Prime Minister Theresa May has slammed Boris Johnson after he claimed her Brexit strategy was akin to putting a “suicide vest” on the UK. She said that the comments were “completely inappropriate” as she also says she’s “irritated” by the ongoing speculation over her position as PM.
The UK is leaving the European Union on 29 March 2019, and the government’s plan has sparked criticism from Brexiteer Conservatives as well as the EU. About 50 Brexiteer members of the European Research Group (ERG) met on Tuesday to discuss a leadership challenge.
The Chequers plan
As part of the so-called Chequers plan, Mrs May said she wants to strike a trade deal with the EU for after the UK leaves in 2019.
She also said there needs to be “friction-free movement of goods” with no customs or regulatory checks between the UK and EU on the island of Ireland, in order to avoid a hard border there.
The UK and EU are hoping to agree a way forward next month, at the same time as they settle the terms of the UK’s withdrawal, including a transition period up to the end of 2020.
Against the plan
There is much opposition to the plan though, with members of all political parties, who believe it jeopardises the UK’s sovereignty. Former Home Secretary Boris Johnson is one of those opposers, and has been for some time. He claimed last week that she had “wrapped a suicide vest” around the British constitution and “handed the detonator” to Brussels.
Mrs May said: “I was home secretary for six years, and as prime minister for two years now I think using language like that was not right and it’s not language I would have used.”
Bloody difficult woman
In response to the knowledge that members of the ERG met to challenge her leadership, May claims that the “bloody difficult woman”, as she was described by former Conservative chancellor Ken Clarke, was “still there”.
But, she added, “there’s a difference between those who think you can only be bloody difficult in public, and those who think actually you bide your time, and you’re bloody difficult when the time is right – and when it really matters”.