Published: Thu, July 19, 2018
Economy | By

Johnson says it’s not too late save Brexit

Johnson says it’s not too late save Brexit

The government won the vote by 307 to 301 votes, but this could have been a very different story.

"The problem is not that we have failed to make the case for a free trade agreement of the kind spelt out at Lancaster House".

Sterling rebounded from the day's lows against the dollar after the government sidestepped defeat on the amendment.

But the former foreign secretary was mocked by pro-EU MPs.

Such plans would allow Britain to do a "bold, ambitious and comprehensive free trade agreement not just with the European Union... but also to do new trade deals around the world", he said.

The government has previously stated that it would seek continued membership of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) after Brexit, and that it would be prepared to pay to do so.

The government said it had always wanted to remain in the framework.

"In the 18 months that have followed... a fog of self-doubt has descended", he said, and criticised the government for not presenting the Lancaster House vision to Brussels.

But Johnson said May had gone back on her "glorious vision" for Brexit, which involved breaking from the EU's courts, customs unions and single market, and forging new trade deals.

Several junior ministers and parliamentary secretaries also resigned over the deal.

At a session of parliament, May stood firm after being challenged by one pro-Brexit lawmaker in her party to explain when she had made a decision to change her catchphrase from "Brexit means Brexit", to "Brexit means Remain".

Labour's Paula Sherriff said she had "important meetings" scheduled for next week and would vote against the move.

The Commons was only half full for the statement but Johnson was surrounded by eurosceptic members of the ruling Conservative party, including David Davis, the former Brexit minister who also quit the cabinet last week over May's plan.

The prospect of continued drama in parliament and doubts over the future of May's "white paper" Brexit plan-which is itself only a starting point for talks with the European Union - is testing the patience of businesses that depend on cross-border trade.

Pro-EU MPs saw staying in the customs union as a guarantee to preserving industrial and commercial supply chains and alleviating the economic damage in case there is no final deal between the United Kingdom and the EU.

Anna Soubry, a former cabinet minister who supports close ties with the European Union, told the BBC: "I don't think that she's in charge anymore".

On two of those votes, her majority was cut to three.

Here's some of the bookies' favourites to replace her as leader of the Conservative Party.

A Tory leadership contest can be called in one of two ways - if Mrs May resigns or if MPs force and win a vote of no confidence in her.

"I can't remember anything quite like this".

Even political adversaries will admit Boris Johnsons ability to turn a phrase with rhetorical flourish.

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