Boris: Yes, we will take back £350m from EU for NHS

For­eign Sec­re­tary sets out grand vi­sion for coun­try af­ter Brexit Chan­cel­lor must cut taxes and reg­u­la­tion to boost econ­omy Stay­ing in sin­gle mar­ket and cus­toms union would be mock­ery

The Daily Telegraph - - Front page - By Gor­don Rayner Po­lit­i­cal Edi­tor

BORIS JOHN­SON to­day sets out a grand vi­sion of Bri­tain’s “glo­ri­ous” post-brexit fu­ture as a low-tax, low reg­u­la­tion econ­omy pay­ing noth­ing to the EU for ac­cess to the sin­gle mar­ket.

In a 4,000-word ar­ti­cle in to­day’s

Daily Tele­graph, the For­eign Sec­re­tary re­states a key de­mand of the Leave cam­paign – that the £350 mil­lion a week cur­rently sent to Brus­sels should be redi­rected to fund the NHS.

He says that Bri­tain should not con­tinue to make pay­ments to the EU af­ter Brexit and that on­go­ing mem­ber­ship of the Euro­pean sin­gle mar­ket and cus­toms union would make a “com­plete mock­ery” of the ref­er­en­dum.

Mr John­son makes no ref­er­ence to any tran­si­tion pe­riod af­ter 2019 and makes re­peated ref­er­ence to how EU bu­reau­cracy is a drag on Bri­tain’s eco­nomic per­for­mance.

His blue­print dif­fers markedly from that of Philip Ham­mond and other Cab­i­net min­is­ters, who have stressed the need to re­main close to the sin­gle mar­ket and pay money to main­tain ac­cess.

It comes less than a week be­fore Theresa May de­liv­ers a piv­otal Brexit speech in Florence, and ef­fec­tively amounts to an ul­ti­ma­tum to the Prime Min­is­ter on what she is ex­pected to say.

It is un­der­stood that the For­eign Sec­re­tary had hoped to make a speech about Brexit but has not had the op­por­tu­nity. White­hall sources sug­gested that the Prime Min­is­ter and Chan­cel­lor were un­aware of Mr John­son’s ar­ti­cle.

His Brexit blue­print will send shock­waves through the Tory ranks and will spark spec­u­la­tion that Mr John­son – who sources say sup­ports the Prime Min­is­ter and her agenda – may still har­bour lead­er­ship ambitions, as the Con­ser­va­tive Party pre­pares to meet at its an­nual con­fer­ence next month.

In his pas­sion­ately pa­tri­otic ar­ti­cle, he in­sists that Bri­tain can be “the great­est coun­try on Earth” and rounds on so-called Re­moan­ers “who think we are go­ing to bot­tle it”.

The most strik­ing in­clu­sion in his ar­ti­cle is the rep­e­ti­tion of his claim that Bri­tain will be £350 mil­lion a week bet­ter off af­ter leav­ing the EU and that the money could be spent on the NHS. The claim ap­peared on the side of the Leave cam­paign bus dur­ing last year’s ref­er­en­dum cam­paign and has been bit­terly dis­puted by Re­main­ers ever since.

How­ever, Mr John­son says: “Once we have set­tled our ac­counts, we will take back con­trol of roughly £350 mil­lion a 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.”

Mr John­son is also dis­mis­sive of the sug­ges­tion that Bri­tain should pay to ac­cess the sin­gle mar­ket dur­ing the tran­si­tion pe­riod or be­yond, say­ing: “We would not ex­pect to pay for ac­cess to their mar­kets any more than they would ex­pect to pay for ac­cess to ours.”

He de­ploys soar­ing rhetoric in the tub-thump­ing ar­ti­cle to in­sist that Bri­tain “will suc­ceed in our new na­tional en­ter­prise, and will suc­ceed might­ily”, while slap­ping down op­po­nents of Brexit who are “woe­fully un­der­es­ti­mat­ing this coun­try” and think Brexit “isn’t go­ing to hap­pen”.

The For­eign Sec­re­tary also set­tles old scores by at­tack­ing those who tried to pre­vent the Leave vote, such as “the BBC, Barack Obama, the Arch­bishop of Can­ter­bury, the CBI [Con­fed­er­a­tion

of Bri­tish In­dus­try], every ma­jor po­lit­i­cal party and much of the me­dia”.

Un­der Mr John­son’s blue­print, leav­ing the EU must “log­i­cally en­tail” leav­ing the sin­gle mar­ket, the cus­toms union and the Euro­pean Court of Jus­tice. He says Bri­tain will “keep en­vi­ron­men­tal and so­cial pro­tec­tions that are fair and wise”, but will ditch EU reg­u­la­tions, which cost be­tween 4 and 7 per cent of GDP. Mr John­son says: “We should seize the op­por­tu­nity of Brexit to re­form our tax sys­tem”, point­ing out that the Bank of Eng­land’s chief econ­o­mist said in 2015 that the sys­tem is “skewed” and dis­cour­ages in­vest­ment.

He also sug­gests that Bri­tain should think about tax­ing for­eign buy­ers of Bri­tish prop­erty to pre­vent them push­ing house prices up. An­other way of tack­ling the hous­ing cri­sis, he says, would be to sim­plify plan­ning laws and en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact assess­ments.

He sin­gles out the Com­mu­ni­ties Sec­re­tary, Sa­jid Javid, and the Health Sec­re­tary, Jeremy Hunt, for praise, but makes no men­tion of the Brexit Sec­re­tary, David Davis.

On im­mi­gra­tion, he says busi­nesses should be able to ac­cess the skills they need but “will no longer be able to use im­mi­gra­tion as an ex­cuse not to in­vest in the young peo­ple of this coun­try”. He also wants a Bri­tain where “fat cat” bosses are not re­warded for fail­ure.

On trade, Bri­tain will be able to “get on and do free trade deals” , par­tic­u­larly with the Com­mon­wealth, rather than look­ing to the EU for ways to ex­pand.

His view chal­lenges Mr Ham­mond’s pref­er­ence for a lengthy tran­si­tion.

Mr John­son sees Brexit as a “chance to catch the wave of new tech­nol­ogy, and to put Bri­tain in the lead”. As au­to­mated ve­hi­cles take over the car mar­ket, the car in­dus­try will trans­form it­self in Bri­tain, while the pro­tec­tion­ist EU will try to hold back the rev­o­lu­tion.

He also ac­cuses Jeremy Cor­byn of “chick­en­ing out” of Brexit with his party’s pref­er­ence for re­main­ing in the sin­gle mar­ket and cus­toms union, or near­est equiv­a­lent. “He would make a com­plete mock­ery of Brexit,” he writes, “and turn an op­por­tu­nity into a na­tional hu­mil­i­a­tion.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.