Boris Johnson set to make dramatic Commons resignation speech

Posted On: 
18th July 2018

Former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson will today make his first Commons intervention since dramatically quitting the Government over Brexit.

The ex-foreign secretary is due up on his feet at Prime Minister's Questions today
Credit: 
PA

The Uxbridge MP resigned from the Cabinet last week with a blast at Theresa May's Brexit plans, warning that Britain was "truly headed for the status of colony" and claiming that the "dream" of Brexit "is dying".

According to Sky News, Mr Johnson is pushing to make a formal resignation statement straight after Prime Minister's Questions this afternoon, in a move that could be seen as deeply damaging to Mrs May.

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Mr Johnson was last night seen seeking the permission of Commons Speaker John Bercow for the intervention, which some Conservative MPs are already likening it to the 1990 speech given by Geoffrey Howe which precipitated the downfall of Margaret Thatcher.

Friends of the Foreign Secretary downplayed the prospect of Mr Johnson "plunging the knife", however, telling Sky that the ex-Cabinet heavyweight would make "a call for a change in policy, not a change of Prime Minister".

The intervention from the former Foreign Secretary will come just hours before Mrs May faces a grilling on Brexit by the powerful Liaison Committee of senior MPs.

She will then come face-to-face with her restless backbench MPs when she addresses a meeting of the Conservatives' 1922 Committee at 5pm.

The Prime Minister last night narrowly saw off a rebellion by pro-Remain Tory MPs that would have forced the Government to seek a customs union with the EU.

Twelve Conservative MPs defied the Government in the knife-edge vote on the amendment to the Trade Bill, and Tory whips are said to have warned rebel MPs ahead of the vote that their defiance could trigger a general election.

One MP told the Times that they had been threatened by deputy chief whip Chris Pincher minutes before last night's crucial vote.

"[Pincher] said they would pull the third reading of the [trade] bill and call a vote of confidence," the MP told the paper.

"He said we’d be responsible for a general election and putting Jeremy Corbyn in No 10. It was appalling behaviour. Totally disgraceful."