Boris Johnson: what you need to know about the new Tory PM

Boris Johnson, a key architect of the ongoing Brexit shambles, has just been elected the leader of the Conservative party and officially became the UK’s new Prime Minister.

In the past months and years, he has rarely been far from controversy, becoming ever more renowned for his inflammatory remarks, casual racism and a hardline Brexit agenda – with a “do or die” commitment to drag us out of the EU by October 31, regardless of the hundreds of thousands of jobs that could be slashed.

Boris Johnson at 10 Downing Street will rightly horrify many people across Scotland and only strengthens the need for independence, so we can put Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands.

Here are just some of the reasons Boris Johnson is unfit for office, never mind the office of Prime Minister.

He’s pro-Boris above all else

In April 2016, Boris Johnson penned a column for the Daily Telegraph outlining the benefits of the EU, claiming that “the membership fee seems rather small for all that market access”. Later that day, he defeated his own points by coming out for Brexit as one of the leaders of the Leave campaign – judging that it would better serve his career prospects than back remain.

Boris Johnson’s whirl-winding hypocrisy knows no bounds: he backed single market membership during the campaign, only to later claim that single market is “not Brexit”, and he voted both for and against Theresa May’s Brexit deal on various occasions. What’s more, he has written to Theresa May saying that ensuring “no border” between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland should not be priority, just months after telling the House Commons that “there can be no hard border”.

He is a man whose inflated ego far outstrips his judgement and principles, and his long history of flip-flopping deprives him of any credentials for leadership.

He authored the biggest Brexit lies

Boris’ claim about £350 million a week for the NHS in the event of Brexit was a lie – refuted not only by Nigel Farage the morning after the referendum, the Daily Mail, numerous independent organisations and even the UK Statistics Authority, who reprimanded Vote Leave for “clear misuse of statistics”.

Boris Johnson himself backtracked on his spurious claims, when he repeatedly refused to quote the £350 million figure and said that extra money only “could” be used on “priorities such as the NHS”.

His clumsy attempts to rewrite history don’t end there – as a Vote Leave figurehead, he heavily used the threat of Turkey “imminently” joining the EU, and yet, in January 2019, Johnson wrongly told reporters that he “didn’t make any remarks about Turkey”.

During the campaign, he famously claimed Brexit would be a “Titanic success”. It was an analogy which Boris didn’t really think through, although a sinking ship closely resembles the ever-deepening Brexit chaos. Brexit will have a real impact on millions of people, yet Boris Johnson can’t even grant them the basic level of honesty and respect.

7 broken Brexit promises the Tories want you to forget

Throughout the Brexit process, the UK Government has descended deeper and deeper into paralysis – with no plan, no direction, and no authority as Tory MPs wage an open civil war. Theresa May, by laying down her red lines, chose to be hamstrung by a narrow faction of Tory Brexit extremists – the engineers of Brexit who over-promised and delivered nothing.

Johnson is firmly rooted in the Old Etonian and Oxbridge ranks of the Tory party

The sight of old Oxbridge alumni backstabbing one another in pursuit of the top job is a familiar one in Tory ranks, and Boris Johnson is no stranger to it.

Like David Cameron, Boris Johnson was at Eton and later Oxford, where both belonged to the notorious all-male society, The Bullingdon Club.

While repeatedly claiming to champion “ordinary people” and talking of the “elite conspiracy to thwart Brexit”, he is a career politician, deeply embedded into the elite fabric of Westminster.

He made outrageous racist comments

Boris Johnson faced widespread backlash after his Telegraph column, which said: “I would say it is absolutely ridiculous that people should choose to go around looking like letterboxes”, referring to Muslim women.

He went on to compare Muslim women to “bank robbers”, and despite the blatant islamophobia behind his remarks, he repeatedly refused to apologise, despite numerous calls.

His history of racist comments goes way back – in a 2002 Daily Telegraph column, he referred to non-white people as “picanninies” with “watermelon smiles”, and later that year, claimed that that the problem with Africa was that Britain “are not in charge anymore”.

And worse still, Boris Johnson in 10 Downing Street may further legitimise the hatred and vitriol of the far-right, and could constitute a real threat to the diverse communities we cherish. His dogwhistle politics have no place in an open-minded society, and is yet another reason why the people of Scotland will not tolerate Johnson as Prime Minister.

Some of the the most offensive things Boris Johnson has ever said

Former foreign secretary Boris Johnson said that “of course” he will run for the Conservative leadership. A trail of controversies have followed the Tory politician, and in the past he has been called a “bigot” and “ignorant” by his critics.

His admiration of Trump could help facilitate a disastrous, bargain-basement trade deal with the US

Shortly before Donald Trump’s inauguration to office, Boris Johnson claimed he had an “exciting agenda for change”. Later that month, audio leaked to BuzzFeed revealed that Johnson had said he is “increasingly admiring of Donald Trump”.

Boris Johnson’s clear lack of moral compass and admiration of Trump might mean he will be keen to sign up to a bargain-basement trade deal with the US – a shoddy agreement that would slash workers’ rights, privatise the NHS, and flood Scotland with chlorinated chicken.

What’s more, during his time as Foreign Secretary, he refused to condemn Trump’s cruel policy of separating children from their parents and putting them in cages, following pressure from the SNP MPs at Westminster.

He takes incompetence to a whole new level

So bad was Boris Johnson’s reputation for gaffes, that when Theresa May appointed him as Foreign Secretary in 2016, the former Swedish prime minister, Carl Bildt, tweeted that he wished it was a joke.

On his visit to Libya, he claimed that the only thing getting in the way of investment after its civil war was “clearing the dead bodies”. He also insulted Italy by saying the EU refusing the UK single market access would mean “you’ll sell less prosecco”, and if that wasn’t enough, he referred to Africa as “a country” during his speech at the Conservative conference in 2016.

During his time as London Mayor, he bought water cannons for £320k, although he never used them and sold them at £300k loss. He also rinsed £46m of public money on his botched Garden Bridge without ever beginning construction. If he can’t be trusted with a bridge, he definitely can’t be trusted with Brexit.

Boris Johnson gaffes: A look back as he confirms he will run to be Tory leader

Boris Johnson has said he will “of course” put himself forward to be the next Conservative Party leader when a contest begins. But if he eventually becomes prime minister, the Tories will be hoping he does not hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons anymore.

He wanted to cut benefits even more than George Osborne did

The cruel Tory policy of austerity, defined by the relentless slashing of benefits, cuts in public services, and a sharp rise in the use of food banks, has inflicted real pain on hundreds of thousands of people across Scotland.

But staggeringly, Boris Johnson – a self-avowed fan of Margaret Thatcher – thought the cuts did not go far enough, claiming that abandoning Osborne’s cuts in 2016 was “a mistake”.

As London Mayor, he dropped targets for new affordable homes and slammed the “lefty” idea of social housing as something that’s “not good for people”. For someone who owns several homes and whose net worth exceeds £1.5 million, that’s a bit rich.

London mayor Boris Johnson says abandoned welfare cuts a mistake

LONDON (Reuters) – London mayor Boris Johnson, the leading figure in the campaign for Britain to leave the European Union, said embattled finance minister George Osborne’s now abandoned welfare cuts were a mistake.

His disdain for Scotland knows no bounds

A string of Tory Prime Ministers have stifled Scotland’s potential – whether it’s through Theresa May’s power grab of devolved powers post-Brexit, David Cameron’s EVEL, or Margaret Thatcher’s cruel cuts, Tories can’t be trusted to deliver for Scotland.

As Boris Johnson moves into 10 Downing Street, having recently won praise from Ruth Davidson – despite her suggestions in 2016 that she would break away from the UK Tory party if Johnson were leader – this is a clear reminder of Boris’ attitude to Scotland.

He wants Scots to pay for tax breaks for the rich

Boris Johnson’s plan to hand high earners a massive tax cut – this is morally wrong and entirely indefensible, at the time when poverty is on the rise, Universal Credit is driving people to food banks, and Tory austerity is continuing to damage people’s lives.

In a move designed to rally support in the wealthy Tory shires, he wants to raise the 40p tax rate threshold from £50k to £80k for workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland – giving high earners, such as Boris Johnson, a £9.6 billion tax cut.

This would be partly paid for by increasing National Insurance contributions, but as income tax is devolved while National Insurance is reserved, this would mean Scottish taxpayers paying for a handout for the rich in the rest of the UK.

Johnson’s ideological support of austerity, and his economically reckless plans to crash out of the EU with no deal, will only exacerbate the financial hardship caused by nine years of Tory rule.