Will Boris Johnson Resign?
Caught in the lobby of his New York hotel, after returning from a jog, a sweaty Boris assured curious and anxious reporters that he wasn’t quitting, despite rumours of his resignation.
As it was discussed yesterday in various media outlets, particularly the Evening Standard, the possibility of May agreeing to make payments to the EU permanently in return for access to the single market would “humiliate” and enrage Boris Johnson. Today, the prospect of his resignation has triggered a new wave of rumours and commentary that suggests that the Conservatives remain split over Brexit. Unlike Theresa May, Johnson is a well-known advocate of Brexit-at-all-costs who has campaigned to leave the EU and has repeatedly said that the UK doesn’t have to pay anything to Brussels. As he has cheerily piped this past summer: European leaders can “go whistle.”
Gordon Rayner said in today’s Telegraph that Boris Johnson “will resign as foreign secretary before the weekend if Theresa May veers towards a ‘Swiss-style’ arrangement with the EU in her Brexit speech in Florence.” Switzerland isn’t in the European Economic Area (EEA) but in the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) with Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. But, friends of Boris are saying that it’s his enemies who are spreading rumours of his resignation.
According to the Press Association, Johnson denied any discord in his party and said that “we are a nest of singing birds”—perhaps, we may add, with a few wolves lurking in the shadows and bearing their teeth. A fanged Brexit that would rip apart all European rules and bring the UK back to an original state is the ultimate Brexiteer dream.
Boris also “dismissed suggestions he might resign his post as foreign secretary over differences with Theresa May over the kings of Brexit deal the UK should strike.” And he clarified that the Tories weren’t split over Brexit: “No, we are a government working together, we are a nest of singing birds.” And repeating his positive message on Brexit possibilities, he said: “We are working together, that is the key thing, to make sure that Britain can take advantage of the opportunities of Brexit.”
Lib Dems call for Boris to be sacked
The Lib Dems, who are gathered this week in Bournemouth for their annual party conference, are calling for Boris Johnson to be sacked. The Lib Dem Brexit spokesman said: “This analysis demolishes Boris Johnson’s £350m lie. His position is completely at odds with the government’s own official forecasts, which show Brexit will mean less money for public services like the NHS. Is Boris really proposing to strip farmers, scientists and UK regions of all their current funding? Theresa May must sack him now for contradicting the government and peddling blatant mistruths.”
Boris & Co: No Deal
As it has become obvious, Boris is worried that his Brexiteer plans will fail if May is in charge, and he wants to interfere, because he feels that the PM is incapable of dealing with the current political chaos and lack of Brexit direction. In a Sun article, “No Deal: Boris Johnson believes Brexit negotiations will fail and end up with Theresa May being humiliated,” it is said that the foreign secretary has divulged to friends that the government should be prepared to “walk away from the stalled talks as the EU will not give the UK any big concessions.” Admitting to one of his close friends, that no one “ever beats the EU in a negotiation,” Boris said that Brussels officials will force the PM to compromise and accept bad terms. Another of Boris’ friends said: “He always makes a point of saying ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’ because he thinks it will be what we have to do. They want to punish us, that has always been Boris's view, and that has now come abundantly clear from the negotiations so far."
As others have reported, May will be meeting her ministers this Thursday in a special meeting during which she will seek to turn him to her side and own vision for Brexit, before her Florence speech on Friday. In the Times, Rachel Sylvester argued that Boris exploited “a gaping hole in government policy” when he published his article last Friday. She wrote that the PM is supposed to be unveiling her Brexit strategy on Friday, but, according to Whitehall sources, “the text is being rewritten and recalibrated as a weak and incompetent leader tries to balance the competing forces around her.” Since senior ministers have yet to agree on the government’s Brexit position and May is in a potentially catastrophic situation, due to her lack of authority and general chaos, people like Boris are taking the opportunity to express their opinion and differences.
The Sun called Theresa May to ignore Remoaners and support Boris. “Theresa May must listen,” “ignore the siren calls from Cabinet Remainers” and continue with the optimistic vision of Brexit that Boris has outlined in his letter.
While newspapers advised May to take sides, support Boris or sack him, the Guardian simply described the situation as a horror film with touches of the ridiculous: “A Stephen King film set to the Benny Hill theme tune: that’s Britain’s current political plight. It feels like a horror show without end yet it is simultaneously preposterous and absurd.” As Owen Jones wrote, “Boris Johnson – and goodness knows what we all did in a past life to deserve him – opportunistically backed Brexit as a career move. Despite his demonstrable buffoonery, he is astute enough to realise that Tory Brexit is spiralling into disaster. He risks going down in the history books as one of the principal architects of a national catastrophe. So now he plots and schemes, helping to plunge an already politically crippled Tory administration into further turmoil as Britain navigates through its postwar greatest crisis.”
In the end, Brexit is the ultimate celebrity show, and the Brexiteer architects are either hiding in shame in the shadows or continuing to entertain us. Boris Johnson is the Kim Kardashian of British politics. Having realised that artificial and fake things sell, appearing at once, more realistic and seductive, he continues to mislead voters with shiny empty promises.