'I'd be behind bars if I acted like PM', claims Michael Heseltine

PUBLISHED: 09:46 23 October 2019 | UPDATED: 09:49 23 October 2019

Michael Heseltine appears on Kay Burley at Breakfast. Photograph: Sky News.

Michael Heseltine appears on Kay Burley at Breakfast. Photograph: Sky News.

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Former deputy prime minister Michael Heseltine has said he believes that he would be behind bars if he had acted in the same way Boris Johnson had as prime minister.

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Originally appearing on Sophy Ridge on Sunday, Lord Heseltine explained that the way Boris Johnson acted over the extension letter, by sending different copies was an "act of chicanery".

"If you or I had behaved in the way he had threatened to, we would end up behind bars, because he is behaving in a way that is an 'act of chicanery' to use John Major's words very appropriately.

"If I said to you I've done a deal, I will send a letter confirming it, you would know exactly what I meant. You would expect the letter to come, you would expect it to be signed, and you would expect me to keep my word.

"What Boris Johnson has done is actually to send three bits of paper which give an answer of whatever you want you can read into it."

Asked to expand further on his remarks on Kay Burley at Breakfast, Heseltine compared the leaders of the Brexit campaign to businessmen misselling their products.

He said: "The claims of the Brexit campaign, if they had been used by a commercial company in selling its products, they would have been taken to court.

"You probably remember it.

"The huge sums of money for the health service is one, millions of Turks flooding into our country from Europe.

"It was an appalling reflection deception of the British people."

He warned that a general election would not lead to Jeremy Corbyn ending up in 10 Downing Street - but it probably also would not change the parliamentary arithmetic either.

He said: "The issue is can the Brexit aspect of the Tory party peel off enough Labour votes - enough Labour marginal constituencies - to counter the number that the Tories are going to lose. They are going lose seats in Scotland, lose seats to the Lib Dems, amd I think they have alienated the Irish to such an extent they won't come back to support them.

"So you can see quite clearly the Tories are going to lose seats, and I know where they think and how they think they can win Labour seats, but when it comes to it that is a pretty big gamble."

He added that the thought of an election was "the most chilling" option facing the country. "That has been Boris Johnson's strategy from day one. To bury Brexit in a range of sugared pills, all about the police and law and order and the health service, keep Brexit out of sight. Tell them what they want to hear, and push it through. That's the strategy from day one."

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