Critics claim Boris only backed the ‘leave EU’ camp as a way of lining himself up to become the successor to Mr Cameron who today (June 24) announced he is to step down after losing the argument that Britain should remain in the European Union.
Asked about his leadership pretensions while supporting Tory candidate Stephen Mosley on a trip to Chester during the 2015 election campaign, the MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip joked: ‘Give me a break!’, but spoken in French.
Speaking after posing for numerous selfies and addressing a crowd at The Cross, he exclaimed: “Donnez moi un break! We’re going to get David Cameron elected Prime Minister.”
Backing the Leave side in yesterday’s EU referendum was a high risk gamble which appears to have paid off for Boris after the British electorate narrowly voted to pull out of Europe.
There had been a debate about how much influence he would have on the outcome of the EU referendum across the country given his close association with the capital.
However, The Sun’s political editor Tom Newton Dunn told BBC Radio Five Live it was his experience of accompanying Boris on a tour of northern marginal constituencies, including Chester, that persuaded him the blond-haired MP had broad appeal because of the sheer number of selfies he was asked to do.
His view was that Boris alone ‘would not change the outcome of the referendum’, but added: “Until the general election campaign I really questioned whether the ‘Boris effect’ would reach north of Watford so I went out for a day with him, up north to the Manchester swing seats, the southern Manchester belt and places like Chester and he spent the entire day going to three or four different marginals.
“I counted the amount of times people stopped him in the street for selfies – it used to be handshakes, now it’s selfies – and I lost count at 164 in four or five hours. He is a massive celebrity who stopped the traffic even in your part of the world as well as mine.”