Johnson’s ‘do or dry’ pledge to give up alcohol until Brexit is delivered

8 November 2019, 14:46 | Updated: 8 November 2019, 14:52

Prime Minister Boris Johnson drinks tea
General Election 2019. Picture: PA

Doubt has been cast on the PM’s sobriety vow after he was spotted sipping whisky during a visit to a distillery in Scotland on Thursday.

Boris Johnson claimed he has given up drinking until after Brexit is sorted.

The Prime Minister’s apparent “do or dry” pledge follows his failure to keep his “do or die” promise to deliver Brexit by October 31.

Mr Johnson was also watched sipping whisky during a distillery visit in Scotland on Thursday, casting doubt on his commitment to the alcohol ban.

His remark came while chatting about health matters with nurses at the King’s Mill Hospital in Nottinghamshire.

Mr Johnson asked them to tell him more about Ashfield, noting: “Someone said there’s a lot of first-time mums who are smoking or something like that.

“Is that right?”

The PM was told a lot of people smoke in Ashfield before he switched his attention to vaping, saying: “I’m not certain about it.

“It might just encourage them to get into nicotine.”

Boris Johnson
Johnson sipping whisky at the Roseisle Distillery in Scotland near Moray (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

He then asked “what about alcohol?” before adding: “I’ve had to give it up until we get Brexit done.”

Mr Johnson did not clarify whether he meant the first phase of Brexit by the end of January 2020 or the end of the transition period in December next year – or what would happen if the UK remained in the EU.

He was later given a tour of a school and tried to make a clay figure inspired by Sir Antony Gormley, whose works include the Angel Of The North.

Mr Johnson tries his hand at making an Antony Gormley-inspired clay figure
Mr Johnson tried his hand at making an Antony Gormley-inspired clay figure (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Speaking at the George Spencer Academy, near Nottingham, the PM remarked he had “gunk” on him before declaring the task would be “a piece of cake”.

But seconds later Mr Johnson paused before joking “it’s all going horribly wrong” as he had not followed the guide and noted he was creating a figure similar to “Terminator”.

He also told pupils: “He’s an interesting chap Antony Gormley – all his sculptures are modelled on himself and then he persuades people to pay colossal sums for his own image around the world.

“It’s amazing success he’s had.

“We had a plan in the Olympic Games in 2012 to make a huge human being like this with steps sort of all the way up so you could walk up him.

Boris Johnson
The PM compared his sculpture to the Terminator (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

“Gormley was going to do it but it was going to cost a huge amount.”

Rachael Hodges, senior policy officer at the British Lung Foundation, said her organisation is glad the PM raised the issue of Mansfield and Ashfield’s high smoking rates, but said his comments on vaping required clarification.

She said their research suggests smokers in Mansfield and Ashfield have been left struggling to access well-funded stop smoking services “due to years of government cuts to public health budgets”.

She added: “To tackle this, the UK’s next government must make public health funding a priority so local health services can ensure everyone has access to the best support to quit.

“Boris’ comments on vaping also require clarification. Far from e-cigarettes encouraging nicotine addiction the evidence shows vaping is a very effective stop smoking tool.

“The vast majority who use e-cigarettes do so to quit smoking and e-cigarettes are one of many tools available to help quitters.”

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