Sunday 17 February 2019

'Chuck Chequers' - Boris Johnson calls on Theresa May's party to return to 'traditional values'

File photo: Boris Johnson
File photo: Boris Johnson
Independent.ie Business Desk

Independent.ie Business Desk

Boris Johnson, one of Britain's most prominent Brexit campaigners, said Prime Minister Theresa May's party had lost its confidence and called on Conservatives to champion the free market to keep the opposition Labour Party out of power.

"My friends, the one thing I really worry about in this critical Autumn of 2018 is that after 200 years, this oldest and most successful of all political parties should somehow lose confidence in its basic belief in freedom," Johnson said.

He said he was worried the United Kingdom was "so demoralised and so exhausted" that it might submit to foreign rule, a clear attack on May's Brexit plans.

"If I have a function here today, it is to try with all humility, to put some lead into the collective pencil," Johnson said.

Johnson, who said that the Northern Ireland backstop should be scrapped, received thunderous applause when he said: "Chuck Chequers".

"If we cheat the electorate, and Chequers is a cheat, we will escalate that sense of mistrust," he said. "If we get it wrong, if we bottle Brexit now, believe me, the people of this country will find it hard to forgive."

He called on the governing Conservative Party to return to its traditional values of low tax and strong policing, pressing his challenge to Theresa May.

May's former foreign secretary said her Brexit plans were a constitutional outrage that would humiliate the United Kingdom by leaving it under the European Union's sway for generations to come.

"It would mean that UK business and industry, our entire economy, would be exposed perpetually to regulations that might have been expressly designed at the behest of foreign competitors to do them down," Johnson told the Conservative Party conference in the English city of Birmingham.

"It would mean that whatever the EU came up with in future ... all this nonsense we would have to implement with no ability to change or resist," he said. "That is not pragmatic, that is not a compromise - it is dangerous and unstable, politically and economically.

"My fellow Conservatives, this is not democracy. That is not what we voted for," he said.

Reuters

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