Steve Bannon says impressive Boris Johnson should be next Tory leader

Donald Trump’s ex-aide Steve Bannon says ‘very impressive’ Boris Johnson should be next Tory leader – as he casts doubt Britain will ever leave EU

  • Donald Trump’s controversial former strategist Steve Bannon backed Boris Johnson to be next Tory party leader
  • Bannon said he found the ex-Foreign Secretary ‘very impressive’ at a recent meeting, adding that he is ‘not a fan’ of Theresa May
  • He defended Johnson’s ‘suicide vest’ comments, saying: ‘I thought it was smart – the way he messaged that was quite powerful.’
  • Former White House aide insisted there would be a trade deal in place – even in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit
  • But he cast doubt on Britain ever leaving the EU because opponents are ‘dragging their heels and hoping people forget about it’
  • Bannon also opened up about his clashes with Ivanka Trump, comparing their rows to ‘knife fights’

Donald Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon has backed Boris Johnson to be the next Tory party leader – as he voiced doubts Britain would ever leave the EU. 

Bannon says he was ‘very impressed’ by Johnson when he met the former Foreign Secretary before he quit over Theresa May’s Chequers agreement over Brexit.

And Trump’s ex-aide insisted there would be a trade deal later on even in the event of a ‘no deal Brexit’.

His prediction, in an interview with Anne McElvoy on Economist radio, came as May was warned she has just eight weeks to thrash out a deal with the EU.    

Bannon said: ‘I think there will be  a ‘do-over’ on Brexit. Opponents are dragging it on and hoping people forget about it.’

Endorsing front-runner Johnson, who is getting divorced from Marina Wheeler after 25 years of marriage over his close relationship with young aide Carrie Symonds, Bannon said: ‘I have talked to Boris Johnson and I am very impressed by him.’

He defended Johnson’s controversial suicide vest remark, saying: ‘I thought it was smart – he way the messaged that was quite powerful. It was the type of phrase that cuts through’. 

Donald Trump’s controversial former strategist Steve Bannon (pictured) backed Boris Johnson to be next Tory party leader when he spoke to Anne McElvoy of The Economist

Bannon says he was ‘very impressed’ by Johnson (pictured) when he met the former Foreign Secretary before he quit over Theresa May’s Chequers agreement over Brexit


  • Brexiteers and Remainers unite to declare May’s Chequers…


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But Bannon thinks the former Foreign Secretary should have struck out ‘more firmly’ against May when he quit the Cabinet over the Chequers deal this summer

‘I was vocal to Boris about the fact that he had a ‘Churchillian moment’ – maybe his Commons speech could have rallied the troops. My advice would have been to seize moments like that, You have to make decisions in the heat of the moment – and that was a moment. 

He added: ‘One thing I learned in the Trump campaign is that there are inflection points you only understand later on.’

Bannon said he was ‘not a fan’ of Mrs May as an explosive internal memo suggesting she will be forced to ‘stand down soon after March 2019’ and detailing the pros and cons of her potential successors was leaked.

The excruciating dossier is being widely circulated among Tory MPs and analyses the leadership prospects of her cabinet colleagues and other contenders, including leading Brexiteers Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg.

It emerged as Mrs May was desperately trying to sell her widely criticised Chequers plan to EU leaders in Salzburg on Wednesday evening.

Protested:  Steve Bannon’s speech at The Economist’s Open Future Festival at the World Trade Center in New York was controversial and drew protests from some of the audience

Speaking to McElvoy, Bannon, architect of Trump’s campaign success, switched from British to US politics as he opened up about explosive rows he had inside the White House with Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner – comparing their clashes to a ‘knife fight.

‘On a number of occasions, Ivanka and I would get into it. When we had fights, I would say to her, ‘You are first daughter and I understand you, you love your father, but here you are just another staffer and you have a chain of command.’

‘In a bureaucratic knife fight I can give as good as I get.’

He described Ivanka Trump as ‘very smart and tough and loves her father’.

But he added of Ivanka and Kushner: ‘I don’t agree that it serves his (Trump’s) best interests that they are staffers – they had very different ideas about populism and some of the economic nationalism.’ 

Anne McElvoy is Senior Editor and head of Economist Radio 

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