Former Tory minister says it is now 'hard' to vote Conservative - or trust Boris Johnson

PUBLISHED: 11:53 05 November 2019 | UPDATED: 10:43 06 November 2019

Former cabinet minister Justine Greening says she finds it hard to trust Boris Johnson. Picture: Carl Court/Getty Images

Former cabinet minister Justine Greening says she finds it hard to trust Boris Johnson. Picture: Carl Court/Getty Images

2017 Getty Images

Former cabinet minister Justine Greening has admitted that she will find it difficult to vote for her former party in the general election, and suggested Boris Johnson is not trustworthy to voters.

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Greening, who had the whip removed for her disagreement with the party on Brexit, described Johnson's Brexit deal as "very damaging" and added: "It would be very hard for me to vote for the Conservatives if I'm looking at what they stand for on Brexit."

Speaking about Johnson's failure to oppose the Heathrow expansion after saying he would lie down in front of bulldozers to stip it, she also said voters should "absolutely be taking that into account".

Greening told BBC Radio Five Live's Emma Barnett that she is "still a centre-right Conservative-minded voter and indeed politician but I have had a fundamental difference with my party on Brexit and so like many people in this country I'm going to have to weigh it up."

However, she would not be pressed on who else she might vote for. She said that many voters were "going to look at all of the parties and think 'I'm not sure I want any of them'".

Saying that she supports a second referendum, Barnett pointed out that Labour are the only party offering this.

But Greening replied that Labour's plan to negotiate their own deal is a "waste of time" and added: "And it may be that the Lib Dems - if they don't win a majority in this election, which I think apart from them, no-one else thinks they will - they will have to agree that actually a referendum is a sensible route forward."

Greening, who as MP for Putney fervently opposed the expansion of Heathrow Airport, was also asked whether she now trusts the prime minister after his about-turn on the issue.

Barnett asked: "If a man promises to lie down in front of bulldozers and then doesn't even commission a review, and doesn't stand in the way of it when he's got the ultimate keys to power as the prime minister, why should voters trust Boris Johnson?"

"That is obviously a question they have to ask themselves," said Greening. "When they listen to leading politicians in particular and they promise things - if there's a track record of not then delivering on them, you absolutely should be taking that into account."

She said that in relation to the Heathrow issue, she had been "absolutely disappointed" by Johnson. Asked if she trusts Johnson, she said: "Having campaigned with many of us to stop this expansion, he has now seemingly gone back on that word."

"So you don't," said Barnett.

Greening responded: "I find it hard to trust him on other issues when the one that has mattered to me the most, if you like, as a local campaigner, is one that he has not followed through on."

She added that there is still time for Johnson to restore trust, and that there is a broader issue of trust in politics "more generally" after Barnett reacted incredulously.

"There's a problem beyond that, which is genuineness of what politicians are actually saying," said Greening.

But she said Johnson could "at the very least" commission a review of the expansion.

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