The Perfect Enemy | Boris Johnson
August 17, 2022
Read Time:7 Minute

Watch: Boris Johnson’s government wins confidence with 349 votes

Tory MPs gave a standing ovation for Boris Johnson after he claimed “mission largely accomplished” in his final PMQs, minutes before heading to cast their final votes on who should replace him as prime minister.

In a last-ditch attack ahead of the final ballot of MPs, Penny Mordaunt’s campaign claimed Liz Truss would lose a general election and put Tory MPs’ seats at risk, as the foreign secretary became the bookies’ favourite after securing more new backers than her two rivals combined in the previous vote.

Senior Conservative MP David Davis went so far as to accuse frontrunner Rishi Sunak of “reallocating” votes to Ms Truss in a bid to improve his chances in the final vote by Tory members.

However, this assessment was at odds with YouGov polling which found Mr Sunak would fare slightly better against Ms Mordaunt than Ms Truss with the Tory faithful – but would ultimately lose to both, as things stand – as the foreign secretary became the new bookies’ favourite in the contest.

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Sir Keir’s language does not degrade debate, Labour says

Labour has denied that Sir Keir Starmer’s use of colourful language to describe the Prime Minister degrades the public debate.

Asked by reporters whether the Labour leader calling Boris Johnson a “complete bull*****er” had this effect, a spokesman for the party replied: “No”.

Quizzed on whether Sir Keir would miss his weekly exchanges with Mr Johnson after his final PMQs, the spokesman said: “Prime Minister’s Questions is one of those opportunities that the Leader of the Opposition has to scrutinise the Government. In that sense he has always enjoyed the weekly exchanges there are, and I’m sure he’ll look forward to doing the same with the next Tory leader”.

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‘Hypocritical’ of Starmer to call PM a ‘complete bull*****er’, Downing Street says

It was “hypocritical” of Sir Keir Starmer to accuse Boris Johnson of being a “complete bull*****er”, Downing Street has said.

Asked for a response to the Labour leader’s comment, the prime minister’s press secretary told reporters: “I would not respond with similar language of course.

“But I would disagree with that characterisation. I think Prime Minister has delivered a huge amount that was promised to the British public, not least getting Brexit done, which was delivering on the will of millions of people.

“And [it’s] possibly slightly hypocritical of the leader of the opposition to say such things when he voted against doing that 48 times”.

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Johnson pressed over Scottish independence in final PMQs

Several SNP MPs called for a second referendum on Scottish independence during Boris Johnson’s final PMQs.

Inverclyde MP Ronnie Cowan compared the UK’s slow economic growth with other OECD nations, asking: “Why should Scotland not be afforded the same opportunity to seek prosperity through being a sovereign independent nation standing as an equal among other equal nations?”

Mr Johnson replied that Scotland was protected by the “massive fiscal firepower” of the UK Treasury.

SNP deputy Westminster leader Kirsten Oswald said Scotland was “paying a high price for his disastrous hard Brexit imposed against the wishes of Scottish voters”.

She added: “It is time to end this democracy denial, prime minister, Scotland can’t afford to stay shackled to this crumbling union and Tory governments that we don’t vote for.”

Mr Johnson replied: “This is the country that secured furlough, that delivered the vaccine across the whole of the UK, while the SNP gets on with overtaxing to the tune £900 million – that is what they are overtaxing in Scotland – and we had a referendum in 2014.”

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Speaker pays tribute to Boris Johnson’s conduct during Covid-19 pandemic

At the outset of Boris Johnson’s final PMQs, the Commons Speaker paid tribute to the prime minister’s conduct during the “dark times” of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaker Lindsay Hoyle pays tribute to Boris Johnson’s work during Covid pandemic

Our policy correspondent Jon Stone has more details here:

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Boris Johnson signs off by hurling insults at Keir Starmer

Our deputy political editor Rob Merrick has this report on Boris Johnson’s final PMQs exchange with Sir Keir Starmer, which saw the prime minister hurl insults at the Labour leader – who he branded a “pointless human bollard”.

Boris Johnson calls Keir Starmer a ‘great, pointless, human bollard’

Speaking from the famous despatch box for the final time, he also called the Labour leader “Captain Hindsight” and boasted his successor would “wipe the floor” with him “like some household detergent”.

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Watch: Johnson and Blackford clash in his final PMQs as prime minister

You can watch the final exchange between Boris Johnson and Ian Blackford in full below:

The full exchange: Blackford accuses Johnson of driving country to brink of recession
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Tory MPs head to vote for new PM minutes after Johnson says ‘hasta la vista’

Voting is now open in the final ballot of Tory MPs over who should replace Boris Johnson, just minutes after standing to clap the outgoing prime minister as he told them “hasta la vista, baby” at his final PMQs.

‘Hasta la vista, baby’: Boris Johnson concludes final PMQs as prime minister

The ballot will last for two hours, with the results announced at 4pm.

The remaining two candidates will face a final decision by the 160,000 or so Tory members in September.

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‘Hasta la vista, baby’: PM receives standing ovation as he declares ‘mission largely accomplished’

In his final words at PMQs, Boris Johnson told MPs: “Focus on the road ahead, but always remember to check the rear view mirror and remember above all it’s not Twitter that counts.

“It’s the people that sent us here, and yes the last few years have been the greatest privilege of my life and it’s true that I helped to get the biggest Tory majority for 40 years and a huge realignment in UK politics.

“We transformed our democracy and restored our national independence… I’ve helped to get this country through a pandemic and help save another country from barbarism, and frankly that’s enough to be going on with.”

“Mission largely accomplished,” he said, thanking the Speaker, Commons staff, his colleagues and Sir Keir Starmer, before concluding: “Hasta la vista, baby.”

Tory MPs rose to their feet to applaud him in a standing ovation.

Our political correspondent Ashley Cowburn has more details here:

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Boris Johnson gives advice to his successor

Rounding off his final PMQs, Boris Johnson said: “I want to use the last few seconds to give some words of advice to my successor, whoever he or she may be.

“Number one: stay close to the Americans, stick up for the Ukrainians, stick up for freedom and democracy everywhere. Cut taxes and deregulate wherever you can to make this the greatest place to live and invest, which it is.

“I love the Treasury but remember that if we’d always listened to the Treasury we wouldn’t have built the M25 or the Channel Tunnel.”

“Focus on the road ahead, but always remember to check the rear-view mirror, and remember above all it’s not Twitter that counts, it’s the people that sent us here.”

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PM will be remembered as ‘man of his word’, Labour MP says

Labour’s Geraint Davies claimed Boris Johnson will “be remembered as a man of his word”, citing the phrases “Pile them high” and “f*** business”.

As the noise from the opposite benches grew louder, he said: “This is the truth, they don’t like it, do they?”

He was interrupted by what he termed the “rabble” opposite as he pointed to the 3.7 million people with student loans facing rising inflation and interest rates – prompting the Speaker to intervene – as he asked the PM whether he would “help those people in need” or help his “the City people, his friends, making all this money out of the cost of living crisis.”

The PM responded: “I’ll tell you what students want” – a system where you don’t pay back more than you borrow and a jobs market that will take them on with high-wage, high-skilled jobs.