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Johnson advises successor not to ‘always listen to the Treasury’

Boris Johnson appeared to take a parting shot at his former chancellor Rishi Sunak by saying a prime minister should not always listen to the Treasury (Toby Melville/PA)
Boris Johnson appeared to take a parting shot at his former chancellor Rishi Sunak by saying a prime minister should not always listen to the Treasury (Toby Melville/PA)

Boris Johnson said big infrastructure projects would not have been built “if we’d always listened to the Treasury” in an apparent parting shot at his former chancellor Rishi Sunak.

The Prime Minister gave some “words of advice” to his successor during his final Commons appearance, which included: “Cut taxes and deregulate wherever you can and make this the greatest place to live and invest, which it is.

“I love the Treasury but remember that if we’d always listened to the Treasury we wouldn’t have built the M25 or the Channel Tunnel.”

The jibe came ahead of the final round of voting by Tory MPs to decide which two candidates they will put forward to Conservative members waiting to choose the UK’s next prime minister.

Johnson loyalists have backed Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, who has promised vast tax cuts while Mr Sunak has pitched himself as the fiscally conservative candidate who wants to first get inflation under control.

Allies of the Prime Minister have blamed Mr Sunak’s resignation as chancellor for kickstarting the slew of departures from Government and hastening Mr Johnson’s demise.

Downing Street said Mr Johnson was making a “broader point” about “investment in big infrastructure projects” in his comments about the Treasury during Prime Minister’s Questions.

Prime Minister’s Questions
Outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during Prime Minister’s Questions (House of Commons/PA)

Asked what prompted these remarks, his press secretary told reporters: “I think it’s a broader point which you heard him speak to, in terms of investment in big infrastructure projects.

“But I think you can see from what the Prime Minister and the Treasury have done over the last few years, we have invested record amounts in infrastructure.”

In his advice to his successor at PMQs, Mr Johnson also said: “Focus on the road ahead, but always remember to check the rear-view mirror.

“And remember above all it’s not Twitter that counts, it’s the people who sent us here.”

His press secretary denied that Mr Johnson blamed Twitter for the collapse of his premiership, saying: “I think the point he was making there was every Member of Parliament is here to serve the public, and that is what they should be focused on.”

Asked about his remarks on checking the rear-view mirror, she said: “I’ll let his words speak for themselves.”

The Prime Minister signed off his final PMQs by declaring “mission largely accomplished, for now” and telling MPs: “Hasta la vista, baby.”