“It’s not too late to save Brexit”, Boris Johnson tells UK parliament

Resignation statements like Mr Johnson’s have previously been used by former ministers to inflict a departing blow on prime ministers with whom they have clashed.


Mr Johnson quit Mrs May’s Cabinet on Monday last week, declaring that the plans for the UK’s post-Brexit relations with Europe which she set out at Chequers would leave Britain a “colony”. Britons should be “great independent actors” on the world stage, not “rule takers”, he said.

Johnson, who led the main Brexit campaign in the 2016 referendum, resigned as foreign minister on Monday over May’s strategy which he said was killing the “Brexit dream” with self-doubt.

“I think it is important to give the Prime Minister and the Government the space to negotiate so we can reach an agreement and deliver the referendum result”, he said.

Mr Varadkar said the amendments agreed by Downing Street at the behest of Brexiteers “shouldn’t give us any reason to change our position” in the withdrawal negotiations.

The bill gives the government the power to set up new global trade relationships after Britain leaves the European Union next March. The document proposes keeping Britain and the European Union in a free market for goods, with a more distant relationship for services.

Johnson said the agreement reached by the Cabinet at Chequers would make the United Kingdom “rule takers”, damaging its ability to strike new worldwide trade deals. The former foreign secretary was flanked by Nadine Dorries with the likes of David Davis, Iain Duncan Smith and Jacob Rees Mogg watching on.

Theresa May faces a fresh Commons battle over Brexit just hours after Tory civil war pushed her customs legislation to the brink.

“What should have become clear to [May] is that the Chequers proposals are completely untenable with our [party] membership in the country and the electorate”, Andrew Bridgen, a Conservative pro-Brexit lawmaker, told Reuters.

The commission said Vote Leave had exceeded its spending limit of 7 million pounds (about $9 million) by funneling 675,315 pounds through a pro-Brexit youth group called BeLeave.

Shouts rang out across the Commons.

The prime minister insisted at “absolutely no point” had that happened because “Brexit continues to mean Brexit”.

Parliament voted 307 to 301 against an amendment to trade legislation that would have required the government to try to negotiate a customs union arrangement with the EU if, by January 21, 2019, it had failed to negotiate a frictionless free trade deal with the bloc.

“It must be very hard for the prime minister to take rather threatening lectures day after day about what they will accept, when they are actually a minority”, he said.

“Not the democratic disaster of ongoing harmonisation with no way out and no say for the UK”.

“Perhaps the biggest problem for the government is that many Leave voters do not think the [Chequers] agreement reflects what they believe the country voted for in the European Union referendum”, polling expert John Curtice wrote in a report this week.

“It is absolute nonsense to imagine, as I fear some of my colleagues do, that we can somehow afford to make a botched treaty now, and then break and reset the bone later on”, he said.


She will also meet the all-powerful 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers this afternoon following a month in which calls for her resignation from her own MPs have grown.

Government defeated an amendment from Tory backbench MPs which would have kept UK in a customs union with the EU if it fails to agree a free trade deal