Boris Brands May’s Brexit Deal a ‘Democratic Disaster’, Pushes ‘SuperCanada’ Alternative

Carl Court/Getty Images
Carl Court/Getty Images

Boris Johnson has slammed Theresa May’s “supine” Brexit proposals on the eve of the Tory Party conference as a “democratic disaster”, laying out an alternative ‘SuperCanada’ trade agreement modelled on the EU’s deal with Ottawa.

The former Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary, was one of the Theresa May government’s key recruits after the vote to Leave the European Union toppled her predecessor David Cameron.

Johnson later resigned over her Chequers plan, and wrote Friday that the Remainer-dominated administration was “from the very beginning… still very much influenced by the logic of Project Fear – which in many cases they had themselves promulgated in the course of the referendum campaign” in an article for the Telegraph.

The prominent backbencher explained how the May government’s “basic nervousness” had been exploited by Brussels and, more particularly, by Dublin, capital of the Republic of Ireland.

EU leaders, he said, had exploited the supposedly all-important need to maintain for an open border between Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom, and the Republic of Ireland, which will be remaining in the EU, to push for the British province to remain part of the EU customs regime.

“This of course evoked the spectre of a [customs] border in the Irish Sea, and a threat therefore to the Union between Great Britain and Northern Ireland,” explained Johnson.

“[The EU] knew that this would be unacceptable to any British Government, and that London would then instead have to push for the whole UK to remain in the Customs Union and large parts of the EU’s regulatory apparatus. That is exactly what has happened.”

Johnson was scathing of the Theresa May government’s performance in the negotiations so far, describing its many unreciprocated concessions and stance more generally as “invertebrate”, “supine”, characterised by an “utter lack of conviction”, and a “democratic disaster”.

“Britain should seek the same freedoms and opportunities in its relations with the EU as any other independent and democratic country,” he insisted.

“That means the right to make our own laws, in the interests of our own economy; the right to control our own trade policy; and the right to represent ourselves again in those international forums where we have increasingly been vacating our place for the EU.”

The former two-time Mayor of London suggested an expanded version of the EU’s trade agreement with Canada — dubbed ‘SuperCanada’ — would fulfil these objectives, being based on zero tariffs, mutual recognition of regulatory standards, and high-tech solutions to any customs issues on the British-Irish border.

“[SuperCanada] is not only what [the people] voted for at the referendum,” he insisted.

“Never forget that BOTH main parties have committed at various times to leave both the Customs Union and the Single Market” — for example, in their 2017 election manifestos.

“Chequers makes a mockery of those promises… This is the moment to change the course of the negotiations and do justice to the ambitions and potential of Brexit,” he concluded.

Johnson’s plan has already received the backing of prominent Tory Brexiteers including Jacob Rees-Mogg, Steve Baker, Andrea Jenkyns, Andrew Bridgen, and Marcus Fysh.

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