In a fresh sign of simmering Brexit tensions within the Government, the Foreign Secretary warned colleagues of his refusal to accept continuing ties to the EU after the UK’s departure from the bloc.
And in a provocative gesture, Mr Johnson will line up with fellow hard-line Brexiteers Liam Fox and Priti Patel to call for the country to become “the world’s leading proselytiser and agitator for free trade”.
His remarks last night were expected to be seen at Westminster as a warning to Chancellor Philip Hammond, who is leading the charge within the Cabinet for keeping long-term ties to Brussels after Brexit.
They follow a series of barbed exchanges between allies of the Foreign Secretary and the Chancellor over the last week.
Mr Johnson will join the International Trade Secretary and the International Development Secretary at the launch of a new think tank being set up to campaign for global free trade.
Their joint appearance is a sign of the growing alliance between Brexiteers in the Cabinet against enthusiasts for staying close to the EU.
Ahead of the launch of the Institute for Free Trade at the Foreign Office’s Whitehall headquarters today, Mr Johnson will say: “Free trade is not only the key to economic success, but also serves as a force for peace and progress in every sense, giving millions more people the chance to lift themselves out of poverty.
“We must ensure that Global Britain breaks free of the constraints of the EU and becomes the world’s leading proselytiser and agitator for free trade.
“I am delighted to attend the launch of the Institute for Free Trade and to support its noble mission. It is no exaggeration to say that the livelihoods of millions of people depend on its success.”
Dr Liam said: “Our work as an international economic department has never been more critical in making the moral case for free trade to help provide economic stability and lift millions out of poverty, whilst increasing productivity and offering consumers better choices.
“There are huge opportunities for the UK to be a global leader in helping growing economies realise the benefits of open and fair trade, and the launch of the Institute for Free Trade will further help us highlight the importance trade has on the prosperity of the world economy.”
And Ms Patel said: “The UK is taking the lead globally in our commitment to increasing trade, investment and economic opportunities in the world’s poorest countries.
“By generating wealth and much needed jobs – open markets and free trade play a transformative role in lifting people out of poverty while also creating Britain’s future trading partners.
“I welcome the Institute of Free Trade’s focus on the formidable power of trade in development, and I look forward to working with them as we build a more prosperous world, which is firmly in all our interests.”
The Institute of Free Trade will be headed by Tory MEP Daniel Hannan, a leading figure in the Leave campaign in the run up to the EU referendum.
He said: “Leaving the EU is an opportunity to revitalise the global trading system.”
The think tank will have an advisory panel including former Tory leader Lord Howard and former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott.