New Brexit blow for Boris Johnson as brother Jo resigns

1:10 p.m. ET, September 5, 2019

PM says he doesn't want an election, then says he wants an election

Johnson spent a significant part of his speech talking about the fact that he doesn't want to hold an early election and then criticizing the leader of the opposition Jeremy Corbyn for refusing to allow him to call one.

Confused? So are we.

"I don't want an election at all, I don't want an election ... but it's the only way to get this thing moving," he said.

Watch it for yourself:

1:03 p.m. ET, September 5, 2019

Brexit is "way to unite this country"

The first three questions to Boris Johnson after his campaign-style speech in northern England were all variations on asking why the country should trust him when his own brother – who resigned earlier in the day as a government minister – did not. 

Boris Johnson gives a speech to police officers during a visit in West Yorkshire on Thursday.
Boris Johnson gives a speech to police officers during a visit in West Yorkshire on Thursday. Danny Lawson - WPA Pool/Getty Images

“People have different opinions, but the way to unite this country is to get this thing done,” Johnson said, referring to Brexit. “And that’s want we are going to do.”

A reminder: Boris Johnson's brother Jo Johnson resigned earlier Thursday, saying he was "torn between family loyalty and the national interest."

12:48 p.m. ET, September 5, 2019

Johnson would rather be "dead in a ditch" than ask for an extension

Boris Johnson says he would "rather be dead in a ditch" than ask the European Union for another Brexit extension. But he also refuses to say he would resign if he was prompted by a law to ask Brussels for more time.

Here is how the exchange went on:

Q: Can you make a promise today to the British public that you will not go back to Brussels and ask for another delay to Brexit?
A: Yes, I can. I’d rather be dead in a ditch. 
Q: So you would resign first as Prime Minister rather than go and ask for that delay?
A: It costs a billion pounds a month. It achieves absolutely nothing. What on earth is the point of further delay? I think it’s totally pointless.
1:18 p.m. ET, September 5, 2019

It looks like someone just fainted during PM's speech

Errrr.... One of the police recruits standing behind Johnson just appeared to have fainted.

A journalist pointed this out to Johnson, who turned around and asked if she was alright. But he did nothing else to help her. She then sat down, and he joked, perhaps it's time to wrap things up.

By the time Johnson finished, several minutes later, the police recruit was back on her feet.

Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott criticized the PM on Twitter. She wrote: "Johnson kept these trainees waiting on their feet, and unsurprisingly, one of them appears to have felt faint.

"He saw that happen, and he ignored it. Tells you everything you need to know about this man - and how much he really cares about the police service."

12:40 p.m. ET, September 5, 2019

Press grilling Johnson about his brother's resignation

The press are ruthless, asking the Prime Minister over and over again about his brother Jo Johnson's decisiton to quit politics.

When Johnson fails to answer, the next journalist asks again.

And then the next one.

Finally, the Prime Minister addressed the issue, saying he and brother Jo don't agree about the European Union "because it's an issue that obviously divides families and divides everybody."

1:30 p.m. ET, September 5, 2019

Johnson rambles about police cautions

Boris Johnson tried to explain to the new police recruits what a "police caution" means.

It went badly. Johnson rambled about the topic for about a minute, then abandoned it.

Police officers must say the caution when arresting someone.

The episode was especially embarrassing given the fact that just before Johnson became Prime Minister, he had his own encounter with the police.

Why the long face? Johnson meets police officers before his speech in Wakefield.
Why the long face? Johnson meets police officers before his speech in Wakefield. Danny Lawson - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Police were called to an alleged altercation at the apartment he shared with his girlfriend. The Metropolitan Police issued a statement confirming that a "caller was concerned for the welfare of a female neighbour."

The police arrived and "spoke to all occupants of the address, who were all safe and well."

Johnson ducked repeated questions during the leadership campaign about the incident.

12:44 p.m. ET, September 5, 2019

Johnson segues from police to Brexit

The Prime Minister has used the first part of his speech to talk about new investment into policing that his government promised on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson with Home Secretary Priti Patel speak to police officers in Wakefield.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson with Home Secretary Priti Patel speak to police officers in Wakefield. Danny Lawson - WPA Pool/Getty Images

But he quickly switched to the big topic of the day -- his call for an early election and quick Brexit:

I just wanna make a quick point about spending money in this country. There are some people who would have suggested that we should spend a billion pounds more a month to stay in the European Union. And I'm going to make sure that we don't."
12:24 p.m. ET, September 5, 2019

Happening now: Johnson speaking

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, giving a speech in front of a row of new police recruits.