The former foreign secretary was greeted by a praetorian guard of supportive MPs as he arrived at the gathering in
Mr Johnson is due to deliver a speech at a fringe event later in which he will mount another searing attack on the PM’s Chequers plan for Brexit – as well as accusing her of trying to ‘ape’
A clearly tetchy Mrs May was repeatedly grilled over her rival’s manoeuvring during a round of interviews earlier – but tried to ignore the questions by talking about her other priorities.
With a grim smile, Mrs May said she expected Mr Johnson’s speech to be a ‘lively event’.
The former foreign secretary was greeted by a praetorian guard of supportive MPs as he arrived at the gathering in Birmingham
But she insisted she was focused on improving opportunities for young people and delivering her Brexit deal.
Downing Street made a bold bid to distract from the circus around Mr Johnson today by unveiling the government’s post-Brexit immigration policies, saying EU nationals will in future be treated the same as people from all around the world.
Mrs May herself will not be watching Mr Johnson’s intervention as she is due to be doing interviews.
Meanwhile, the PM’s allies launched a series of vicious barbs at the ambitious politician – with one bald MP joking that he would be ‘washing my hair’ rather than watching Mr Johnson speak.
The Chancellor sent a clear signal yesterday that next month’s Budget will include tax rises to pay for a multi-billion pound planned rise in NHS spending.
But Mr Johnson will return fire, saying the party should ‘follow our conservative instincts’ and focus on core Tory issues such as law and order and tax cuts to beat Labour at the next election.
‘In what allies openly described as an alternative leader’s speech, he will suggest the party has moved too far to the Left and should instead take ‘basic conservative ideas and fit them to the problems of today’.
Mrs May appeared not to know exactly when Mr Johnson was speaking as she referred to an ‘evening’ event when he is actually due on stage at 1pm
Mr Johnson left his Oxfordshire home for the conference centre in Birmingham this morning
Couched as an attack on Mr Corbyn, Mr Johnson’s speech contains a series of barely disguised barbs at the Prime Minister and her Chancellor.
He will say the Tories must not ‘lose our faith in competition and choice and markets’ or follow the Labour leader and ‘treat capitalism as a kind of boo word’.
Mr Johnson will tell the Conservative Home event: ‘We can’t lose our faith in competition and choice and markets but we should restate the truth that there is simply no other system that is so miraculously successful in satisfying human wants and needs.
‘We should set our taxes to stimulate investment and growth.
‘We should be constantly aiming not to increase but to cut taxes. It is the conservative approach that gets things done so let’s follow our conservative instincts.’