Theresa May questions Boris Johnson's ability: 'He came back from Germany with three nearly-new water cannon'

'I seem to remember last time he did a deal with the Germans, he came back with three nearly-new water cannon'

Adam Withnall
Thursday 30 June 2016 11:35 BST
May mocks Boris

Theresa May has launched her bid to become the next leader of the Tory party - with a dig at Boris Johnson and his ability to lead the country in Brexit negotiations.

Speaking before Mr Johnson announced he would not be running to be the next Prime Minister, the Home Secretary presented herself as a reliable candidate who had the negotiating experience to do the job "from day one".

And she contrasted that with Mr Johnson, who delt with the threat of London riots when he was mayor by purchasing a number of second-hand water cannon which were never used.

"Boris negotiated in Europe," she said. "I seem to remember last time he did a deal with the Germans, he came back with three nearly-new water cannon."

Though she was an at-times reluctant Remain campaigner, Ms May said she believed there could be no second EU referendum. She said that, contrary to the wishes of the European Parliament, she would not begin the formal process of Brexit until at least the start of next year.

In another sideways criticism of the Eton-educated former London Mayor, Ms May said politics was not a "game".

She said: "If you are from an ordinary working class family, life is just much harder than many people in politics realise.

"You have a job but you don't always have job security, you have your own home but you worry about mortgage rates going up, you can just about manage but you worry about the cost of living and the quality of the local school because there is no other choice for you.

"Frankly, not everybody in Westminster understands what it's like to live like this and some need to be told that it isn't a game. It's a serious business that has real consequences for people's lives."

It now seems that Ms May's attacks on Mr Johnson were not required.

Read more on an extraordinary day in politics in our live blog.

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