Boris Johnson 'reaches out' to Remain voters, claiming Brexit is cause for 'hope not fear'

Posted On: 
14th February 2018

Boris Johnson will today "reach out" to Remain voters and argue that many of their fears about Brexit are "unfounded".

Boris Johnson will say he wants to 'reach out' to Remain voters in his speech later
Credit: 
PA

The Foreign Secretary's address later will also pile the pressure on Theresa May over future alignment with the continent, warning that it would be "intolerable" for the UK to continue following any Brussels regulations beyond Brexit. 

Mr Johnson will try to build bridges with pro-Europeans by acknowledging that they are motivated by a "desire to succeed". 

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However he will also warn that trying to reverse the result of the 2016 referendum would be a "disastrous mistake". 

His address today is the first in a series of speeches from Cabinet ministers on the "road to Brexit", with the Prime Minister due to set out her own vision for future EU relations in Germany on Saturday.

'INTOLERABLE AND UNDEMOCRATIC'

Extracts of the speech published in the Sun suggest Mr Johnson will make an impassioned call for Britain to go it alone and leave behind the EU's regulatory structure - a position that puts him at odds with Cabinet colleagues including Chancellor Philip Hammond. 

He will say: “It is only by taking back control of our laws that UK firms and entrepreneurs will have the freedom to innovate, without the risk of having to comply with some directive devised by Brussels, at the urgings of some lobby group, with the aim of holding back a UK competitor.

“That would be intolerable, undemocratic, and would make it all but impossible for us to do serious free trade deals.”

“The British people should not have new laws affecting their everyday lives imposed from abroad, when they have no power to elect or remove those who make those laws," he will add.

“And there is no need for us to find ourselves in any such position.”

'HOPE NOT FEAR'

He will also try to build bridges with Remain campaigners, acknowledging their concerns about Brexit but insisting that leaving the EU can be a success for the UK.

"We must accept that many [pro-Europeans] are actuated by entirely noble sentiments, a real sense of solidarity with our European neighbours and a desire for the UK to succeed," he will say.

"If we are to carry this project through to national success - as we must - then we must also reach out to those who still have anxieties.

"I want to try to anatomise at least some of those fears and to show to the best of my ability that they are unfounded and that the very opposite is usually true: that Brexit is not grounds for fear but hope."

But in an accompanying comment piece, also for the Sun, Mr Johnson makes clear his concerns about attempts by campaigners to reverse the referendum result.

"I fear that some people are becoming ever more determined to stop Brexit, to reverse the referendum vote and frustrate the will of the people," he writes.

"I believe that would be a disastrous mistake, leading to permanent and ineradicable feelings of betrayal. We cannot and will not let it happen."