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Dublin: 15 °C Sunday 15 September, 2019

John Major says Boris Johnson's advisers could 'poison the political atmosphere beyond repair'

The former prime minister took particular aim at Dominic Cummings, calling him a “political anarchist”.

Former British Prime Minister Sir John Major, pictured in 2017.
Former British Prime Minister Sir John Major, pictured in 2017.
Image: Yui Mok/PA Wire/PA Images

FORMER BRITISH PRIME Minister Sir John Major has hit out at the advisers of current PM Boris Johnson.

Speaking in Glasgow tonight, Major took particular aim at Dominic Cummings, calling him a “political anarchist”.

The former Conservative Party leader also said Johnson should reinstate the 21 Tory MPs ousted from the party over their stance on Brexit.

“The legitimate concerns of those who have been banished from the party … seem to be worth nothing – unless they become cyphers, parroting the views of a prime minister influenced by a political anarchist, who cares not a fig for the future of the party I have served,” Major said.

He made the comments at a dinner for business group CBI Scotland, the Guardian reports.

“Such men and women adorn parliament, and the millions whose views they represent will not forgive or forget that they have been treated so brutally…

“We have seen over-mighty advisers before. It is a familiar script. It always ends badly. I offer the prime minister some friendly advice: get rid of these advisers before they poison the political atmosphere beyond repair. And do it quickly,” Major said.

He added that Johnson’s decision to prorogue the British parliament amounts to “playing fast and loose” with the UK’s future.

Major has joined a legal challenge against the move.

‘Dead in a ditch’ 

British MPs last night voted against holding a general election on 15 October.

MPs backed the government motion by 298 votes to 56 votes.

However, the required two-thirds majority (434 votes) was not met as 214 Labour Party members abstained. Three Labour MPs voted for the bill and 28 against.

Johnson tabled the motion after MPs earlier voted in favour of a bill which, if passed in the House of Lords tomorrow as expected, could extend Brexit until at least 31 January 2020 (if a deal is not agreed by 19 October) in an attempt to avoid the UK leaving the European Union without a deal.

MPs are expected to vote again next week on the possibility of holding an election. 

Speaking at an event in Yorkshire this evening, Johnson said he would “rather be dead in a ditch” than seek another Brexit extension from the EU. The current deadline is 31 October.

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Órla Ryan

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