Boris Johnson to warn derailing Brexit would be 'disastrous mistake' in speech


The Leave vote was an alliance of free marketeers who have always disliked the EU's over-regulatory philosophy and social conservatives who saw in Brussels an instrument of globalisation. "We are all very lucky to serve", he said.

Brexit is not un-Britain, but internationalist, he said.

Mr Johnson also suggested other benefits of regulatory divergence, including fisheries, banning the traffic in live animals, ending subsidies to rich landowners and cutting Value-Added Tax on fuel.

There would be freedom to cut Value-Added Tax on fuel, "simplify planning and speed up public procurement". Rather than wishing for the country to become a global centre again, they would rather England was the neighbourhood loner who kept himself to himself (I say England rather than Britain quite specifically).

Mr Johnson, one of the leading lights of the Leave campaign ahead of the referendum, has borne much of the public anger from Remain voters, especially because of the Leave campaign's promise for increased spending on the NHS, which the foreign secretary has made clear he still believes could happen.

"I don't think we should necessarily commit, as a matter of treaty, that forever and a day we are going to remain locked into permanent congruence with the European Union", he said.

"To those who worry about coming out of the customs union or the single market, please bear in mind that the economic benefits of membership are nothing like as conspicuous or irrefutable as is sometimes claimed", he wrote.

Johnson accused some British "Remain" supporters of seeking to reverse Brexit, possibly through a second referendum, saying this would greatly exacerbate Britain's political divisions.

The EU Commission President lashed out today after the Foreign Secretary's big Brexit speech, calling for Remainers to unite behind a bold vision for Britain outside the EU.

He also used his speech to reject the notion that Brexit would result in Britain becoming more insular.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson delivers his speech
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson delivers his speech

END 20 years of uncontrolled immigration of low-skilled, low-wage workers.

In an attempt to expose how little Brits know about the workings of the EU, Johnson challenged the audience of journalists and think-tank supporters at Policy Exchange in Westminster to explain the "Spitzenkandidaten process - which has genuinely delighted the MEPs as much as it has mystified the United Kingdom; or the exact relationship between the EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights, justiciable in Luxembourg, and the European Convention on Human Rights whose court sits in Strasbourg".

Boris Johnson delivers his Brexit speech in London on 14 February 2018.

Former minister Anna Soubry said he "fails to understand the very real concerns of British business".

He insisted "Theresa" was the right prime minister to lead Brexit talks while failing to deny that he could walk-out of May's Cabinet if he doesn't like the deal she gets.

Two other leading Brexiteers in the cabinet, global trade secretary Liam Fox and Brexit secretary David Davis, will also deliver speeches over the next two weeks.

It follows criticism of Mrs May for failing to spell out Britain's Brexit aims. "His speech is on Valentine's Day, not April Fool's Day".

Sir Keir said Mr Johnson's approach would "further divide the country" and put jobs and living standards at risk. It was the speech of a politician whose only credibility is as the tribune of the leave campaign, a shameless piece of oration that fell back on his old journalistic trick of describing an European Union that does not exist in order to justify his determination to get out.

He said it would be a "disastrous mistake" to stop Brexit, which would "lead to permanent and ineradicable feelings of betrayal", adding: "We can not and will not let it happen".