Critics shout 'bollocks to Boris' as Johnson launch bid to be prime minister

Protesters could be heard shouting ‘bollocks to Boris’ as Boris Johnson launched his bid to seize the Tory crown and succeed Theresa May.

The former foreign secretary has emerged as the clear frontrunner, despite staying largely silent in the race before today.

He used the launch to assure voters he would not delay Brexit past the October 31 due date, adding: ‘Delay means defeat. Delay means Corbyn. Kick the can and we kick the bucket.’

Shortly after Johnson began speaking, heckling from the street outside the venue could be heard in the room.

Critics shouted ‘bollocks to Boris’ and ‘No to Brexit’ during Johnson’s launch speech.

Taking to the stage amid prolonged applause, he promised to end the ‘morass’ over Brexit.



He said: ‘After three years and two missed deadlines, we must leave the EU on October 31.

‘We cannot ignore the morass at Westminster where parties have entered a yellow box junction, unable to move forward or back, while around the country there is a mood of disillusion, even despair, at our ability to get things done.

‘The longer it goes on, the worst the risk that there will be serious contamination and loss of confidence, because the people of this country deserve the best from their leader.’

Ending his speech, Johnson told the crowd he wanted to do what he did as the mayor of London to the whole country.

He said: ‘To sum up my mission in a sentence: what I want to do now, with your help, is to do for the whole country what we did in London – releasing the creative energies of our country and its people and healing its divisions.’

Johnson said he was ‘proud and humble’ by the support from fellow MPs.

When challenged by a reporter about past comments, including saying Muslim women wearing burkas ‘look like letter boxes’, Johnson said: ‘I want to make a general point about the way I do things and the language I use.

‘Occasionally some plaster comes off the ceiling as a result of a phrase I may have used, or the way that phrase has been wrenched out of context by those who wish for reasons of their own to caricature.

‘But I think it’s vital for us as politicians to remember that one of the reasons that the public feels alienated now from us all as a breed, is because too often they feel that we are muffling and veiling our language, not speaking as we find – covering everything up in bureaucratic platitudes, when what they want to hear is what we genuinely think.’

However, when he was asked about taking a class A drug, Johnson didn’t offer a clear answer.

He previously appeared to confess to taking cocaine at university in an interview some years ago.

Asked whether he had ever done anything illegal, Johnson said: ‘I cannot swear that I have always observed a top speed limit of 70mph…’




For many MPs, he is the one candidate who can see off the twin threats of Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party and a Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn.

However, he remains a divisive figure within the party, with criticisms over his role in the Vote Leave campaign and his record as foreign secretary.

Ahead of his launch event in London on Wednesday, leading supporter Treasury Chief Secretary Liz Truss insisted he had done a ‘brilliant job’ at the Foreign Office.

She brushed off criticism that he had been responsible for the continuing imprisonment of the British-Iranian mother Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe in Iran.

She told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: ‘I think it’s a sign – that he is being attacked shows the huge public appeal he has, the huge power he has to communicate.

‘His record is of being the most successful mayor of London we have had, of being an excellent foreign secretary.’

This comes as bookmakers said Johnson is ‘long way clear of his rivals’ in the race with 1-2 odds.

Coral said Jeremy Hunt is second best at 6-1, while Andrea Leadsome can be backed at 9-1.

This comes as a cross-party

Who is running to be prime minister?

Boris Johnson

The former foreign secretary and mayor of London is the biggest name in the race, and is seen as favourite by the bookies (Picture: Getty)

Dominic Raab

The former Brexit secretary has left no deal firmly on the table, saying the UK must ‘calmly demonstrate unflinching resolve to leave in October – at the latest’ (Picture: PA)

Michael Gove

The Environment Secretary has positioned himself as the unity candidate, saying he would push for a deal first without limiting himself to the current deadline of October 31 (Picture: AP)

Jeremy Hunt

The Foreign Secretary campaigned for Remain in the referendum and is seen as a moderate candidate and thinks leaving without a deal would be ‘political suicide’ (Picture: EPA)

Rory Stewart

The International Development Secretary said a no deal Brexit would be ‘a huge mistake, damaging, unnecessary, and I think also dishonest’ (Picture: Getty)

Andrea Leadsom

Leadsom, who resigned as Leader of the House just before the PM quit, said that under her leadership the UK would quit the EU in October with or without a deal (Picture: Getty)

Sajid Javid

The Home Secretary campaigned for Remain in the referendum, but announcing his candidacy said ‘first and foremost we must deliver Brexit’ (Picture: Reuters)

Matt Hancock

The Health Secretary said he won’t be pursuing a no-deal strategy, because it ‘simply won’t be allowed by Parliament’ (Picture: Rex)

Esther McVey

McVey says we have to go for no-deal (Picture: Getty)

Mark Harper

Mark Harper said he could offer a ‘fresh approach’ to ‘deliver on the promises we have made’ (Picture: Rex)

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