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Johnson to speak after claims of dodging media scrutiny — live


Johnson: Trump should not intervene in election campaign

Laura Hughes reports:

Boris Johnson said Donald Trump should not intervene in the general election when he visits the UK next week to attend a Nato summit.

“When you have close allies like the US and UK the best thing is for neither side to be involved in each other’s election campaigns”, he said.

Mr Johnson also refused to say if Jacob Rees-Mogg would return as Commons Leader in the next parliament if the Tories win the election.

Mr Rees-Mogg has been absent in the campaign after an ill-fated LBC interview, when he ventured his opinions on the “common sense” approach to evacuating Grenfell tower.

Mr Johnson also declined to disclose the number of children he has.

“I love my children very much, but they are not standing at this election, and I am not therefore going to comment”, he said. “I am not going to put them on to the pitch in this election.”

Asked if there was “another Johnson on the way”, he said: “I’m not going to get into discussions [on this]”.

Johnson unable to specify how many ‘oven ready’ deals

Boris Johnson in the LBC radio interview was unable to come up with how many “oven ready deals” are in the works in the run-up to the UK leaving the EU, write Laura Hughes and Sarah Provan in London.

“We have talks under way with many countries,” Mr Johnson said.

I can’t give the answer to how many deals are actually formalised.

There are a number that are virtually ready to go. I imagine we have about a dozen we’re currently working on.

We want to do lot of deals around the world.

Mr Johnson identified “ample opportunities to do deals with India, China, with Australia, with New Zealand”, but added: “I am not going to say they are ‘oven ready'”.

Questioned on how long it would take to secure a trade deal with the EU, he replied:

We’ve set a deadline of the end of next year and I see no reason to go beyond that deadline.

He added:

We have a great great opportunity, get [Brexit] done, and simultaneously begin the Rubik’s cube of negotiations with many other countries.

Johnson would rather get out of the EU than stay as PM

Boris Johnson has been taking questions from callers on issues ranging from climate change to the NHS.

Asked whether he had to choose between being prime minister or Brexit happening, Mr Johnson offered one of his clearest answers: he would rather “get out of the EU.”

He added that the January 31 deadline is the “absolute latest” Britain would leave under a new Conservative government, leaving open the possibility of an earlier departure. 

On his refusal to take part in last night’s climate change debate, where he was ’empty chaired’ by a melting ice sculpture by Channel 4, Mr Johnson said his team had made it clear to the broadcaster “ages ago” that he would not be turning up.

“I can’t do absolutely every debate,” Mr Johnson said. 

Asked to confirm whether his party was considering a review of Channel 4’s public service licence in retaliation, the prime minister did not quite answer. “I want a free fair exuberant, unbridled media,” he said. 

NHS ‘not for sale’, Johnson says on LBC radio interview

Boris Johnson, the prime minister, has taken part in a Q&A phone-in on LBC radio.

He said the National Health Service is “not for sale” and should the US or any other country put that as a condition he would walk away from the talks.

“The NHS is not for sale and under no circumstances will this government or any Conservative government do anything to put the NHS up for negotiation in trade talks or privatisation,” he said. “Were the United States or any other country to insist on that as a condition of talks, we would simply walk out,” Mr Johnson said on LBC radio.

“It is perfectly obvious that if any government were so mad as to go down that route they would never be reelected,” the prime minister said.

Mr Johnson dismissed the idea of former trade ministers having talks with leading US pharmaceutical companies as “pure Bermuda triangle stuff from the Labour party, because there was no evidence at all that the UK government was wanting to sell the NHS or to parlay the NHS in trade talks. It was absolutely not substantiated by the evidence that Mr Corbyn produced,” he said.

How Boris Johnson is defined by his ‘ruthless’ message discipline

Robert Shrimsley, in his analysis How Boris Johnson’s message discipline is boosting the Tories, outlines two moments that stand out in capturing the “essence” of the UK general election campaign.

The first was opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn rattling through Labour’s pledges in 60 seconds, like a contestant naming prizes in the BBC’s Generation Game. The second is during the first televised leaders debate, when Boris Johnson’s twisted a question to push another “Get Brexit done” prompted groans from the audience. This shows the organising difference between the Tories and Labour, Robert writes, with the prime minister being defined by ruthless message discipline.

Highlights from your morning papers

The Daily Telegraph leads with Tories threatening “biased” Channel 4, warning the broadcaster that it faces a review after next month’s general election. Michael Gove, the Cabinet Office minister and a former environment secretary, last night was refused entry to debate with opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn. The broadcaster replaced Boris Johnson, who had refused to take part in the election debate on climate change, on live TV with an ice sculpture.

The Guardian asks who was to blame at Hillsborough as it and the Sun lead on the retired chief superintendent in charge of the police operation at the 1989 football disaster being cleared of the gross negligence manslaughter of 95 Liverpool fans.

City AM notes that Londoners will endure a “month of chaos” as South Western rail services plan a 27-day strike from Monday after talks break down.

The Financial Times says the former Nissan chief, in his final interview before a new head is installed on Monday, said the carmaker has been damaged by Japanese nationalists wanting to unwind its 20-year alliance with France’s Renault. Hiroto Saikawa served as chief executive of Nissan under Carlos Ghosn,

Welcome back

The spotlight is squarely on Boris Johnson today after a row erupted last night over the prime minister’s decision to skip the Channel 4 climate debate. The television station declined to accept Michael Gove, cabinet minister and former environment secretary, as a replacement and instead placed an ice sculpture on the stage to replace Mr Johnson.

Mr Johnson has also faced criticism for declining to say whether he will submit to a ‘forensic interview’ on the BBC after his rival, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, faced a gruelling interrogation earlier this week.

The prime minister is expected to hold a press conference later on Friday.



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