Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has cast doubt on former British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s ability to act as the country’s new prime minister after May’s announcement that she would step down.
“Now Boris pledges that the UK will definitely leave the EU on 31 October, ‘Brexit deal or no deal’. But why should we trust him to keep his word?” the former leader of UKIP wrote in an article for the Sunday Express.
Farage also harshly berated Johnson for voting for May’s Brexit deal. “Never mind turkeys voting for Christmas, this was more like Spartacus voting for slavery”, Farage claimed.
He was echoed by cabinet minister Rory Stewart, who tweeted that “the star name will not always be the best choice” and that “there may be times when Jiminy Cricket would make a better leader than Pinocchio”.
Separately, he referred in an interview to his meeting with Johnson, during which the former foreign secretary pledged that he wouldn’t push for a no-deal Brexit.
“So, we had a conversation about 20, 25 minutes and I left the room, reassured by him that he wouldn’t do this. But, it now seems that he is coming out for a no-deal Brexit,” Stewart said.
The remarks come after about 28 per cent of the Britons said they believe that Boris Johnson would make a good prime minister, thus putting him ahead of other potential candidates to replace Theresa May, according to a YouGov poll.
Commenting on Theresa May’s speech that she had decided to stand down, Johnson praised it as “a very dignified statement” from the UK PM.
“Thank you for your stoical service to our country and the Conservative Party. It is now time to follow her urgings: to come together and deliver Brexit”, Johnson tweeted.
May, who took office in 2016, said in a televised statement that she would be leaving a job that has been "the honour of my life to hold".
Although May survived a no-confidence vote last December, she then came under intense pressure from British MPs amid her inability to gain their support for the UK withdrawal agreement she had negotiated with the EU. The Brexit deadline was subsequently extended to 31 October.