Johnson attacks boss’ ‘crazy’ policy
UK foreign secretary Boris Johnson has described his own government’s proposals for post-Brexit customs arrangements as “crazy”, breaching the basic principle of collective responsibility within cabinet.
A “customs partnership”, thought to be favoured by Prime Minister Theresa May, would involve London collecting import tariffs on behalf of Brussels.
Collective responsibility means ministers are bound to defend government policy regardless of whether they personally agree with it.
Johnson told the pro-Brexit Daily Mail that it would limit the ability to sign trade deals.
Downing Street said the idea was still on the table after leading ministers in May’s Brexit “war cabinet” failed to agree a customs plan last week.
Johnson apparently said a customs partnership would create “a whole new web of bureaucracy”.
“If you have a new customs partnership, you have a crazy system whereby you end up collecting tariffs on behalf of the EU at the UK frontier,” the bungling populist said.
“If the EU decides to impose punitive tariffs on something the UK wants to bring in cheaply there’s nothing you can do.
“That’s not taking back control of your trade policy, it’s not taking back control of your laws, it’s not taking back control of your borders and it’s actually not taking back control of your money either, because tariffs would get paid centrally back to Brussels.”
Johnson, who is visiting the US, said a transatlantic trade deal would be impossible if London remained “in the lunar pull of Brussels”.
Washington wanted to see “a confident free-trading Britain able to do its own deals”, the foreign affairs chief said.
Uber-Brexiteer Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg described May’s plan as “completely cretinous”.
Around 92 per cent of the Irish population support staying in the EU, according to pollster Red C, with 7 per cent supporting withdrawal and 1 per cent saying they did not know.
Only those aged between 45 and 64 just below average at 88 per cent.
Some British Brexit extremists suggested Ireland follow Britain’s march towards the exit door – and that Irish departure to solve the border question.
But the shambolic Brexit process has bolstered pro-EU sentiment in Ireland.
Although Ireland has long been overwhelmingly pro-EU, as recently as 2013, during deep austerity cuts, 81 per cent of the republic apparently supported remaining.
At the start of Brexit negotiations last year, the figure was 88 per cent, according to another Red C poll.
Irish 18 to 24 year olds back ongoing membership by 97 per cent support EU membership, with Dubliners 96 per cent in favour. The lowest provincial support was in Connaught and Ulster statistical region, at 89 per cent.
Pro-EU protesters in Manchester last year. Picture credit: Eurasia Times