Boris Johnson is trying to win support before things get messy in October

Birmingham. Manchester. Edinburgh. Cardiff. Belfast.

Boris Johnson has covered more than 3,000 miles in his first week as prime minister, and already it is possible to discern patterns in his leadership.

The new prime minister turns up, meets critics, listens to their complaints then says he wont fold on Brexit.

If he can, he then finds an animal to cuddle or historical artefact to boast about which provides soft focus pictures for the evening news.

The approach – to run headlong into conflict – confounds traditional media handling techniques and looks like the opposite from previous prime ministers like David Cameron, Theresa May and even Gordon Brown, who sought to heal divisions on entry to Number 10.

But this Downing Street relishes a fight.

Every time his critics sound off, they give Mr Johnson a high profile platform to face them down and refuse their demands.

This Number 10 is gambling, which makes him look stronger amongst potential supporters, whilst also enraging further those who were never likely to vote for him in the first place.

It explains why Mr Johnson defied Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson’s advice not to greet Nicola Sturgeon on the steps of Bute House in Edinburgh.

There were boos from the crowd outside.

And did the same on Tuesday in Cardiff when there were more jeers as he bounced up the steps.

Each time, Mr Johnson was able to come out and say that he understood the concern they have about his Brexit plan – and that in the event of no-deal his government would help where possible.

But he also gets to deliver his defiant key message that Britian will leave the EU on 31 October, deal or no-deal, come what may.

One former Tory adviser has described this as a Downing Street of “Brexiteers first, Tories second”.

This comes at a cost, since clearly not all Tories agree with Mr Johnson’s destination or approach.

For now, however, Mr Johnson and the team of campaigners around him are hunkering down through August for a fight.

The prime minister wants to get as many people on his side – and as much credit in with voters – because he knows things are going to get messy in October and November.

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