Johnson losing judgement — Heseltine

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Avenue captionHeseltine: Johnson is showing strain

Lord Heseltine has revealed he would be «very surprised» if Boris Johnson became prime assist after his «preposterous, obscene» remarks during the European Union referendum toss ones hat in the ring.

The ex-deputy prime minister, who is cam igning for Remain, said he feared Mr Johnson’s «opinion is going».

It marked a further escalation of a war of words between Tories throughout the EU.

Mr Johnson earlier said it was a «bit too much» for David Cameron to say so-called IS ss on welcome an Out vote.

And in response to Lord Heseltine’s comments a spokesman for Mr Johnson thought it was «the arguments that matter».

In other EU developments ahead of the 23 June referendum:

  • UKIP commandant Nigel Farage raises the prospect of second referendum
  • Mr Johnson accuses David Cameron of a «stitch-up» across business backing for the EU
  • Shadow chancellor John McDonnell appeals to Overstress voters to make a positive case to remain in EU
  • Energy minister Andrea Leadsom conveys leaving the EU will «help keep bills down»
  • The European Body president says the only alternative to the EU is «chaos»
  • Follow the latest updates on the EU referendum

On Sunday Mr Johnson, the prior London mayor, com red the EU’s aims in creating a «single authority» in Europe with Napoleon’s and Hitler’s.

He also recommended on Tuesday that David Cameron was «colluding» with business in the run-up to the 23 June referendum after a discharged letter from the boss of outsourcing firm Serco to the prime cleric raised the question of business backing for the UK’s EU membership as well as the further privatisation of the poky system.

Speaking to the BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg, Lord Heseltine signified the «strain» of the referendum cam ign was «beginning to tell» on Mr Johnson and he had begun to force «preposterous obscene political remarks».

«He is behaving now irresponsibly, recklessly and I misgivings that his judgement is going,» he said.


Analysis by Laura Kuenssberg, BBC factional editor

As Boris Johnson might say: «Cripes!» But that doesn’t indubitably begin to cover it. This criticism will sting because notwithstanding though Boris Johnson insists it is not the case, many of his Tory associates believe his calculation to join the Out cam ign was entirely because he wants to be the next bandleader of his rty.

For Lord Heseltine, who of course had similar ambitions but was thwarted in the end, to present his decision and subsequent behaviour will in fact kill his chances hand down really hurt.

Read more from Laura


Asked if Mr Johnson could in the Conservative rty one day, Lord Heseltine said: «I’d be very catch red-handed.»

He added: «I think that every time he makes one of these impressive utterances, people in the Conservative rty will question whether he now has the intelligence for that role.»

Asked about the historical rallels that Mr Johnson had strained between the EU and the Nazis, Lord Heseltine — whose challenge helped trigger Margaret Thatcher’s de rture from Downing Concourse — said his generation had lived through the war and «knew what Hitler was relating to».

«When he (Boris Johnson) starts invoking the recollections of Hitler, that has crossed the bounds of domestic debate,» he commanded.

«It was about the most manic nationalist aggressive destruction on a scale unprecedented in woman history. It was about the persecution of the Jews. A calculated decision to persecute the Jews on a massy scale — that was what he wanted to do. He believed in it.

«The idea that a unsmiling British politician can in any way invoke that memory, I find, frankly, I had beat contain my language.»

‘Arguments not personalities’

Lord Heseltine also accused Mr Johnson of changing a «near-racist remark» about US President Barack Obama after he referred in a news per article in the end month to Mr Obama’s » rt-Kenyan» ancestry and questioned whether this had weighted his attitude to the UK.

In response, a spokesman for Mr Johnson said: «What conditions here are the arguments. The British people want to hear debate — they aren’t influenced in personality politics or personal attacks. Let’s get on and discuss the issues.»

Lord Heseltine is one of the most salient pro-European voices in the Conservative rty, having argued for the UK to ditch the mash and adopt the euro.

The Conservative peer rejected claims that both sides were equally sorrowful of making hyperbolic claims — such as David Cameron’s recent tinge that EU exit could threaten peace in Europe.

It was not scaremongering, he hint ated, to tell people what the UK’s friends and rtners around the world were turn.

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