And the front runner for the party leadership hailed the Daily Express for showing why restrictive Brussels red tape means quitting the bloc is the right thing to do. “We need to get on and get out of the EU on October 31,” he said, adding: “This is a great country, we can do it.” Voters want Parliament to “get on and deliver Brexit,” Boris Johnson said. Shortly before he addressed the final hustings of the leadership contest, the Daily Express handed the former foreign secretary a package of kippers to demonstrate the impact of EU regulations.
They were produced by a smokery on the Isle of Man, a Crown dependency, where staff say EU rules have forced them to include a cooling pack in packages sent to customers by post.
Industry insiders say the rule has added huge costs to production.
Mr Johnson said: “You’ve brought me a classic piece pointless petty fogging interference.
“Why does a kipper from the Isle of Man need to be told by the EU that he has to provide a pillow of ice with every kipper?
“It’s an unnecessary cost. And what are you supposed to do with the pillow of ice? How do you dispose of it?
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Boris Johnson told a rally of Tory members that Britain must leave the EU by October 31
“I bet there are all sorts of environmental implications. I bet it’s hard to dispose of. Anyway, I’m going to eat the kippers.”
Mr Johnson then took to the stage at London’s Excel centre and brandished the packet of fish, telling the crowd it showed why the UK must leave the EU.
He declared: “This kipper…has been donated to me just now by the editor of a national newspaper, who received it from a kipper-smoker in the Isle of Man who is utterly furious because after decades of sending kippers like this through the post he has had his costs massively increased by the European Union, Brussels bureaucrats who insist that each kipper must be accompanied by this, a plastic ice pillow.
“Pointless, expensive, environmentally damaging health and safety.”
Mr Johnson enters the final days of the race to replace Theresa May as the clear front runner.
Mr Johnson said he was ‘prepared to be robust’ in negotiations with Brussels if he wins
To cheers and a standing ovation from supporters, he set out an upbeat pitch for job.
“This is a great country, we can do it,” he said.
Telling the rally he wanted to “get Brexit done”, he said the Tory party were “going to come back and we are going to win”.
Mr Johnson said he was “prepared to be robust” in negotiations with Brussels if he wins.
But he admitted that a future trade deal with the United States is “not going to be done in a trice” and will not instantly boost GDP.
Mr Johnson confessed he had met Nigel Farage “decades ago” in a “sort of Cold War meeting” where they both “tried to recruit each other” but failed.
But he warned he would not agree to any form of pact with the Brexit Party. “I rule it out,” he said.
Boris Johnson has been a long-standing Brexiteer
Mr Johnson was introduced at the rally by Treasury chief Liz Truss, who said the Conservative party had “stopped inspiring people” and now relied on “managerialism”.
She said Mr Johnson was an “uplifting freedom fighter” who could turn around its fortunes.
“I believe Boris is the man who can cut through the cacophony of pessimism,” she said.
Mr Johnson said the Theresa May’s EU Withdrawal deal is dead and the Irish border backstop had to go.
“I think the whole Withdrawal Agreement is effectively defunct but the backstop is certainly the bit I find most difficult,” he said.
Mr Johnson said that the backstop if it was retained could mean being trapped in the EU customs union indefinitely or the UK would “lose control” of Northern Ireland.
Mr Hunt said Mrs May’s Withdrawal Agreement is dead
He warned: “We would see a division between the Union between and Great Britain and Northern Ireland and I think that’s an utterly intolerable choice.
“So as far as I’m concerned the backstop won’t work.”
Rival Jeremy Hunt walked on to cheers from his supporters as they waved “Has to be Hunt” banners. But the Foreign Secretary appeared to concede defeat, telling the crowd: “If I don’t win it will be a huge honour to serve Boris in a way that unites our party and our country”.
Mr Hunt also said Mrs May’s Withdrawal Agreement is dead and added he would seek to alter the Northern Ireland backstop.
But he added: “I want to get a deal and so we have got to make some profound changes to that Withdrawal Agreement. That doesn’t mean ripping up the whole thing but it does mean the backstop has to go. If you are saying that we will remove any guarantees over not having hard border infrastructure in the island of Ireland, then no.
Jeremy Hunt has vowed to deliver the vote of the EU referendum
“I think there is agreement in our party that we can never go back to a hard border in the island of Ireland.”
Asked how he will fix Britain’s “broken” social care system Jeremy Hunt promised: “Local councils do need more money to provide a basic standard of care and I want a 10-year plan for the social care system just as I delivered a 10-year plan for the NHS.
“But it is also about personal responsibility and we need to encourage more younger people to save for those costs in the very last few months of their lives earlier, just as they save for their pensions.”
Pressed on abortion laws, Mr Johnson said: “I believe firmly in a woman’s right to choose.
“This is a matter of conscience in our Parliament, and MPs should decide according to their consciences.”
Asked if he was a feminist, Mr Johnson said: “Absolutely.”
And amid laughter Mr Johnson denied bizarre Westminster rumours that he dyes his hair, saying it was an “outrageous” claim.