Brexit TV debate: Johnson survives attacks in lacklustre affair

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Johnson after taking a tongue-lashing from Nicola Sturgeon

BORIS Johnson was the chief target of leading Remain voices at last night’s televised debate, which saw a six-strong panel rehash referendum talking points before a live studio audience.

The only man on stage, allegedly, the former London mayor was joined by Conservative junior energy minister Andrea Leadsom and Labour’s Gisela Stuart in supporting a British exit from the EU.

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Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Conservative energy secretary Amber Rudd, and veteran Labour MP Angela Eagle fought the case for remaining in the union.

Despite doubtlessly intense preparation and mirror miming, none of the debaters landed any significant blows capable of altering the trajectory of the vote, just two weeks away.

The Remain camp had clearly identified Boris Johnson as the prime target on a stage of light hitters and he was widely condemned for not backing away from the Leave campaign’s controversial claim that the UK sends €350 million to Brussels each week.

That allegation is emblazoned across the side of Johnson’s Vote Leave tour bus, with the right-winger cynically pretending that he would pump that money into the NHS instead.

Nicola Sturgeon, who was the sole voice defending immigration, accused Boris of “driving around the country in a bus with a giant whopper painted on the side”, while Angela Eagle scolded the unruffled Tory telling him “get that lie off your bus”.

It was all the forced drama you would expect from a carefully choreographed political debate filled with well-rehearsed lines including “We need to look at the numbers – I fear the only number Boris is interested in is the one that says No 10” from Boris’ Conservative rival Amber Rudd.

The energy secretary, tipped as a future Tory leader, also described her erstwhile superior as “the life and soul of the party, but not the man you want driving you home at the end of the evening”, as all pretence of Conservative unity finally fell flat.

Like his fellow American Donald Trump, Boris does, however, have a knack for the natural rather than the rehearsed and saw his fair share of success with the audience, especially as he urged his prosecutors not to “reduce this argument to a lot of personal stuff”.

He also reiterated the flawed but emotionally powerful appeal to ‘take back control of the country’ and it was clear that the Remain camp have failed to learn that sentiment and soundbites remain a potent political force.

The debate followed another hectic day of canvassing which saw old foes Tony Blair and John Major claim a Brexit could lead to the breakup of the United Kingdom, and former challenger for the Labour leadership, Andy Burnham, suggest the Remainers had made a fatal error in not appealing to the party’s traditional working-class base.

“We have definitely been far too much Hampstead and not enough Hull in recent times and we need to change that. Here we are two weeks away from the very real prospect that Britain will vote for isolation,” he said.


  1. I didn’t find it lacklustre and there were fine sincere performances and polite answers from the Leave representatives. The Remain ‘ladies’ were reduced to shrill screeching as they got increasingly frustrated that they had failed to land a verbal blow on the other team.

  2. Firstly I need to say that I wish people would stop saying that Leave are saying they would inject the money that goes to the EU into the NHS, none of them are saying this, listen to what is being said and then people might listen to you a bit more… what has been said is that that money could be injected into the NHS, there is a big difference. Just in case you do not realise it is David Cameron that runs the country and government “at least for the moment” so it is the government that will decide what to do with any money that we might have that we didn’t.

    I didn’t see all of this but from what I did see it was a like a session of witches screaming as they attacked Boris… have the remain camp become this desperate where they now give as people realise they are spurting out a load of crap to scare people, sad but in all honesty it really doesn’t do the remain camp any good.
    I heard people where impressed with Boris and especially with how well Andrea Leadsom and Labour’s Gisela Stuart came over.

    It’s great to see Remain roll our idiots such as Blair, Mandelson and even Kinnock, great move for the leave side as I see it, the more of these clowns that climb out of their boxes for Remain the better 😉

    On another note: BBC QT with Andrew Marr was a good show apart from another remain supporter, Eddie Izzard! OMG what a total idiot this man is, what in hells name made the BBC put this “Imbecile” on a program with a subject as serious and important as this goodness only knows!

  3. Now now Mike I hope you are not name calling or expressing your homophobic tendencies towards poor Mr,Ms?Izzad.
    It would appear that we are only able to voice an opinion if it does not mention women,homosexuals,disabled,members of any political party,members of any religious groups in fact anything that offends the self appointed P.C brigade who in actual fact are nothing more than trouble makers.
    Perhaps this will not get published

  4. I also think the BBC is bias but I watched Andrew Marr’s QT on Thur’s evening and got quite a surprise! Most people asking question where from the leave supporting audience and the only couple of people that asked questions for the Remain side of the audience came across as absolute numpties, with one of them Andrew Marr seemed to just brush over and move on she was so ridiculous! It actually seemed Andrew Marr was a little embarrassed at one stage as he had to make it clear it was a balanced audience and could someone supporting remain ask a question!

    I have to say, what a total idiot Eddy Izzard was on the show, he showed he should be involved in nothing other than what he does for a living because he was a total disgrace and embarrassment to the human race with the show he put on with QT, he was a total prick! How do these idiots get on a prime time TV program that is discussing a serious topic such as this?

    Anyway…. so all in all I would say that Leave came out way on top with a very supportive leave audience… a very pleasant surprise that I certainly wasn’t expecting knowing the BBC as I do.

  5. Oh, Sorry I have posted this here, not sure how that happened as I had taken it that I was posting this on “Unacceptable racism from the BBC” and I am not quite sure how it ended up here so sorry about that/this!

  6. Well Brian, I really couldn’t give a flying *** what the PC brigade think or take from what I say, lock them all up I say! 😉

    Eddie Izzard was born a man so I am in no doubt that would generally command a Mr. but if I had to give him a title I would be been thinking along the lines of other titles after his pathetic QT performance. How on earth does he expect the general public to take him seriously?

    BTW, I agree fully with what you say on the PC brigade.

  7. This is not entertainment, not a TV reality event, not a competition between TV companies. The seriousness of the looming farce seems lost on all too many who are entitled to vote. The net contribution to the EU is around 8 billion per year. Voting to leave invokes clause 4 of article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. be sure to read and understand what it means. It looks like the EU needs UK money, so if the other 27 countries did allow re-entry to the single market – guess what – the import tariff is likely to be 8 billion – with no involvement of the UK in the negotiations on terms and conditions of leaving the EU, and continuing compulsory commitment to the EU regulations and directives (a reliable source said repeatedly, but nobody heard !) Cheers !!

  8. Clause 4 means only that we wouldn’t be in the room when the EU decides its position in the negotiations; but of course we would be in the room when the EU is negotiating with us. Furthermore, the UK is a country with clout, and it could use that to extract some advantage.

    The UK is an important market for the Germans, is Merkel going to tell them they can’t sell their cars to us because we can’t agree a tariff?

    Look there are positives and negatives in all of this, EU trade is shrinking while world trade is growing, the EU is self destructing and EC & many in Brussels arrogantly believe they are right, free movement of people… but stop picking up on things that can be negotiated on after a Brexit, they need us more than we need them, that makes us one of the only countries ever in that situation to negotiate with them.

    Throughout history the most important thing for ppl in the UK has been democracy & sovereignty, people now take that for granted and cannot see it is being chipped away at but the EU’s structure and regulation, where a penny now appears to be more important than this democracy and sovereignty fought for throughout our history. People use the excuse we need more people because of pensions, but how do we cope in the NHS, schooling and with housing, we haven’t got the resources and we haven’t the room either, do we build over our green belts, voting to remain in the EU will be the worst thing people have ever voted for in our history.


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