Thank you very much. You are perfectly right, I had prepared two speeches. As some of you may know, I do like to have two versions for these occasions. Thank you very much, George, thank you very much Fraser. What an extraordinary few months it has certainly been and there have been times where I have had to admit that, like the loyal and faithful hound, Kim, to whom George has already alluded, like him, like the faithful alsatian belonging to Michael Heseltine, there have been moments since June 23rd where I have genuinely feared. In those very grim days after June 23rd, I genuinely feared that I might be strangled by a crazed, pop-eyed Europhile ‘Remainer’. And like Kim the alsatian therefore, I am absolutely thrilled to have this reprieve and to have been recognised in the way the Spectator has chosen to do.
The chap points out from the floor that the dog had a very brief reprieve. I hope that my comeback will be a bit longer than Kim the alsatian, but however long or short it may actually turn out to be, I want you to know that we in the Foreign Office are getting on with our work of projecting a global Britain that is more outward looking, more energetic and more engaged on the world stage than ever before. And we are also getting on with what Nigel (Farage) has been talking about: we are taking back control of our laws, our borders; we are taking back control of considerable sums of money, we are taking back control of our dogs as well. We are taking the machete of freedom to the brambles of EU legislation and regulation. And we are creating something immensely positive for people on both sides of the English Channel, and that is a new European parternship between a strong UK and a strong EU, and believe me that it was the people of this great continent want to achieve.
I was trying to explain the other day in a European meeting of foreign ministers at a castle in Bratislava – I think it was a lunch that had been going on for about four hours – and I reached for a metaphor from medieval architecture to explain how the UK wished to be outside but supportive of European political ventures. And I said we were going to be like a part of the cathedral, like a flying buttress. But unfortunately this was misunderstood by the translators, who heard me to say we wanted to be a flying bucket. And there was a great deal of confusion until that point had been cleared up, but when it was cleared up, when it was cleared up, and they understood that we wanted them to succeed (and) we wanted to be supportive, I want you to know that they were hugely enthusiastic about that vision. I think it’s going to work and, in the words of our great Prime Minister who I am delighted to say is here to hear these words, I understood that Brexit means Brexit and we are going to make a titanic success of it. So thank you very very much.
The former chancellor has just…does he not know that the Titanic exhibition in Northern Ireland is the single most popular tourist attraction in the province – of course it is. We are going to make a colossal success of Brexit and I thank the Spectator for the honour they have done me. And George, give me the honour, hand it over. In the name of Kim, the alsatian and dog lovers everywhere, I have great pleasure in accepting it.
This is a transcript of Boris Johnson’s acceptance speech for his award of ‘Comeback of the year’ at the Spectator Parliamentarian Awards