Come with us and we will get Brexit done, vows Johnson at Tory campaign launch

Boris Johnson has urged voters to “come with us” as he launched the Conservative Party election campaign.

The Prime Minister said the country was “aching to move on” from Brexit and urged the public to back the Tories and pull the country “out of the rut” of the last three years.

Flanked by Cabinet members, he spoke to cheers from about 800 party members and activists at the NEC in the West Midlands on Wednesday night.

Mr Johnson said he was proud of the EU Withdrawal Agreement, “the deal they said we couldn’t do”, and likened its critics to “candle-sellers” in the age of electricity.

He added: “I’ve heard some people in the last few days trying to attack our deal.

“I am reminded of candle-sellers at the dawn of the age of the electric light bulb, or sellers of typewriters on beholding their first laptop computer.

“They have a terrible sense they’re about to lose their market.”

He said the deal “delivered” for all parts of the UK.

Mr Johnson said if elected, the Conservatives would “take back control” of the UK’s laws and borders, with an Australian-based points system, and invest in police, hospitals and education.

But turning again to the EU divorce agreement, he said: “This deal is ready to go.”

To laughter, he added: “It’s there, you just whack it in the microwave – it’s there, it’s ready to go, prick the lid, put him in.

“Then we can put this deal through Parliament and get on with all the fantastic projects in which this Government is engaged.”

T-shirts are handed out before the Conservative campaign launch for the 2019 General Election at the NEC in Birmingham
T-shirts are handed out before the Conservative campaign launch for the 2019 General Election at the NEC in Birmingham

He added the Conservatives were “more trusted” with the economy, “because people can see that we understand how to pay for that whole society”.

Attacking the Labour Party’s economic credentials, he paraphrased Margaret Thatcher, saying “the Labour Party always runs out of other’s people’s money”.

He criticised a “deranged plan” to spend “£196 billion” on a programme of re-nationalisation, claiming the proposals would be “ruinous” for the economy.

But turning back to Brexit, Mr Johnson said: “There is a key difference that we all face at this election.

“Come with us and we will get Brexit done.

“This guy (Jeremy Corbyn) wants nothing more than dither and delay.

“He wants a referendum on Scotland because he’s told the Scottish nationalists that he’s happy to break up the union if they sustain him in power and of course he wants another referendum on the EU.


Turning to Mr Corbyn’s position on Brexit, the Prime Minister added: “I don’t think he knows himself.

“The only bit of flotsam of intelligence to emerge from the Bermuda Triangle of Labour’s Brexit policy is they’re preparing to do a new deal and then campaign against it six months later, with all the futility of those suicidal knights in Monty Python.”

He said another referendum meant “more acrimony and division in our country, when this country is aching to move on”.

Taking the stage before the Prime Minister, Home Secretary Priti Patel said the Conservative Party “would take its rightful place as the party of law and order, once again” and deliver “the people’s priorities”.

Earlier, party chairman James Cleverly said Mr Corbyn had been “running scared” of an election, because of Mr Johnson.

Half an hour before the Prime Minister’s arrival, a handful of demonstrators turned up carrying Stand Up To Racism posters.

While being escorted out by security, some 20 protesters chanted “Boris Johnson, hear us say, refugees here to stay” and “no to austerity”.

The chants turned to “Tory scum, out of Brum”, as they were moved outside.

Protesters at the launch of the Conservative Party’s General Election campaign in Birmingham
Protesters at the launch of the Conservative Party’s General Election campaign in Birmingham

Inside, Conservative activists and party faithful wore T-shirts with slogans including “20,000 more police officers” and “Get Brexit Done”.

Those queuing to see the speech were bullish about the forthcoming election, after a chaotic 24 hours which had seen the resignation of Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns on the eve of the campaign launch.

Cabinet member Mr Cairns announced he was standing down over his links to a Conservative candidate accused of sabotaging a rape trial.

It capped a 24-hour period which also saw the Leader of the Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg forced to apologise for insensitive comments about the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire.

Praising Mr Johnson, retired college lecturer Gordon Donaldson, 72, from Stone, Staffordshire, said: “Compared to Mrs May, he’s got great dynamism.

“We want it big, bold, because Boris does bang the drum.”

Consultant engineer Tony Johnson, 71, said: “He’s the best thing that’s happened to the party in 15 years.”

Afterwards, there was unrestrained delight at the Prime Minister’s speech.

“I think in 2017, we ran a very formal Conservative Party campaign, and now we’re running a campaign expecting to win,” said David Smith, a Staffordshire county councillor.