Boris Johnson has said those who supported the Remain campaign in the EU Referendum are in "contagious mourning" similar to those who mourned Princess Diana.
Johnson claimed the government’s lack of action after the vote has caused a reaction similar to that which followed the death of Diana, which prompted mass public mourning in 1997.
He outlined five points he thinks the next leader of the Conservative Party needs to consider when negotiating Brexit just three days after ruling himself out as the man to do it.
The former Mayor of London spear-headed the Leave campaign alongside Michael Gove and was widely tipped to to replace David Cameron as prime minister after his resignation.
He sensationally announced he would not stand as Tory leader on Thursday.
In his weekly column for The Telegraph published on Sunday evening and titled "Boris Johnson: Project Fear 'hysteria' is gripping Britain", the former Mayor of London took a combative stance against those who have campaigned against the result of the EU referendum.
Speaking of the crowds who gathered outside his house in the wake of the referendum, he wrote: "On Friday I heard a new dawn chorus outside my house.
"There was a rustling and twittering, as though of starlings assembling on a branch. Then I heard a collective clearing of the throat, and they started yodelling my name – followed by various expletives. “Oi Boris – c---!” they shouted.
"Or “Boris – w-----!” I looked out to see some otherwise charming-looking young people, the sort who might fast to raise money for a Third World leprosy project."
Without ever addressing his decision to drop out of the leadership race, Johnson instead muses about the feelings fuelling the remain camp.
So what was it about? People’s emotions matter, even when they do not seem to be wholly rational. The feelings being manifested outside my house are shared by the large numbers of people – 30,000, they say – who at the weekend came together in Trafalgar Square to hear pro-EU speeches by Sir Bob Geldof. There is, among a section of the population, a kind of hysteria, a contagious mourning of the kind that I remember in 1997 after the death of the Princess of Wales. It is not about the EU, of course; or not solely. A great many of these protesters – like dear old Geldof – are in a state of some confusion about the EU and what it does.
After claiming it's not "psychologically credible to imagine young people chanting hysterically in favour of Brussels bureaucrats" he insists it is actually "their own fears and anxieties that are now being projected on to Brexit".
Johnson then goes on to outline his plan for the next Tory leader:
There is no risk whatever to the status of the EU nationals now resident and welcome in the UK, and indeed immigration will continue – but in a way that is controlled, thereby neutralising the extremists.
It is overwhelmingly in the economic interests of the other EU countries to do a free-trade deal, with zero tariffs and quotas, while we extricate ourselves from the EU law-making system.
We can do free-trade deals with economies round the world, many of which are already applying.
We can supply leadership in Europe on security and other matters, but at an intergovernmental level.
The future is very bright indeed. That’s what Geldof should be chanting.
Johnson's decision to drop out of the leadership race stunned British politics since most assumed the former London mayor would be a shoo-in for the the job - and becoming Prime Minister - after last week’s vote to leave the EU.
But everything changed when Gove, who led the Vote Leave campaign with Johnson, announced this morning his intention to succeed David Cameron - despite repeatedly saying he wouldn’t.
At the end of the press conference where everyone present expected him to announce his bid, Johnson said:
“Having consulted colleagues and in view of the circumstances in parliament, I have concluded that that person cannot be me.”
The shock of the announcement was brilliantly summed up in this tweet.
The mood immediately among ‘Boris Backers’ was that Gove had committed a huge act of betrayal.
Johnson was widely criticised for leading the Leave campaign and then backing away after things got difficult.
Theresa May and Andrea Leadsom are also running.
Leadsom is gaining momentum, which comes as Gove fails to secure widespread, high-profile support in the wake of his shock manoeuvring, which forced then front-runner Boris Johnson to pull out of the contest.
The Energy Minister, who supports Britain leaving the European Union, has criticised her main contender, May, who supported the Remain campaign during the referendum.
Taking a swipe at May, Leadsome said the new leader “must be a Leave supporter” rather than someone “who is reluctantly following the wishes of the people”.