Leading Tory Brexit rebel Dominic Grieve calls for Boris Johnson to resign over customs outburst

Posted On: 
11th May 2018

Former Attorney General and leading Brexit rebel Dominic Grieve has called for Boris Johnson to resign after the Foreign Secretary broke ranks to criticise Theresa May’s customs plan.

Dominic Grieve was pivotal in defeating the Government on the EU Withdrawal Bill in the Commons last year
Credit: 
PA

In an interview with the Guardian, the Tory MP branded Mr Johnson “disloyal” over his description of the Prime Minister’s preferred ‘customs partnership’ as “crazy”.

Mr Grieve accused Mr Johnson of “destroying” Cabinet’s collective responsibility and “undermining” democracy.

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He blasted: “If you don’t like a policy, you leave the government. That’s what you should do.

“If there are problems, you either accept them or you have to go. That’s your choice.”

Asked if the Cabinet heavyweight should step down as Foreign Secretary, Mr Grieve replied: “He should resign. Yes.”  

Earlier this week, Mr Johnson told the Daily Mail: "If you have the new customs partnership, you have a crazy system whereby you end up collecting the tariffs on behalf of the EU at the UK frontier."

But he was later slapped down by Number 10, with the Prime Minister's spokesman pointing out that the customs partnership plan - which would see the UK collect tarriffs on behalf of Brussles - had featured in a speech she made that the "entire Cabinet was signed up to".

Elsewhere in the Guardian interview, Mr Grieve set out his position on post-Brexit customs arrangements, saying: “What I see as absolutely essential is to try to ensure we can negotiate a deal with the EU that enables us to enjoy frictionless trade.

“In reality, we won’t get that without a high level of regulatory alignment.”

Downing Street today confirmed reports that Mrs May has taken the highly unusual step of splitting her warring Cabinet ministers into two groups to allow them to weigh up the pros and cons of each customs option before a crunch meeting next week.

Brexiteers including Mr Johnson believe Number 10's plan will hobble future trade deals with countries beyond the EU, and are instead pushing for a 'maximum facilitation' model that would rely on technology to try and ensure a smooth flow of goods across borders. The EU has reacted coolly to both proposals, however.