John­son sets out his Brexit vi­sion

Sunday Sun - - News - By Sam Lis­ter scoop.sun­day­sun@ncj­me­

Reporter BORIS John­son has in­sisted he is “all be­hind Theresa for a glo­ri­ous Brexit” af­ter set­ting out a 4,000-word vi­sion of Bri­tain’s fu­ture out­side the European Union that has been viewed as a chal­lenge to her lead­er­ship.

The For­eign Sec­re­tary re­vived the widely-crit­i­cised claim quit­ting the EU could boost NHS cof­fers by £350m a week and warned against pay­ing for ac­cess to EU mar­kets in the fu­ture.

But the de­tailed as­sess­ment of life af­ter March 2019 was re­leased just six days be­fore Mrs May sets out her Brexit blue­print in a speech in Florence, fu­elling spec­u­la­tion about Mr John­son’s lead­er­ship am­bi­tions.

How­ever, in a tweet linked to his ar­ti­cle, Mr John­son in­sisted he was “look­ing for­ward to PM’s Florence speech”. “All be­hind Theresa for a glo­ri­ous Brexit,” he added.

Writ­ing for the Daily Tele­graph, Mr John­son sug­gested con­tin­ued mem­ber­ship of the sin­gle mar­ket and cus­toms union would make a “com­plete mock­ery” of the ref­er­en­dum re­sult.

He in­sisted Brexit would al­low the UK to “be the great­est coun­try on earth” and “our destiny will be in our own hands”.

The Leave cam­paign’s most eye­catch­ing pledge dur­ing the ref­er­en­dum cam­paign was a claim that end­ing Bri­tain’s con­tri­bu­tions to the EU would free up an ex­tra £350m a week that could be spent on the NHS.

But it was widely de­rided in the weeks af­ter the re­sult, and Mr John­son and other cam­paign­ers ap­peared to dis­tance them­selves from the prom­ise.

In the ar­ti­cle for the Tele­graph, how­ever, he said the UK would “roughly” be £350m bet­ter off and it would be a “fine thing” if a lot of it went on the health ser­vice.

He wrote: “Once we have set­tled our ac­counts, we will take back con­trol of roughly £350m per week. It would be a fine thing as many of us have pointed out if a lot of that money went on the NHS, pro­vided we use that cash in­jec­tion to mod­ernise and make the most of new tech­nol­ogy.”

The For­eign Sec­re­tary did not men­tion plans for a tran­si­tion pe­riod af­ter Bri­tain leaves the bloc and ar­gued there is no need to pay for mar­ket ac­cess. “We would not ex­pect to pay for ac­cess to their mar­kets any more than they would ex­pect to pay for ac­cess to ours,” he said.

Labour’s Chuka Umunna, a lead­ing sup­porter of Open Bri­tain, which is cam­paign­ing for con­tin­ued sin­gle mar­ket mem­ber­ship, said: “The £350m a week prom­ise was a fib, and there is ab­so­lutely no chance of it be­ing de­liv­ered.

Labour said the ar­ti­cle ex­posed the di­vi­sions in Mrs May’s top team. A spokesman for Jeremy Cor­byn said: “Boris John­son has laid bare the con­flicts at the heart of Theresa May’s Govern­ment over Brexit and cut the ground from be­neath the Prime Min­is­ter’s au­thor­ity.” For­eign sec­re­tary Boris John­son has dou­bled down on his claim leav­ing EU will free up £350m for the NHS

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