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Boris Johnson hits out at Theresa May's Chequers deal as speculation mounts over leadership bid

The former foreign secretary resigned after the plan was announced in July.

Tory MP Boris Johnson
Tory MP Boris Johnson
Image: Victoria Jones

CONSERVATIVE MP BORIS Johnson has hit out at Theresa May’s so-called Chequers plan amid speculation that he is mounting a bid to become Prime Minister.

The former foreign secretary, who resigned after the plan was announced, wrote in the Sunday Telegraph that “a victory for the EU” in ongoing Brexit negotiations was “inevitable” as a result of the proposals.

In July, May announced a government paper that Britain could leave the single market after Brexit, but also stay in a free trade area for goods and agri-foods through a customs deal and common rulebook with the EU.

However, the proposal met immediate opposition from May’s own party, with a number of MPs saying it would keep Britain too closely aligned to the bloc.

It sparked the resignations of Johnson and former Brexit Secretary David Davis, while EU leaders have repeatedly questioned its viability and said further compromises will be needed.

Writing in his column yesterday, Johnson said the plan was a “white flag fluttering”, adding that the EU had “so far taken every important trick” during Brexit negotiations.

“The UK has agreed to hand over £40 billion of taxpayers’ money for two-thirds of diddly squat,” he said.

Johnson also said the deal meant it would be “impossible for the UK to be more competitive, to innovate, to deviate, to initiate” and ruled out “major free trade deals”.

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However, Sky News reports that a spokesman for May hit back at Johnson’s comments, saying there were “no new ideas to respond to” in the article.

The attack has come after a number of months in which Johnson has avoided discussing Brexit in his Daily Telegraph column.

However, the former foreign secretary’s latest remarks are being seen as preparation for a leadership challenge against May.

It also followed criticism of May by former Brexit secretary David Davis, who said the British Prime Minster was mistaken for admitting she would have to make compromises to the EU beyond the Chequers agreement.

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