Johnson lashes out at chancellor
PUBLISHED: 12:48 08 June 2018 | UPDATED: 13:12 08 June 2018
PA Wire/PA Images
Boris Johnson has stoked the Brexit fire within the cabinet delivering an extraordinary attack on the chancellor.
The foreign secretary told a gathering of Conservative supporters Philip Hammond’s department was “the heart of Remain” and said the UK could end up “in the customs union and to a large extent still in the single market”.
He also warned of a Brexit “meltdown” and called for “guts” in exit talks.
In unguarded comments at a private dinner, Johnson said there was a risk Brexit “will not be the one we want” and would keep the UK “locked in orbit” around the EU.
At the Conservative Way Forward dinner he was recorded saying: “You’ve got to face the fact there may now be a meltdown. OK? I don’t want anybody to panic during the meltdown. No panic. Pro bono publico, no bloody panic. It’s going to be all right in the end.”
Johnson was speaking to around 20 people dining in a private room after a reception at the Institute of Directors. A recording of his comments was passed to BuzzFeed.
He said: “Unless you make the change, unless you have the guts to go for the independent policy, you’re never going to get the economic benefits of Brexit. You’ll never get the political benefits of Brexit.”
He added that fears about the border on the island of Ireland were out of proportion.
“It’s so small and there are so few firms that actually use that border regularly, it’s just beyond belief that we’re allowing the tail to wag the dog in this way,” he said.
“We’re allowing the whole of our agenda to be dictated by this folly.”
Johnson also suggested Donald Trump would “go in bloody hard” and “might get somewhere” in the exit talks if he was in charge.