The 7 questions Boris Johnson needs to answer if he becomes Tory leader

Greg Evans
Tuesday 11 June 2019 13:15
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Now that Theresa May is no longer the Tory leader the race is underway to find her replacement but if you talk to certain people it might already be over.

Boris Johnson, the former foreign secretary and architect of the Leave campaign, is considered to be miles ahead of any of his fellow candidates and barring a disaster will be the next Tory leader and prime minister.

The 54-year-old MP and former mayor of London has seemingly walked this path towards potential leadership free of scrutiny or analysis with most of his past comments being either forgotten about or swept under the rug.

As journalist Owen Jones highlighted during a recent appearance on Sky News the many problematic statements that Johnson has made in the past that he is still yet to be held accountable for. The questions include?

Does he still think that gay people should be called 'bum boys'?

This quote dates back to his time as a journalist. Writing for The Spectator in 2000, Johnson attacked the then Labour government for 'encouraging the teaching of homosexuality in schools.'

In another piece for the Telegraph this time, in 1998 he lamented Peter Mandelson who had just resigned from Labour, which he felt would have led to an outpouring of emotion from 'tank-topped bum boys in Ministry of Sound.

He wrote:

Weep, o ye shirt makers of Jermyn Street, ye Cool Britannia tailors and whatever exists of human finer feeling. In the Ministry of Sound, the tank-topped bum boys blub into their Pils.

Does he still think that equal marriage should be compared to three men marrying a dog?

This one comes from Johnson's infamous 2001 book Friends, Voters, Countrymen where he continued his tirade against the LGBT+ community.

At this time Johnson was sceptical about gay marriage, essentially equating it to bestiality.

If gay marriage was OK – and I was uncertain on the issue – then I saw no reason in principle why a union should not be consecrated between three men, as well as two men, or indeed three men and a dog.

Does he still believe black people should be called picaninnies with watermelon smiles?

Johnson's casual use of racist language has been well documented over the years but none are more notorious than these comments which he wrote for The Telegraph in 2002.

In the piece, he attacked then prime minister Tony Blair, who he believed would be welcome in the continent of Africa by:

Cheering crowds of flag-waving picaninnies and the tribal warriors will all break out in watermelon smiles to see the big white chief.

Does he still think it is acceptable to compare Muslim women to 'bank robbers' and 'letterboxes'?

This is one of Johnson most recent comments and one of the most reprehensible. In another Telegraph article, Johnson argued that it was wrong for Denmark to impose fines on people wearing the burka or niqab on Danish streets.

While that might sound like he was siding with the Muslim community, what he actually said was completely unbelievable.

I would go further and say it is absolutely ridiculous that people should choose to go around looking like letterboxes. 

If a female student turned up at school or at a university lecturer looking like a bank robber then ditto: those in authority should be allowed to converse openly with those that they are being asked to instruct.

Should we trust somebody who was twice sacked for dishonesty, once by his newspaper and once by a Conservative leader?

It takes a lot to lose two jobs for exactly the same reason but Boris Johnson has achieved this with flying colours.
As a young journalist, he was hired by The Times as a reported but eventually wound up being dismissed from the role after it emerged that he had been lying about a story, claiming to have discovered the Rose Palace, which was alleged to have been built by Edward II and would have spent time there with his supposed lover Piers Gaveston.
As Johnson would later tell The Independent, a little bit of research revealed that this couldn't have been further from the truth.
The trouble was that somewhere in my copy I managed to attribute to Colin the view that Edward II and Piers Gaveston would have been cavorting together in the Rose Palace.
 
Unfortunately, some link side don at a provincial university spotted that by the time the Rose Palace was built, Piers Gaveston would long have been murdered. It was very nasty.
 

The other instance which Jones was referring to dates back to 2004 when then Tory leader Michael Howard sacked him over allegations about the MPs private life, with tabloids speculating that Johnson was engaged in an affair with the daughter of the late peer, Woodrow Wyatt.

In response to his dismissal by Howard, Johnson said:

It is a wretched and lamentable day when people's private lives can become used in political machinations.

Is someone who conspired with a friend to beat up a journalist fit for high office?

One of the most bizarre and thuggish moments in Johnson's history comes from the emergence of a tape recording of a conversation between him and his friend Darius Guppy, a renowned fraudster of the time.
The tape is said to be from 1990 when Johnson was the Brussels correspondent for The Telegraph when a reporter from The News of the World, Stuart Collier, started to take an interest in Guppy and his activities and Guppy wanted him dealt with.
Guppy assures Johnson that his part in the assault will go undetected but the future mayor of London expresses some concern to which Guppy replies:
 
I guarantee you he will not be seriously hurt. He will not have a broken limb or broken arm, he will not be put into intensive care or anything like that.
 
He will probably get a couple of black eyes and a ... a cracked rib or something.
 
Nothing which you didn't suffer at rugby, OK? But he'll get scared.
There are no reports to suggest that this assault ever took place and Johnson has always maintained that the conversation was a joke.

Is somebody who wrote one column supporting Remain and another column supporting Leave, is that somebody who's driven by anything else other than his own career?

Brexit is likely to be the biggest talking point for many of the Tory candidates and while Johnson was one of the main MPs to back leaving the EU in 2016, it would appear that he was a bit on the fence about the entire situation from the get-go.

In October 2016, an unpublished article emerged in which he cast doubts on whether Brexit would be a success. The pro-EU article which was for The Sunday Times showed that Johnson supported free trade and questioned why we would turn our back on such an established trading bloc.

This is a market on our doorstep, ready for further exploitation by British firms. The membership fee seems rather small for all that access. Why are we so determined to turn our back on it?

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