Boris Johnson knocks over ten year old Japanese schoolboy during game of rugby

With ball in hand Boris Johnson lines up a young opponent Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA

The young boy hit the ground after coliding with the mayor and was soon up and running again.

He said: "I felt a little bit of pain but it's OK", adding that it had been "enjoyable" meeting the mayor.

After they had picked themselves up, the mayor went over to Toki and asked if he was OK before shaking his hand.

"I'm so sorry," he said.

In a speech to the British and American chambers of commerce in Tokyo, Mr Johnson said: "We have just played a game of street rugby with a bunch of kids and I accidentally flattened a 10-year-old, on TV unfortunately.

"But, he bounced back, he put it behind him, the smile returned rapidly to his face.

"That is my theme tonight - the possibility that confidence can suddenly and unexpectedly return."

Boris Johnson barges into a young rugby player during a game in a Tokyo street Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA

The game comes as the country's prepares to host the next World Cup in 2019 and marks the end of Boris Johnson's three- day whistlestop trade mission to Japan.

Mr Johnson has been keen to highlight the benefits of staging major sporting events and told the Japanese the 2012 Games left the English capital a "sensational legacy".

He said: "We are both Olympic cities and I have no doubt that Tokyo is ideally placed to take our crown - currently unchallenged - as the city that staged the greatest ever Olympic and Paralympic Games."

Yesterday Mr Johnson said it was "totally unfair" that Japan was knocked out of the Ruby World Cup and the rules should be changed as a result.

Mr Johnson described the team as "heroic" and said it wasn't right that the team had won three matches in a row, but still failed to make it through to the quarter finals.

The boy crashes to the ground as Boris touches down for a try Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA

Asked if he backed a rule change in the game, Mr Johnson told the BBC: "I'd support that. It seems totally unfair that they should win three times in their pool group and not go through.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson shakes hands with 10-year-old Toki Sekiguchi after the mayor knocked him over during a Street Rugby tournament in Tokyo Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA

"They are plainly heroes here and they deserve to be. They are fantastically - a fantastic, heroic performance."

He said the Japanese team had "won the hearts" of the British public with their "flair and sportsmanship".

Perhaps Mr Johnson could learn a little from the Japanese when it comes to improving his sportsmanship.

The London mayor has a bit of a track record when it comes to sporting fouls involving small children.

Exactly a year ago, Mr Johnson was forced to apologise after tripping up a small boy during a football match outside City Hall.

EU referendum: People backing Brexit are ‘quitters’ says ‘patriotic’ In campaign chief Stuart Rose

David Cameron's small business ambassador also bemoaned the lack of accountability in Brussels, claiming: "Things may or may not get done but we never know by whom", adding that the power rests instead with "the upper ranks of its bureaucrats", not Britain.

Mr Rose, who has also made critical remarks about the European Union, will tackle accusations that he was once a member of anti-EU group Business for Britain in his speech.

Should Britain stay in or get out of the EU? Polling since 1977
Polling Stay In Get Out
October 1977 53 47
May 1978 47 53
March 1979 35 65
March 1980 29 71
March 1981 36 64
March 1983 40 60
June 1984 51 49
September 1987 55 45
1989 67 33
November 1990 68 32
June 1991 70 30
December 1991 67 33
5-6 June 1992 60 40
10-13 June 1992 62 38
21-25 October 1993 54 46
11-30 April 1994 59 41
23-26 May 1996 53 47
27-29 November 1996 52 48
15 April 1997 50 50
25-28 April 1997 52 48
2-3 October 1997 54 46
13-14 November 1997 58 42
25-30 June 1998 54 46
21-24 May 1999 53 47
10-11 June 1999 53 47
13-14 October 1999 55 45
27-29 October 1999 48 52
22-27 June 2000 62 38
29-30 September 2000 48 52
24-25 November 2000 53 47
15-21 March 2001 48 52
30 April -1 May 2001 53 47
22-May-01 51 49
20-22 June 2003 54 46
20-22 September 2007 56 44
22-24 October 2011 46  54 
10-13 November 2012  48 52
10-12 May 2014 59 41
 11-14 October 2014 61 39
June 2015 61 27
Ipsos MORI

He will say: "Those of you who know me will know that I am not an uncritical fan of the European Union. Far from it. That’s why I signed a letter arranged by Business for Britain calling for reform of the EU.

Wanting reform, however, is not the same as wanting to leave."

Fellow In campaigner John Major has also been critical of the union in the past. He has said: "It will not be acceptable for the Eurozone to integrate further, and then use its bloc vote to impose its voluntary integration on unwilling non-Eurozone members.

"We are not prepared to accept “ever-closer” union: that has only one destination – and for us there is a limit."

Sir John Major

Mr Rose will claim it is "utter nonsense" that voters must choose between Britain and Europe and make a passionate patriotic case to remain in, adding that Europe brings £450 worth of benefits to UK households every year.

Mr Rose will say: "To claim that the patriotic course for Britain is to retreat, withdraw and become inward looking is to misunderstand who we are as a nation.

"In this ever changing and very uncertain world we need to engage with strength.

EU exit: what would it mean for my holiday home and trips abroad?
Prime Minister 'squandered' chance to tackle Brexit

“I will not allow anyone to tell me I’m any less British because I believe in the strongest possible Britain for business, for our security and our society.

“Those who want us to leave Europe would risk our prosperity, threaten our safety and diminish our influence in the world. We know our economy would take a hit, we just don’t know how bad it would be.

“The Quitters cannot say how our diminished status would impact on our relationship with the US or China or the Commonwealth countries. Leaving Europe is taking leap into the dark. It’s just not worth the risk.”

The speech comes as Nigel Farage, Ukip's leader and backer of the Leave.EU campaign, claimed his group "might just get" Boris Johnson on board.

The London Mayor has previously claimed he could "of course" envisage a circumstance in which he would vote to leave the EU, though he has yet to formally join either side.

The In campaign, backed by Tony Blair, will also announce a group of cross-party political champions including Chuka Umunna, Labour's former shadow business secretary, new Conservative MPs Flick Drummond and Ben Howlett and Liberal Democrat peer Jim Wallace.

They join Caroline Lucas of the Green party and Damien Green, a Conservative MP - who are both on the board of Britain Stronger in Europe.

The In campaign has won over a number of big names, including Danny Alexander, former chief secretary to the Treasury, Peter Mandleson, Tony Blair's spin doctor, businessman Roland Rudd, June Sarpong a former TV presenter and Brendan Barber an ex-union boss.

June Sarpong: Women struggle balancing home and work life

Ms Brady, who is on the board of the pro-EU group, last night confirmed she has joined the In campaign but declined to comment on a column she wrote in 2009 for the Birmingham Mail in which she is highly critical of the EU.

At the time she wrote: "I would be lying if I said I am inspired by the thought of sending a fresh batch of MEPs to fatten themselves up on the fare offered in Brussels.

"Except when they surface at election time, they are about as answerable to us as a convocation of cardinals, distant, self-important, and all but ignored.

"We all know where the power of Europe resides - in the upper ranks of its bureaucrats."

Adding that Brits aren't interested in European elections, Ms Brady wrote: "It's true that Europe only features on the Brit radar when we go on holiday or the Germans beat us at football.

"This is a failure in communication and ought to be corrected if the pro-Europeans ever hope to convince us that we should be good members of their community.

"Of course, we never could be."

Yesterday Anders Fogh Rasmussen, former General Secretary of Nato, called on the UK to stay in the EU.

He said: "It would significantly weaken the European Union on the world stage if the UK were to leave the European Union so I really do hope that negotiations will lead to an outcome that can be accepted by the British people as well as the European Union."

EU referendum: People backing Brexit are ‘quitters’ says ‘patriotic’ In campaign chief Stuart Rose

David Cameron's small business ambassador also bemoaned the lack of accountability in Brussels, claiming: "Things may or may not get done but we never know by whom", adding that the power rests instead with "the upper ranks of its bureaucrats", not Britain.

Mr Rose, who has also made critical remarks about the European Union, will tackle accusations that he was once a member of anti-EU group Business for Britain in his speech.

Should Britain stay in or get out of the EU? Polling since 1977
Polling Stay In Get Out
October 1977 53 47
May 1978 47 53
March 1979 35 65
March 1980 29 71
March 1981 36 64
March 1983 40 60
June 1984 51 49
September 1987 55 45
1989 67 33
November 1990 68 32
June 1991 70 30
December 1991 67 33
5-6 June 1992 60 40
10-13 June 1992 62 38
21-25 October 1993 54 46
11-30 April 1994 59 41
23-26 May 1996 53 47
27-29 November 1996 52 48
15 April 1997 50 50
25-28 April 1997 52 48
2-3 October 1997 54 46
13-14 November 1997 58 42
25-30 June 1998 54 46
21-24 May 1999 53 47
10-11 June 1999 53 47
13-14 October 1999 55 45
27-29 October 1999 48 52
22-27 June 2000 62 38
29-30 September 2000 48 52
24-25 November 2000 53 47
15-21 March 2001 48 52
30 April -1 May 2001 53 47
22-May-01 51 49
20-22 June 2003 54 46
20-22 September 2007 56 44
22-24 October 2011 46  54 
10-13 November 2012  48 52
10-12 May 2014 59 41
 11-14 October 2014 61 39
June 2015 61 27
Ipsos MORI

He will say: "Those of you who know me will know that I am not an uncritical fan of the European Union. Far from it. That’s why I signed a letter arranged by Business for Britain calling for reform of the EU.

Wanting reform, however, is not the same as wanting to leave."

Fellow In campaigner John Major has also been critical of the union in the past. He has said: "It will not be acceptable for the Eurozone to integrate further, and then use its bloc vote to impose its voluntary integration on unwilling non-Eurozone members.

"We are not prepared to accept “ever-closer” union: that has only one destination – and for us there is a limit."

Sir John Major

Mr Rose will claim it is "utter nonsense" that voters must choose between Britain and Europe and make a passionate patriotic case to remain in, adding that Europe brings £450 worth of benefits to UK households every year.

Mr Rose will say: "To claim that the patriotic course for Britain is to retreat, withdraw and become inward looking is to misunderstand who we are as a nation.

"In this ever changing and very uncertain world we need to engage with strength.

EU exit: what would it mean for my holiday home and trips abroad?
Prime Minister 'squandered' chance to tackle Brexit

“I will not allow anyone to tell me I’m any less British because I believe in the strongest possible Britain for business, for our security and our society.

“Those who want us to leave Europe would risk our prosperity, threaten our safety and diminish our influence in the world. We know our economy would take a hit, we just don’t know how bad it would be.

“The Quitters cannot say how our diminished status would impact on our relationship with the US or China or the Commonwealth countries. Leaving Europe is taking leap into the dark. It’s just not worth the risk.”

The speech comes as Nigel Farage, Ukip's leader and backer of the Leave.EU campaign, claimed his group "might just get" Boris Johnson on board.

The London Mayor has previously claimed he could "of course" envisage a circumstance in which he would vote to leave the EU, though he has yet to formally join either side.

The In campaign, backed by Tony Blair, will also announce a group of cross-party political champions including Chuka Umunna, Labour's former shadow business secretary, new Conservative MPs Flick Drummond and Ben Howlett and Liberal Democrat peer Jim Wallace.

They join Caroline Lucas of the Green party and Damien Green, a Conservative MP - who are both on the board of Britain Stronger in Europe.

The In campaign has won over a number of big names, including Danny Alexander, former chief secretary to the Treasury, Peter Mandleson, Tony Blair's spin doctor, businessman Roland Rudd, June Sarpong a former TV presenter and Brendan Barber an ex-union boss.

June Sarpong: Women struggle balancing home and work life

Ms Brady, who is on the board of the pro-EU group, last night confirmed she has joined the In campaign but declined to comment on a column she wrote in 2009 for the Birmingham Mail in which she is highly critical of the EU.

At the time she wrote: "I would be lying if I said I am inspired by the thought of sending a fresh batch of MEPs to fatten themselves up on the fare offered in Brussels.

"Except when they surface at election time, they are about as answerable to us as a convocation of cardinals, distant, self-important, and all but ignored.

"We all know where the power of Europe resides - in the upper ranks of its bureaucrats."

Adding that Brits aren't interested in European elections, Ms Brady wrote: "It's true that Europe only features on the Brit radar when we go on holiday or the Germans beat us at football.

"This is a failure in communication and ought to be corrected if the pro-Europeans ever hope to convince us that we should be good members of their community.

"Of course, we never could be."

Yesterday Anders Fogh Rasmussen, former General Secretary of Nato, called on the UK to stay in the EU.

He said: "It would significantly weaken the European Union on the world stage if the UK were to leave the European Union so I really do hope that negotiations will lead to an outcome that can be accepted by the British people as well as the European Union."

Labour directs its impotent fury at all but those responsible – itself

It is an odd thing to feel hated, especially if you are not quite sure why. I expect there are many readers who know the feeling – someone who inexplicably spreads awful rumours about you; someone who looks at you with unconcealed malevolence.

I once got a letter through my door saying, “I just want you to know how sickened I am to live in the same neighbourhood as you”, and I thought, “Duh: what have I done?” So I offer this article by way of reassurance to all you who have ever had the nasty feeling that someone somewhere has got it in for you. If you think someone hates you (and you genuinely think it’s unfair), then remember the golden rule of hatred. It’s not about you. It’s about them.

Let me explain. One of the most extraordinary features of human psychology is our use of transference, or projection – in other words, managing our emotions with the help of symbols or fetishes or proxies.

Most MPs will be familiar with constituents who come to see them with some problem that seems to have become an obsession: a tree that was unfairly chopped down, a neighbour’s fence that takes too much land, or some other injustice. Often they will have folders or plastic bags stuffed full of letters. You, of course, try your best to help them, but as things drag on, you notice that they are really more interested in the process, the campaign, than the solution.

"When a community is going through some period of stress – a war, or economic hardship – they are historically far more likely to identify and turn on scapegoats in their midst"

In fact, you soon realise that the issue that they have placed before you is really of much less importance than some other big problem in their lives – a bereavement, a divorce, or some other deep disappointment – and that feeling of anger and injustice is channelled and focused on this tree, or stretch of pavement, or whatever. Sometimes, in fact, you find that they don’t really want the problem to be “solved”. The hate-object has become a necessary psychological crutch, a part of their lives – the thing that helps divert them from the real and insoluble problem. And what is true of individuals is true of societies, too.

When a community is going through some period of stress – a war, or economic hardship – they are historically far more likely to identify and turn on scapegoats in their midst. Anxiety is transferred to some readily identifiable group: Jews, foreigners, homosexuals, gypsies – the victims of this kind of prejudice have in some cases been suffering for centuries. Sometimes, barely credible powers are attributed to these groups, and they become a catch-all explanation for everything that has gone wrong in a society. Your kids can’t get a house? It’s the immigrants. Can’t get a job? It’s the immigrants. Can’t see a doctor in A&E? It’s the immigrants. Traffic on the M4? It’s the immigrants.

A Conservative conference attendee is egged by protesters

Of course, these problems have multiple causes – but people are only too willing to project their anger on to a particular group, and some politicians, alas, are only too willing to assist. Take Leon Brittan, a fine public servant whose memory has been disgracefully smeared by Tom Watson. How did the Labour MP get away with it? Because he knew paedophiles are the lowest in the hierarchy of contempt.

The paedophile’s great gift to the human race is to confer a sense of moral superiority on absolutely everyone else – including the murderers and rapists who beat up the “nonces” in prison. That’s how hatred works. The murderers and rapists don’t really hate the paedophiles, or care for their victims; they just want to feel better about themselves. It’s all about projection.

Who are those crusty demonstrators really cross with? Well, look at the real cause of their woes and their impotence. They are partly furious with the British public for returning a majority Conservative government – but they can’t possibly say that. And they are partly furious with the Labour Party, first under Ed Miliband and now under Jeremy Corbyn, for being so spectacularly useless in helping to advance their cause – and they can’t possibly admit that, either. Their real anger and grief is internal, about the collapse of Labour as a coherent opposition. But that is too big and too difficult an issue to address honestly. So they throw eggs and shout about scum.

Well, my fellow scumsters, just remember, in the unlikely event that you mind these insults: it’s not about you, it’s about them.

abour directs its impotent fury at all but those responsible – itself

It is an odd thing to feel hated, especially if you are not quite sure why. I expect there are many readers who know the feeling – someone who inexplicably spreads awful rumours about you; someone who looks at you with unconcealed malevolence.

I once got a letter through my door saying, “I just want you to know how sickened I am to live in the same neighbourhood as you”, and I thought, “Duh: what have I done?” So I offer this article by way of reassurance to all you who have ever had the nasty feeling that someone somewhere has got it in for you. If you think someone hates you (and you genuinely think it’s unfair), then remember the golden rule of hatred. It’s not about you. It’s about them.

Let me explain. One of the most extraordinary features of human psychology is our use of transference, or projection – in other words, managing our emotions with the help of symbols or fetishes or proxies.

Most MPs will be familiar with constituents who come to see them with some problem that seems to have become an obsession: a tree that was unfairly chopped down, a neighbour’s fence that takes too much land, or some other injustice. Often they will have folders or plastic bags stuffed full of letters. You, of course, try your best to help them, but as things drag on, you notice that they are really more interested in the process, the campaign, than the solution.

"When a community is going through some period of stress – a war, or economic hardship – they are historically far more likely to identify and turn on scapegoats in their midst"

In fact, you soon realise that the issue that they have placed before you is really of much less importance than some other big problem in their lives – a bereavement, a divorce, or some other deep disappointment – and that feeling of anger and injustice is channelled and focused on this tree, or stretch of pavement, or whatever. Sometimes, in fact, you find that they don’t really want the problem to be “solved”. The hate-object has become a necessary psychological crutch, a part of their lives – the thing that helps divert them from the real and insoluble problem. And what is true of individuals is true of societies, too.

When a community is going through some period of stress – a war, or economic hardship – they are historically far more likely to identify and turn on scapegoats in their midst. Anxiety is transferred to some readily identifiable group: Jews, foreigners, homosexuals, gypsies – the victims of this kind of prejudice have in some cases been suffering for centuries. Sometimes, barely credible powers are attributed to these groups, and they become a catch-all explanation for everything that has gone wrong in a society. Your kids can’t get a house? It’s the immigrants. Can’t get a job? It’s the immigrants. Can’t see a doctor in A&E? It’s the immigrants. Traffic on the M4? It’s the immigrants.

A Conservative conference attendee is egged by protesters

Of course, these problems have multiple causes – but people are only too willing to project their anger on to a particular group, and some politicians, alas, are only too willing to assist. Take Leon Brittan, a fine public servant whose memory has been disgracefully smeared by Tom Watson. How did the Labour MP get away with it? Because he knew paedophiles are the lowest in the hierarchy of contempt.

The paedophile’s great gift to the human race is to confer a sense of moral superiority on absolutely everyone else – including the murderers and rapists who beat up the “nonces” in prison. That’s how hatred works. The murderers and rapists don’t really hate the paedophiles, or care for their victims; they just want to feel better about themselves. It’s all about projection.

Who are those crusty demonstrators really cross with? Well, look at the real cause of their woes and their impotence. They are partly furious with the British public for returning a majority Conservative government – but they can’t possibly say that. And they are partly furious with the Labour Party, first under Ed Miliband and now under Jeremy Corbyn, for being so spectacularly useless in helping to advance their cause – and they can’t possibly admit that, either. Their real anger and grief is internal, about the collapse of Labour as a coherent opposition. But that is too big and too difficult an issue to address honestly. So they throw eggs and shout about scum.

Well, my fellow scumsters, just remember, in the unlikely event that you mind these insults: it’s not about you, it’s about them.

If Jeremy Corbyn honestly cares about the workers, he’ll back trade union reform

I seem to remember a mordant song, to the tune of Going Underground by The Jam, that complained of the smell, the crowding, the tramps, the chewing gum on the seats, the damp – and above all, the delays. Well, I thought it was unfair then – and you don’t hear people singing that song today. Since 2008 there have been massive reductions in delays. We achieved a 40 per cent cut in Tube delays in the period to 2012, and are well on target to achieving a further 30 per cent cut.

We have more trains, better signalling – and the trains run faster than ever before. We are blasting on with a fantastic programme of improvement – air-conditioned carriages first on the subsurface lines, and then on the deep ones. We are extending the Tube for the first time in 15 years, with the link out to Battersea, to say nothing of Crossrail, and we are moving towards ever greater automation.

"A small minority of union activists and leaders have tried to hold the city to ransom by resisting every change"

London Underground will never again buy an old-fashioned train with a cab that requires a driver to sit there the whole time: the new Piccadilly Line trains will allow staff to move down the carriages, as they do on the Docklands Light Railway. Transport for London is leading the world in automated ticketing – and we are now the biggest contactless payment retailer in the world, as more and more people switch to paying by bank card. It goes without saying that we are carrying more people than ever before – about a quarter more passengers every day than eight years ago.

All these changes have been delivered by the staff of the Tube. They have done a superb job. Most of the workforce has understood that the technological changes are great for the travelling public and that they are right for the Tube: there is no point having staff sitting behind plate glass in booths when ticketing is done electronically.

Almost everyone understands that changes in technology must mean changes in working practices. Many new jobs are created, but some are done differently, and some not at all. The trouble is that there has been a small minority of union activists and leaders, who have abused their position and tried to hold the city to ransom, by resisting every change and by using modernisation as an excuse for industrial action.

We have had strikes that have achieved absolutely nothing – except to inconvenience Londoners, to damage the economy, and to cost many hard-working Tube staff their pay during the period of the strikes. To make matters worse, these strikes have very often been triggered by the stubbornness of a tiny number of workers, so that we have sometimes had the Tube services severely disrupted after fewer than 20 per cent of the relevant workforce had voted for action. That is absolutely ridiculous, and so it is high time that the Government has brought forward some sensible measures to deal with these militant excesses.

The Bill before Parliament today will do something to tackle picket-line intimidation; it will end the system whereby union contributions are simply sluiced out of the member’s bank account; it will attempt to tighten the rules that allow workers to be full‑time trade union representatives.

Above all, the Bill being proposed by Sajid Javid will bring in thresholds for the ballots for industrial action, so that you can no longer have a wildcat strike triggered by a tiny minority of workers. The key point is that when it comes to essential public services, the strike action must be supported by 40 per cent of the relevant workforce, and there must be at least a 50 per cent turnout.

That is not remotely draconian. Yes, of course we elect politicians on lower turnouts, and we have no thresholds in democratic elections; but we are talking here about services that are vital for the daily lives of millions of people. There are plenty of other cities that have some kind of restrictions on the right of mass transit workers to go on strike – and in New York, land of banned by law. If this Bill’s protection had been in place, it would have stopped 19 of the past 26 strikes on the Tube.

Of course, it will not stop trade unions from playing a constructive role in modernisation, or from withdrawing the labour of their members. But it will greatly help two sets of working people – the travelling public, and the majority of workers who have often rejected the strike, implicitly or explicitly, and who just want to get on with their jobs.

Now is the time for the great vested leader to take on the vested interests of the union barons – and do something for the workers.

The Britain-bashers’ moral outrage will not solve this migration crisis

The second point is that the UK was just about the only EU country willing even to contemplate direct military action to protect the Syrians – at that precarious moment when the leadership of the Syrian opposition had not been lost to the maniacs. It was thanks to Ed Miliband and the Labour party that the opportunity was squandered; but I don’t think you could fault the instincts of David Cameron.

And the third point in defence of the UK is that this has been a collective EU failure, and there is one key respect in which you could argue the confused response of some European capitals has made matters worse. This is a hard thing to say, but we must accept that by no means all those now trying to get to Europe are necessarily refugees, not in the strict sense of the term.

Look at those crowds tramping out of the railway station in Hungary. They seem to be composed overwhelmingly of young, able-bodied men – people who are in search of a more prosperous future – and it is neither callous nor lacking in compassion to say that many of them are arriving in Europe as economic migrants. We need, therefore, to be very careful about the signals that we are sending.

We live in an age of instant communication via social media, of swift and widespread changes in mass psychology, and it is all too easy to see how a generous message of openness and welcome to refugees could be misread – by millions of people in relatively impoverished countries surrounding the EU – as an invitation to up sticks and arrive in Europe.

There is a real danger of triggering further large migratory flows. We should think hard about the potential impact of such movements of people, especially if they were to accelerate – and not just on the countries of destination, but on the countries of origin as well.

It is certainly true that over the last few years, Germany, Italy and several other western European countries have seen a marked fall in their indigenous birth rate. They have ageing populations, and are failing to produce enough young people of their own. In accepting large numbers of energetic young migrants, they are actuated not just by compassion – though that cannot be denied – but also by a certain economic logic. It cannot be said Britain is in exactly the same position. We are going through a population boom. Our schools are bursting – certainly in London – and the demand is rising the whole time. The population of the capital went up by about 122,000 last year alone.

I am just about the only politician in the last few years who has argued consistently that immigration can be a wonderful thing; and I believe that the capital is the most dynamic and productive part of the whole EU economy partly because 40 per cent of its population were born abroad. But in managing the pressures we face – a shortage of homes, growing numbers of homeless from other EU countries – it should surely be up to us, in the UK, to decide how many more are allowed in – and not up to some quota-monger in Brussels.

Finally, we need to ask ourselves about the long-term impact on some of these troubled countries, if their most talented and energetic people are allowed to disperse themselves rapidly across the EU. Yes, of course we should help those Syrians who have no realistic hope of return, but it might also be sensible to improve the camps and the lives of those who must one day go back to rebuild their society, and offer a future to Syria.

To give those Syrians that hope of return it is increasingly obvious that we must do more. It is time once again to canvass the military options, to get Washington to take notice of a problem that is not going away and is, if anything, getting worse. If the generals think air strikes – or any other intervention – could work against Daesh/Isil, they should be listened to. I might be more inclined to listen to moralising from our EU friends if, this time, they were more willing to help.

Boris Johnson: Cut House of Lords to 400 peers with ‘Dignitas style euthanasia’ plan

"There are a great many of these geezers who don't do much at all. We probably only need about 400 legislators."

How the House of Lords looks now, by party
Party Total
Bishops 26
Cons 226
Crossbench 179
Labour 212
Liberal Democrat 101
Non-affiliated 22
Other parties 17
HoL

Mr Johnson, however, refused to say whether he would accept a peerage himself if the opportunity arose in the future.

A Cabinet minister warned last week that peers could be forced to leave the House of Lords when they get too old in a bid to ensure the second chamber does not "keep growing indefinitely".

Writing in The Telegraph, Baroness Stowell, the Conservative leader in the Lords, conceded that the second chamber needs reform in the wake of Mr Cameron’s decision to appoint more peers.

Baroness Stowell suggested that “age or term limits” could be brought in to ensure that the House of Lords “commands legitimacy”.

The House of Lords is now the world's second largest legislative body after China's National People's Congress.

Some of the new peers

Conservative appointments include:

Rt Hon William Hague – former MP for Richmond and former Foreign Secretary (R) Rt Hon Douglas Hogg QC – former MP for Sleaford and North Hykeham and held several ministerial roles (C) Rt Hon Andrew Lansley CBE – former MP for South Cambridgeshire and former Cabinet Minister (R)

Labour appointments include:

Rt Hon Tessa Jowell DBE – former MP for Dulwich and West Norwood and former Cabinet Minister (L) Rt Hon Alistair Darling – former MP for Edinburgh South West and former Cabinet Minister (C) Hon David Blunkett – former MP for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough and former Cabinet Minister (R)

Liberal Democrat appointments include:

Rt Hon Sir Menzies ‘Ming’ Campbell CH, CBE, QC – former MP for North East Fife and former Leader of the Liberal Democrats (L) Lynne Featherstone – former MP for Hornsey and Wood Green and held several ministerial positions (C) Sir Malcolm Bruce – former MP for Gordon, and former Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats (R)

If we do nothing about Syria, then the refugees will keep on coming

It is Isil and Isil alone that has introduced this nauseating nihilism; and when I fantasise about my ideal solution for these people, I think of the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark, when the Nazi plunderers are physically vaporised before our eyes. I am sorry to sound vindictive, but that I think is what they deserve – and especially for their murder of the 82-year-old curator, Khalid al-Asaad.

Yeah, you may say, and who is going to avenge him? Who is going to play Yahweh? No one wants to take them on. Everyone is frit of Isil, you may say – and it seems that no one in any Western capital thinks Syria is worth the bones of a Pomeranian grenadier, as Bismarck put it, let alone of a British grenadier.

Well, I am not sure that this will do any more – not when we look at the tragedy unfurling in the Mediterranean, the hideous fate of the 71 Syrian refugees in that lorry in Austria, the awful scorching sufferings of the migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean.

A few years ago I went to Palmyra, and other places in Syria, and realised that it was a place of unbelievable cultural richness. We went to Aleppo and saw the ancient souk. We went to Apamea and saw the lustrous mosaics of hunting and wine-making and agriculture – reminding you that for centuries this place was the very heart of the Christian Roman empire.

Khaled Asad, the Director of Antiquities and Museum in Palmyra

I thought then that this country had a lush future. The food was delicious; the people were gentle and civilised and friendly. I imagined brochures for villas called Simply Syria; and trekking holidays and cycling holidays; perhaps even Club 18-30, in the racier parts of Damascus – shades of Beirut in the good old days. At the centre of it all was the magnetic pull of culture, and history, and the touristic notion that you could better yourself by exposure to one of the oldest civilisations in the world.

My optimism was founded entirely on my astonishment at the relics of the past – and if you think heritage is unimportant to tourism, look at the reasons people cite for coming to London, now the number one tourist destination on Earth. Yes, it’s the bars and the theatres and the nightlife – but when people are asked to explain the reasons, they always tick the box marked “history” or “heritage”. Syria has at least 6,000 years of it, and some of the world’s most famous and important sites. Until now.

The fate of all these relics is now either grim or uncertain, lost in the fog of war – as they are destroyed, like the souk of Aleppo; or sold by Isil to fund their operations. One day I hope and pray that this nightmare will end, that Isil will be defeated – and peace will return.

If the Syrians are deprived of their past, they will have no future

And then what? What future will there be for the country – with their economy in ruins, with the potential for tourism destroyed along with their cultural heritage? I perfectly accept that intervention has not often worked. It has been a disaster in Iraq; it has been a disaster in Libya. But can you honestly say that non-intervention in Syria has been a success? If we keep doing nothing about the nightmare in Syria, then frankly we must brace ourselves for an eternity of refugees, more people suffocating in airless cattle trucks at European motorway service stations, more people trying to climb the barbed wire that we are building around the European Union.

The number one political problem in Europe this summer is the movement of migrants, and there are many potential solutions. The Home Secretary has bravely proposed a fundamental reform to the EU – that we should disallow free movement of labour, unless the migrant worker has a clearly defined job to go to. I believe many people in this country would support such a reform, though the devil, as ever, would be in the detail. But we must also tackle the reasons why people flee their homes – and we cannot let Isil destroy sites that are not only emblems of our civilisation, but which offer hope for the Syrian economy. If the Syrians are deprived of their past, they will have no future.

We Tories are in a state of disbelief about Jeremy Corbyn

It is not just that he has next to zero support among mainstream Labour MPs in the Commons; it doesn’t matter that he has rebelled against the party leadership ever since he has been in the House. Indeed, it doesn’t matter that he sometimes identifies the right problems – low pay, underinvestment in infrastructure, or whatever. It is his solutions that are so out of whack with reality.

This is a man whose policies are way, way to the Left even of the last Labour leader – Miliband – a man who in the end was resoundingly rejected by the electorate for being too Left-wing. Jeremy Corbyn is a bearded version of Ken Livingstone (I think they even go to the same tailor for their vests). He would take this country back to the 1970s, or perhaps even the 1790s. He believes in higher taxes and a bigger deficit, and kowtowing to the unions, and abandoning all attempts to introduce competition or academic rigour in schools – let alone reforming welfare.

Jeremy Corbyn takes 53% of support in new poll
Candidate Polling
Jeremy Corbyn 53
Andy Burnham 21
Yvette Cooper 18
Liz Kendall 8

He is a Sinn Fein-loving, monarchy-baiting, Israel-bashing believer in unilateral nuclear disarmament. It is nonsense to compare him to Michael Foot, who had been at least a Cabinet minister and before that a distinguished campaigner against the pre-war appeasers. This is a man who, for more than 30 years, has made a political career out of being explicitly and avowedly on the Spartist Left. He is a frondist, an inhabitant of the semi-Trot margin, an unrepentant lover of oppositionalism. Never in all his wildest dreams did he imagine that he might be leader of what has been – until this year – one of the major parties of government; and now he is having greatness thrust upon him.

We watch with befuddlement and bewilderment that is turning all the time into a sense of exhilarating vindication

How have the People’s party engineered this extraordinary horlicks? There are four groups of culprits. There is the Miliband regime, as mentioned, which not only came up with the deranged rules of the contest – by which, at one stage, the power to help choose the next Labour leader was handed to my old friend, the Conservative penseur Toby Young. Mili and co also shifted Labour so much to the Left that they managed to give a kind of spurious legitimacy to the Corbyn agenda. Miliband adopted wholesale the Livingstone playbook of state-enforced price freezes and rent controls and other attempts to buck the market.

There is a sense in which Corbyn is explicitly the heir of Miliband – and it is notable that Ed has kept a low profile lately, as if he realises the enormity of what he has done. The next group of culprits are all the New Labour old guard: Alastair Campbell, Mandelson, and above all Mr Tony himself – they have been cloth-eared in their response, hectoring Labour supporters who still haven’t forgiven them for the Iraq war; and as for Blair’s suggestion that Corbyn-backers “get a heart transplant”, it conjured an unfortunate image of our zillionaire former PM, jetting off to California for expensive organ-swapping procedures that are simply beyond the means of most people in this country.

The third set of villains is, of course, the other candidates, who have been so robotically dull that they have made Jeremy’s woolly ruminations seem positively electrifying. They are so torpid that it almost feels as if they want to lose. Come on, guys: where is the fire? Where are your plans to build a new Jerusalem? I cannot think of a single thing any of them has said – except to bash Corbyn, with the result that Corbyn is the story, Corbyn is the guy that everyone wants to see – and the loony Corbynmania grows, like a stock market bubble that will burst too late.

Which brings me to the group that bears final responsibility for what may – may, as I say – be about to happen: the armies of Labour rank and file who honestly seem to think that this might be the way forward. Yes, there really are a few hundred thousand people who seriously think that we should turn back the clock, take huge swathes of industry back into public ownership and massively expand the state.

The problem for Labour is that they do not represent the majority of people in this country. That is the real lesson of this campaign so far: that the mass of the Labour Party is totally out of touch with reality and common sense. How should we Tories react? Well, that is for another column; but in the meantime we watch with befuddlement and bewilderment that is turning all the time into a sense of exhilarating vindication: I told you they were loony.

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