MEPs deliver scathing assessment of Boris Johnson’s fledgling premiership

Written by Martin Banks on 29 July 2019 in News
News

Two UK MEPs have given a withering verdict on the start of Boris Johnson’s premiership in the UK.

Boris Johnson  | Photo credit: Press Association


In his first statement to the House of Commons as Prime Minister on Thursday, Johnson reaffirmed his Government’s commitment to leaving the EU by 31 October, “whatever the circumstances.”

Johnson said he was ready to negotiate a deal but that the existing Withdrawal Agreement was “unacceptable.”

He added that a time-limit to the backstop “is not enough” for this to change and “the way to the deal goes by way of the abolition of the backstop.”


RELATED CONTENT


The new Prime Minister also said he did not believe “that these issues can be solved only by all or part of the UK remaining in the Customs Union or in the Single Market,” but believed there are alternatives to the backstop which are “perfectly compatible with the Belfast or Good Friday Agreement.”

Johnson said he had instructed the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove, to make preparations for a No Deal Brexit his “top priority.”

He added that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sajid Javid, had confirmed that “all necessary funding will be made available.”

On Friday, UK Liberal MEP Chris Davies told this website, "Boris's number one objective is to stay in power and given that the Conservatives are polling just above the Liberal Democrats he has a challenge ahead of him.”

"For Britain to leave the EU without a deal would create problems that would threaten Boris's election chances, so it has to be assumed he is playing a game of bluff” Chris Davies MEP

“He has to destroy the Brexit Party by speaking even more strongly than Nigel Farage, and he will embark on a public spending spree to prepare for an early election.”

"For Britain to leave the EU without a deal would create problems that would threaten Boris's election chances, so it has to be assumed he is playing a game of bluff.”

“But It's a game that could go badly wrong for all concerned. If the House of Commons is able to block both the Withdrawal Agreement and No Deal then another referendum is still a very real possibility.”

Further reaction came from UK Labour MEP Claude Moraes, who told this website, “The Johnson cabinet selection and initial policy announcements sends a clear signal that on Brexit he has shifted to the ‘no deal’ Brexit hard right with soft Brexiteers having to sign up to this or go.”

“It’s clear under the strategy of Dominic Cumming, the former head of Vote Leave, that he will pursue a kind of UK populism based on a wish list which more centrist governments have had the honesty to know can’t be delivered.”

“It looks likely he will try and deliver 'right' policies on crime and policing with the cover of a 'British ambiguity' - for example, the appointment of senior cabinet ethnic minorities while signalling a new tough immigration policy.”

“The Johnson cabinet selection and initial policy announcements sends a clear signal that on Brexit he has shifted to the ‘no deal’ Brexit hard right with soft Brexiteers having to sign up to this or go” Claude Moraes MEP

Moraes added, "His approach on the backstop and risking No Deal is based on the flawed assumption that the EU will renegotiate or give him enough to get a new deal through the House of Commons.”

“It’s also a dual negotiation and UK general election strategy.”

Both Davies and Moraes strongly support the UK remaining in the EU.

On Thursday, Johnson clashed with Jean-Claude Juncker, the outgoing European Commission President, after demanding a renegotiation of the Withdrawal Agreement.

The EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, also warned that the calls from Downing Street were “unacceptable”

About the author

Martin Banks is a senior reporter at The Parliament Magazine

Interested in this content?

Sign up to our free daily email bulletins.

 

Share this page

Tags

Categories

Related Partner Content

The need to counter extremist propaganda more effectively
13 December 2016

There are different reasons why people believe in extremist ideologies or join extremist groups, explains Alexander Ritzmann.

The (not so) beautiful game
1 July 2019

Qatar’s blatant disregard for worker wellbeing is a stain on the football world, argues Willy Fautré.