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Johnson 'ready to pick up baton' if PM's Brexit plan fails

Boris Johnson is a politician that loves the spotlight but since he resigned from Theresa May's cabinet in July in protest over the Chequers plan, he has kept away from the cameras.
And yet, on the eve of the party's annual conference in Birmingham, the former foreign secretary is back on the small screen to send Theresa May a message that will delight grassroots members: You must chuck Chequers.A destabilising force at the heart of her government ever since she became prime minister, Mr Johnson showed no sign of letting up when it comes to pressing his former boss.But he is savvy enough to know too that the parliamentary party are tiring of the Johnson-May psychodrama and is sticking to a new script - for now.His interventions on Brexit are all about challenging the policy, not the prime minister.I asked him four times in our interview whether he wanted the top job, each time he dodged.
Johnson 'ready to pick up baton' if PM's Brexit plan fails

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Johnson: 'I stand by burka comments'
"What I want is to change the current state of Brexit negotiations," insisted Mr Johnson.Changing the prime minister is "not the issue for me", he added."I can honestly say that if we get this right now, and I believe that there is a very good chance that we will, and we can revert to optimistic, kind of self-confident type of vision of what this country can achieve, my cup will run over."But Mr Johnson knows very well that the party is now looking beyond Mrs May to the next leader, and he is positioning for a shot at the top job - even if he wouldn't explicitly admit it on Friday.He is under no illusions about how difficult it is going to be for him to become Conservative leader.Mr Johnson - elected London mayor not once but twice - was once dubbed the Heineken politician because he was able to reach bits of the electorate that others Tories couldn't reach.

Johnson 'ready to pick up baton' if PM's Brexit plan fails

Boris Johnson stands by burka remarks, accusing colleagues of 'confected indignation'
Mr Johnson also tells Sky News he is worried the EU may go for the Chequers proposal as it's 'a great deal for them'

But since the referendum he has become more Marmite. Loved and hated in equal measure, depending on which side of the Brexit divide you sit.For Brexiteers he is their leading light, the man who delivered Brexit and who, if prime minister, would bat hard for Britain in Brussels.For Remainers, he is a political chameleon who only switched to the Leave side because it gave him a shot at Number 10.Mr Johnson has exacerbated these tensions by being deliberately provocative. When in cabinet he was a constant destabilising force; now he is outside the tent throwing rocks in.
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