Johnson assaults May's Brexit plan at fractious party meeting

Hugh Fox
October 3, 2018

"It would mean that United Kingdom 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. She pledged to bring forward plans for a new public spending review that would ensure "support for public services will go up".

Asked what impact it would have on Mrs May's keynote speech tomorrow, Mr Davis said: 'It's a different speech, she's the prime minister, she's got to give a serious speech about the future of not just Brexit but all the other elements of the domestic strategy - which of course Boris was talking about too.

The Prime Minister will say: 'Millions of people who have never supported our party in the past are appalled by what Jeremy Corbyn has done to Labour. She embraced the mockery...

May's hold on power has been fragile since last year's disastrous snap election when the Conservatives lost their Commons majority.

British Conservative Party politician Boris Johnson gives a speech during a fringe event on the sidelines of the third day of the Conservative Party Conference.

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She will accuse Corbyn of being divisive, and paint her own party as "decent, moderate and patriotic", open to "everyone who is willing to work hard and do their best".

She'll announce that fuel duty will be frozen for the ninth year in a row, in a move she claims demonstrates to families that the government is on their side.

The PM will say that "for millions of people, their vehicle is not a luxury, it's a necessity".

"I passionately believe that our best days lie ahead of us and that our future is full of promise", she will say.

Mr Johnson said that Mrs May's Chequers blueprint - which ties Britain to a common rulebook with the EU for trade in goods - would be "politically humiliating for a £2 trillion economy" and would subject the United Kingdom to European directives and rules.

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The room erupted into cheers when he said Ms May needed "to chuck Chequers", as her Brexit proposals are known.

Speaking on the fringe of the conference, the former foreign secretary - who quit Mrs May's cabinet in July in protest at the Chequers plan - won an enthusiastic reaction on a scale not seen so far inside the main hall. But she stops short of saying Mr. Johnson would make a good leader or that he should be pushing for the job now.

"Don't let anyone tell you we don't have what it takes: we have everything we need to succeed".

The crucial address comes one year, nearly to the day, since her catastrophic conference speech in Manchester, where she suffered stage invasion by a comedian, a persistent cough and a collapsing backdrop.

Observers will keep a close eye on whether she makes any reference to that calamitous performance, which led to speculation over how long she could last as Conservative leader.

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"We've had our arguments, but now is the time to put them behind us, now is the time to come together, because this is a moment for the optimists", he said.

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