BORIS MAKES HIS MOVE: Chequers Plan a ‘Fix’, May Has ‘Not Even Tried’ to Deliver Brexit

Carl Court/Getty Images
Carl Court/Getty Images

Boris Johnson appears to be making his move against Theresa May, declaring that her Chequers plan for Brexit represents failure, and she has “gone into battle with the white flag fluttering”.

The former two-time Mayor of London, who resigned as Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary over the Prime Minister’s ultra-soft Brexit plan, declared in The Telegraph that the Brexit negotiations are now effectively over.

Widely seen by as a strong contender to replace the Prime Minister, Johnson’s latest intervention may fuel speculation that a coup in Westminster may be underway.

“The fix is in… and in this case, I am afraid, the inevitable outcome is a victory for the EU, with the UK lying flat on the canvas with 12 stars circling symbolically over our semi-conscious head,” he wrote.

He predicted Brussels may “pretend not to like” certain aspects of May’s plan — which she admits may still involve further concessions if they are “in the national interest” — but suggested that any arguments over outstanding issues would be largely a face-saving display for the Prime Minister.

“[T]he reality is that in this negotiation the EU has so far taken every important trick. The UK has agreed to hand over £40 billion of taxpayers’ money for two-thirds of diddly squat,” he blasted.

“If we continue on this basis we will throw away most of the advantages of Brexit. By agreeing to a ‘common rulebook’ with the EU – over which we have no control – we are making it impossible for the UK to be more competitive, to innovate, to deviate, to initiate, and we are ruling out major free trade deals,” he warned.

“If we go ahead with the Chequers proposals, we are forswearing the project of Global Britain… and abandoning the notion of the UK as a proud independent economic actor,” he added — describing May’s plan as remaining in the “EU taxi” but as a captive “locked in the boot” rather than a passenger.

He suggested that the Northern Ireland border issue, relatively unimportant, given the low volume of trade between the Province and the Irish Republic, which is remaining in the EU, had been intentionally blown up by actors hostile to Brexit.

“It is now clear that some in the UK Government never wanted solutions. They wanted to use that problem to stop a proper Brexit. Solving Ireland would mean a solution for Dover-Calais, and they didn’t really want that. They wanted essentially to stay in, and to create a Brexit in name only.”

While Johnson said the so-called transition or implementation period after 2019 — during which Britain will effectively remain a full member of the EU, but with no representation on the European Council or in the European Parliament — allowed the Prime Minister ample time to turn back to the proper, free trade agreement based Brexit she used to advocate, his article is widely seen as him firing the starting gun on a much-anticipated leadership bid.

“The scandal is not that we have failed,” he concluded, “but that we have not even tried.”

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