Boris Johnson attacks May for 'dithering' Brexit leadership – 'Three years of decay'

Posted on Jul 4 2019 - 4:01pm by admin

In an interview in the Spectator magazine, the Tory leadership contender and favourite to be the next prime minister admitted his frustration at three years of “drift and dither” over the country’s departure from the EU.

He also insisted that finally quitting the bloc was the only way to heal the divisions opened up by the 2016 in-or-out EU referendum.

Delivering Brexit would create “a big, big opportunity to bring the country together”, he said.

Revealing his irritation at the outgoing prime minister’s approach to the Brexit negotiations, the former foreign secretary said: “Years of watching this thing decay, three years of drift and dither, have filled me with not just an understanding of government but also a very clear picture of how to get it done.

“My determination burns with a magnesium brightness to get it done and to deliver.”


Mr Johnson admitted his frustration at three years of ‘drift and dither’ over UK’s exit from the EU (Image: Express)

March 29 Brexit

Mrs May’s government was accused of losing its nerve when the March 29 Brexit deadline was reached (Image: Mrs May)

He added: “Talking to people in this country, even talking to businesses, people feel that they have had enough of being told they can’t do things. They have had enough of being told this country is not up to it. They want to get on and do it. That will be our salvation.”

Mr Johnson was confident Tory MPs will overwhelmingly back his efforts to deliver Brexit, raising hope of ending the deadlock at Westminster.

“I’ve been talking to a lot of colleagues, as you can imagine, from all wings of the party in the last few days. I do believe that common sense is breaking out,” he said.

Mr Johnson warned that any further delay to Brexit “totally robs the UK of conviction during the negotiations”.

He accused Theresa May’s Government of losing its nerve when the March 29 Brexit deadline was reached earlier this year.

“The greyhounds were pretty much straining in the slips as we came up to the end of March. People were ready. 

“The machine was poised, then everybody was stood down. The Grand Old Duke of York marched her troops down again. 

“As a result there was a sagging in the level of readiness. We have to be ready to come out and we have to prepare now.”

The leadership contender repeated his position that he would prefer the country to leave the EU with a deal rather than without one.

“I do not want a disruptive or disorderly no deal — everybody gets that and I’ve said that many, many times. I don’t want us to crash out but we must prepare for that eventuality and start preparing now and not wait a couple of months,” he told the Spectator.


The leadership contender was confident Tory MPs would back his efforts to deliver Brexit (Image: Getty)

Mr Johnson insisted that only quitting the EU could lead to the eventual healing of the Brexit divide.

“We haven’t allayed the divisions, we haven’t made them better. We haven’t healed the rift by delay. We’ve made it worse.

“The wrangling has intensified because of the uncertainty over the direction of travel.”

The former Cabinet minister claimed that delivering Brexit would allow the Government to move on and focus on a new Tory programme to modernise the country.

“Once we’re over the line, clarity will descend,” he said.

“We’ll be able to get on with the fantastic agenda of bringing the country together with a programme of what I call modern Conservatism, what we used to call One-Nation Conservatism. 

“It is very, very simple and is based on the idea that a dynamic free-market economy is indispensable for delivering fantastic public services. And that fantastic public services are indispensable for a dynamic market economy. It is not a difficult sell.”

Summing up his plan for Downing Street, Mr Johnson said: “We have to do three things: deliver Brexit, unite the party, unite the country and defeat Corbyn. And I think I am best placed to do all three.

“We have failed to articulate the case for enterprise. In fact, it’s been a massive missed opportunity: we’ve failed to make the case for business.

“That is the opportunity that we have now — to show the British public what they instinctively understand.

“We need to sell that again to the British people, then wallop Corbyn for six.”

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