Boris Johnson appeared to struggle on the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday morning in what many regarded to be his first major appearance as the leading figure for the campaign to leave the EU.

Two weeks after he announced he would be supporting the Brexit campaign, the London Mayor showed flashes of what has made him one of the most popular politicians in Britain – describing in lengthy terms how the EU was a “jail where the jailor has accidentally left the door open”.

But Mr Johnson also failed to answer many questions head-on, and when he actively tried to take over control of the direction of the interview, the former journalist had to be reminded who was in charge.

As Mr Marr tried again to cut through the Tory MP’s effusive style, saying “we do need to move on as we have a lot to cover”, Mr Johnson said: “Well, I’m going to tell you what I’m going to cover.”

The host replied: “I get to ask the questions here, it’s not the Boris Johnson show, it’s the Andrew Marr Show.”

Marr - Let's move on from tipper trucks just for a second. We do need to move on. I've got a lot to cover.


Johnson - Well, I'm gonna tell you what I'm gonna cover.


Marr - No! Guess what this is not the Boris Johnson show, this is the Andrew Marr show. I get to ask the questions.


Johnson - Right... You have sovereignty!


Marr - Thank you. I have complete sovereignty of this programme.


Johnson - Unlike the UK!


​Marr - *laughs*​ I won't go down that [route].

The exchange in full

“You have complete sovereignty,” Mr Johnson conceded. “… unlike the UK.”

The exchange was characteristic of an interview where Mr Johnson tried to focus on his issues with the single market and the sovereignty battle between the EU and the UK.

But in the middle of it all he did manage to offer up the occasional direct answer.

Mr Marr established that the moment Mr Johnson decided to back Brexit was when he received a letter from the Government’s lawyers “exploding” plans he was involved in to rewrite reforms on British sovereignty, saying they couldn’t possibly work in tandem with EU treaties.

And asked if he was backing leaving the EU in order to become the next Prime Minister, Mr Johnson briefly obfuscated before giving his clearest answer of the entire morning.

“Certainly not,” he said. “We have a wonderful Prime Minister, and to the best of my knowledge there is not a single European leader who has had to step down because of a referendum, on Europe or not.

"The whole thing is cobblers, you are just trying to personalise it to make it more interesting for viewers,” he added. “I want to talk about…”

Mr Johnson’s – and Mr Marr’s – performances received a mixture of response on social media.

Many apparently pro-Brexit viewers accused the host of displaying “BBC bias” by excessively interrupting Mr Johnson’s answers.

But others suggested he had “failed his audition to be lead spokesman for Leave”, while Piers Morgan observed: “People criticising Marr for 'constantly interrupting' Boris need to understand that if he didn't, Mr Johnson would never stop talking.”