POLITICS

Boris Johnson Tells Conservative Party Conference To 'Behold This Brick'

30/09/2014 14:35 BST | Updated 30/09/2014 14:59 BST

Boris Johnson confounded the Conservative Party Conference when he told them to "behold" the brick he waved around during his speech, exciting party acolytes but sending social media into fits of laughter (and confusion).

In a typically colourful speech that mixed jokes with praise for the Tories and attacks on Labour and Ukip, Johnson pulled out a brick he had helped make in a Staffordshire factory to illustrate efforts to ease Britain's housing shortage.

Holding the already famous brick aloft as he spoke, the London Mayor reassured the audience: "I'm not going to throw it."

Boris and his brick

He described the need to build more housing and said a billion bricks would be needed to do this over the next decade.

"Brick, you will not be alone," he promised the brick, which by this stage was attracting speculation it would be Johnson's running mate in any future leadership bid.

While the conference hall roared with laughter, onlookers suggested the brick was potential frontbench material.

Johnson brick speech drew instant parallels to Father Ted character Father Jack, who holds a brick while shouting: "I love me brick!"

The brick was light relief for a conference in need of it as Johnson took to the stage after another awkward defection to Ukip.

In a move timed to embarrass the London mayor, his ex-deputy Richard Barnes announced that he was joining the eurosceptics just hours before the speech.

Barnes, who served as deputy mayor between 2008 and 2012, accused the three main parties of failing to "speak the language of normal people".

This was just after Johnson said those considering defecting to the party were "probably" the type of people who had sex with vaccuum cleaners.

In his speech, Johnson announced a new "fisheries policy" to "throw Salmond overboard and eat the 'Kippers for breakfast" as he sought to unite Tories amid fears more will abandon the party for the eurosceptics.

He said as he opened his address: "Are there any quitters or splitters? Anyone feeling a bit yellow around the edges - like a kipper?

Discussing the imminent by-election battles to retain the seats given up by defecting MPs Douglas Carswell and Mark Reckless, he said: "We will fight them on the beaches of Clacton and of Rochester and Strood as well."

boris johnson

Boris Johnson making the brick yesterday

When discussing the no result in Scotland's referendum, he told David Cameron: "You have full permission to purr."

This was a mocking reference of Cameron being recorded saying the Queen "purred down the line" when he told her the referendum result.

Perhaps underlining the scale of the threat the Tories face from Ukip, he also asked the audience at the Conservative Party Conference whether they were Conservatives.

"Whoa there. Can I check that we are all proud Conservatives?" he asked.

"Proud of the oldest and most successful party in all the Western democracies?

"Do we intend to fight the next election under the Conservative banner and no others?"

"If I can quote a great Midlands author," he said in a direct message to other waverers: "He which hath no stomach to this fight, let him depart.

"Because I genuinely think that this is a fantastic time to be a Conservative and that just in the last few months we have seen the beginning of the end of the tapioca-like consensus that Ed Miliband could somehow osmotically infiltrate or inveigle himself into power by pandering to his core vote and relying on the gross unfairness of the electoral system.

"The light is dawning, scales falling. Across the country the chattering classes are waking up to the reality that victory is within our grasp in the next eight months."

Ken Clarke Brands Ukip Backers 'Old Men With Disappointing Lives' As New Defection Hits Tories

Boris Claims Defectors Are 'Type Of People' Who Have Sex With Vacuum Cleaners