LONDON — Boris Johnson urged his successor to “stay close to the Americans” in what is almost certain to be his final parliamentary appearance as U.K. prime minister.
Johnson, who will leave Downing Street on September 6 after being ousted by his own lawmakers, called on whoever replaces him to hold fast to the transatlantic alliance and continue to back Ukraine following the Russian invasion.
He told MPs: “I want to use the last few seconds … to give some words of advice to my successor, whoever he or she may be. No. 1: Stay close to the Americans. Stick up for the Ukrainians. Stick up for freedom, for democracy everywhere.”
The outgoing U.K. leader also used his final weekly prime minister’s questions to seemingly take a swipe at his former Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who is a front-runner in the race to replace Johnson and resigned from his government citing major policy differences.
Johnson advised his successor to “cut taxes and deregulate wherever you can to make this the greatest place to live and invest, which it is.”
“I love the Treasury,” he said of Sunak’s old department. “But remember that if we’d always listened to the Treasury, we wouldn’t have built the M25 [motorway] or the Channel Tunnel.”
MPs go on their summer break Thursday with a new party leader expected to be announced the day they return in September. The final two in the contest to replace Johnson will be announced Wednesday evening.
Despite being ousted mid-term, Johnson told MPs his mission was “largely” accomplished and parted with the sign off: “Hasta la vista, baby.”
He won a standing ovation from Conservative colleagues.