WATCH Theresa May brushes off Boris Johnson's attack on her Brexit plans

Posted On: 
8th June 2018

Theresa May sought to brush off criticism of the Government's Brexit plans from Boris Johnson tonight, as she insisted her controversial Northern Ireland 'backstop' proposals are workable.

The Prime Minister also rejected EU claims her Northern Ireland backstop plan would not work.
Credit: 
PA

The Foreign Secretary was secretly recorded bad-mouthing the Government’s approach to Brexit at a dinner for Conservative activists earlier this week.

He also blasted the Treasury as the "heart of Remain", hit out at the "folly" of allowing rows over the Irish border to hold up the Brexit process, and predicted that Brexit could lead to a "meltdown".

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Responding to the incendiary remarks at the G7 summit this evening, Mrs May told ITV news: "Boris has strong views on Brexit, but so do I."

And the Prime Minister insisted she was "determined" to "deliver Brexit for the British people".

She said: "People want to see this happening because there is this brighter future for Britain outside of the European Union, in control of our money, laws and borders, able to do trade deals around the rest of the world bringing prosperity and jobs to people in the UK."
 

 

Chancellor Philip Hammond earlier took a thinly-veiled swipe at Mr Johnson for describing the EU as "the enemy".

He said: "In my experience a collaborative approach is more productive than a confrontational approach and my advice to colleagues is to engage with European partners."

BACKSTOP ROW

The Prime Minister also came under fire today from the EU's top Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, who poured cold water on the Government's plan to avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland after Brexit.

The UK is pushing a backstop proposal which would keep the whole of the UK closely aligned with the EU's customs rules after Brexit as a temporary measure if a longer-term solution cannot be found in time.

But the EU is adamant that the continued customs ties should only apply to Northern Ireland, and Mr Barnier today said Mrs May's latest plan "raises more questions than it provides answers".

The chief negotiator also warned: "The other point of disagreement is on the issue of how temporary the backstop would be. Backstop means backstop."

But Mrs May tonight suggested such disagreements were par for the course, telling Sky News: "We are in a negotiation. If you look at every stage of this negotiation, the European Commission will sometimes say they welcome our proposals, they're going to talk about our proposals and sometimes they throw some scepticism on those proposals.

"What happens? We sit down, we talk about them and we deliver."

In a letter to Tory MPs last night, Mrs May conceded that her proposals were "unpalatable", but insisted that they were better than the Brussels offer and probably would not be needed.

Mr Barnier's apparent rejection of her plan threatens a fresh crisis for the Prime Minister, who only narrowly managed to stop Brexit Secretary David Davis from resigning following tense talks yesterday.