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May Loyalists Circle Wagons as Remainer Phil Attacks BoJo’s Call to Chuck Chequers

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 30: British Prime Minister Theresa May laughs as she sits in the audience during the annual Conservative Party Conference on September 30, 2018 in Birmingham, England. The Conservative Party Conference 2018 is taking place at Birmingham's International Convention Centre (ICC) from September 30 to October 3. …
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty
VICTORIA FRIEDMAN

Theresa May loyalists have attacked Boris Johnson during Tory Party conference after he criticised the Prime Minister’s soft Brexit plan as “deranged” and “preposterous”.

Following Mr Johnson’s criticisms of Mrs May’s commitment to Brexit — the Prime Minister having voted Remain in the June 2016 referendum — and her soft Chequers plan for exiting the bloc in a Sunday Times interview, senior party Remain supporters have come out to attack of the former Vote Leave figurehead. Those speaking out against Boris Johnson included Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond and Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson.

Remain-voting social progressive Ruth Davidson called for “a period of silence” from the Brexiteer, telling Sky News: “I don’t particularly use language like that… I don’t think it’s wise.”

Home secretary Sajid Javid also mocked Johnson’s suggestion that the UK build a bridge linking Northern Ireland to the British mainland via Scotland, tweeting, “Wish there was a bridge. Wait…” after his flight from Birmingham to Belfast had been delayed.

And Secretary of State for Business Greg Clark, who is opposed to a ‘no deal’ Brexit, criticised Johnson at a conference fringe event, evoking Mr Johnson’s alleged comments in June to “fuck business” when asked about corporations’ criticisms of a clean Brexit.

“That was totally the wrong thing to say, and I was shocked to hear it,” Clark told HuffPost’s WaughZone Live event.

In further attack on the Brexiteer, Philip Hammond criticised Johnson as being incapable of engaging in “grown up” politics in an interview with the Daily Mail Monday, which since passing from the editorship of Brexiteer Paul Dacre into the hands of Remainer Georgie Greig has backed May’s soft Brexit plan and branded rebel Brexiteer MPs “traitors”.

He then doubled down his criticisms, telling ITV’s Good Morning Britain Monday that the former foreign secretary’s support for maximising the UK’s autonomy was not “about taking back control, it’s about fantasy world”.

According to The Sun, a group of Conservative MPs have formed an ‘Anyone But Boris’ campaign, to impede any leadership bid, and they plan to boo Johnson at a conference rally he will be headlining Tuesday.

“Several colleagues have said they are going to give Boris a taste of their own medicine and turn up to boo him,” a Tory Minister told The Sun.

The coordinated efforts to undermine the leading Brexiteer come as the Prime Minister signalled Sunday she may be willing to climb down from her Brexit plans and compromise with the European Union.

“Let’s hear what the detail of those concerns is,” Mrs May said.

“If they have got counter proposals let’s hear what those counter proposals are.”

Mr Johnson had told The Times on Sunday that “Unlike the prime minister I campaigned for Brexit.”

“Unlike the prime minister I fought for this, I believe in it, I think it’s the right thing for our country and I think that what is happening now is, alas, not what people were promised in 2016.”

Follow Victoria Friedman on Twitter at @FriedmanPress
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