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European Insights

By in Europe on September 2, 2016
EUROPE • Insights
Boris Johnson’s bid for the Tory leadership
September 13, 2018

The Brexiteers’ great white hope

ONE of Boris Johnson’s favourite phrases is aut homo aut mus: are you a man or a mouse? The former foreign secretary, classicist and contender for the Conservative Party leadership is going out of his way to prove that he is no rodent. Barely a week passes without his lobbing a missile at Theresa May in the form of a newspaper article, speech, bon mot (or faux pas). He uses his weekly column in the Daily Telegraph to explain why she is making a mess of things. On September 9th he took to the pages of the Mail on Sunday to deliver his most incendiary one-liner yet: “We have wrapped a suicide vest around the British constitution and handed the detonator to Michel Barnier,” he wrote, referring to the EU’s chief negotiator.

Never a strong leader, Mrs May has been weakened by her travails over Brexit. On September 11th...