Boris Johnson lashes May’s Brexit plan as ‘utterly unacceptable’ and warns it will turn Britain into a ‘vassal state’ as Tory Eurosceptics erupt in fury at the proposed deal
- The ex Foreign Secretary was among the Tory Brexiteers who lashed the plan
- Tory Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg branded the deal a ‘failure’ of UK negotiators
- The DUP -who prop the Tories up in No10 – also warned they could pull support
Boris Johnson today tore into Theresa May’s proposed Brexit deal – warning it will turn Britain into a ‘vassal state’.
The ex Foreign Secretary said the plan is ‘totally unacceptable’ as he joined other leading Brexiteers in warning that MPs will not back it.
He was among a string of leading Brexiteers who furiously rounded on the PM’s proposed deal as details of the plan leaked out tonight.
Mr Johnson said: ‘We are going to stay in the customs union, we are going to stay in large parts of the single market.
‘It’s vassal state stuff as for the first time in 1,000 years this Parliament will not have a say over the laws that govern this country.
‘It is utterly unacceptable to anybody who believes in democracy.’
Boris Johnson (pictured in Parliament today) tore into Theresa May’s proposed Brexit deal – warning it will turn Britain into a ‘vassal state’
Jacob Rees-Mogg (pictured in Parliament today) chairman of the influential European Research Group of dozens of Tory MPs, said the deal is a failure of the Government’s negotiating position
Tory Brexiteers lined up alongside the DUP – the powerful Northern Irish party which is propping the Tories up in No10 – to warn that the deal looks unacceptable.
Conservative backbenchers said reports the plan would include a backstop which means more and different regulatory checks in Northern Ireland would cross a red line.
Mr Johnson urged his ex-Cabinet colleagues to ‘chuck it out’, warning that the proposals made a ‘nonsense of Brexit’.
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And Jacob Rees-Mogg, chairman of the influential European Research Group of dozens of Tory MPs, also turned his fury on the proposal.
He said: ‘It is a failure of the Government’s negotiating position, it is a failure to deliver on Brexit and it is potentially dividing up the United Kingdom.’
It comes as Mrs May summoned her cabinet ministers one by one to Downing Street tonight to personally brief them on the Brexit plan.
What have politicians said about Theresa May’s Brexit plan?
Here are what some of the UK’s leading politicians have said abut Theresa May’s Brexit plan:
Boris Johnson, ex Foreign Secretary
‘It’s vassal state stuff as for the first time in 1,000 years this Parliament will not have a say over the laws that govern this country. It is utterly unacceptable to anybody who believes in democracy.’
Ian Duncan Smith, Tory MP
Brexiteer former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith said it looked like the government was ‘breaking their own agreed position and will be bringing back something that is untenable’.
He added that ‘if the Cabinet agrees it, the party certainly won’t’.
Nigel Dodds, DUP, deputy leader
DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds said: ‘If the reports are as we are hearing, then we couldn’t possibly vote for that.’
Mark Francois, Tory MP
‘The Cabinet is at the apogee of our political system. Those members of the Cabinet – what they do in the next 24 hours will probably be the most important thing that they do in their lives,’ he told reporters.
‘And they now have an opportunity to stand up for their country and to defend its destiny. We very much hope that they will take it.’
Jeremy Corbyn, Labour leader
‘We will look at the details of what has been agreed when they are available.
‘But from what we know of the shambolic handling of these negotiations, this is unlikely to be a good deal for the country.
Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland First Minister
‘If the PM’s ‘deal’ satisfies no-one and can’t command a majority, we mustn’t fall for her spin that the UK crashing out of EU without a deal is then inevitable – instead we should take the opportunity to get better options back on the table.
‘Also, though the Withdrawal proposals will get most attention initially, the declaration on future relationship is just as important. If that is vague and dodges tough issues, a blindfold Brexit would beckon – it would be deeply irresponsible for parliament to sanction that.’
She is hoping to win them over to the deal so she can get the cabinet official deal of approval at an emergency meeting at 2pm tomorrow.
Chief Whip Julian Smith told reporters: ‘I am confident that we will get this through Parliament and that we can deliver on what the Prime Minister committed to on delivering Brexit.’
Scottish Secretary David Mundell said ministers would have to ‘reflect on the detail’.
‘That’s what the Government has been working for all this time, to get a deal, and negotiators have worked incredibly hard to get us to this point but we have to reflect on the detail and consider at Cabinet tomorrow,’ he said.
But several Brexit-backing cabinet ministers – including Penny Mordaunt, Esther McVey and Liam Fox – have been placed on resignation watch amid fears they could storm out of Government over the deal.
The agreement has be en thrashed out in principle between the UK and EU after intense and lengthy negotiations with Brussels.
But Brexiteers are furious at the plan, which is expected to include a backstop which keeps the UK in a custom partnership with the EU, and stipulate extra regulatory checks for Northern Ireland.
Mrs May faces the political battle of her life to get the deal first passed her Cabinet, and then through a hostile Parliament.
A Number 10 spokesman said: ‘Cabinet will meet at 2pm tomorrow to consider the draft agreement the negotiating teams have reached in Brussels and to decide on next steps.
‘Cabinet ministers have been invited to read documentation ahead of that meeting.’
Brexiteers lined up to condemn the deal before its details had even been officially confirmed.
Mr Rees-Mogg told the broadcaster: ‘White flags have gone up all over Whitehall. It is a betrayal of the Union.’
Ex-Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith suggested Mrs May’s administration could collapse over the deal.
He warned that if reports of the deal’s contents were true, the Government was ‘breaking their own agreed position and will be bringing back something that is untenable’.
He added that ‘if the Cabinet agrees it, the party certainly won’t’.
Asked if the Government’s days were numbered, he said: ‘If this is the case almost certainly, yes.’
Nigel Dodds, deputy leader of the DUP which props up Mrs May’s minority administration, said that the deal as reported would leave Northern Ireland ‘subject to the rules and laws set in Brussels with no democratic input or any say’.
He added: ‘We object to that on constitutional grounds that our laws would be made in Brussels, not in Westminster or Belfast.
‘That is the fundamental red line.’
Chancellor Philip Hammond (left) – one of the supporters of a soft Brexit – and Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom (right) – on the Brexiteer side of the argument – were spotted in Downing Street tonight
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling (left) and Health Secretary Matt Hancock (right) were among the ministers going into No10 tonight
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the party would vote against the deal if it failed to meet its tests.
‘We will look at the details of what has been agreed when they are available,’ he said.
‘But from what we know of the shambolic handling of these negotiations, this is unlikely to be a good deal for the country.’
Neither Brussels nor Dublin confirmed that a deal had been reached, despite the Number 10 announcement.
A spokesman for chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier said the latest in the negotiations had been set out earlier by commission vice president Frans Timmermans, who said that while the talks were making progress ‘we are not there yet’.
The European Commission would ‘take stock’ on Wednesday, he added.
A spokesman for Ireland’s deputy premier Simon Coveney said that negotiations were at a ‘sensitive’ juncture.
‘We are not commenting on media speculation around the withdrawal agreement,’ the spokesman said.
‘Michel Barnier and the task force are charged with negotiating with the UK and we have been in constant communication with them throughout.’
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