Boris Johnson: How Tory leadership candidate revealed his ‘deep shame and guilt’

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The former Foreign Secretary is officially launching his campaign to be the next Prime Minister today. He is expected to assert that he would take the UK out of the EU on October 31 no matter what, if he were to win the leadership. He will say: “Delay means defeat. Delay means Corbyn. Kick the can and we kick the bucket.”

Many believe the prominent Brexiteer has had his eye on the top job for years, but before his meteoric rise into politics Mr Johnson tried his hand at journalism.

However, his career was not without its stumbles.

After university, Mr Johnson got a job as a trainee reporter at The Times but was later dismissed for fabricating a quote in an article about the Plantagenet King Edward II.

In 2013 BBC documentary ‘Boris Johnson: The Irresistible Rise’ he described how this incident made him feel.

READ MORE: Brexit analysis: Why no deal with be ‘entirely manageable’

He said: “It was awful. I remember a deep deep sense of shame and guilt, and just not knowing how to sort it out.

“It was a bit of a bummer, frankly.”

The offending article centred around the discovery of the Rose Palace, built by Edward II, who is believed to have had a gay relationship with Piers Gaveston, First Earl of Cornwall.

The quote Mr Johnson concocted was one he claimed came from historian Colin Lucas, his own godfather.

Mr Johnson wrote in The Independent in 2002 that he “managed to attribute to Colin the view that Edward II and Piers Gaveston would have been cavorting together in the Rose Palace”.

This is despite the fact that by the time the Rose Palace was built, the Earl had been killed.

Mr Johnson has called this article his “greatest mistake”.

Fortunately for him, he managed to snag a job at the Daily Telegraph after The Times let him go.

He was sent to Brussels to report on the European Commission and quickly became a well-known Eurosceptic reporter.

His Eurosceptic articles apparently won him praise from Margaret Thatcher, while irritating John Major.

He has maintained his views on the EU to this day and campaigned to leave the bloc in 2016.

A critic of Theresa May’s negotiations, he resigned as Foreign Secretary in 2018 over her Chequers deal.

Now positioning himself as the man to lead the country as it exits the EU, he will make his full pitch today in what is a somewhat delayed start to the campaign.

In a boost for Mr Johnson, a ComRes poll commissioned by The Telegraph has claimed he would receive a 140-seat majority in the Commons if elected party leader.

However, he has come under fire from other candidates including outsider Rory Stewart, who asked an audience of 600 members: “Is this the person you want writing the instruction to the nuclear submarines?”

Also launching his campaign today is Home Secretary Sajid Javid.

He is expected to say: “A leader is not just for Christmas, or just for Brexit.

“So we can’t risk going with someone who feels like the short-term, comfort zone choice.

“We need tomorrow’s leader, today.”

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