Boris Johnson reaches 'sad conclusion' that he must back Theresa May's Brexit deal

Posted On: 
29th March 2019

Boris Johnson has said he will vote for Theresa May’s Brexit deal after reaching the "sad conclusion" that it is the only way to ensure the UK actually leaves the European Union.

Boris Johnson arrives at the Houses of Parliament on Wednesday
Credit: 
PA Images

The ex-Foreign Secretary said he will find it “very painful” to back the Withdrawal Agreement at the third attempt today, but said Brexit risked being watered down further or lost altogether if MPs reject it again.

Mr Johnson has mounted a series of excoriating attacks on Mrs May’s deal since taking up a role as a columnist at the Daily Telegraph, and last September prompted controversy by comparing it to a “suicide vest around the British constitution”.

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However following the PM’s vow to quit on Wednesday if her deal was supported, he told a meeting of the European Research Group of Tory Brexiteers that he had swung behind it.

Mrs May still faces a huge task to secure a majority for the Withdrawal Agreement, with the DUP insisting their 10 MPs will all vote against it.

A government source told PoliticsHome: "The numbers are still fluid but improving."

In his first public comments on why he had U-turned and was now backing the deal, Mr Johnson explained his actions on Twitter.

His intervention comes after Education Secretary Damian Hinds last night warned there would be a “substantial” Brexit delay if MPs reject the Brexit deal for a third time.

Excluding the future relationship from today’s proceedings means the motion is not another so-called “Meaningful Vote,” but it will ensure a short Brexit delay until 22 May if it is passed and prevent the UK either leaving on 12 April without a deal, or being forced to seek an even longer extension to Article 50.