UKIP Wales leader Neil Hamilton has weighed in on whether the former Mayor of London can be the man who will finally secure the UK’s departure from the EU.
Sputnik: Do you think Boris Johnson will win the Conservative Party leadership contest, and would he be able to deliver Brexit?
Neil Hamilton: I think the leadership is his to lose; he’s so far ahead amongst Tory members that it’s difficult to imagine that Jeremy Hunt can overtake him, and Jeremy Hunt is the establishment candidate, he is so boring and uninspirational, and Boris, with all his faults, is an exciting candidate, and I say he has lots of redeeming defects that you want to see in a politician, you don’t want to see someone who is all buttoned up and prissy and goody goody like Jeremy Hunt.
Anybody who can’t remember whether their wife is Chinese or Japanese shows to me a rather distressing failure to grasp details, which you don’t want in a Prime Minister, so my view is that Boris is by far and away the better of the two for the job, he is a Brexiteer; although I have no great confidence in the depth of his feelings on this because he ummed and awed about it for quite a long time, before he decided which side to back in the referendum campaign.
He now has nailed his colours so firmly to the Brexit mast, and that we will leave the EU at the end of October; I can’t see how he can credibly resile himself from that. Jeremy Hunt is exactly the opposite, far from making a commitment to deliver on Brexit, he is saying that he might ask for a further delay, but that would be the end of the Tory Party frankly if he was elected, not that I am bothered about that of course. But I am bothered about Brexit and Boris is our only hope for that, but we’ve got to keep him up to the mark.
I do think that this is a no brainer frankly, I can’t see how any Tory could possibly think that their party could survive under Jeremy Hunt, so they have to put all of their eggs in Boris’s basket.
Sputnik: Assuming that he did deliver Brexit; would the Conservative Party be able to win the next general election?
Neil Hamilton: If Boris got in and delivered on Brexit; I think that it’ll be a kind of Falklands moment for the Tories, after the dreadful experience that they’ve had under Theresa May. I think the contrast would be so great, that there would be a huge wave of euphoria which would waft Boris into office again, as an elected Prime Minister this time, elected by the public.
There would be a palpable sense of achievement as well, given that Theresa May has created difficulty at every turn, and she’s been a born pessimist throughout this whole thing, and doesn’t believe in her own country and ability to make its way in the world. Whereas Boris is an optimist by nature, that is clear by the way that he has lived his life, and continues to live his life. So I’m prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt at the moment, but he should know that if he fails to live up to advanced billing, then he’ll go down into oblivion in the same way as Theresa May.
Sputnik: Are fears regarding the future of the Irish border in the event of a no deal Brexit justified?
Neil Hamilton: It’s total scaremongering. We’re not going to build a hard border, so is Mr Varadkar going to? Of course he isn’t; he’s been used as the stooge of Brussels in the course of the last couple of years to spread fears of a return to a divided Ireland before the troubles were brought to an end.
We don’t want to impose a border; so if anybody’s going to be erecting fences and border posts it’ll have to be the EU, so I would shove the ball firmly into their court and see what they do with it. They’ve got far more to lose out of this than we have, we have a massive trade deficit with the EU, and a huge proportion of Irish exports come through the UK. So if there was any kind of barrier to trade, it would stuff the Irish good and proper, which I don’t want. I’m very pro-Ireland, although I’m very anti- Mr Varadkar, but he’s been very anti-British, so Ireland needs to wise up, as to where its long term interests truly belong in my view.
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