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Boris Johnson warns of Brexit 'meltdown' in furious attack on 'heart of Remain' Treasury

3 min read

Boris Johnson has admitted that Brexit could lead to "meltdown" as he accused the Treasury of failing to seize the opportunities of leaving the European Union.

In incendiary comments, the Foreign Secretary said Chancellor Philip Hammond's department was the "heart of Remain" and conceded that there are "arguments" going on at the heart of the Government over the best way for Britain to quit the bloc.

He even suggested that Donald Trump would do a better job of negotiating the UK's exit than Theresa May.

Mr Johnson was secretly recorded speaking at a private dinner at the Institute of Directors in London, following a drinks reception hosted by the Thatcherite think tank Conservative Way Forward.

He said: "The fight at the moment, I won’t hide it from you, the inner struggle, is very, very difficult. The Treasury, which is basically the heart of Remain, has seized the risk - what they don’t want is friction at the borders. They don’t want any disruption. So they’re sacrificing all the medium and long-term gains amid fear of short-term disruption. Do you see what I’m saying?

"And that fear of short term disruption has become so huge in people’s minds that they’re turning them all wet. Project Fear is really working on them. They’re terrified of this nonsense. It’s all mumbo jumbo."

The Foreign Secretary added: "I’m not going to hide it from you, there is an argument going on."

Mr Johnson said he was "increasingly admiring of Donald Trump" and added: "Imagine Trump doing Brexit. He’d go in bloody hard… There’d be all sorts of breakdowns, all sorts of chaos. Everyone would think he’d gone mad. But actually you might get somewhere. It’s a very, very good thought."

But he said the Prime Minister was now ready to become more "combative with Brussels".

"You’ve got to face the fact there may now be a meltdown. OK," he said. "I don’t want anybody to panic during the meltdown. No panic. Pro bono publico, no bloody panic. It’s going to be all right in the end."

A friend of Boris said: “This was a private dinner under Chatham house rules so it is sad and very disappointing that it has been covertly recorded and distributed to the media.”


Labour MP Ian Murray, of the pro-EU People's Vote campaign, said: "Boris Johnson is utterly shameless. As these comments show, he knows we're going to get shafted with a bad Brexit deal, he knows how much damage it will cause to our economy, he knows it will result in a hard border re-emerging in Northern Ireland, but he couldn't care less.

"That this disgraceful charlatan holds one of the great offices of state in this country should be a source of constant shame and embarrassment to the Prime Minister. Boris Johnson cares about nothing except himself and his own ambition.

"He is right about one thing: we are heading for ‘a meltdown’ over Brexit. But his solution is simply to embrace the chaos.

"Rather than continuing to let this Donald Trump tribute act determine the future of our country, we should take back control by having a People's Vote on the final Brexit deal."

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