'A man for the times' - Winston Peters sings Boris Johnson's praises, picks him for UK PM

Source: 1News

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has been singing the praises of his former UK counterpart Boris Johnson, and is confident he'll win the UK Conservative leadership race.

Mr Johnson has avoided media over the past few week and chose not to face off against his rival Jeremy Hunt in two televised debates, but is nonetheless the favourite to replace Theresa May as Conservative Party leader and Prime Minister.

Mr Peters has told TVNZ's Q+A programme tonight that Mr Johnson has had his support for prime minister since stepping down as UK foreign secretary last year.

"I sent him a text when he resigned, about half past three in the morning to say I did not think it was the end, but rather, a bit like Churchill, it'll just be the beginning. And it looks like it's going to come true," Mr Peters said.

As for what Boris Johnson said in reply to his text, Mr Peters said, "Well that's private. I'm just telling you what I said."

The Foreign Minister and New Zealand First leader said Mr Johnson is not just a character, he's got character. 

"The second great asset he's got is a thing called courage. And he's rather visionary. So I think he's a man for the times."

Asked does that mean Boris Johnson is the man to be prime minister, Mr Peters said, "Well I think he's going to make it. I shouldn't be making these forecasts, but I believe from a long way out that he would be."

Pressure is growing on Mr Johnson to address a visit police officers made to his London apartment after a reported quarrel with his girlfriend.

Political rivals have questioned his refusal to comment on the incident that brought officers to his door early Friday local time, when a neighbour reported hearing shouting, screaming and banging from the home Mr Johnson shares with partner Carrie Symonds.

Mr Peters told Q+A Mr Johnson should not be forced to answer questions about what happened. 

"Well nobody form the domicile which is at issue here made any complaint at all, to the best of my knowledge. And a prurient inquiry from the media is not the central thing for his career," the Foreign Minister said.

Boris Johnson's biographer Sonia Purnell, also spoke about the British politian on Q+A.

Mr Johnson and Jeremy Hunt, the current Foreign Secretary, are the final two from a field of 10 contenders that was whittled down in a series of votes by party lawmakers. 

About 160,000 Conservative Party members across Britain will decide who wins in a vote and the winner is due to be announced in the week of July 22.

* Q+A is on TVNZ1 on Mondays at 9.30pm, and the episode is then available on TVNZ OnDemand and as a podcast in all the usual places.