Boris Johnson never wanted Brexit and only backed Leave to become ‘heir apparent’ to Tory throne, says minister

In a BBC documentary to be broadcast this week the Foreign Office Minister claims the now Foreign Secretary, who was his boss, wanted Brexit to lose 

Tom Peck
Thursday 22 September 2016 15:15
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Boris Johnson never wanted Brexit and only backed Leave to become ‘heir apparent’ to Tory throne

Foreign Office Minister Alan Duncan has said his boss Boris Johnson wanted to lose the referendum and only campaigned for Brexit to become the Tory ‘heir apparent’.

Mr Duncan, who campaigned for Remain, told a BBC documentary to be broadcast on Thursday night: “I’ve always thought that Boris’s wish was to lose by one so that he could be the heir apparent without having to have all the… you know, s-h-1-t of clearing up all the mess, that’s always been my view of Boris.”

In comments recorded the day before the referendum took place, Mr Duncan predicted Remain would win by 52 to 48 per cent and said: “By championing leave, Boris can be the great heir apparent of the future, darling of the activists, but actually it would be quite good if he didn’t actually win the referendum because there would be total chaos.”

Mr Duncan has since been appointed as Minister of State at the Foreign Office, working under Mr Johnson, who was appointed Foreign Secretary by Theresa May. It is far from the only example of words said during the referendum that will be hard to live down. Two weeks before their appointment to the same department, Mr Duncan also referred to Mr Johnson in the House of Commons as ‘Silvio Borisconi.’

Mr Johnson’s now counterpart at the Home Office, Amber Rudd, also told a televised debate she “wouldn’t get in the car with him at the end of the night”.

Brexit: A Very British coup? also features Jacob Rees-Mogg being forced to switch allegiance between three different candidates in the Conservative leadership election.

On 29 June, when asked by an interviewer who he is backing in the leadership bid he replies: ‘‘Oh Boris, I think Boris won the referendum for Brexit.’’

The following day he says: “I have always wanted Michael Gove to stand for the leadership of the [Conservative] party and I had encouraged him to do this.”

Theresa May tells UN the UK will not turn inwards after Brexit vote

On 20 July he tells an interviewer: “I’m a complete convert to Mrs May.”

Two weeks before the referendum, when Michael Heseltine calls Ukip “anti-immigration and racist”, Nigel Farage responds: “Typical disgraceful, disgraceful old man, he should be in the Natural History Museum. Listening to him reminded me why I resigned from the Conservative Party and that cheered me up. I made the right decision.”

Liam Fox, now Secretary of State for International Trade also calls for Remain campaigners not to make political capital out of the killing of Jo Cox, even calling for the referendum to be postponed: “I hope that we’ll not be hearing people use a tragedy of this proportion to try to change the political tone or alter the political weather,” he tells an interviewer. “I think there’s a strong argument to consider, at least next week, as to whether we want to extend the period of the referendum itself.”

Brexit: A Very British Coup? Is broadcast on BBC 2 at 9pm on Thursday night

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