Boris Johnson says he intends to do “everything in my power” to prevent Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn becoming prime minister.
The London mayor, considered a contender to replace David Cameron as Tory leader, labelled Mr Corbyn’s views on the Middle East as “very, very eccentric” and “damaging”.
And in remarks which seem unlikely to dampen talk about his leadership ambitions, Mr Johnson criticised Mr Corbyn’s approach to Israel.
The Opposition leader was heckled at a Labour Party conference fringe event earlier this year and urged to “say the word Israel”, while he has also been criticised by some in the Jewish community for having links to people with anti-Semitic views, including a Holocaust denier and other individuals with anti-Semitic track records”
Mr Corbyn has previously strongly rejected allegations he is anti-Semitic, labelling them “beyond appalling”.
Appearing at a question and answer session in Jerusalem, Mr Johnson was asked how London has produced a leader such as Mr Corbyn.
The Conservative MP replied: “My view is that the views of the leader of the Opposition are very, very eccentric indeed and damaging because I think to call groups like Hamas and Hezbollah ‘friends’ is simply crazy and flying in the face of the manifest evidence of what those terrorist-supporting groups are up to.
“I think that he’s wrong there and, you know, look, the only comfort I can give you is that without remotely being complacent I think it’s very, very unlikely that his views are shared by his colleagues in the Labour Party, let alone shared by members of the British public at large.
“Again, without wishing to be complacent, I don’t think it’s likely he will succeed in becoming prime minister.
“And it’s my intention to do everything in my power to avert that from happening, and I think we have a very good chance, but I have to say I share your concern about some of the things he’s said.”
Mr Johnson is taking part in a three-day trade mission to Israel and the Palestinian territories, where his work has included meeting senior Israeli politicians.
During his trade mission, he has spent a day in Tel Aviv, a day in Jerusalem and a day with Palestinian leaders in the West Bank, where he’ll go the city of Ramallah.
He met with senior politicians, including president Rueven Rivlin, former president Shimon Peres, vice-prime minister Silvan Shalom and the mayor of Tel Aviv.