The European Research Group’s deputy chairman Mark Francois has said that Boris Johnson’s leadership and hardline approach to Brussels has “fundamentally changed” the dynamic between the EU and UK.
The Rayleigh and Wickford MP told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer on Tuesday that because Mr Johnson’s predecessor Theresa May voted Remain and “never really believed in Brexit”, it put the country “on the back foot” in negotiations “from the word go, and the EU were all over us”.
“What’s different now is you have a prime minister who campaigned to leave, who voted to leave, who wants to leave and is not a soft touch,” Mr Francois continued.
“Boris is the one person all of those politicians on the continent have ever been frightened of, why do you think I voted for him?” he added.
Prime Minister Johnson has gone on the offensive against the EU, setting up a War Cabinet, devoted to delivering Brexit by October 31st, this week, and has said that he would be refusing to meet with Brussels to discuss Brexit unless the controversial backstop was removed from the withdrawal treaty.
The minority Conservative government works on a confidence and supply agreement with the conservative, Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), and both the Tories and DUP are concerned that the Irish backstop could be used by the EU to either lock the whole United Kingdom in the EU permanently or threaten the integrity of the Union by creating a customs border between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.
Johnson Plays Hardball, Won’t Meet with EU Until They Remove Backstop https://t.co/JTistgPn8t
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) July 30, 2019
DUP MP Sammy Wilson has backed Mr Johnson’s “hard-nosed negotiating stance” — a “contrast” from the position held by the EU-appeasing Theresa May government.
Speaking to talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer, Mr Wilson said Mr Johnson is “right, because let’s just remind ourselves what the impact of the backstop was going to be on our future relationship with the EU.
“It was a way and was designed as a way of keeping the United Kingdom as a whole in the Customs Union and tied to EU regulations. Or, if we couldn’t do that, to break up the United Kingdom.
“To use the words of one of the EU negotiators, ’that would be the price that Britain would have to pay for daring to leave the EU’. So it’s a massive issue and there’s no point of having further negotiations if the terms of the EU are declaring that we either stay one foot as a whole country in the EU or else break up our own country.”
“He needs to use shock tactics to get over to the EU as they’re dealing now with a different regime,” Mr Wilson added.
In a telephone call with Irish Taoiseach (prime minister) Leo Varadkar on Tuesday, Prime Minister Johnson said that while he is looking forward to talks with the Republic of Ireland, any agreement with the European Union must abolish the backstop, and said that the UK would not be erecting a customs border between Northern Ireland EU member-state the Republic of Ireland in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
Johnson Sets up Brexit ‘War Cabinet’, No Deal Preparation ‘Number One Priority’ https://t.co/UJpugAuYA6
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) July 29, 2019