Boris Johnson says his first job as PM is to dish out no-deal Brexit warnings

  • Interview by ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston

Boris Johnson has said his first task as prime minister will be to warn people about the risks of leaving the EU without a deal, should he win the Tory leadership contest.

The man who is expected to be named PM on Tuesday told ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston that the first job he'll carry out in his new role will be to highlight to the public "all the possible risks" of no deal Brexit.

Speaking on ITV's Peston programme, he said: "We make sure everybody understands all the possible risks and eventualities.

"It's by doing that in a really wholehearted and systematic and confident way, that you of course minimise any disruption that might take place in the unlikely eventuality of actually having to come out on WTO terms."

He added: "What we will do, is we will encourage people in a very positive way. From the get-go, we start saying, ‘Look, what do you need, what help do you need, what reassurances do you need?'"

The prospective prime minister, who is one of Brexit's most fervent backers, was quizzed on what his maximum transition period would be for leaving the EU.

The MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, who is adamant the UK will leave by the October 31 deadline, claimed that under his premiership the transition period would be over "well before the next election".

He said: "I wouldn’t want to go any longer than necessary and I certainly think it would be crazy - we’ve got to get out well before the next election, put it that way."

Asked by Peston if it could run up until 2022, he said: "I wouldn’t want it to go as long as that. We should come out, I see no reason to come out, delay, until the next election, we should come out well before the next election."

Mr Johnson claimed "a lot of work is already in place" to reduce any negative ramifications of leaving the EU by the October deadline.

He went on: "A couple of areas I would single out that have needed special attention are the chains of administrative command in Northern Ireland.

"That’s really got to be properly fixed. Ideally you want Stormont up and running again (by the time of Brexit)."

Mr Johnson continued: “It’s not the end of the world if it isn’t but I would like it to be, everybody wants it to be, and it should be."

Mr Johnson refused to repeat pledges to give one of the top Cabinet jobs to a woman if he were to become prime minister - a promise he made during a debate on Monday.

Speaking to Mr Peston, he declined to elaborate on which of the three great offices of state could go to a female MP, or who he might choose.

"If I've already made that commitment, I'm certainly not going to resile from it now," he said.

Mr Johnson said that while mayor of London, half of his top team had been women, adding: "As prime minister I will continue to do absolutely everything to promote women in politics."

On the subject of him potentially being the 20th Old Etonian to become prime minister, he said he would "level up" education across the country.

Mr Johnson said: "What I want to do is level up opportunity around the country and if you look at this city, I can tell you this area was one of the poorest in the whole of the UK."

One of Mr Johnson's more prominent female supporters, Nadine Dorries MP, joined Peston in the studio and claimed the next government would have more women in top jobs, with Amber Rudd taking one of them.

She said: "I definitely want to see Amber stay in the Cabinet and I'd like to see Amber in one of the top three jobs.

"I think she might go to Foreign Office, or if she went back to the Home Office it would be nice to see that circle finished."

Also joining Peston on his programme was former Tory leadership hopeful Sam Gyimah, who dropped out of the race before its first round.

He told Peston he would be voting against the government on votes aimed at securing a no deal Brexit.

He was also asked about the possibility of Mr Johnson proroguing Parliament to get no deal through.

He said: "When you get to the point, as a new prime minister who has never faced a general election, having to shut the doors of Parliament in order to get your principle policy through, then something has seriously gone wrong."