Boris Johnson has again refused to discuss the heated row at the flat of his partner Carrie Symonds, insisting that he was trying to protect his “loved ones” from media intrusion.
The Tory leadership contender told the BBC that he would stick to his principle of not talking about private matters, in spite of intense scrutiny of the altercation last Friday when police called to the home he shared with Ms Symonds.
“I do not talk about stuff involving my family, my loved ones,” he said. “If you do, you drag them into things …in a way that is not fair on them.”
Mr Johnson, in his first media interview since the incident, also said parliament would be ready to vote for a no-deal Brexit, in spite of warnings that Tory MPs would rather bring down the government than allow it to happen.
Change the approach of the UK negotiators and you have a very different outcome
There is great scepticism at Westminster and Brussels about whether Mr Johnson’s Brexit plans can be delivered. Last night Tobias Ellwood, a defence minister, told the BBC’s Panorama that a dozen or so Tory MPs would be prepared to vote down the government to stop a no-deal exit.
Mr Johnson dismissed the warning. “The British people want us to come out and to honour the mandate that they gave us. And I think that MPs on both sides of the House also understand that they will face mortal retribution from the electorate unless we get on and do it.”
The former foreign secretary offered no new solutions on how he would persuade the EU to strike a better deal. “What’s changed now is that there is a real positive energy about getting it done,” he said.
Mr Johnson claimed that the EU would be keen to receive the £39bn “divorce bill” from the UK and would cut Britain a deal, insisting that new technology could be deployed to avoid a hard border in Ireland. Both ideas have been rejected in Brussels.
Criticising Theresa May for signing up to the Irish border backstop in the EU withdrawal treaty, he said: “We were the authors of our own incarceration. Take that away. Change the approach of the UK negotiators and you have a very different outcome.”
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