Brexit: Boris Johnson sets out four Brexit conditions

5 месяцев ago Admin 0
Boris JohnsonImage copyright PA

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has again intervened on Brexit, setting out four conditions he says are necessary.

Speaking to the Sun ahead of the Conservative party conference, Mr Johnson insisted any transition period after Britain leaves the EU should not last «a second more» than two years.

He said the UK should not abide by any new European rules during that time.

Meanwhile, Theresa May has pledged to listen to the concerns of young voters following a «disappointing election».

As Conservatives gather in Manchester for their conference, starting on Sunday, the prime minister said: «I understand the concerns raised, particularly by young people.

«My determination to act on those concerns, and crucially, to fulfil the promise of my first speech on the steps of Downing Street, is greater than ever.»

Mrs May is seeking to reassert her authority as she goes into her first party conference since she lost her government’s majority in the general election.

The annual gathering of Conservative members comes after six months of Brexit negotiations in which there has been no significant breakthrough.

Mrs May said that, while she was focused on getting the best deal with the EU, she was also committed to making Britain fairer — in particular for the younger generation.

But just a week after her major speech on Brexit in Florence, her foreign secretary has again set out his own position.

Mr Johnson had previously outlined his «vision» in an article for the Daily Telegraph, which prompted Mrs May to say: «This government is driven from the front.»

In his interview with the Sun, he called for four conditions for Brexit, which were then described by the paper as his «four red lines»:

  • Transition period must be a maximum of two years
  • UK must refuse to accept new EU rules during that period
  • No payments for access to the single market after the end of the transition period
  • UK must not agree to shadow EU rules to gain access to the single market

He says: «The crucial thing I want to get over to Sun readers about Brexit is that it is going to be great and we need to believe in ourselves and believe we can do it. It is unstoppable.»

Mr Johnson also touches on other subjects in the interview — calling for a faster increase in the minimum wage and for public sector pay rises.

Though he dismissed suggestions of any leadership ambitions, his comments are likely to fuel speculation that he is still positioning himself for the top job.

While Mr Johnson gives his reassurance that Brexit will be «great» — the Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson told the Times that «over-optimism» about Britain’s future outside the EU «sells people short».

May ‘must be ready to quit talks’

Eurosceptic Tory MPs have said the UK should walk away from Brexit talks by Christmas unless the EU shows it is serious about a free trade deal.

The Leave Means Leave campaign has urged Mrs May to speed up talks with the EU.

The group — which includes ex-minister Owen Paterson — said the PM should not be afraid of a «no deal» scenario.

In their letter to Mrs May, they say: «To delay the end of the transition period until after the projected 2022 general election could jeopardise the entire Brexit programme.»

Mrs May must make clear that British courts must no longer be bound by European Court of Justice rulings after the moment of withdrawal and that the UK will be free to negotiate, sign and implement trade deals with other countries during the transitional phase, the group argues.

Image copyright Bristol Port Company
Image caption The MPs say there is «nothing to be feared» in failing to negotiate a deal

The group, which also includes Tory backbencher Peter Bone and former minister David Jones, also ask for clarification on whether the UK will be obliged to abide by new regulations and directives during the two-year period.

They are planning to use the party’s week in Manchester to put pressure on the prime minister over Brexit, with high profile backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg due to speak on the issue at a Leave Means Leave fringe meeting.

On trade, they say the UK should be prepared to tell Brussels by the end of this year it is prepared to default to World Trade Organization (WTO) rules if there is no prospect of «serious» negotiations on a new trade deal.

Critics say moving on to WTO rules would result in new tariffs and other trade barriers on exports and imports.

But Brexit supporters say it is in the EU’s interest, as well as other countries, to give the UK most favoured trading nation status, thus eliminating or minimising the impact of any penalties.

Handing the EU an ultimatum, in effect, by the end of the year, they say, would increase the UK’s leverage in the remaining talks as well as providing certainty to business.