anyone?

  49. James Wallace-Dunlop
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    Steve Baker would do a great job. We need not only a robust attitude to the EU but also a fresh CCO strategy. As the key issue is Leave Vs Remain, and MPs no longer put much store by the merit manifesto promises, we need solidly Leave candidates to ensure that, if the Tory party survives (which it will not if it flunks Brexit again), it is able to seize the opportunities of our new freedom.

    The most important task for MPs is ensuring that the members get the choice of at least one good Leave candidate (rather than remainers lending their votes to a weak leaver to deprive the members of real choice). If that is already ‘in the bag’ an ideal run off would be between the salesmanship offered by Johnson and the clarity/consistency of Baker.

    Because Baker did not cave in on MV3, there is at least a chance Brussels would renegotiate. As Johnson did back the WA, however reluctantly, Brussels may be harder with him. That would be fine if he was happy to wait to 1st November to re open negotiations from outside.

    In the interim the country needs a budget for growth. Your suggestions seem splendid. The chancellor now admits he is preemptively punishing the UK population until ‘No Deal’ is ruled out.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

      ‘……if the Tory party survives (which it will not if it flunks Brexit again)’

      I’m afraid there’s no guarantee it will survive in its present form even after the last time they flunked it, let alone if they do it all over again.

      And that’s the bit we can’t quite get across to them. After two electoral drubbings (three if one incudes their lost majority in 2017) the parliamentary party is still awash with losers – people the public so clearly no longer want – but the politicians think the people must have just got it wrong and don’t really know what they’re doing, so the way to resolve the matter of their unpopularity is to give us yet more of the same pro-EU BS.

      They listen to each other far too much and not enough to the electorate. They just don’t get it. There they go, on the slippery slope towards extinction!

  50. Barbara Castle
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Sir, we can but hope that Johnson is capable of putting more meat on the bones, but I don’t hold out much hope. I believe Johnson has many qualities, but they are not those we need in our PM. This narrative is simply a mission statement and a reflection of the man, who is sadly, flaky.

    With regards to Brexit, specifically, we need someone who has an unwavering passion for Brexit and is on top of the detail in order to counter the psyche of the EU. The paralysis in Parliament might be helped by using the EU treaties, especially Lisbon, as the basis for argument. These provide facts and the future ambitions of the EU, and could help MPs come to terms with the limitations of the sclerotic EU and the benefits of a WTO Brexit.

    • jane4brexit
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

      I agree although Boris as PM might still be good in the future, for getting votes from other party followers, but not until a full WTO Brexit has been achieved.

      Setting out exactly what is in the Lisbon Treaty and other agreements signed recently, about EU control of our armed forces and Marrakesh which will be subject to EU interpretation while in for instance, would be effective and surely convert more MPs and voters to the Leave side, as well as help any leadership campaign. Also constructive facts re what the WA would tie us into, with EU not UK control over future known or “unknown unknowns” for an indefinite period:

      “It is easier to get into something than to get out of it. There are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”Donald Rumsfeld

      I suspect many MPs are unaware of the details in many recent treaties and agreements, especially now so many MPs seem more interested in ‘identity politics’ and pc affairs as is May (if only she had resigned properly…I could then say ‘as was May’, how much more damage will she do before then!)

      Sir John, most MPs still seem to believe that we did not vote to Leave WTO. Please could you remind them with hard evidence. These examples would help and I am sure you can add many more:

      “David Cameron !!28 TIMES!! “Leave Single Market” (June 2016)” video contains excerpts from his Sky television discussion, audience Q&As and interview shown before the Referendum, he says voting Leave means WTO @ 1:16 minutes in:

      Cameron’s answer to Q14 during the last PMQs before the referendum on 15th June 2016. The then PM says we will Leave in about 2 years and THEN arrange a trade deal with the EU “:
      “I am very happy to agree with my hon. Friend. “In” means we remain in a reformed EU; “out” means we come out. As the leave campaigners and others have said, “out” means out of the EU, out of the European single market, out of the Council of Ministers—out of all those things—and will then mean a process of delivering on it, which will take at least two years, and then delivering a trade deal, which could take as many as seven years. To anyone still in doubt—there are even Members in the House still thinking about how to vote—I would say: if you have not made up your mind yet, if you are still uncertain, just think about that decade…”
      and/or (@ 36:16 minutes in)
      Were most of them asleep that afternoon?

      Juncker’s “out is out” there will be no further “no kind of any renegotiation”and no different deal, this statement was made on 22nd June 2016:

      • jane4brexit
        Posted May 31, 2019 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

        Sorry, it reads as if I meant all MPs. I was thinking of the Leadership candidate MPs specifically, although MPs voting for the next Leader might benefit from that evidence too.

  51. Fred H
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    From the support numbers you mention, it would appear most are holding back from declaring their allegiance. Clearer claims will have to be stated to tease out additional support. It is a secret ballot so a late switch is possible once down to 3 or 4.

  52. majorfrustration
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    With the number of candidates mentioned above its got a bit silly. Shame that Steve Baker has not put his hat in the ring – not quite the baby kissing image of Boris but is a real Leaver with a brain and a personality.

    • Fred H
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

      majorf…..’baby kissing image of Boris’? It depends what image of a babe you have.

  53. Julie Williams
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    Can’t find any enthusiasm for Boris, bright but impetuous and egotistical, but at least he’s talking a proper Brexit even though the statement he gave you was bland.
    Have a feeling he can put the bureaucrats back in their place after taking on the job of Mayor following Livingston and he’d not mind taking on Bercow .
    The big question is whether the Tories in Parliament would give him any loyalty and with people like Hammond brazenly saying they would not, you’ve got problems but you’re in a much better position than we are to know that one.
    Would his electoral victory be the final straw in splitting the party? Given the terrible ratings of Tories and Labour in recent days, voters no longer want “broad churches” and co-coalitions within parties, they want to know that they are going to get what it said on the tin!

    • Tad Davison
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

      I could imagine Boris as Prime Minister, ably supported by a cabinet comprising Sir John as Chancellor, Jacob Rees-Mogg as Foreign Secretary, Col Bob Stewart at the MOD, and Esther McVey, Priti Patel, Steve Baker, and IDS as Secretaries of State at other departments, with other solid Brexiteers taking lesser ministerial positions. That would give the strong government the nation needs to restore pride and confidence, and people like and respect strength and direction.

      The remainers have delivered failure so losers with little or no resonance should be totally excluded. To include them at all would be foolish, we might as well have monkeys. They have about the same level of intellect and at least the public would like them!

    • rose
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

      It is worth bearing in mind what Alan Duncan (a very hostile source) said after the unprecedented international vote on chemical weapons in the wake of the Salisbury attacks. He said it could not have been achieved without the strength of character of Boris Johnson. It wasn’t repeated on the BBC or in the Guardian.

  54. L Jones
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    A measured statement, cautiously written, I’d think.
    Therefore the words ”CAN deliver” rather than ”WILL deliver” stand out a mile.

  55. Simeon
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    17 candidates, and not one of them could resist voting for the WA. 17 candidates offerd, and yet a far smaller number of policy platforms offered. Are personality differences so profound that unity around common approaches is impossible? Why on earth don’t prospective candidates talk to one another, nail down key points to unify around, then agree which will stand as leader? It’s impossible to conclude any going other than that these candidates are gripped by both distrust of one another, and unrealistically high views of their own abilities. Disinterested observers have quite the good old British farce to enjoy… Mark Harper for goodness sake!

  56. Al
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    With Boris Johnson, I think he could be a good front man for the party as PM, but I’d like to see a good team beihind him before I considered him. If he had a Cabinet who would actually work towards Leave, and named people likely to be competant in their positions, he may be a good PM but his track record shows him swinging in the wind a little too much to be relied on. When it came down to it, on the last vote for the WA he voted self-interest rather than the country’s interest, which is hard to overlook.

  57. georgeP
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    Boris is a charlatan a fraud but to some a likable rogue.. however the EU will not take him seriously..too scruffy with his shirt tails hanging out he is not going to impress..just look at his performance as Foreign Secretary? the best he will come up with is to hold another referendum.

  58. hans christian ivers
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Sir JR,

    this is not a statement but a superficial political broadcast from Boris

    • NickC
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

      Hans, That is not a statement but a superficial whinge from Hans . . .

  59. Ian Wilson
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    An uninspiring statement.
    Dare I say it, for all his faults we need a British Trump. At least he stood up to the eco-loons who have done so much to wreck both economies, worse here than in the US. He at least was quick to grasp the fraud behind the hysteria over the insignificant issue of climate change.
    I have seen no sign of any of the leadership candidates being willing to stand up to the Green Blob and their idiotic energy policies. (is it any wonder steelmaking is in trouble when their energy costs are over doubly those in France?)
    Nigel Farage may have flaws but at least makes sense on energy and will certainly drain away former Conservative supporters if the new leader fails to do likewise.
    Now if you or Owen Paterson were standing …………….

  60. rose
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Given that the chief enemy in Parliament is the Speaker, is it a good idea to do too much public fleshing out at this stage?

  61. Iain Gill
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Boris is the only one I have had any personal interaction with. He helped a young child, bypassing the trappings of secretaries and security etc, to just go out of his way to be a nice human. And he didn’t know either of us, so was very much just the real himself.

    So that was a good sign for me.

    • rose
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      One striking quality is that however much black propaganda is thrown at him he doesn’t respond in kind. He rises above the nastiness he attracts.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted June 3, 2019 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

      I read the Boris article in The Telegraph today 3/6/19. Sadly he makes a number of mistakes the same as many politicians do. for one he shows he does not understand the software engineering jobs market, and does not understand why so many immigrants come in to do those jobs. It is not a lack of education among locals. Its driven by tax perks (1st year in the country free of both employers and employees national insurance etc) and easy visa entry (intra company transfer abuse, far too many given indefinite leave to remain, etc) allowing the outsourcers to bring in mostly( overseas ed)nationals and subcontract them into other companies for far less than it costs to hire a local. It is precisely because the market is swamped by cheap entrants from abroad that locals increasingly dont want to study computer science. It is the mass import of cheap foreign labour discouraging locals from studying and training in these skills, it is the immigration causing the skills shortage among locals. It is not a skills shortage causing firms to import labour, they import them because they are cheap, and displace locals from the workforce.

      Any politician showing some real understanding of these issues will win a lot of votes, but so far only the Brexit party and UKIP show any empathy at all. Boris really needs to sit down with some people like me to refine his understanding of these realities, and not just swallow the hype of big business making big bucks using such cheap foreign labour.

  62. Rien Huizer
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood,

    The most important question for any PM candidate must be : how competent are you. The task of a PM is to lead a government, not a campaign, even one as drastic as brexit and its consequences. Countries need no nonsense, competent allroundersa who are able to cope with the routines and the surprises, free from ideological baggage.

    • stred
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      True. Boris is good at delegation and, unlike May, is not likely to secretly carry out his own agenda using civil servants acting for the EU.

    • Jagman84
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      “The task of a PM is to lead a government, not a campaign, even one as drastic as Brexit and its consequences”.

      Have you considered the consequences of remaining in the EU. Not just to the UK but also to all of the EU 27? The Lisbon treaty ushers in a Federal structure in a few short years time. Even fake Eurosceptic, David Cameron, stated that the United Kingdom could not participate in such a political project. Our exit from the EU is inevitable. The Brexit vote has made this a bit sooner than expected.

    • NickC
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

      Rien, Which is the ideological baggage – an artificial attempt to re-create the Roman Empire with a corrupt centralised dirigiste ideology; or the UN designated human right of self-determination?

  63. Andrew S
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    It’s amusing to see and hear the mostly remainer tory mps thinking they’ re getting to choose their approved shortlist before “presenting” their choices to the tory members.
    A great many of these will be wiped away at the next general election as the Brexit Party tears down establishment tory and labour.
    And it needs to happen, so the country can truly move on and dispose of tired 19th and 20th century models of governing. We need fresh candidates and mindsets in our sovereign parliament, out with house of lords, first past the post. Away with the people being herded around by landed gentry, rich elites, royals and their acolytes.
    Faithful to democracy, rule of good law, equality, term limits on parliamentary careers. And no more tory and labour running the UK government in the interests of their own cabals.
    In this sense, it doesn’t matter to me who becomes tory leader, they need to be taken down as a party of government as they have failed to protect our democracy.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

      I have a lot of sympathy for that.

  64. Noneoftheabove
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    He voted for the draft treaty of surrender so I don’t trust him.

  65. John Westlake
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    This Boris statement lacks the WILL leave the EU that I am looking for, therefore, it raises a certain doubt in my mind as to his commitment to that objective. While in my view a free trade agreement is the desirable outcome of our negotiations, I only see this being achieved by notifying the EU that the UK will leave the EU by 31 Oct 2019. It is then for the EU to decide whether they wish to continue negotiations on the new basis. If the EU does not so wish, then the UK would leave as amicably as we possibly can on or before 31 Oct 2019

  66. Stephen Elliott
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    If Johnson has a ‘positive vision for Brexit’ he needs to state it in reasonable(not intricate) detail. A visit to this blog may give him some pointers.

  67. glen cullen
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    Why oh why does every candidate say they prefer a ‘deal’ over ‘no-deal’

    Don’t they realise that the only deal on offer is the Teresa May withdrawal agreement deal and that’s not ever negotiable and the EU declared it can’t be changed

    Strange that all the candidates are promoting Teresa Mays failed deal and the same direction of travel

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      Leave and various deals will follow as the EU need them as much as we do.

    • Al
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      I wish they would drop the phrase “no deal” as it is too easily misinterpreted. “No special deal” or even the more accurate “WTO terms” would be a lot clearer and removes the double meaning.

      After all, “No deal is better than a bad deal” can mean that a bad deal is the optimal choice, which does appear to be the view of certain people in government.

  68. Christopher Hudson
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    Winston Churchill gave this country its greatest ever victory

    And then the country dumped him at the first opportunity

    Boris might just be that man, to deliver Brexit and win the next GE, does he really have to have all the details? Government isn’t a one-man job, isn’t that what the cabinet is for?

    He’s an out front leader with proven election winning capabilities

    Dominic who?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      What is needed is a working compass, vision and an ability to appoint the sound people who will deliver it and to be able to win elections and not irritate and depress people too much.

      May was appalling in all these areas.

  69. Iain Moore
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    “What do you think of this prospectus?”

    Limited , ‘energy and enthusiasm’ is not a plan for our economy, where is the ‘ism’ as in Thatcherism that will tackle the problems our country faces? What industrial policy will he follow? More of the same is not acceptable, like crippling our industry with expensive energy while we allow imports from countries who don’t. Bumbling along with energy and enthusiasm is not a plan for the future.

  70. Denis Cooper
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    “Philip Hammond suggests second referendum may be only way to break Brexit deadlock”

    What is the logic of this? MPs ask the electorate to decide whether we should stay in the EU or leave the EU. But when the voters decide that we should leave the MPs say that it is all terribly difficult, too difficult for them to sort out, so please could the electorate vote again and this time give them the answer that they could cope with, that is to say for the convenience of the useless MPs could the voters decide we should stay in the EU after all. So why should I change my view on the matter because Philip Hammond is useless and cannot cope with the answer I gave him when he asked? And what would he and the other MPs do if we still voted to leave the EU in his repeat referendum? Would he say that his job has been made impossible by those stupid ignorant voters and so he had no choice but to resign? In which case why is he still in post now, except so he can continue to abuse his public office to undermine our democracy? Why is he not being summoned to appear in court for all the lies he has been telling us over recent years?

    • NickC
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

      Denis Cooper, Exactly right. Why should there be another referendum just because MPs can’t, or won’t, implement the 2016 Leave result?

    • Tad Davison
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

      Spot on!

  71. Gareth Warren
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    I am not convinced by his statement, Theresa May could make a similar statement on brexit.

    While revealing his plans may make him a target, it should be a positive thing for true brexiteers, there are enough of them in the conservative party. The threat of conservative remainers siding with labour to vote of no-confidence is possible.

    Here though the pro-brexit electorate will likely see this as good faith by the PM, those MPs disloyal to the party would be thrown out, and the fate of ChangeUK oblivion awaits them. Despite this being politically suicidal I expect the BBC will support them as it is a overtly remain organisation.

    So I would ask Boris to confirm publicly he would accept no-deal by 31st October at the latest.

    The WA agreement has had one good side effect of laying in expectations of increased spending after brexit, Boris has considerable space to manoeuvre after brexit and should use it. He also should stop spending taxes on needless foreign aid and reduce the size of the government allowing for tax cuts.

    Boris has charisma, experience leading some conservative values, and a certain appeal, his only weakness is his flexibility, on brexit I would like clarity although I expect that will come.

  72. Ed Mahony
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    Not saying I support his policy over Europe or not, but Rory Stewart said we need more LOVE in this country! Our country is so divided – not just over Europe but in hundreds of others ways (and the exact same for other Western nations).

    Love is NOT an emotion primarily. But primarily an ACT OF THE WILL and involves RISK + COURAGE.

    And I hope the Tories – whoever is leader – focuses on not just how to UNIFY our Conservative Party but more importantly our country.

    (And love can and does flourish in the world – look at the success of the Quakers, of German leaders such Chancellor Adenauer – Queen Elizabeth I believed in love for her people and service to her country – she believed in something greater than herself – so love can and does lead to success in the world, which in turn leads to happiness, but love also brings happiness in many other ways – something our country needs to embrace now more than ever).

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      Again, not saying i support Rory Stewart (i think Dominick Raab is the most naturally talented although I am not saying I support him either) but i do support Stewart on his comment about ‘Love’ (others are talking about ‘Kindness’ – both strongly related).

      Again, love is NOT primarily an emotion (that would be sentimentality and a heresy) but PRIMARILY an ACT OF THE WILL (putting others before self).

      • Tad Davison
        Posted May 31, 2019 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

        Rory Stewart doesn’t engender love in me, only revulsion. From what I have read and heard, many people feel the same, so I guess I would prefer to see someone else in the top job because they stand a better chance..

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 10:07 am | Permalink

      Also, disunity and rancour leads to all kinds of problems, primarily psychological and unhappiness and poor performance and mental and physical health issues that costs the country BILLIONS but also success is so much easier when people work together as a team (like bees) as opposed to individuals fighting purely for their own self interests and against each other (like cats).

      Love and/or kindness (and related to it, work ethic, public duty, and so on) is the gel that makes everything work so smoothly and well (and has been demonstrated again and again in science, the arts, business, politics and religion – it is NOT just wishful thinking).

      I just hope the Conservative Party focuses on this as an absolute priority (and again Mrs Thatcher warned in a famous speech, i quoted recently, what happens to a country when it lacks morality and spirituality).

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted May 31, 2019 at 10:08 am | Permalink

        Apologies, i won’t go on – but since Conservatives are all discussing Conservative Policy / Direction / Strategy / Vision in general, i just wanted to throw in my bit in.

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted May 31, 2019 at 10:27 am | Permalink

          Lastly, one of the most successful people i know, whose made quite a few million in the arts, is just a really nice person. He’s done well because he works hard, loves what he does, and is just honest! I know that is one of the main reason why people buy from him – his honesty! (This guy also has a really happy family life and lots and lots of friends and does really interesting things in the holidays).
          It’s complete bullshit and a heresy to think one has to be tough in a ruthless kind of way or be greedy to do well, but above all, be happy!

          And this is important, because Boris said ‘Greed is good.’ It isn’t good (in itself and always leads to misery). And you don’t have to be greedy. I know lots of really decent and successful people who are NOT greedy. Plus greed in the economy just leads to corruption in our economy and to a degree to boom and bust instead of stable, long-term growth.

        • NickC
          Posted May 31, 2019 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

          Ed Mahoney said: “Apologies, I won’t go on”. But you do, Ed, you do. And it’s boring because your comments are tediously long – and tedious too. As well as being too long, and too tedious. Did I mention tedious? Sorry, I was so bored by your comments, I forgot to say how tedious they are. As well as too long.

      • Mark B
        Posted May 31, 2019 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

        Tony Blair and New Labour came to power to the tune, Things can only get better by, D’ream.

        Rory Stewart and New New Labour can use, All you need is love by the, Beatles.

        The two have more in common than you think.

    • Mitchel
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      Are you beaming in to us from San Francisco c1965?!

      It will take more than a Summer of Love!

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted May 31, 2019 at 2:59 pm | Permalink


        ‘Summer of love’ was great (the non immoral bits) but it was ultimately a bit sentimental!

        True love is a lot tougher – and NOT sentimental (And ultimately requires ACT OF THE WILL as opposed to ultimately being about EMOTIONS – and in regards to a country, it involves things such as PATRIOTISM, PUBLIC DUTY, WORK ETHIC, and so on (all things that derive from our ancient Greek / Roman / traditional Judaeo Christian heritage).

        Profoundly different to ‘summer of love!’).

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted May 31, 2019 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

          So love can be tough and robust – like dying for one’s country (like in WW2). (Or, in one’s private life, dying for one’s loved one)

          But love can also be soft and fun – like the comradeship and jokes soldiers had for one another (again like in WW2). (Or, in private life, like playing around with one’s loved one).

          Love is key to what is best about the British Spirit! And what unifies us. And makes us great (in best sense of the word).

  73. John Probert
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    In order to fully deliver Brexit the conservatives need to win a general election
    BJ is the strongest campaigner by far, you can forget the rest
    So what ever you think of him if you want to survive and deliver Brext
    BJ is your best chance

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      I agree. The only real chance after May’s appalling three years of dithering and gross incompetence.

    • Andy
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      You make it sound like pizza. ‘Deliver Brexit.’

      It will be like a delivery pizza too.

      You look forward to it but, when it comes, it doesn’t taste great and leaves you feeling ill.

      And the whole country will then throw up as a result for the next few decades.

      • javelin
        Posted May 31, 2019 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

        I enjoyed your knowledgable analysis.

      • NickC
        Posted May 31, 2019 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

        Andy, Being independent is the normal condition of nations.

        • Andy
          Posted May 31, 2019 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

          We are independent already.

          After your Brexit will be still be independent but we will have less influence in the world, we’ll have fewer rights and we’ll be poorer.

          • Edward2
            Posted June 1, 2019 at 5:37 am | Permalink

            We are not independent Andy.
            The EU courts are supreme in law over our UK courts.
            You also need to read the Lisbon Treaty we signed.

      • Fred H
        Posted May 31, 2019 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

        Andy….I suggest you go out to eat pizza, the delivered ones you buy are clearly grim, more fool you!

      • libertarian
        Posted May 31, 2019 at 5:19 pm | Permalink


        Still waiting for you to give one reason to belong to the EU that we can’t achieve by not being in it.

        Why can’t you provide that rather than your tedious waffle about nothing

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted May 31, 2019 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

        But your kids enjoy it when pizza is delivered Andy. Isn’t that what counts?

  74. ukretired123
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    Boris is not afraid to tell it as it is – telling May the Chequers agreement was a polished whatnot and also telling her she bottled it on 29th March 2019.
    When he did reluctantly vote for the WA was this a tactical vote or not??? Thereby Farage will get him.
    He knows how to win over ordinary people but Remainer MPs won’t back him even though he is the one with the best Street Cred. Thereby hangs the Conservatives who painted themselves into a corner they cannot escape.
    To survive they must adapt and change but after 3 years of falsely promising Brexit mission impossible beckons.
    When faced with such a decision the outcome of Leaving EU is paramount regardless and a combination of Boris, Raab and Steve Baker backed by Sir John Redwood would deliver in record time.
    Ps Pity Boris did not respond personally to SJR as he has not to be aloof like May.

  75. stred
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    It looks like the ostriches in the Conservative Party favour Remainer WA and involve the Dums and Scotnuts Hunt and whatever he believes this week Greeny Gove. So that’s it folks. Choose which sort of Brino you want.

    In fairness to Boris, he did as much as anyone to stop May getting away with it. He also is blamed incessantly for dropping the Iranian lady in it when he was FS. As the record shows, all he did was say that she was not a spy but a junior employee for an organization that the Iranians didn’t like ie. the BBC World Service Iranian service. The Iranians could have read this in two articles in the Guardian months before. Im fact, if anyone dropped her in it, it was the Guardian and BBC, who knew that its staff would be in danger.

    As for his love life, who cares. Lots of us fall out and have been given the boot.

    • Fred H
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      stred….you have given me a great idea (IMO). We get a Bill passed that denies someone from being an MP for infidelity within 5 years. Although it may be tough to get the Bill passed (ha ha). Once an Act it might reduce numbers in the H of C to much more manageable numbers, although they may be even more boring and out of touch than at present. What do you think?

  76. VotedOut
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    The conservative leadership election is an indulgence that is wasting time and political capitol.

    The central cause of Parliaments problems rests in the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011

    The reason for this is that without it the present government would have been replaced by Labour. This may have been a disaster, but perhaps not because the problem of implementing Brexit would be with Labour. It is doubtful that they would have lasted long either, replaced then by a revamped Conservative party. All these events would have necessarily shaken out all the “bed blocking MP’s” who oppose leaving the EU in both parties by the electorate simply dumping them at the ballot box.

    In this alternative reality, there would be no “divided country” or out of control speaker, because the tried and tested democratic system of removing a bust government would have been possible. As it is the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 is and will continue to destroy our democracy as the automatic stabiliser has been removed.

    This is a classic case of legislation being made by our current crop of brainless MPs masquerading as serious learned superior elite.

  77. David Maples
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    He thinks he’s Winston Churchill, but he isn’t. The overriding distinction is that WSC had stupendous courage under fire; Boris doesn’t. He’ll run for cover every time, and certainly won’t take us out of the EU on Reformation Day. In this respect, he is not to be trusted, because he is wedded to the liberal establishment, and all his blustering buffoonery is a smoke screen to deflect the hard questions that he does not want to answer.

    If we don’t leave(a new deal will not be possible until the EU are presented with an ‘offer they cannot refuse ie a serous intent to no-deal), the Tories will be wiped out. The next GE will be a straight fight between Brexit and the Lib Dems. Esther McVey I reckon, although like May, Merkel and Macron, she does not have children! One is reminded of the injunction to Bob Haldeman, by Richard Nixon.

    • rose
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

      If he does think he is a second Churchill, then it must only be the case that he wants to get back our independence, by hook or by crook. If he doesn’t, he will have failed and let the country down. Why would he want to do that?

  78. Shieldsman
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Conservative MP’s need to be very careful who they back and how they whittle down the candidates to two. The final choice is with the membership and really the two have to be acceptable in the eyes of the member to be PM. It will then be a personal choice on their considered merits
    We do not want another PM by default, as was the case with Theresa May, Angela Leadsom crying off when she could have been a Brexiteer PM.

  79. Martin Conboy
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    IMHO Boris, in conjunction with a deputy who is a brexiteer and is a hard worker good with detail (which Boris isnt) would, in my opinion, be a very strong leadership. Andrea Leadsom would make a good deputy in this regard.

    • rose
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

      My choice would be Boris as PM, Raab as deputy, and Sir John as Chancellor.

  80. miami.mode
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    He seems to weigh up the options and then acts according to what he thinks will further his career.

    For instance, at Chequers he waited until David Davis had resigned before he himself resigned a day or so later. If he was against the Chequers deal from the outset he should have taken up the offer of walking up the drive of Chequers and getting a lift/cab/bus home and gained a lot of respect.

    Eventually voting for the WA shows that his supposed principle are up for negotiation.

  81. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    One rarely mentioned thing that needs to be taken into consideration is the Boris Johnson’s seat is likely to be targeted heavily at any general election and he could lose it.

    The leader of the party losing their seat would not be a good look

  82. Prigger
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    Given the track record of present Tory MPs, they will choose the wrong leader and put the final touch to all careers of Tory MPs, Tory Councillors and Tory Mayors whether they are Remainers or Brexiteers.

    The Tory Party in Parliament seems unconsciously bent on its own destruction and that of the Tory Party. You, generally, are sinking your own ship with little help if at all from any other opposing Party.

    Chancellor Hammond, it is reported will actively bring down the whole of the Conservative Party andTory government if he does not get his own way. If he gets his own way it will also destroy the Party and careers of all Tories.

    Nothing, it appears will stop this suicidal self-imposed mission. Success in demolition is a positive in a way and all Tory MPs should be congratulated in advance for sterling work in achieving their potential.

    Being a plumber or painter and decorator is also a sound goal. We wish them well in fitting new stink-pipes atop toilet outflow pipes. Honour to your work!

  83. Prigger
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    Trump and the Republican Party openly and indeed the US Democratic Party secretly have a vested interest in striking a very good trade deal with the UK if, it is outside the EU, not if it remains. Realpolitic!
    We should avail ourselves of this opportunity whilst the international trade situation is as it is. Things may change. We should get the US-UK trade deals signed and delivered as they will stretch beyond present circumstances and years however they may change internationally. It is a golden opportunity we should seize with both hands.
    Boris if elected and yes in cooperation with Farage if they could achieve our exit as soon as possible, sooner than October 31st maybe, would be a trading feather in the cap for Trump and his re-election prior to their general elections in 2020.
    The Opposition parties and individuals in the Tory Party are aware of this and wish our country to fail and are actively campaigning against our Country, openly now.

    • Andy
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

      How much of the NHS will you sell it to friends of rich Tory Brexiteers?

      And will you give in to American demands to allow in chlorinated chicken and Frankenstein foods? You don’t get a trade deal without this concession.

  84. Snowjoke
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    The rule change the ’22 should make is not to restrict candidate numbers but to decree that after each voting round any candidate receiving fewer that ?5% or ?10% of the MPs support is eliminated, provided at least 3 candidates are left for the final round. That way we will get a much quicker result

  85. Roy Grainger
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Prize for the most idiotic suggestion by any candidate so far is Rory Stewart’s for a 500-strong citizen’s assembly to advise parliament in some way. He should be eliminated from the race just for that piece of idiocy.

    • rose
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

      He must have noticed this is all the rage with the snowflakes at the moment.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

      Warms the cockles of me heart to read that!

    • Fred H
      Posted June 1, 2019 at 7:49 am | Permalink

      Roy…now if he had said REPLACE the H of C with a 500-strong citizen’s assembly…..

  86. Demeter.
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    The guy can’t even tuck his shirt in his trousers,he was a disastrous Foreign Secretary…just ask Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband Richard!

    He doesn’t do detail,he constantly acts like a buffoon,and if he ever became leader he’d be a national embarrassment. Need I go on!

    • rose
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

      He can do detail because when he was editor of the Spectator it was word perfect. Within a week or so of his leaving, the greengrocer’s apostrophes were appearing and eventually it was the sloppily written magazine you see today. Just an indication.

      Nonsense about his being a bad Foreign Secretary. He was subject to a lot of briefing and black propaganda by people across the political spectrum, including the PM’s men, and the mandarins and ministers in the FCO. When someone is continually briefed against, it tells you they aren’t insignificant.

      There are about 40 or so British Iranian hostages, not just Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, and there is a lot more behind the story than you will get from the Guardian and BBC, but the other families don’t want publicity.

  87. Iain Gill
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    sitting in hotel watching BBC news channel its just like remainer central, complete and utter remainer nonsense pumped out as if its fact constantly

    lets stop the licence fee and make these people have to live in the real world

  88. Augustyn
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    I do think that Boris must be on the final ballot to Conservative members. If not it will be yet another example of MP’s ignoring not only the views of the electorate but worse the views of party members.
    Kiss of death springs to mind.

    • Fred H
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

      Augustyn…I’ve seen nothing so far to convince me the Conservative MPs have learnt anything. As far as I am aware, they are all comatose relying on machines, and Farage, encouraged by the electorate, are waiting eagerly to pull the life support plug out of the wall.

  89. John Probert
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    I think someone needs to wise up conservative MP’s
    Last time they thought Mrs May was the best leader
    Turns out she has been the most damaging PM in recant history
    Now they think Hunt is their best chance
    Oh Dear looks like we will remain, see you on the opposition benches !!
    Good Luck with that one

  90. BR
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    As a prospectus, the statement you quoted strikes me as… deliciously vague.

    Perhaps you should have more specifically asked him the two key questions you wrote a few days ago: How will you deliver Brexit by 31/10 and what will be your policies as leader to take advantage of its opportunities.

    Perhaps it’s not too late to have another go at getting these answers. Of course, at this stage he might not want to say – having other candidates adopt his policy ideas if he states them too early is one danger. There is also the possibility that he might grab a few of theirs if he waits to hear from them first.

    So my view would be to assess their offerings on the day of each vote, since only then will we be able to assess these questions and the additional ones:

    1. Do I believe him/her?
    2. Can they deliver what they say?
    3. What is their track record?

    At the moment I see all candidates but McVey starting from the WA – that is depressing and suicidal. The BXP voters will not be persuaded to return by anything remotely BRINO.

    Raab says he would use ‘all the levers of power’ to deliver Brexit, so I wonder if he really would take us out on WTO terms, expecting the EU will refuse to budge.

    Any route to WTO must involve some degree of chicanery to get past MPs and onto the final ballot – it is worth bearing that in mind. That means it is then down to ‘who do I believe?’. Who understands the existential nature of the threat (and cares about it more than their (possibly well-hidden) visceral attachment to Remain)?

  91. Fed up with the bull
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Quite honestly John, I have come to the conclusion that it wouldn’t matter who you put in as PM Brexit won’t be delivered as your party is not committed to Brexit. Hammond has made it quite clear that he will bring down the government if anyone decides to go for a no deal. Anything other than no deal and tinkering with the WA will in effect mean we are still in the EU. How can a PM say they are going to leave without a deal of some sort when the rest of the party won’t let them? With what I hear coming out of your party it doesn’t inspire me to want to vote for them in a GE. I think Blair is right when he says we will never leave. MP’s of all persuasions have made it known they are not for no deal so how they expect to get a good deal or anything better than is on offer is beyond me. Numpties all of them. We need someone with back bone and a party behind him that is fully committed to leaving and I don’t need to mention his name here.

    • Iain Moore
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

      Hammond’s logic is a bit flawed , he will collapse the Conservative Government if it goes for No Deal as this would, in his words, make the country porer. In doing this he would hand power to a Marxist run Labour Government which would bankrupt the country. Poorer Brexit country not acceptable, but a bankrupt Marxist run country, that’s is just fine . What is scary is that he is the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

      • Mark
        Posted May 31, 2019 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

        He would presumably have to resign the Conservative whip in the process, though that convention seems to be ignored these days.

  92. Not Lord Adonis
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    The future is Rory Stewart, even Labour Bilderburgers support him!

    • NickC
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

      Has anyone seen Rory Stewart and Lord Adonis in the same room?

    • Grant
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      Stewart is realistic and honest. Therefore he has no chance

  93. Mark
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    A point of arithmetic: There are 313 remaining Conservative MPs. To guarantee a place in the last 2 requires a vote of just over one third, with the remaining 2/3rds evenly split. 105 (not 155) votes vs 104 and 104 (a coin toss to decide?) is all that is needed.

    A last 3 place requires 79 votes in the last 4 round.

    A clear lead for one candidate reduces the hurdle for the second placed one. That becomes important when the membership is likely to vote very differently from the Parliamentary party.

    Reply Yes, I used those numbers to get into the last 2

    • Mark
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      I thought you had made a typo in the article, so I wanted to clarify it for the benefit of readers.

  94. javelin
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    My question is how do the prospective leaders plan to move free trade deals forward.

    I understand the EU offered a free trade deal but May, aka Robbins, reject it.

    Given the only chance of survival if the Party is to complete Art 50 the only question is what comes after it.

    It may boil down to a Canada++ agreement or some such thing.

    I suspect most candidates don’t understand free trade agreements.

    • Mark
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

      A reminder: the EEA agreement demands

      Article 10
      Customs duties on imports and exports, and any charges having equivalent effect, shall be prohibited between the Contracting Parties.

      We would still be a Contracting Party if we leave the EU without signing the WA.

      The EEA Agreement would also not impose freedom of movement or the need to contribute to the Financial Mechanism or the requirement to align with EU law on the basis that we remain a Contracting Party, but not an EC Member State or EFTA State. No negotiation needed.

      • NickC
        Posted May 31, 2019 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

        Mark, The UK is a member of the EEA because we are (currently) members of the EU. When we cease to be in the EU (ie: leave the EU treaties) we cease at the same time being a member of the EEA.

        • Mark
          Posted May 31, 2019 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

          Not so. We are a signatory in our own right. We have not given notice to leave the EEA under Article 127. When we leave the EU we cease being an EC Member State for the purposes of the Agreement, but we are still a Contracting Party.

          Michael-James Clifton, the senior judge in the EFTA Court, has written
          It follows that a country withdrawing from the EU needs also to withdraw, separately, in its own right from a mixed agreement, in order to cease to be one of the contracting parties.

  95. Treacle
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    There is a lot to be said against Boris. He didn’t decide to back Leave until the very last moment: clearly, he voted from self-interest, not conviction. Then when Leave won, he appeared stunned, and at a loss what to say or do. He seemed to have calculated that what would best serve his interests was to have been the leader of the losing side. Then Gove delcared that Boris was unfit to be Prime Minister. Disloyal of Gove to say that, but maybe it is true. Gove knew him well: what was it that so convinced him that Boris was unfit? Does he know something we don’t? Then add to all of that Boris’s being sacked from the Times for making up a quote, his infidelities, his gaffes, his poor performance as Foreign Secretary, and finally his support for May’s deal. It isn’t good.

    On the other hand, Corbyn would ruin us all, and Boris with his wide appeal to people who don’t normally vote Conservative would have the best chance of saving us from the catastrophe of a Labour government. Under the wrong leader, the Conservative Party will be wiped out. So reluctantly I conclude that we have to pick Boris. My wish to keep my own property is stronger than my wish for us to leave the EU.

    • NickC
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

      Treacle, That does not make sense. At the time Boris decided for Leave, the expectation was that Remain would win. How is that self-interest?

    • rose
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

      “he appeared stunned.” You really can’t read a person’t thoughts into this sort of indication. It could have been exhaustion or emotion. On his spell at the FCO, you have to bear in mind the briefings against him which people lapped up all too readily, and the malicious misrepresentations for political reasons. An impression was built up by his enemies in all parties and the media that he was not a good Foreign Secretary but it was only an impression, a false one.

  96. Mark
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Last night’s poll from YouGov shows which way the wind is blowing:

    Put through Electoral Calculus that gives

    107 Con
    202 Lab
    120 LD
    143 TBP
    55 SNP
    4 PC
    1 GRN
    18 NI

    which needs a 3+ way coalition, since Lab/LD falls just short. Not a Corbyn government as such. With polling now changing rapidly, and the Tories no longer being the way to stop Corbyn, that balance is likely to change radically in the next few weeks – more so if there are major party splits. The phenomenon where Labour hang on to seats dependent on block votes in cities would make it hard for the Lib Dems to rack up a majority on their own. The Brexit Party could be well poised to secure an outright majority against a divided left. Something for MPs voting for a new PM to consider.

    • Treacle
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

      Yes, but I, and I am sure many others, voted for the Brexit Party only in order to try to force Theresa May from office. I will not vote Conservative again until she is gone (BTW, why is she still here?). But when she is gone, I will vote Conservative again.

      • Fred H
        Posted May 31, 2019 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

        Treacle…gosh you are easily pleased. So in approx 2 weeks or whatever, you will offer your x for nothing.

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted May 31, 2019 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

        Treacle, surely that depends on who replaces her and if they are intent and indeed can, deliver a clean Brexit. Unless the party get behind whoever they choose it might still be a waste if time voting for them if you want Brexit.

      • Caterpillar
        Posted May 31, 2019 at 7:21 pm | Permalink


        I think many people are a long way from voting conservative. The majority of conservative MPs voted for the WA, the majority of conservative MPs voted confidence in Mrs May, the conservatives are not going to deliver their manifesto, moreover they have no vision of a future UK etc. Conservatives are a very long way from being suitable for power.

    • stred
      Posted June 1, 2019 at 7:48 am | Permalink

      The Libs and Labour may form a coalition with the Scots and Greens in return for more subsidy from English taxpayers and greencrap. That would be time to leave the country.

  97. Lester Beedell
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    At the moment it seems to be choosing the Least Worst for Prime Minister which is why I’m advocating the Brexit Party, let’s start afresh with MPs untainted by the present shenanigans.
    Nigel Farage’s thoughts seem to have much to recommend them and seem to be much more in line with the values of true Conservatives rather than the Left leaning makeweights and career politicians.

    And good luck to them in the Peterborough by-election, Mike Greene strikes me as an excellent candidate

  98. George Brooks
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    Boris is the only candidate with a relevant track record

    7 of them have done little or nothing in the commercial world and seemed to have spent their early years collecting degrees and qualifications (mostly all unused) before entering the HoC. They bring absolutely nothing to the office of PM.

    Hunt set up a number of enterprises (unproven allegation about most of them ed), except one that prospered after he had left but remained a shareholder, which when sold made him financially secure. He seems a nice chap but nowhere near tough enough.

    McVey has had experience of TV production and Leadsom in the world of finance which may not have been as successful as she might have liked it to be. Javid on the other hand was very successful in banking both in this country and abroad.

    Boris is the only one who has run anything and he was an undoubted success as Mayor of London. When he took over, the city was in a mess, short of money and labour disputes in several sectors. Within four years he got the place back on its feet, everything working properly and was re-elected for another 4 years by a Labour dominated city.

    One major reason for this, is that he has the outstanding ability to pick people. He sets the direction and they execute, he thinks ahead and is able to do so as he is not locked into the detail. He is true leader

  99. Geoffrey Berg
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    I hardly know why Conservative M.Ps are bothering with other candidates at all when Boris Johnson is so much the standout candidate. True , he won’t unite the Conservative Party but nobody would as 10% of M.Ps and a smaller percentage of other Conservatives are Euro-fanatics (at least until the world doesn’t fall in after we leave). True, he isn’t exactly saintly but none of the really big and democratically successful politicians of our time (Trump, Farage, Modi, Netanyahu) are. However Boris Johnson is one of the few politicians who has more to him than meets the eye : he can see the wood from the trees in politics (he coined the term ‘vassal state’ to describe so well the result of agreeing to the Withdrawal Agreement); he is one of the very few people who can pick able people and delegate well to them which he did as Mayor of London; and he both reduced the congestion charging area and froze the mayoral Council Tax in London which is good evidence that he is an authentic Conservative.
    Most important of all Boris Johnson is one of those extremely rare politicians who comes across to voters as basically very likeable and so (like Trump and Ronald Reagan before him) is instantly forgiven all his gaffes and shortcomings. That is true stardust.
    It is all too easy for people to give credence to some fine words such as a few of the other candidates can mouth (and such as Theresa May got the position of Prime Minister with) but in the absence of a record to back up their words they could well be(and probably most of them are) just dudes in relation to being Prime Minister. After Theresa May the Conservative Party and the country just can’t risk another dude and Boris Johnson is the only candidate who can produce substantial evidence that he wouldn’t be a dude.

  100. Paul
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    Boris is not a serious politician, he’s a celebrity and a comedian hence his popularity. He swings wherever and whenever it suits his purpose. I honestly think he doesn’t genuinely believe in anything. The man would be a total disaster. Brexiteers need to back someone who knows what they’re talking about and actually believes in what they say as opposed to just saying whatever they think is going to be popular and win them the leadership. I would urge Brexiteers to back Leadsom or Raab over Boris.

  101. outsider
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    Dear Sir John, Boris Johnson’s statement might as well just say ” I am a winner, my heart is in the right place and I can engender a positive post-Brexit feeling”. As others have said, perhaps one should not look for more while the electorate is still limited to Conservative MPs.
    As the moniker suggests, I am not a party person. I note, however, that Mr Johnson was not just good at being elected London Mayor. He was highly effective in office. He got things done (whether one liked them or not) and created a much more positive view of the city, to most of its inhabitants and the outside world. Who knows whether this was through his own efforts or, as one might suspect, by skill at picking the right people, supporting them and supplying an energetic, flamboyant front. Either way, it showed imaginative leadership.
    Unlike some of his rivals, he seems quite capable of running the state, if not necessarily in the right direction. And we electors have shown that we are quite good at holding our noses when we vote.
    BUT everything depends on delivering a reasonably clean Brexit. That must mean abandoning the 580 page Withdrawal Agreement, not just tweaking the backstop, and ensuring that the UK and EU do not face a further two years or more of highly divisive negotiations and uncertainty.
    Mr Johnson, like other candidates, should either say this directly or by some proxy. Bizarrely, I feel that candidates, and Mr Johnson in particular, need to adopt a sacrificial
    position by pledging to resign as Prime Minister (if not necessarily as party leader) if the UK does not leave the EU by the end of October.

  102. rick hamilton
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    Most of the candidates come across as lightweights whom I would not want to see representing our country in the company of Putin, Xi, Trump, Merkel, Abe and even Macron. Boris is the only one who appears big enough as a personality and has had experience at the right levels. Of course he has his faults but with the right Cabinet full of Brexit believers he could be an excellent leader and, most important, motivator. Labour also hate him, which means he’s the one that scares them most.

  103. The Prangwizard
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    The duplicitous May talked endlessly about delivering Brexit and I recoil at it now. It was doubletalk.

    I don’t trust anyone who uses it because it is inextricably linked to the surrender document.

  104. Everhopeful
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    Hang on a minute though! Quite forgot.
    Wasn’t Boris a staunch Remain Europhile at one time?
    Would he really deliver Brexit?

    • Tad Davison
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

      Everybody’s got to learn sometime. It’s often hard for people to see the true purpose of the European Union when they are subjected to so much pro-EU propaganda from remainer institutions like the BBC and ‘commentators’ like James O’Brien.

  105. Simon
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    Sir John is plainly a very poor judge of character if he thinks Basher Boris would be remotely suitable leader particularly at a time like this. Boris has a lifetime of gaffes, indiscretions and terrible blunders behind him, wrapped in a grand persona completely impervious to detail and fundamentally bone idle. He is also a man who can never be relied upon to tell the truth.

    The rather naive and touching faith people like Sir John have in believing any single individual – far less a buffoon like Boris – is going to solve Brexit and save the party is a hilarious spectacle. As you sow so shall you reap.

  106. ferdinand
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    When we get to the 31st October with no new deal agreed will he ask for a further extension. Anyone who says YES is not Prime Minster material.

  107. rose
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    I see David Jones is backing Boris. He is nobody’s fool.

  108. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    I could scream! It is no longer about uniting the Conservative Party. It is about getting rid of the 60 MPs who are pro-EU ‘One Nation’ Conservatives (Anna Soubry’s estimate – and she should know). They are a bunch of Jonahs, a millstone round our necks. Unless you do get rid of them, you won’t be able to form an alliance with the Brexit Party. If you can’t or won’t form such an alliance, you won’t win the next General Election, and won’t be able to deliver a WTO rules Brexit. We need a General Election this autumn. This rotten parliament is the problem, not the solution.

    • Fred H
      Posted June 1, 2019 at 7:42 am | Permalink

      It would be a good idea if someone was able to list the likely 60+ Pro-EU MPs. If they object let them deny publicly. I’m sure voters will find previous statements of theirs which may throw light on stated views.

  109. Richard416
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    Well Sir John, I don’t envy your responsibility here and I hope you make the right decision. Next time it may not be Labour you have to beat but the new Brexit Party. The only way to beat them is to do it. I’m a bit sorry that you are not standing yourself (yet) and nor is Owen Paterson.

  110. libertarian
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    The Conservative Party has become a farce

    There isn’t a single creditable candidate. Not one has shown any leadership credentials at all

    You would be better off with Ronald MacDonald

  111. Steve
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 6:55 pm | Permalink


    Interesting article.

    Though I doubt anyone can unite the party – it’s finished. The only way to clean it up is to kick out all the remain and liberal parasites. Even then, voters won’t trust the conservatives ever again.

  112. Cheshire Girl
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    I wasn’t going to vote for any of them, but Ive just watched Question Time.

    Because he spoke such good sense, I may vote for Rory Stewart.

  113. Iago
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

    This is not a joke. Boris would be far happier on stage in pantomime. He would give enormous pleasure to young children and know moments of happiness, only two performances a day and a short season. Out in the real world, not that real is the right word for modern, betrayed Britain, he would only deceive.

  114. ReefKnot
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    Where is the rest of the Legal Opinion by the AG on the Withdrawal Agreement ? We’ve only had a few lines about the backstop so far !

    • rose
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

      Yes, HMG is still in contempt of Parliament on this.

  115. mancunius
    Posted May 31, 2019 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    ‘Delivering brexit’ is an empty phrase: even May claims (absurdly) that the WA is ‘delivering brexit’. Boris must be aware of this, yet his summarised plan is so vague as to make one suspicious of his motives and intentions. That the EU regard him as more acceptable (e.g. than Raab) is also a negative sign – it just means they think he is a softer touch.
    In pursuit of the long-term goal of integrating a rejoined UK into the euro and increasing its annual payments, the EU is uninterested in the economic harm any of the 27 may suffer from what they think will be a temporary a no-deal brexit: we must prepare for fully self-reliant WTO trading, and every leadership candidate must give us a convincing notion of their strategy to manage that inevitable step. Churchill persuaded a reluctant Britain to go to war by sheer single-minded conviction, hard grinding work and straight talking, choosing his words with great care, enlisting the determined and sidelining the lukewarm. He rapidly convinced his largely unwilling party, the opposition, parliament, and most of the country. Has Boris those personal abilities? I rather fear not.

  116. BR
    Posted June 1, 2019 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    They seem to believe that their profiles are raised such that they are impossible to ignore for Cabinet roles. That seems idiotic, even if we ignore the all-important meritocracy issue.

    If anyone who has voted for the WA is elected, or to be fair, anyone who does not ultimately deliver a clean break, then the Tory party is probably finished as a serious electoral force (i.e. the future Lib Dem / Scottish Labour). To achieve that they must have a Cabinet that is onside, no more of this 50-50 compromise nonsense – just people with a clear drive to deliver Brexit and who are sold on its benefits.

    Those people must have a history of advocating these things, otherwise the “We don’t believe you” factor will not have changed one iota.

    That means we cannot start from May’s WA. Can you even fill a cabinet with such people?

    The rest are wasting their time – or should be. The public will not be fooled by a stage-managed process followed by slapping a “Brexit” sticker on a Brino/satellite State deal. May’s already tried that. The modern electorate are more savvy and very, very angry.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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