Critical of British Prime Minister Theresa May, Boris Johnson accused her of “dithering” over the UK’s strategy for leaving the European Union. He also said it is “not too late to save Brexit”.
In a stinging resignation speech in the Commons, the ex-foreign secretary said a “needless fog of self-doubt” had descended over the past 18 months.
While praising May’s “courage and resilience”, Johnson said her Chequers plan would see the UK in “miserable limbo”.
The BBC’s chief political correspondent Vicki Young said Johnson’s friends were insisting he was not trying to emulate Sir Geoffrey Howe, whose caustic resignation speech in 1990 is widely seen as having paved the way for Margaret Thatcher‘s downfall weeks later.
But by setting a deadline for May to change her approach, she said he appeared to be telling MPs that it would be “in their hands” if she didn’t.
Addressing MPs, Mr Johnson said the “bright certainties” that followed the 2016 Brexit vote had dissipated and the UK risked ending up in “economic vassalage” if it agreed to follow EU regulations on trade, the environment and social affairs.
He also said the vision set out by Mrs May in her Lancaster House speech in January 2017 for a “strong independent, self-governing Britain” had never been turned into a firm negotiating position.
As noted by the BBC, some critics of Theresa May regard Johnson, a former London mayor, as a possible successor, should she be forced out over Brexit. He actually pulled out of the 2016 leadership race won by May after his campaign manager Michael Gove decided to run himself.