Johnson: May is leader UK needs in “age of uncertainty”

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FOREIGN SECRETARY Boris Johnson described Theresa May as the leader Britain needs in an “age of uncertainty” tonight in his first major intervention in the General Election campaign.

In a thinly-veiled swipe at Jeremy Corbyn, Mr Johnson said a prime minister had to be “prepared to do everything necessary” to keep the country safe.

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His comments follow the Labour leader’s insistence at the weekend that he would not authorise a first strike with nuclear weapons as prime minister.

Speaking at the Mansion House tonight, Mr Johnson also conceded the coming Brexit talks will be tough and that “some plaster may fall off the ceiling”.

But Mr Johnson, who was last year set to compete with Mrs May for the leadership of the Conservative Party until his bid was sabotaged by then education secretary Michael Gove, insisted the Prime Minister could take Britain into a successful post-Brexit future.

The Foreign Secretary warned Britain was facing “uncertain and unstable times” and that “Britain needs to help manage them in a serious and clear-sighted way.”

Mr Johnson said: “That is where leadership comes in. Clear leadership to navigate this age of uncertainty. We are determined to provide that leadership, to give people the security and certainty they need.

“Because there can be no more important task for a Government that to keep people safe - and we must be prepared to do everything necessary to do so.

“It is why the Prime Minister made it a priority when she took office last year to ensure the renewal of Britain’s crucial independent nuclear deterrent and to lead the debate in Parliament.

“It is why she made it clear in the US earlier this year that Britain saw our profound security and defence alliance with the US as part of the bedrock of global security in the modern world.”

Mr Johnson acknowledged the last 20 years had been “broadly good for the world” and seen a billion people taken out of poverty.

But he also pointed to the threats facing the UK and its allies.

The Foreign Secretary said: “In recent years we have seen an increase in the global tally of deaths from wars.

“We and our allies face threats from countries with a nuclear weapons capacity, and from those trying to acquire that capacity.”

“For the first time for many years, some countries are trying to change European borders, not by agreement, but by force. And, as we have seen across Europe in recent months, we face a continued battle against terrorism and the hateful ideology of Islamic extremism.

“These are uncertain and unstable times.”

Mr Johnson said the “Western ideals of individualism, of opportunity, and of free political development are the right ones” and he expressed confidence that they will “prevail in the long run”