READING, England (Reuters) - The following are key quotes from a Reuters interview with Boris Johnson, the leading candidate to replace Prime Minister Theresa May.
Johnson spoke about Hong Kong, Huawei, Iran and Brexit.
“I don’t think that parliament is going to want to stop Brexit. Don’t forget we are staring down the barrel now of political extinction, the Conservative Party, it is very difficult situation unless we get this thing over the line. What I want is a sensible Brexit that is supported by both sides of the channel but we have got to come out by October 31 and get it done, get it done by then at the latest.
“Don’t forget that only a couple of weeks ago parliament actually opted not to vote for such a proposal. I think that MPs will look at their responsibilities in a spirit of maturity and restraint and consider our wider duty to the electorate who we asked to vote on EU membership and we agreed to respect that result.
“I think that the people of Hong Kong are perfectly within their rights to be very skeptical, very anxious about proposals for extradition to the main land that could be politically motivated, that could be arbitrary and could infringe their human rights and so yes I do support them and I will happily speak up for them and back them every inch of the way. And I would stress to our friends in Beijing that the one country, two systems approach has worked, is working and should not be cast aside.”
“It is very important to recognize that there can be significant benefits to investment from overseas in this country and Chinese companies are welcome as much as any other companies but you would not expect the UK to do anything to compromise its vital national security infrastructure and you would not expect me as prime minister to do anything to compromise the ability of our fantastic intelligence services to share information as they do particularly with our five eyes partners, so that is the principle that will guide us.”
“I would urge again the Iranian government to think very, very hard about scrapping the JCPOA and breaching their commitments on the Iran nuclear deal. It has been a good guarantor of stability in relations certainly with the EU and with America and I think they should stick with it and I think it would be a great mistake now for Iran to abandon that approach of restraint and go for enrichment of nuclear materials I think that would be a serious error.
When asked if he would move closer to the U.S. position on Iran: “I think what is certainly the case is that the JCPOA is looking increasingly frail and we do have to think of ways of constraining Iran’s disruptive behavior in the region but I continue to believe that engaging with Iran and persuading Iran not to go forward with a nuclear weapons program is the right way forward for our country and for the region.”
Writing by Guy Faulconbridge