Boris Johnson's billionaire leadership backer urged prorogation before he became PM

PUBLISHED: 10:00 22 September 2019 | UPDATED: 08:46 23 September 2019

Crispin Odey appears in the Tories At War documentary. Photograph: Channel 4

Crispin Odey appears in the Tories At War documentary. Photograph: Channel 4

Archant

One of Boris Johnson's billionaire leadership backers was, as early as July, urging the prime-minister-to-be to prorogue parliament to force Brexit.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Photograph: Christopher Furlong/PA.Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Photograph: Christopher Furlong/PA.

Just as Johnson was poised to become leader, hedge fund financier Crispin Odey said that he was backing Boris because he would be ready to "dissolve" parliament for a no-deal Brexit.

Speaking to Channel 4 the day before Johnson won the leadership, Odey also said he was urging Johnson to pack the House of Lords with sympathetic new peers in order to "get this done".

The statements, revealed in the documentary Tories at War, suggest Johnson was considering prorogation at the behest of hard Brexiteer backers before he even became prime minister.

The revelation comes as Supreme Court judges are on the cusp of deciding whether prorogation of parliament this September was lawful.

One issue the litigants Gina Miller and Joanna Cherry seek to demonstrate to the courts is that Johnson's prorogation was specifically for the purpose of frustrating the will of parliament, which is determined to reject a no-deal Brexit.

Johnson has so far refused to provide a sworn witness statement to the court committing to his reasoning for prorogation.

MORE: Documentary exposes not just how split the Tories are - but how duplicitous they are too WATCH: Supreme Court: Boris Johnson aimed to silence parliament, court hears

In July, Odey told Channel 4: "If you're looking for somebody who wants to carry out Brexit, you want somebody who actually will think once he is crossed, how do we get this done.

"And you may at the same time have to create 100 new peers at the same time in the House of Lords.

"You're not going to change this current parliament, so you've got to dissolve it in some way.

"And of course it's going to be the only way that we are going to be able to heal the rupture that is Brexit."

Odey also discussed the two sides of Johnson as "Boris One and Boris Two".

He said: "My phrase is, there's Boris One and Boris Two. Boris One is a charming guy who tries to get everything by charming people, and bringing a bit of enthusiasm where there hasn't been any. And says 'come on, surely you can see where your future lies'. That's Boris One.

"Boris Two, which nobody's really seen, is the one where Boris One has been denied and he is then fighting for his survival. And the interesting thing is, all of the risks to Boris about being unscrupulous then become part of his genius."

It was this unscrupulous "Boris", he said, that could be prepared to prorogue parliament and appoint new lords in order to get Brexit through.

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