The 5 Biggest Takeaways From Bloomberg’s Interview with Boris Johnson
(Bloomberg) -- U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson sat down with Bloomberg’s Editor-In-Chief John Micklethwait for a 15-minute television interview on Monday in London. Here are the highlights:
Johnson issued a rallying cry for real action on climate change ahead of the international gathering of leaders starting Oct. 31 in Glasgow. With two weeks to go, it’s unclear if big players, like Chinese President Xi Jinping, will even attend. “We’re going to need to see some real action from the participants,” Johnson said, urging countries to make “hard pledges.”
“Is there a problem with the Northern Irish protocol? Yes there is -- but we’ll fix that,” Johnson said. “I don’t think that’s going to be the end of the world.” The prime minister’s upbeat comments are his first on the issue since U.K. and EU officials last week re-opened talks to amend the rules governing Northern Ireland’s post-Brexit status.
Johnson reminded us again that he’s “no sinophobe, very far from it,” despite concerns from some of his own lawmakers. Decisions to bar Chinese companies from Britain’s fifth-generation communication networks and nuclear power, and condemnation of China’s human-rights record have soured relations with Beijing. While Johnson said the U.K. wouldn’t be naive, he added: “I’m not going to tell you that the U.K. government is going to pitchfork away every overture from China.”
Johnson’s Conservative government is set to raise the tax burden as a portion of national income to 35%, which the Institute for Fiscal Studies says will be the highest sustained level since 1955. That doesn’t sit well with many grassroot supporters who are not happy about the direction of fiscal policy. What will he do about it? “You can take it that Rishi Sunak, as indeed am I, is a staunch, low-tax Conservative, and he believes in an enterprise economy,” Johnson said.
The former mayor of the capital seized on the chance to tell bankers ahead of the Global Investment Summit that “if you want to finance your merger, London is still the place to come and always, always will be.” He disputed the fact that financial services had moved many jobs to Amsterdam and Paris (“far fewer than they said!”).
Finally, if you want to read our transcript, click here.
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