Wed, 22 May 2024

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By Lord Watson of Wyre Forest
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Boris Johnson reassures moderate Tories he will not fight election on no-deal manifesto

2 min read

Boris Johnson has told moderate Tory MPs that he will not fight the next general election on a pledge to deliver a no-deal Brexit.

A delegation from the moderate "One Nation" caucus met the Prime Minister in Downing Street to get assurances he would not shift party policy in an upcoming manifesto.

The clear-the-air talks followed claims by a senior Number 10 aide - thought to be Mr Johnson's top adviser Dominic Cummings - that the Conservatives would need to campaigned on a no-deal platform in order to stop their supporters flocking to the Brexit Party.

One of those who attended the Number 10 meeting on Wednesday afternoon, Gillian Keegan, told PoliticsHome: “We were concerned about reports coming from Number 10 that there may be a manifesto with government policy as no-deal being the preferred approach.

"We don’t want a manifesto saying ‘let’s go WTO' (World Trade Organisation’, all these kind of slogans more worthy of the Brexit Party."

The Chichester MP added: "All the Prime Minister said was effectively we should listen to him and what he says, and not rumours or what other people say."

Other Tory MPs at the meeting were One Nation group chairman Damian Green, Victoria Prentis and James Brokenshire.

Mr Green, who backed Mr Johnson in the Tory leadership race, told Sky News: “The PM agreed with us that he doesn’t see no-deal in that manifesto.

“So I think we can be confident that the idea that a government would go on into a general election saying what we want is no deal, which is the Brexit Party policy, that will not be the Conservtaive Party policy.”

Asked how sure he could be of the PM’s commitment, Mr Green said: “All I can say is what the PM said to me face-to-face across the Cabinet table today.

“And I believe what he told me.”

But Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage hit back, telling the Financial Times: “If the Prime Minister is ruling out a clean break manifesto in the election, he will not win.

“He has misread the voting public, we have had enough.”

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