Tories in civil war after Boris Johnson Brexit ‘suicide vest’ remarks

Senior Tories have heavily criticised Boris Johnson for describing the government’s Brexit strategy as putting the UK constitution in a “suicide vest”.

The home secretary, Sajid Javid, said his former cabinet colleague should think carefully about his language. Other Tory MPs were more vehement. Alan Duncan, until July a Foreign Office colleague of Johnson, vowed to ensure the comments marked “the political end” of the former foreign secretary.

Johnson used the phrase in an article for the Mail on Sunday in which he accused of repeatedly caving in over Brexit terms to the EU and its chief negotiator, Michel Barnier.

It came on a day when many Sunday papers were filled with new allegations about Johnson’s private life after the announcement that he and his wife of 25 years, Marina Wheeler, are divorcing. There was speculation that he was seeking to change the narrative.

“At every stage in the talks so far, Brussels gets what Brussels wants,” Johnson wrote. “We have agreed to the EU’s timetable; we have agreed to hand over £39bn, for nothing in return.

“Under the Chequers proposal we are set to agree to accept their rules – forever – with no say on the making of those rules. It is a humiliation. We look like a seven-stone weakling being comically bent out of shape by a 500lb gorilla.”

Johnson, who quit as foreign secretary in July in protest at May’s Chequers proposals for Brexit, castigated the EU’s so-called backstop plan to ensure no hard Irish border, which would see Northern Ireland effectively remain part of the single market if no other workable solution is found.



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