Boris Johnson has set out his vision to emulate both Margaret Thatcher and Winston Churchill by giving people more control over their lives and copying the ‘can-do’ spirit of the Second World War.
In what will be seen as yet another thinly veiled leadership pitch, the former foreign secretary warned that the Government was failing to help poor people get on.
As a result, he claimed, ‘they felt they were not getting a fair suck of the sauce bottle’. Mr Johnson renewed his demand for a clean Brexit, arguing that Britain should not be ‘sucked back by the tractor beam of Brussels’.
Boris Johnson said tackling social mobility in the style of Mrs Thatcher would be his top priority for Britain at a black-tie dinner in Washington
Speaking at a black-tie dinner in Washington, Mr Johnson said tackling social mobility in the style of Mrs Thatcher would be his top priority for Britain.
‘If you think back to the great achievements of the Thatcher era, it was about helping people to seize control of their own destiny,’ he told the American Enterprise Institute.
‘It was about buying shares or buying their own homes. We need to recover that momentum. One of the reasons people voted to Leave was because they felt they were not getting a fair suck of the sauce bottle, as they say. People are stuck in entry-level jobs and they’re not progressing.
‘And we’re not focusing on those issues, we’re not helping people enough. And it’s a serious problem.’
In Brexit negotiations, Mr Johnson said the country needed to learn lessons from Churchill, who showed ‘a willingness to be brave’ during the Second World War.
Mr Johnson posed for selfies as he was handed the award for ‘exceptional intellectual and practical contributions to improve government policy, social welfare, or political understanding’
‘We need to follow that today,’ he said. ‘When you look at our country, we have a great choice right now. We are in the throes of deciding exactly how to carry out Brexit.
‘This is a critical moment for anybody who cares about free markets, about competition, about global free trade.
‘The UK could be about to come loose of the European system of regulation and government, able to campaign for pro-competitive policies. That’s the opportunity.
‘There’s a conversation going on about how we achieve it, and it is difficult. But the last thing we want now is for us to be sucked back by the tractor beam of Brussels. The EU is no longer right for the UK.
‘And there is no point in us coming out of the EU only to remain effectively run by the EU. If you’re going to take back control, then take back control and use it for a purpose.’
In comments that will refuel speculation he wants to oust Theresa May from No 10, the ex-Foreign Secretary said his top priority as PM would be social mobility
Mr Johnson’s intervention came as Theresa May’s former policy chief yesterday called on party colleagues to allow her to deliver Brexit, but said she should then step down.
MP George Freeman warned there was ‘a danger in Parliament of a real crisis’ this winter, as MPs try to impose their vision of Britain’s relations with the EU.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘The Prime Minister’s instincts are right on this. We have to implement the people’s demand to leave the EU but where that leaves the country in the world and the longer-term relationship is an issue that should be shaped by, for and in the spirit of a new generation.’
He has set out his vision to emulate both Margaret Thatcher and Winston Churchill by giving people more control over their lives and copying the ‘can-do’ spirit of the Second World War