Boris Johnson claims he knows more about cars than the boss of Jaguar

PUBLISHED: 11:51 14 January 2019 | UPDATED: 14:39 14 January 2019

Boris Johnson leaves the television studios. Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA Wire.

Boris Johnson leaves the television studios. Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA Wire.

Boris Johnson has suggested he knows more about car manufacturing than the boss of Jaguar Land Rover.

Speaking during a phone-in on LBC Radio, the former foreign secretary insisted Brexit would not damage the economy and said the industry had a strong future outside the EU.

Johnson dismissed claims that recent job losses, including at the car giant, had been the result of Brexit uncertainty.

He said JLR’s management had said staffing cuts were overwhelmingly to do with the “diesel crisis”.

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When it was put to Johnson by host Nick Ferrari that Ralf Speth Speth, who has expressed concerns about a no-deal Brexit, knew more about the car industry than he did, the former foreign secretary said: “Well actually, it’s an interesting point.

“I’m not certain he does, by the way.”

Johnson then cited a conversation he had with Speth when he was London mayor on the future of electric vehicles.

The Tory MP said: “I mean, I do not claim superior knowledge of every aspect of car manufacturing, okay.

“But, I simply said that I thought that EVs, electric vehicles, did represent the future, that we should be going down that road.

“And he said, ‘no, no, no, diesel is great, and we will stick with this’. And I’m afraid, I hesitate to say this, but I think events have vindicated me on that point rather than him.”

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The ex-Cabinet minister was scathing about “plots” by some MPs to try and give parliament more control over the Brexit agenda.

Johnson said: “I notice all this stuff about complicated jiggery-pokery for parliament to frustrate the deal.

“I don’t think that really can be done. I think that we are really playing with fire.”

Asked if he had “bottled” his chance to be Tory leader and prime minister in 2016, Johnson signalled he had second thoughts on withdrawing from the contest to succeed David Cameron.

He said: “In retrospect if I had my time again I might have done things differently.”

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