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Boris Johnson courts laughter in Tory speech absent of new policies

Jeremy Corbyn, Nigel Farage and John Bercow were all on the receiving end of punchlines.

Boris Johnson’s speech was gag-heavy (Danny Lawson/PA)
Boris Johnson’s speech was gag-heavy (Danny Lawson/PA)

By Sam Blewett, PA Political Correspondent

Boris Johnson used his first Tory conference speech as Prime Minister not to outline exciting new policies and Brexit proposals, but instead to deliver a series of jokes.

One of the larger laughs from the Conservative faithful in Manchester on Wednesday was one he rehearsed before DUP activists a night earlier.

Amid warnings over his use of language, Mr Johnson told the convention of a “communist cosmonaut” who needed coaxing into a satellite mission.

He did not need naming for the audience to understand the joke at that point, but the PM would revisit the Labour leader at the close of his speech.

Mr Johnson told the crowd his slogan of the need to “get Brexit done”, to cut taxes and “figuratively, if not literally, let us send Jeremy Corbyn into orbit where he belongs”.

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The PM suggested John Bercow could go to the jungle (PA)

Fish gags about Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond were also on the menu, so too was one about Commons Speaker John Bercow dining on testicles.

The PM said he wanted to “take back control” of the fisheries of Scotland, and added: “It is one of the many bizarre features of the SNP that in spite of being called names like Salmond and Sturgeon they are committed to handing back control of those fish to the EU.”

The crowd took the bait again when he said: “We want to turbo-charge the Scottish fishing sector, they would allow Brussels to charge for our turbot.”

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Nicola Sturgeon was the target of one punchline (Jane Barlow/PA)

Mr Johnson also raised the worrying prospect of a British political system “on the brink”.

“If Parliament were a laptop, then the screen would be showing, I’m afraid, the pizza wheel of doom,” he joked.

If it was a school then Ofsted would shut it down, he continued.

“If Parliament were a reality TV show then the whole lot of us, I’m afraid, would have been voted out of the jungle by now.

“But at least we would have the consolation of a speaker being forced to eat a kangaroo testicle.”

In a speech littered with attacks on Mr Corbyn, the PM called the opposition “chlorinated chickens”, in a reference to their refusal to grant him an election and the poultry that could be imported from the US post-Brexit.

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Nigel Farage was also lampooned (Joe Giddens/PA)

The US also featured in a gag about Nigel Farage, who has repeatedly called for the Tories to enter an election pact with his Brexit Party.

Mr Johnson hailed UK trade with foreign nations, with an Isle of Wight ship builder who exports catamarans to Mexico and Jason Donovan CDs being apparently sent to North Korea.

“And we exported Nigel Farage briefly to America – though he seems to have come back,” the PM said.

PA

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