9 Oct 2012

Boris backs Dave the ‘broom’ cleaning up Labour mess

Few politicians are confident enough to compare their cabinet colleagues to cleaning utensils – but Boris Johnson is one of them. The London mayor delivers a heartfelt speech to Tories in Birmingham.

After his high profile arrival in Birmingham, London Mayor Boris Johnson set about consolidating his reputation as a potential leader of the Conservative Party while putting forward his vision for the capital.

He began with thanks, to Prime Minister David Cameron, (“Where’s Dave?” he asked as if to thank the prime minister face to face,) and to those who helped get the party into power. But then things got a little surreal.

Speaking of his party colleagues in the cabinet, Boris took up the idea of the Conservatives cleaning out the “mess left by the old Labour government” and ran with it, calling George Osborne “the dustpan”, Michael Gove “the J cloth” and the PM himself “the broom”. All to wild cheers from the floor.

Later there was time for compliments for political foes: “The Olympics succeeded because we planned for years and we worked together. Public sector and private sector. And we put aside party differences.

“And yes this is the right moment to say thank you to Tony Blair and Gordon Brown and Tessa Jowell. And yes, Ken Livingstone. Ken old chum there is not coming back from that one. You have just been clapped at Tory Party conference.”

Reaction from the floor
Anthony Cole – Wandsworth Conservatives: “It was excellent he was able to articulate why we need a Conservative government. We’ve got quite a good leader at the moment but we’ll see after that.”

Nathiniel Ikeazor – Twickenham delegate: “Quite amazing – this guy really does look like the next prime minister of this country – BJ for PM – what can I say.”

Sam Firth – an association chariman in Leeds: “It’s just pure Boris – Boris is fantastic. We’ve still got David Cameron as leader and we’ve still got a very good chance of winning the next election.”

But he could not resist the opportunity to set out what he had done as mayor of London and what he planned to do in the future: “We will sort out our aviation capacity problem. We will create new river crossings. We will regenerate East London and we will put in air conditioned and driverless trains.

“Even if Bob Crow says his RMT drivers won’t test drive the driverless trains. We will continue to expand cycle hire and plant thousands of trees.

“We have the right time zone the right language and we have the right government in Westminster and I will fight to keep it there.”

As David Cameron preprares to deliver his keynote speech to conference on Wednesday, he will no doubt be preparing for the comparisons with his old friend’s performance.