Delay Brexit past October 31 and we’ll ‘kick the bucket’: Boris Johnson warns Tory party faithful that Lib Dems and Brexit Party are ‘taking strength’ as he takes on Jeremy Hunt in leadership hustings
- Mr Johnson was first up at leadership grilling in Bournemouth, Dorset tonight
- He said: ‘Anybody who proposes any further delay is simply going to end up eroding trust in politics’
- Hit out at Theresa May’s leadership, saying he was ‘depressed at the way we have taken to running our country down’
Boris Johnson warned that delaying Brexit past October 31 would see the Conservative Party ‘kick the bucket’ as he launched the latest Tory leadership hustings tonight.
He told party members who gathered in Bournemouth for the event that both the Liberal Democrats and Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party were ‘taking strength’ from political disorder caused by the protracted exit from the EU.
Mr Johnson, who previously said the UK should Brexit on Halloween ‘do or die’ told the audience: ‘Anybody who proposes any further delay is simply going to end up eroding trust in politics, eroding people’s confidence in our democratic institutions further.
‘And further weakening our great Conservative Party and our mission to lead this country.
‘And it simply won’t’ work. Kick the can again and we kick the bucket, my friends that’s the sad reality.’
Mr Johnson, who previously said the UK should Brexit on Halloween ‘do or die’ told the audience: ‘Kick the can again and we kick the bucket my friends’
He also hit out Theresa May’s leadership over the past three years, saying he was ‘depressed at the way we have taken to running our country down’.
Mr Johnson also attempted to play down the risks of a No Deal Brexit, saying that aircraft would still fly and there would be enough water to drink.
Mr Johnson arriving at the hustings in Bournemouth tonight
And in an aside about importing the raw ingredients for Mars Bars he joked: ‘Where there’s a will there’s a whey.’
He also hit out at Theresa May’s leadership over the past three years, saying he was ‘depressed at the way we have taken to running our country down’.
Mr Johnson stood by his earlier claim that the chances of a no-deal Brexit were ‘a million-to-one against’.
Asked if he still supports the statement, he replied: ‘Yes I do, well I mean there’s not a bookies, but I do.’
He said ‘several things’ have changed since the UK failed to leave by the original March 29 deadline, which had ‘really catastrophic consequences for trust’ in politics.
Remainer protest greets Tory leadership rivals at hustings
Stop Brexit protesters formed a mini demonstration outside the Tory leadership hustings in Bournemouth.
Around half a dozen activists waved EU flags outside the Bournemouth Pavilion Theatre, before Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson began to address party members at around 7pm.
Campaigners for both men were also outside the venue handing out leaflets.
‘You are really seeing a change in mood in Westminster, a realisation that unless we get this thing done, unless we act with maturity and dignity and work together to get Brexit over the line there will be a very severe judgment of history upon us.
‘And not just a judgment of history but there will be democratic retribution upon both the Conservative Party and actually the Labour Party as well.
‘That’s why I think we have a growing opportunity to get this thing done with style, come out on October 31.’
Mr Johnson said he wants to see students taken out of the immigration cap, saying a ‘higher education economy is one of the glories of the UK’s system’.
Asked about the details of his pledge to deliver an Australian-style points-based immigration system, he told the hustings: ‘Family members would have a right of reunion that is understood according to kindred and affinity and all the rest of it, and there are already established procedures for deciding who can come on the basis of family reunion.
‘As for students, I think that international students contribute massively to the UK higher education economy – billions and billions of pounds in fees, I mean more than £5 billion a year.’