UK under threat if Boris's English nationalist party wins next election, warns Lord Patten

20 June 2022, 18:52 | Updated: 20 June 2022, 18:58

By Patrick Grafton-Green

Tory grandee Lord Patten has admitted he wants Boris Johnson to lose the next general election, saying it would be a "disaster" if he wins and could result in the break-up of the United Kingdom.

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The former Conservative Party chairman said he feared the union was "really in threat" in the hands of the Prime Minister, adding: "You want to break up the union you send Boris Johnson up to Scotland."

Asked about the prospect of the PM winning a second term in power, Lord Patten told Tonight with Andrew Marr: "I think what it would do is hasten the break-up of the union.

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"I think that's true of Scotland and England. I think it's probably a threat given the way in which the Northern Ireland Protocol is being played, terrible playing fast and loose with the most important peace agreement this country has reached in years over Northern Ireland.

"I think we're talking about the possible break-up of the union in those circumstances."

He added that he "would prefer to see probably a coalition which holds the union together".

Lord Patten said he did not believe that the current government was a true Conservative government, describing it as "English nationalist".

"It's unfortunately both populist and unpopular which is a terrible combination," he said.

He added: "For me the Conservatives, unless they change very radically, winning the next election would be a disaster for them and the rest of us because I don't think we have a Conservative government at the moment... and one that you can't trust."

Questioned about his thoughts on Mr Johnson, Lord Patten referenced a report written by the PM's teacher when he was at school.

"He said something like Boris thinks that it's churlish for the rest of us not to realise he's exceptional and thinks it's appalling that he should be obliged to follow all the same rules that everybody else has to follow," he said.

"It absolutely summarises the man to the tee."

He said the situation faced by the UK was a "terrible weakness of my party... it's really sad that the Conservative Party is split between Brexit right-wing Conservatives and others".

"Every move is determined as far as the Prime Minister is concerned by whether it's appealing to his right-wing to keep him in office," he said.

"That's part of the reason for the general sense of seediness and mendacity about the Government."