Ex-Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary Boris Johnson has laid into Theresa May’s ultra-soft Brexit plan yet again, describing it in florid terms as “vassalage, satrapy, colony status for the UK”.
“Imagine you leave some stifling desk job and decide to get out into the big wide world — make new contacts in America, that kind of thing,” wrote the former Mayor of London, who resigned from Theresa May’s government shortly after Brexit Secretary David Davis, having argued the deal she wanted was “a big turd” and that any minister defending it would be “polishing a turd” at Chequers.
“How would you feel if your former company still treated you like an employee? What would you do if you had to obey all the organisation’s rules, and do exactly what they told you?” he asked rhetorically.
“What if you got regular emails saying do this, do that, make me a cup of coffee, your skirt’s too short, please cough up for the company car park — even when you had left? You’d go nuts.”
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“You can’t leave an organisation and still be bound by its rules,” he added incredulously.
“But that is what the Chequers white paper means. It is vassalage, satrapy, colony status for the UK. For the first time in a thousand years our laws will be made overseas, enforced by a foreign court.
“It can’t and won’t work. Chuck Chequers,” he concluded.
Johnson is not the first Tory Brexiteer to suggest that the Prime Minister’s plan for Brexit would mean, in effect, no Brexit at all, with star backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg MP observing: “An egg which is very softly boiled isn’t boiled at all.”
Similarly, he suggested, “a very soft Brexit means we haven’t left, we’re simply a rule-taker”.
It is possible that the soft proposals which the Prime Minister outlined at Chequers could get even softer, too, being subject to further negotiations with Brussels — a factor which helped to prompt David Davis and Boris Johnson to resign.
“[The Chequers plan] hands control of large swathes of our economy to the EU and is certainly not returning control of our laws in any real sense,” wrote the former in his resignation letter.
“I am also unpersuaded that [May’s] negotiation approach will not just lead to further demands for concessions,” he added.