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Boris Johnson accuses Theresa May of waving 'the white flag' in Brexit negotiations

Boris Johnson accuses Theresa May of waving 'the white flag' in Brexit negotiations
3 min read

Boris Johnson has accused Theresa May of waving "the white flag" in the Brexit negotiations and predicted that the talks will end in "victory" for the EU.

In his strongest criticism yet of the Prime Minister’s Chequers plan, Mr Johnson said the outcome of the negotiations are "about as pre-ordained as a bout between Giant Haystacks and Big Daddy" which would leave Britain "lying flat on the canvas".

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, the former Foreign Secretary also accused "some" ministers of deliberately using the Irish border situation to "stop a proper Brexit".

Mr Johnson, who quit the Cabinet within 48 hours of the Chequers plan being agreed, said: "In adopting the Chequers proposals, we have gone into battle with the white flag fluttering over our leading tank. If we continue on this basis we will throw away most of the advantages of Brexit."

He added: "The fix is in. The whole thing is about as pre-ordained as a bout between Giant Haystacks and Big Daddy; and in this case, I am afraid, the inevitable outcome is a victory for the EU, with the UK lying flat on the canvas and 12 stars circling symbolically over our semi-conscious head."

The Tory big beast - tipped to challenge Mrs May for the Tory leadership - also accused some ministers of using the row over the Irish border as an attempt to create a "Brexit in name only".

He said: "The answer is to go for the one solution that both delivers Brexit and treats all the UK in the same way: a big and generous Free Trade Deal, with intimate partnerships on foreign policy, justice, and all the rest – as adumbrated at Lancaster House.

"Of course that means fixing the Irish border problem. It is fixable. The scandal is not that we have failed, but that we have not even tried."

Mr Johnson's latest attack comes as 20 Tory MPs, including a leading ally of Mr Johnson, made a joint public commitment to bring down the proposals.

According to The Times, Conor Burns joined former Cabinet ministers Priti Patel and Iain Duncan-Smith in vowing to fight the plans – which could force the PM to ditch the option altogether and further risk a no deal Brexit outcome.


Meanwhile the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier insisted the bloc is “strongly” opposed to key parts of Mrs May’s plan.

The rebuke comes hours after the PM wrote in the Sunday Telegraph that she will "not be pushed" into compromises on her Chequers agreement if they are not in the "national interest".

But in a fresh blow to the Government’s strategy, and in one of his most forthright interventions on the issue yet, Mr Barnier said a "common rulebook" for goods but not services was not in Brussels’ interests.

He told German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that the plans would “would be the end of the single market and the European project”, adding that Britain would have to stay in the single market, like Norway, to get its way.

"If we let the British pick the raisins out of our rules, that would have serious consequences,” he said.

"Then all sorts of other third countries could insist that we offer them the same benefits..."

"You can not play with it by picking pieces. There is another reason why I strongly oppose the British proposal."

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