Boris Johnson today wraps himself in the national flag as he pledges to change the Prime Minister’s official title to add ‘Minister for the Union’.
Setting out his vision for the United Kingdom – which he describes as ‘the most successful political and economic union in history’ – Mr Johnson takes aim at Theresa May, who has argued that a No Deal Brexit would risk fracturing England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The tub-thumping ‘Minister for the Union’ moniker will be added alongside First Lord of the Treasury to the formal title of Prime Minister if, as expected, Mr Johnson wins his leadership battle against Jeremy Hunt.
Writing in today’s Mail on Sunday, Mr Johnson says: ‘Properly done, Brexit will not threaten the Union; a sensible Brexit will enhance the Union and protect it and make life more difficult for those who wish to destroy it.
‘Now is the time therefore to be resolute, to get on with Brexit and to bring the whole country together.’
The Tory frontrunner describes the UK as a ‘great global brand’ and ‘the soft-power superpower of the 21st Century’.
He adds: ‘We members of this precious Union are therefore so obviously and so irrefutably more than the sum of our parts; and that is why I am a passionate believer in the Unions – all of them – and when you look at the scale of our collective achievement, I simply cannot understand why anyone would want to mutilate this country and to break it up.
‘So if I am lucky enough to be elected in the next few weeks, I will do anything in my power to stop that disaster, and to bring this country together.’
Mr Johnson pledges to establish a special unit in No 10 to ‘stress-test every policy for the results it may bring to the Union’, concluding: ‘I believe that the occupant of No 10 should be not just Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury and Minister for the Civil Service. He or she should be Minister for the Union as well.’
His patriotic rallying call comes as:
Last night Mr Johnson also risked controversy by heaping praise on US President Donald Trump, saying he has ‘many, many good qualities’.
He told a hustings for party members in Carlisle that Mr Trump ‘is a guy who, when all is said and done, has got the US economy motoring along at about 3.6 per cent growth, he’s put in capital allowances for business in a way I think we should be looking at here, he’s cut regulations, he’s cut taxes in a way that has driven growth in the US’.
He added: ‘We Tories, we Conservatives, have for too long failed to talk up the agenda of free market economics and we’ve failed to be positive about it and we’ve spent an awfully long time really sounding as though we’re pretty miserable about business and enterprise.’
Despite a muted response from party members, Mr Johnson said: ‘I know that not everybody agrees with everything Donald Trump says or does, but on that he is having results and we should pay tribute to that.’