A long-time friend of Boris Johnson has said the Prime Minister has been “captured like a hostage in Downing Street” by hardline Brexiteers.
Hugo Dixon told talkRADIO’s Matthew Wright that Mr Johnson was not truly a hard Brexiteer but was being used as a “tool” by figures in Number 10 for an “extreme form of Brexit”.
He said: “I think he’s sort of captured like a hostage in Downing Street by these hard Brexiteers.
“I think his fantasy Brexit, the one that he had in 2016, his cake and eat it Brexit, I think he’s very much in love with that but I don’t think he has any conviction for this extreme hard Brexit.”
Mr Dixon, who has known the Prime Minister since school, is the deputy chairman of the People’s Vote campaign.
He accused the government’s special adviser Dominic Cummings of being a “Svengali figure” behind the PM’s decision to expel 21 Tory rebels from the party after they voted against the government earlier this week.
Mr Dixon went on to question whether Mr Johnson could trust those around him, particularly following the resignation of his brother Jo Johnson from government yesterday.
“I’m not sure that there are many people around Boris who he can really trust, many people there who have his interests at heart rather than using him as a tool for their extreme form of Brexit.
“I think for some of these extreme Brexiteers, if Boris is broken and tossed aside they probably won’t give a damn, as long as they get their extreme project through.”
And as for Mr Johnson’s political future, his schoolmate said: “In that fateful moment in early 2016 Boris took the wrong decision and since then he’s been riding a tiger - and it’s too dangerous for him to get off the tiger.”