Boris Johnson has admitted he does not know the key details of the GATT 24 agreement that he is relying on to get a no-deal Brexit with the least amount of disruption to trade.
In the car crash BBC Our Next Prime Minister interview Johnson became stuck when he was asked about the potential for the UK to leave the EU without a deal.
Throughout the campaign he has been referring to a rule known as ‘GATT 24’ to avoid maximum disruption to trade if we leave on October 31st without an official deal with the EU.
He said: “It might be possible and I accept that this has to be done by mutual agreement but it might be possible, for instance, as we come out to agree under Gatt 24 paragraph 5B that both sides agree to a standstill, a protraction of their existing zero tariff-zero quota arrangements until such time as we do a free trade deal.
“And that will be one way forward. And that would be very attractive and of course it will be up to our friends and partners to decide whether they want to go along with that.”
But as Andrew Neil probed the former mayor of London further, Johnson got cocky claiming that the presenter did not know the detail after he slipped up when referencing the agreement.
He said: “Paragraph 5B. Article 24. Get the detail right. Get the detail right, Andrew. It’s Article 24 paragraph 5B.”
But in a killer move from Neil, the presenter ambushed him about paragraph 5C.
Asked how he would deal with it, the Brexiteer replied: “I would confide entirely in paragraph 5B”.
“How would you get round what’s in 5C?” asked Neil again.
“I would confide entirely in paragraph 5B which is enough for” insisted Johnson, trying to bluff his way through the answer.
An unconvinced Neil asked: “Do you know what’s in 5C?”
Johnson was forced to concede he did not know.
“I thought you were a man of detail,” responded the presenter, as Johnson huffed: “Well you didn’t even know if it was an article or a paragraph”.
He continued to insist: “There’s enough in paragraph 5B”, before Andrew Neil intervened again.
“No, 5C says you don’t just need the EU’s approval, you need to agree with the EU the shape of a future trade agreement and a timetable to getting towards it.”
By now Johnson had taken a leaf out of the Trump playbook by criticising the BBC for its negativity towards Brexit.
In the interview he repeated his pledge to leave the EU on October 31 “come what may”.
He said: “I think we’ve got to come out on October 31 and I think it is very odd that those who are saying they would delay even further can’t set another date.
“How much further are we going to wait? We were meant to come out on March 29th. We then were going to come out April 8th. We then delayed it for a further six
months. I think this is leading to a huge erosion of trust in politics.”
He added: “I think it would be absolutely insane now to say that yet again we have a, you know, a phoney deadline, it all can be kicked off until – kick the can down the road ’til the Greek calends.”