(DPA/GNA) – Divisions over Brexit intensified in Britain’s ruling Conservative
party on Friday after former foreign minister Boris Johnson launched another
scathing attack on Prime Minister Theresa May.
Johnson presented his
own alternative Brexit plan in a 4,500-word article for The Daily Telegraph,
saying May’s Brexit proposals, known as the Chequers deal, represented a
“moral and intellectual humiliation” and a “democratic
The government had
delivered a “pretty invertebrate performance” in Brexit negotiations,
he said, adding that, “there has been a collective failure of government
… to deliver on the mandate of the people.”
newspaper splashed its main story on Johnson’s intervention across its front
page, which was dominated by a large photograph of the outspoken politician,
who resigned his ministerial post in July to oppose May’s plan after two years
in the job.
His attack, two days
before the Conservative Party conference, increases the pressure on May, who
has struggled to unite her party behind her plan even as the deadline for
Britain to leave the European Union on March 29 approaches.
Johnson was backed by
influential right-winger Jacob Rees-Mogg, who heads the Conservatives’
pro-Brexit European Research Group of lawmakers.
“I think the
negotiations have been badly conducted. I think we have let the European Union
make the running in negotiations,” Rees-Mogg said on the BBC’s political
programme Question Time.
Rees-Mogg said earlier
this week that his group wants to “see Chequers changed but will vote
against it in the House of Commons if it is not.”
Fellow Brexiteer Bernard
Jenkin tweeted that Johnson’s arguments were “unanswerable” and
“powerful,” while Nadine Dorries, another eurosceptic lawmaker, said
the article showed Johnson was “a man with a plan.”
article from Boris Johnson, a man who truly believes in Britain and discusses
our glorious future post-Brexit,” said another Conservative lawmaker
Conservative Nicky Morgan mocked the article, saying it showed that Johnson had
“clearly made his decision” to return to his career as a journalist.
Tom Brake, Brexit
spokesman for the opposition Liberal Democrats, said Johnson “had ample
time as foreign secretary to negotiate his Brexit fantasy.”
“Now, with just
six months to go before the UK falls out of the EU, the Tories continue to kick
Brexit around as a political football,” Brake tweeted. “This is
insulting to millions of people and businesses.”
Johnson said last
year’s snap election, in which May lost her majority in parliament, was a
“serious strategic mistake … but the single greatest failing has been
the government’s appalling and inexplicable delay in setting out a vision for
what Brexit is.”
He urged the
government to seek an agreement with Brussels similar to the free trade
agreement recently reached between the EU and Canada.
Johnson said his plan
would not mean the introduction of a hard border between Northern Ireland and
the Republic of Ireland, one of the main stumbling blocks in the Brexit
negotiations, saying customs checks could be carried out away from the border.