Boris Johnson 'won't resign' over Brexit intervention fallout, Foreign Secretary insists

Thursday, 21 Sep, 2017

Downing Street said on Tuesday that the prime minister expects Boris Johnson to remain as foreign secretary after the speech and he insisted that he would not resign.

The essay sparked reports that the Cabinet is split between those like Chancellor Philip Hammond, who favour an "EEA-minus" deal similar to Switzerland's involving payments for access to the single market, and those including Mr Johnson who prefer a "Ceta-plus" arrangement involving a simple free trade deal like Canada's.

He described the Cabinet as "a nest of singing birds" and rejected reports he told friends he expected Mrs May's negotiations to fail, adding: 'No, no, no - we are going to deliver a fantastic Brexit'.

Asked if she believed there will be unity at a special meeting of her top ministers before the speech, the Prime Minister said: "Yes, the Cabinet is absolutely clear about the destination we are aiming for in relation to our European negotiations".

"Boris Johnson is the Foreign Secretary and, as the Prime Minister has said, he is doing a good job".

British Prime Minister Theresa May will promise to pay a Brexit divorce bill of at least 20 billion euros (USD 24 billion), the Financial Times newspaper reported today. She is due to flesh out her thinking on Friday in Florence, Italy.

Johnson was thought to have met May for the first time since his intervention at a Commonwealth reception on Tuesday evening at the United Nations General Assembly in NY, which they are both attending.

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The Foreign Secretary told reporters in NY he would not resign and denied that ministers were split over Brexit policy, insisting: "We are a nest of singing birds".

Johnson noted that if Britain continued its membership in the single market and customs union, the country would make a "complete mockery" of last year's referendum result.

For a moment it looked like Boris, as he's known back in Britain, was about to resign or get fired for speaking out of turn on Brexit.

Expressing his belief that her remarks would unite the Conservative party, Johnson said: "I am confident she will set out an exciting and positive vision for Brexit and it will be a speech around which everyone can unite".

He told the Financial Times: "From my personal point of view, I think he should have kept his mouth shut, quite simply".

The only reason the Foreign Secretary is safe after penning his 4,000-word plan for a "glorious" Brexit, said Clarke, is that Theresa May does not have a majority government.