Boris’s Big Brexit Pitch

Boris Johnson has given a very lengthy interview to ConservativeHome this morning, setting out what looks suspiciously like an alternative manifesto for leadership after May loses the meaningful vote next week. While he insists that May needn’t resign, he sets out a clear alternative path for the country to follow:

  • May must throw out the Withdrawal Agreement, even if she only loses by one vote
  • Boris adds that it would be a “very, very serious mistake” if the Government contrived to pull the meaningful vote now
  • He won’t comment on whether he’s sent in a letter of no confidence himself
  • The UK must go back to Brussels and renegotiate in a “generous, optimistic energetic way” that goes back to the Lancaster House Principles
  • Reinstate a “big free trade agreement at the heart” of the deal, using the implementation period to negotiate it
  • Ditch the backstop – Boris says the Cabinet was “misled” by May and Gavin Barwell over the backstop and sold the December deal in “total bad faith”, adding that the UK has “collaborated in our own incarceration” by helping to “co-forge” the manacles of the backstop
  • Not hand over £39 billion of taxpayers’ money in advance of the final deal
  • Boris rejects the EEA option, saying Norway plus the backstop is “worse” than the deal
  • Proponents of ‘Norway to Canada’ “don’t really want to go forward to the Canada solution”
  • Being prepared to leave on WTO terms is “absolutely crucial” – Boris won’t “pretend there would be no challenges at all. But what people I think want to see is a bit of gumption from this country… and a bit of leadership”
  • He calls the Government’s failure to prepare to come out on WTO terms is an “S&M approach to Government. What perversion is it where you want to be locked up in chains?”

Whether or not you believe that Boris’s approach is any better, the fact is that May’s approach to the negotiations simply has not delivered. May cannot just carry on like it’s business as usual if she loses the vote next week, whatever her margin of defeat…




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Quote of the Day

Andrea Leadsom told BBC Radio 4’s Today

“He’s made his views on Brexit on the record, and the problem with that of course is that the chair’s impartiality is absolutely essential. … He’s made his views known on Brexit… it’s a matter for him but nevertheless it’s a challenge and all colleagues need to form their own view of that.”

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