Speaking as he set out his vision to be the next Conservative leader and prime minister, Mr Johnson claimed that the British public “feels alienated” from those in Westminster “because too often they feel we are muffling and veiling our language”.
He was asked by Sky News if a string of controversial comments, which includes referring to Muslim women wearing the burka as “letter boxes” and “bank robbers”, meant he was not suitable for the top job.
“If sometimes in the course of trying to get across what I genuinely think, I use phrases and language that have caused offence, of course I’m sorry for the offence that I have caused,” Mr Johnson told Sky’s political editor Beth Rigby in a Q&A following his speech.
“But I will continue to speak as directly I can.
“Because that is what I think the British public want to hear.”
Having been accused of shying away from scrutiny for not taking part in broadcast or newspaper interviews, Mr Johnson faced questions from journalists for the first time during the campaign.
In the Q&A session, the leadership front-runner:
:: Sidestepped a question about whether he had taken cocaine at university, saying: “I think what most people in this country want us to really focus on in this campaign, if I may say so, is what we can do for them and what our plans are for this great country of ours”;
:: Suggested MPs would not block Brexit, because “in the end, maturity and a sense of duty will prevail”;
:: Clarified that he would “stick up” for all businesses, having previously declared “f*** business” because of firms’ Brexit concerns;
:: Defended the use of stop and search and said his record as mayor of London made him suitable to lead the country;
:: Acknowledged “there will be difficulties and bumps in the road” if he comes PM, but his team will “hit the ground running”;
:: Said “I cannot swear that I have always observed a top speed limit of 70mph” when asked if he had ever done anything illegal.