Parliamentary candidate has backing of new Prime Minister
Boris Johnson’s former adviser has been selected to replace Heidi Allen as the Conservative candidate in the next general election – and he has the new PM’s seal of approval.
Anthony Browne, who also worked under Mr Johnson at the Spectator magazine, would back a no deal exit from the EU in October if the Prime Minister believed it were the only option, he told the Cambridge Independent.
And he claimed that in spite of South Cambridgeshire voting to remain in the EU referendum, doorstep chats had shown him that people wanted the government to “just get on with Brexit”.
Mr Browne, a former chief executive of the British Bankers Association, said: “I don’t want no deal, but if the Prime Minister thinks the only option is to leave with no deal, then I will be loyal to the Prime Minister.
“We had a referendum and whichever way people voted it is critical for democracy in this country that we honour the result of the referendum, so yes I support leaving the EU and leaving it by October 31.”
He added that remainers he had met in the constituency were tired of government delays and that most now supported leaving the EU.
“I have spoken to an awful lot of remainers in the constituency and pretty much all of them said the current limbo is unsustainable and that we ought to just get on with it. My message is that we should just get on with it,” he said.
Ms Allen left the Conservative Party earlier this year to become an independent MP. She helped form Change UK, then left to become an independent again.
Mr Browne said there was “a huge sense of betrayal” on the doorstep when he spoke to residents about Ms Allen’s departure for the Conservatives, adding: “There is a huge amount of resentment that Heidi was elected as a Conservative and then decided to leave.”
When he worked at the Spectator magazine, Mr Browne wrote an article claiming third world immigrants bring germs into the country.
The news yesterday (Tuesday) that his friend Mr Johnson had been voted Prime Minister made him “very excited,” he said. “I voted for him. I think he has got a lot of extraordinary qualities that would really help us in this hour of our need.”
He added: “One of his most inspiring qualities is his optimism and his sense of can do, and his belief that we can make things better. And at the moment we have had years of gloom and doom which I think has really started eating into the soul of the nation. I think he will give a sense to the public that we can get things done.”
Mr Browne brings a bit of controversy with him for some of the views he has expressed as a columnist.When he worked at the Spectator magazine, Mr Browne wrote an article claiming third world immigrants bring germs into the country.
When asked why he wrote that he said: “I went through a phase as a young journalist trying to get attention and it is not language I would use now. I regret saying it.”
When asked whether he, however, believed the statement to be true he would only repeat: “I regret saying it.”
Mr Browne, who is married withchildren, grew up in Fowlmere and went to The Perse, Hills Road Sixth Form College and then Cambridge University. He said if he were elected he would focus on the areas transport problems, school funding and access to health services.
As the new Prime Minister promised £350 million a week for the NHS during the Leave Campaign if the UK left the EU, this potential extra funding must be welcomed by a candidate who wants to improve access to health services. Does he think there will be an extra £350 million a week for the NHS after Brexit?
He said "To be honest I haven't done those calculations myself. I haven't examined the truth of that. I know that was a very controversial figure. I haven’t gone through those calculations. Clearly we give a lot of money to the EU and we get lots of benefits from the EU and you trade off the costs and the benefits."
More by this authorAlex Spencer