Former UK Cabinet secretary seeks new Brexit referendum

Boris Johnson quit as foreign secretary in protest at Theresa May’s plans for post Brexit relations with the EU

Boris Johnson quit as foreign secretary in protest at Theresa May’s plans for post Brexit relations with the EU

Mr Baker, rising to huge cheers from Tory backbenchers, said: "It is in the national interest that we should have and have implemented contingency plans for the unwanted eventuality of exiting the European Union with nothing agreed".

And he said Britain should be "great independent actors" on the world stage, not "rule takers".

Sterling has struggled to capitalise in recent weeks on signs the economy is improving because of mounting uncertainty over whether Britain can secure a trade deal with the European Union before it leaves the bloc in March.

Mr Johnson quit Mrs May's Cabinet on Monday last week, declaring that the plans for the UK's post-Brexit relations with Europe which she set out at Chequers would leave Britain a "colony".

Johnson, who led the main Brexit campaign in the 2016 referendum, resigned this month over May's strategy, triggering the government's biggest crisis since she lost her parliamentary majority after calling a snap election past year.

May said the plan outlined in the white paper honors the wishes of British voters - who in June 2016 backed Brexit with 52 percent of the vote - while protecting industry and security.

Johnson, who is seen as a potential challenger to May, warned that her plan would leave Britain in "miserable permanent limbo" and was "Brexit in name only".

He argued that the problem was not that Britain had failed to make the case to Brussels for an ambitious free trade deal, but "we haven't even tried".

"At absolutely no point because Brexit continues to mean Brexit", May replied.

"We must try now because we will not get another chance to do it right". "Not the democratic disaster of ongoing harmonization with no way out and no say for the UK".




Johnson demanded Britons "believe in this country".

"These nonsenses of threatening general elections and votes of confidence in the Prime Minister and as I actually said to the deputy chief whip "bring it on" because I shall be the first in the queue to give my vote of full confidence in the Prime Minister", she said.

Conservative infighting must end and a consensus found on a sensible, practical Brexit.

She told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "We simply can not go on like this".

"That was the vision that the Prime Minister rightly described past year".

And he complained that his own suggestions for technical solutions to keep the border open had never been "properly examined", but were treated as a "taboo" following the agreement of a backstop arrangement last December.

May's plans for exiting the European Union were narrowly approved by the House of Commons in a series of votes this week, but only after she bowed to Brexit hardliners led by Jacob Rees-Mogg to salvage her program.

The ultra pro-EU former Labour prime minister Tony Blair described May's compromise position as "mush" which should be "decisively" rejected by parliament.

"The proposals on the table satisfy nobody, which is why more and more members of the public know the only way to sort out this political mess is to take back control of the process with a People's Vote on a final Brexit deal".

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