Boris Johnson’s father calls his decision to back Brexit “career-ending”

Stanley Johnson appeared on the BBC's Today programme to counter claims that the London mayor had made a "careerist sort of move".

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What is going on in the Johnson clan?

As the front pages this morning trumpeted Boris’ decision to back Brexit, some commentators have suggested that the choice may not be entirely based on the mayor’s deeply-held convictions about the future of the EU. With Sky News reporting that the “majority” of Tory MPs are likely to back the “Out” campaign, a sceptical reader might entertain the possibility that Boris is instead making an early move to get the party on side for a leadership bid.

Yet those cynics, who might cite evidence such as “you’d have to have some personal skin in the game to stomach joining forces with George Galloway and Nigel Farage” and Boris himself said he wouldn't want to leave the EU, may have to think again.

This morning, the mayor's own father, Stanley Johnson, appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme to tell listeners his son’s choice was actually “career-ending”.

While not on first glance the sort of statement which screams “supportive dad”, Johnson Sr’s remarks may actually be a clever move. Here’s the context:

"I think he has done a really well-thought-out move. When I say move, it is a move in the sense it represents his deep conviction that at this moment this is what he needed to do. Honestly, I think to say this is a careerist sort of move would be a total travesty. I cannot think of any more career-ending move than to do what he did yesterday, in the sense that he is leaving the mayoralty in May. If he wanted to get a nice job in the cabinet on May 8 this is not the way to do it."

Given that winning the support of those Tory MPs who wish to leave the EU would likely be easier if everyone could at least pretend Boris believes his own schtick, Stanley going on national radio to suggest his son might have ruined his career could in fact be a way of trying to help it.

I'm a mole, innit.

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