Boris Johnson’s ‘unmatched flexibility with the truth’ will cause him issues in trade talks, the acting co-leader of the Liberal Democrats has claimed.
Sir Ed Davey warned that Boris Johnson’s “willingness to jump over every red line he had previously been willing to die in the ditch for will have been noted in Brussels”.
The MP for Kingston and Surbiton questioned whether Johnson would “get Brexit done”, asking if the Brexit Spartans “have yet smelt betrayal”.
He said the PM and the Conservative Party “now own Brexit”, adding: “It is their total and complete responsibility. They can’t blame anyone else any more, they have become the Brexit party from top to bottom.”
Speaking during the Queen’s Speech debate, Sir Ed said: “The prime minister’s biggest weapon in his Brexit deal endeavour is surely his unmatched flexibility with the truth.
“His so-called triumph of achieving a deal for Brexit phase one was only possible because he betrayed his big promise to the DUP.
“The prime minister’s willingness to jump unashamedly over every red line he had previously been willing to die in the ditch for will have been noted in Brussels by Europe’s rather more skilful negotiators.”
Sir Ed described Johnson’s tactics as “bulldog bluster combined with the record of a turncoat”.
He said: “I don’t believe this is the right approach and I don’t believe he’ll succeed without reneging on almost all of his previous promises to Leave voters.
“Whether or not, in the dark Conservative forests of the Brexit Spartans, his erstwhile friends have yet smelt betrayal.”
Sir Ed said the Lib Dems opposed Brexit and continued to point out the extra costs, the economic damage and loss of influence.
He added: “We will also remind colleagues opposite of the previously unthinkable concessions that now need to be conceded for any chance of a deal next year.”
On the union, he said the majority of people in Scotland voted for parties who wanted to preserve the UK and that the majority voted for parties who wanted to give the people the final say on the EU.
Sir Ed said he feared the country would become a “more inward-looking, more illiberal and less compassionate country” with the government’s programme, adding: “The One Nation rhetoric of the prime minister is not matched by his actions.”