Boris Johnson lays Brexit trap for Theresa May

04 October, 2018, 15:02 | Author: Emmett Rice
  • Philip Hammond has joined David Davis on a two-day'charm offensive in Germany

Mr Johnson's activities at the conference will fuel speculation about his leadership ambitions, but Mr Lewis said his opposition to the Government's Brexit plan was not new and the Prime Minister's blueprint remained the only option on the table.

But she has since drawn criticism for overseeing major cuts to police budgets, a growing political issue amid rising crime and after a string of terror attacks.

On Johnson's prospects of becoming PM, Hammond mockingly said he doesn't "expect it to happen" because he can not do "grown-up politics".

But Johnson's recent comments about her Brexit plan, calling it "deranged" and saying it strapped a suicide vest to the British constitution, have angered many fellow MPs.

Johnson said simply that Britain should use a 20-month transition period after Brexit to negotiate a looser, Canada-style free trade deal while stepping up preparations for a "no-deal" exit.

However, Toyota became the latest high-profile business to warn that leaving the world's biggest trading bloc without any trading agreement could add costs and cripple output at plants which rely on the just-in-time delivery of tens of thousands of components.

She argues that her plan is the only way to avoid customs checks along the now invisible border between the U.K.'s Northern Ireland and European Union member Ireland - a development that would be troublesome for residents and businesses on both sides, and could undermine Northern Ireland's peace process.

Speaking on the fringe of the conference, the former foreign secretary - who quit Mrs May's Cabinet in July in protest at the Chequers plan - won an enthusiastic reaction on a scale not seen so far inside the main hall.

Johnson was a leading campaigner for Brexit in the referendum.

And she made clear she was not ready to hand over the reins of power, telling BBC Radio 4's Today: "I'm in this for the long term, not just for the Brexit deal but actually for the domestic agenda we are setting out at this conference".

A no-deal Brexit could harm the UK’s economy according to the IMF
A no-deal Brexit could harm the UK’s economy according to the IMF

After charming the crowds, there was a hunger from some of those present for Johnson to go further and declare a leadership bid - something his aides say he is reluctant to do, yet.

Since then, her party's pro- and anti-Brexit factions have taken turns to flex their muscles, seeking to influence her strategy and bringing her government to the brink.

This similarity was picked up by a cabinet minister who told The Sun that Johnson has been sounding more like Trump since he had a meeting with the U.S. president's ally Steve Bannon.

But he added: "I believe that when the Prime Minister lands this deal and brings it back, there will actually be a boost to the economy, as businesses start making those investments that they've deferred over the past year or so, consumers start spending on big-ticket items as they feel more confident knowing where we are going in the future".

She took to the airwaves again after Johnson's appearance, telling Sky News dismissively that he "always puts on a good show" while she focuses on things that mattered to people's "day-to-day lives".

Mary Wylie, a local party official from Devon in southwest England, said Johnson's speech expressed "my Conservative philosophy".

She retorted by arguing that his alternative proposals would result in a post-Brexit customs border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

"We Conservatives know that it is only a strong private sector economy that can pay for superb public services and that is the central symmetry of our one nation Toryism". "Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom".

He added: "I don't think this is a time to be talking about leadership challenges, it is a time to be supporting our Prime Minister as she takes forward this incredibly hard task of getting a deal with the European Union". And we have a guarantee for the people of Northern Ireland and we are upholding that.

More news: U.S., Canada reportedly conclude new NAFTA deal

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