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What the papers say: Boris’s ‘naked pitch’ for the top job

18 September 2017

8:33 AM

18 September 2017

8:33 AM

Has Boris Johnson launched a military coup? Based on ‘some of the chatter coming out of the Westminster Bubble’, you’d be forgiven for thinking his Brexit intervention was just that, says the Sun. It’s time for everybody to ‘calm down’, the paper urges. Yes, some of those who have questioned the timing of the article – published in the run-up to Theresa May’s major speech on Brexit this Friday – may have a point. But Boris is nonetheless ‘entitled to a view on what Britain might look like after we leave the EU’. The Tories need to quit the fighting amongst themselves and realise that the only ones to benefit from this squabbling are ‘Jeremy Corbyn and his union paymasters’. The Prime Minister’s ‘previous Brexit speeches have both been well-received at home and abroad’ – and ‘there’s no reason to think this one will be any different’, says the Sun. The PM has made much of getting on with the job – and the Conservatives need to join her and ‘do just that,’ concludes the Sun.

The FT, though, is less impressed by the Foreign Secretary’s intervention. Boris’s Brexit article is ‘nothing more than a naked pitch for leadership of the Conservative party,’ according to the paper, which says the timing – in the wake of the terrorist attack on Friday – ‘is peculiarly crass’. Boris’s allies have said that the Foreign Secretary is entitled to speak out – particularly given that the PM has ‘done little to set out an optimistic vision of life after the EU’. Yet Boris’s intervention ‘is at best facile, at worst dishonest’. In particular, the FT picks up on Boris’s claim that ‘this country will succeed in our new national enterprise, and will succeed mightily’. The paper also takes the Foreign Secretary to task over what it calls his repeating of ‘the false promise of an extra £350m for the National Health Service’. The UK Statistics Authority is right to call him out on his claim, says the paper, which describes Boris’s comments as ‘deeply self-serving’. Boris ‘is said to have felt penned in a gilded cage’ during his time as Foreign Secretary, says the paper. Perhaps its time then for him to ‘abandon his pretensions to the highest office’, concludes the FT.

Boris’s Brexit intervention is a ‘ludicrous fantasy’, says the Guardian, which describes the article as ‘is a masterclass in doublespeak and smarm’. Everything the article claims about the possibility of a Brexit deal is ‘palpably false’, says the paper. But the Foreign Secretary’s remarks are also ‘revealing about the state of opinion in the Conservative party’. The Guardian says the idea that Boris still has many supporters in the Tory party shows there are many who ’want to believe Britain is “the second-greatest power on Earth after America”’. These Tories also ‘want to believe that wicked foreigners are taking from us £350m a week’, according to the paper. It’s time for those who think that Brexit will be a ‘disaster’ to rally together, says the Guardian. And while the likes of the Foreign Secretary are intent on blaming the disappointments of Brexit on others, the Guardian says the blame should lie closer to home: with the ‘the irresponsible clique of Bullingdon boys who brought us to the cliff edge of the referendum and then pushed us off – chief among them Mr Johnson himself.’


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