Boris Johnson tells of ‘personal responsibility’ for Brexit

Boris Johnson says he feels a deep sense of ‘personal responsibility’ for Brexit and Britain can do ‘much better’ than the PM’s deal as he predicts May will suffer a big defeat on crunch vote

  • Boris Johnson became visibly emotional as he told of the responsibility he feels 
  • Said the UK can do better than the PM deal which he predicted will be defeated
  • He said the UK should tear up the hated backstop and renegotiate with the EU 
  • PM is in the political battle of her life to get her deal passed amid opposition

Boris Johnson today said he feels a deep sense of ‘personal responsibility’ for Brexit as he predicted Theresa May will lose her vote on the deal by a huge margin this week.

The ex Foreign Secretary became visibly shaken as he was quizzed about the Brexit turmoil and said he believed Britain can do ‘much, much better’ than the PM’s deal.

He also predicted that Mrs May will suffer a big defeat in the crunch vote on her deal which will give her a ‘powerful’ mandate to renegotiate. 

His intervention comes as Britain is facing one of the most momentous weeks in politics in modern time with MPs due to vote on the deal on Tuesday. 

But staring down the barrel of defeat, Mrs May is considering delaying the vote and heading back to Brussels to have a ‘handbag moment’ and squeeze more concessions out of the EU. 

Trying to pile more pressure on the PM, Mr Johnson said the PM must tear up the hated Irish backstop plan and refuse to hand over half of the £39billion divorce deal until the UK gets a free trade deal. 

Appearing on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show today, he said: ‘Don’t underestimate the deep sense of personal responsibility I feel for Brexit and for everything that has happened.

‘Do not underestimate how much I care about this because this is fundamental to our country.’

Boris Johnson (pictured today on the BBC) said he feels a a deep sense of ‘personal responsibility’ for Brexit as he predicted that Theresa May will lose her vote on the deal by a huge margin this week.


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He added: ‘And it absolutely breaks my heart to think that after all that we fought for, all that we campaigned for, all that [Brexit Secretary] Steve Barclay campaigned for, all that everybody believes in, that we should consign ourselves to a future in which the EU effectively rules us in many many respects and yet we have no say around that table in Brussels.

Theresa May prepares for ‘handbag moment’ with Brussels as she considers delaying crunch vote

Theresa May is considering delaying the crunch Brexit vote and heading back to Brussels for a ‘handbag’ moment to squeeze more concessions out of the EU.

It comes as she warned her warring party to back her Brexit deal or risk handing the keys to No10 to Jeremy Corbyn and leaving the UK in the EU permanently. 

The Prime Minister mounted the last-ditch bid to win over her mutinous backbenchers after over 100 Tories threatened to rebel in the crunch vote. 

But in the face of such overwhelming opposition, she is being urged to head back to Brussels, emulate Margaret Thatcher and have ‘a handbag moment’.

Ministers and Tory backbenchers are urging her to make changes to the controversial Irish backstop plan amid fears the compromise will torpedo her deal. 

Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay today insisted the vote will go ahead on Tuesday, but Mrs May is expected to make a final decision tomorrow on whether she will push it back. 

One senior cabinet minister told The Sunday Times: ‘People in No 10 think she needs to have a ‘handbag moment’ where she says: ‘Up with this I will not put.’ 

‘That is an absurdity. We cannot go down that route. And unfortunately the current backstop arrangements commit us to those arrangements.  

‘We have to change it. We can have a withdrawal agreement that does not contain the backstop. We can do much much better than this.’

Mr Johnson said the Irish backstop agreed by the PM is hated by MPs because it keeps the UK chained to the EU.

The backstop is a plan B which comes into force if a trade deal cannot be done in time which keeps the Irish border soft.

It keeps the entire of the UK tied to the EU customs union and imposes extra single market checks on Northern Ireland.

The plan has sparked fury from Remainers and Brexiteers alike, who have said it undermines the territorial integrity of the UK.

While the DUP – who have just 10 MPs but wield a huge amount of power in Parliament because they are propping the Tories up in No10 – have warned it crosses their ‘blood red line’ and threatened to pull support for the PM over it.

Mr Johnson lashed the plan today. He said: ‘The real problem with the backstop arrangement is it gives the power to Brussels and to all the other EU member states effectively to blackmail us and to get what they want out of the future trade negotiation.

‘It is a diabolical negotiating position.’ 

And he predicted that MPs will reject her deal by a huge margin when it comes to the crunch vote on Tuesday this week.

He said: ‘If the House of Commons gives, as I think it will, a powerful mandate to scrap the backstop I think they [the EU] will listen.’

The Tory MP, who quit the cabinet earlier this year in fury over the Brexit deal, branded the deal a ‘lobster pot’ which reduces Britain to ‘colony status.

And he urged the PM to radically change course.

Confronted by continued reports that he is gearing up for a leadership challenges if Mrs May is ousted, he dismissed reports he has already handed out job offers for a Boris government as idle gossip. 

But he refused to rule out a run at the top job. He said: ‘I will give you an absolute, categorical promise that I will continue to advocate what I think is the most sensible plan.’

It comes as Esther McVey became the first leading Tory to throw her hat into a possible leadership contest – saying she would consider a run at the top job if mRs May is ousted.

The Prime Minister (pictured visiting a church in Maidenhead today) mounted a last-ditch bid to win over her mutinous backbenchers after over 100 Tory MPs threatened to rebel in the crunch vote on her deal

Ms McVey sent the PM’s Government to the brink of collapse when she quit the Cabinet last month in fury at the Brexit plan.

Her departure, alongside that of Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, triggered a wave of ministerial resignations and a failed coup to oust Mrs May.

Esther McVey says she would consider running for Tory leader

Esther McVey (pictured on Sky today) today said that she would consider running for the Tory Party leadership if Theresa May is ousted over the Brexit chaos

Esther McVey today said that she would consider running for the Tory Party leadership if Theresa May is ousted over the Brexit chaos.

Leading Conservatives are jostling to line themselves up for the top job, with Sajid Javid, Boris Johnson among those eyeing up the leadership.

And throwing her name into the mix, Ms McVey said she would think about taking a run at the job if she was urged to by allies.

Ms McVey, who left the government on the brink of collapse when she quit the Cabinet last month in fury at the Brexit plan, also said she could only support the PM if she tears up her deal and renegotiates.

Quizzed about the leadership on Sophy Ridge on Sunday on Sky News, Ms McVey said: ‘If people asked me then of course you’d give it serious consideration, and do it, if people asked me.’  

Quizzed about the leadership on Sophy Ridge on Sunday on Sky News, Ms McVey said: ‘If people asked me then of course you’d give it serious consideration, and do it, if people asked me.’ 

Mr Johnson’s TV appearance came after he  penned an article in The Sun on Sunday setting out his vision for Brexit in what will be seen as a very thinly veiled leadership pitch. 

He called for Britain to refuse to pay half of the £39billion divorce bill until after the trade talks are done.

And he said that the hated Irish backstop must be scrapped as it risks keeping the UK chained to the EU forever. 

Writing in The Sun, he said: ‘To show that we mean business, we must be able to walk away. 

‘This is a great country, capable of rising to immense challenges — and I believe the people of this country are fed up to the back teeth of being told by their Government that they are simply incapable of managing the logistical problems of Brexit. 

‘For two-and-a-half years this Government has studiously and deliberately failed to address those logistical problems. It is that failure and that lack of resolve that has so weakened our hand in the talks.’ 

There are just 48 hours to go until the crunch Brexit vote, which will determine the fate of the UK’s relations with the EU.

But the PM is facing a fresh barrage of attacks on all fronts, as her critics queue up to stick the knife into the plan.

The DUP’s Westminster leader Nigel Dodds said his party is ‘determined’ to defeat the Government over the Brexit deal.

He told Sophy Ridge On Sunday: ‘Clearly if this is defeated or if the Withdrawal Agreement changed in a way that is satisfactory, then clearly those issues don’t arise as far as any vote of no confidence in the Government is concerned.’

On the possibility of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn becoming Prime Minister if the Government collapses, Mr Dodds said: ‘I don’t think anyone realistically believes that.

‘This is a scare story being put out by Theresa May because under the terms of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act everybody knows, even people in the Labour Party know, that’s unlikely unless this deal were to go through.

‘I think then clearly Theresa May would be in difficulty in terms of the parliamentary arithmetic.’

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