Boris Johnson unleashed fury from MPs – including those on his own side – when he stood up to trash Theresa May’s Brexit deal.
Divisions among the Tory benches were laid bare for all to see in the Commons as the former foreign secretary urged colleagues to reject Theresa May’s Brexit deal and claimed Brussels ‘think they’ve got us beat’.
He also outlined ideas which included renegotiating with the EU and removing the Irish border backstop.
Moments after rising to his feet, Johnson said he could not believe there is a single MP who ‘sincerely believes this deal before us is a good deal’ – which prompted a Tory colleague to note ‘actually there are a lot’ before Tory former minister Ed Vaizey leapt to his feet to show his support.
Sir Roger Gale – MP for North Thanet – later demanded Johnson reveal what his ‘big idea’ was after he labelled May’s solution a ‘pseudo Brexit’ while Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, was another to clash with his fellow Tory.
Speaking in the Commons, Johnson said: ‘The government’s heart has not appeared to be in this deal and I think listening to those who are sent out to defend it and to explain it, they know it is a democratic disaster.’
He added: ‘It has brought us together – Remainers and Leavers, myself and Tony Blair, the whole Johnson family is united in the belief that this is, I’m afraid, a national humiliation that makes a mockery of Brexit.’
In a firey intervention Sir Roger – said of Johnson: ‘He appears to be one who prefers the grievance to the solution.
‘The prime minister has come up with a solution. What’s his big idea?’
Johnson replied: ‘I was just coming to that’ but unsurprisingly did not have a definitive answer.
Father of the House Ken Clarke, a Tory former chancellor, suggested there was not a ‘faintest chance’ of Johnson’s bid for a renegotiation being taken seriously, adding: ‘Isn’t he just doomed if he gets his way to rush a catastrophic no deal?’
Johnson responded ‘I don’t agree with that at all’, and went on to add: ‘The EU will not treat us as sovereign equal in these negotiations unless and until we are willing to stand up for our own interests now and in the future, I think our country is ready for us to take this stand, I think they are.’
Members of opposition parties also rounded on the former foreign secretary.
The SNP’s Stephen Gethins told the House: ‘He was a senior member of Vote Leave. He was foreign secretary for two years. We are in this mess because of him. Does he take no responsibility?’
He simply responded: ‘the fact is that I was not able to continue to support this process for precisely that reason.’
As the former foreign secretary entered the 30th minute of his speech, May left the Commons chamber.
Johnson continued: ‘If we vote through this apology to Brexit we will be showing that we have treated the 17.4 million, the highest number of people ever to vote for a single proposition, with contempt.’