‘CHARISMATIC’ and ‘confident’ were two words used by business owners and residents from around the Portsmouth area to describe potential new prime minister Boris Johnson following his city visit yesterday.
The former foreign secretary assured those attending a business meeting at the Queen’s Hotel in Southsea that the UK will leave the EU by October 31.
This prompted praise from audience members concerned about what they believed was an ‘uncertain’ future.
For Abu-Suyeb Tanzam, the owner of the Gandhi takeaway in Fareham, Mr Johnson was the most experienced candidate for the top job. He said: ‘I hope he would be able to bring his experience of being the Mayor of London for eight years to this role, because we need someone experienced if we’re going to leave the EU.
‘The main problem is the uncertainty we have had over the last three years. We need someone who is a strong leader to get us away from that. However we leave the EU we know it has to be done. My confidence has been built up by seeing Boris today.’
Malcolm Drew, member of the Portsmouth and District Landlords Association (PDLA), agreed. ‘I think the whole country wants to see Brexit resolved,’ he said.
‘He was certainly very confident and charismatic.’
Mr Drew added: ‘I asked Boris to commit to a review of Universal Credit and he said it certainly needs looking at. Universal Credit impacts landlords because a lot of tenants are in receipt of it and it’s not worked out well so far.’
His peer Irene Strange, founder of the PDLA, was impressed by what she heard. She said: ‘I thought Boris came across brilliantly. He was very confident, which is what we need at the moment.’
Semi-retired Philip Lawson, 63, from Fareham added: ‘My view is the British public is looking for someone who has got character and leadership skills, like a Winston Churchill figure.
‘We need someone who is going to stand up and say “right chaps, this is what we are going to do.” Boris is the best chance we have for getting Brexit done.’