Iran / What he said: he suggested Donald Trump should come up with an alternative agreement to the joint comprehensive plan of action (JCPoA), which limits Iran’s development of a nuclear weapon.The US abandon the deal in 2018, which had been brokered by President Barack Obama and was considered one of his foreign policy achievements. In a blatant show of support for Trump, Johnson said: “If we’re going to get rid of it, let’s replace it with the Trump deal. That’s what we need to see. President Trump is a great dealmaker by his own account and many others.”
What he didn’t say: whether he believed the killing of Qassem Sulemani was lawful and his thoughts on not being told about the US action in advance and what that shows about the special relationship.
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What he said: a trade deal before 31 December was “epically likely”, the prime minister said when pushed during the interview. Yet he added that it was only common sense to budget for a “complete failure”. This is a significant step away from his typical ‘ do or die æ style language when talking about the the EU and he may be laying the groundwork for diminished expectations. What he didn’t say: with 100% certainty whether Britain will get a trade deal with the EU by the end of December 2020.
What he said: no date was given for when a plan might be implemented to improve social care, but he said: “We will certainly do it in this parliament”. This vague answer will do little to dissuade critics that this is an area of significant weakness for the government as he claimed when he was elected Conservative party leader that he would roll out a “clear plan we have prepared”. He said social care solutions involve moral and social issues, including whether taxpayers should be paying for people who might be able to afford their own care. Interestingly, he pledged that people will not have to sell their home to pay for their care. What he didn’t say: what his social care plan actually entails in practice.
What he said: broad-brush suggestions to improve the lives of northern voters who backed the Tories at the general election included investment in the NHS, education, police, transport and broadband. “This would give people the chances to exploit their talents,” he said. He also promised to wind up the illegal county lines drugs trade. What he didn’t say: he failed to name a single infrastructure project or specific investment that would benefit the region.
The royal family
What he said: on Harry and Meghan’s decision to step back as senior members of the royal family, Johnson said he was “absolutely confident” the issue could be resolved. He refrained from giving any opinion on the matter, saying it could be dealt with “much more easily without running commentary from politicians”. What he didn’t say: whether media intrusion into the royal family has been a negative factor on the couple and if the government is happy to continue paying for their security when they are in the UK.
What he said: “It’s not for government to step in and save companies that simply run into trouble,” he said of the news that the airline is struggling financially. However, the prime minister said he understood the importance of regional connectivity. “People will understand that there are limits commercially to what a government can do to rescue any particular firm. But what we will do is ensure we have the regional connectivity that this country needs. That is part of our agenda of uniting and levelling up.” What he didn’t say: exactly how he will make sure places such as Cornwall and the Isle of Man that rely heavily on Flybe will be protected if the airline collapses.
What he said: “I’ll be clear with you, the chances of America responding by sending Anne Sacoolas to this country are very low. That’s not what they do,” said Johnson, in a frank moment of the interview.The UK has issued the US with extradition order for Sacoolas so she can stand trial for causing the death of the 19-year-old by dangerous driving. What he didn’t say: what pressure he will be putting on the US to insist they return her.
What he said: he suggested crowdfunding could provide the £500,000 needed to make the bell sound when Britain leaves the EU on 31 January. “Bung a bob for a Big Ben bong,” was his suggestion for a marketing line.
What he didn’t say: whether he personally wants the bell to chime and if it’s all a colossal waste of money, whoever pays for it.
What he said: he has been accused at times of operating as a “submarine-like” PM, doing minimal interviews both during the general election and since he won his majority in December. He said: “The submarine is crashing through the ice floes.The conning tower is emerging through the ice floes right now. Here I am. I gave two press conferences yesterday. I want to be as available as I possibly can.” Cabinet members will also be left to lead on their briefs, he said. What he didn’t say: why he did not return from his holiday on the private island of Mustique as soon as he found out about Suleimani’s death.