Don’t trust Boris to deliver Brexit

The PM is on track to commit the greatest betrayal of all.

Brendan Chilton

Topics Brexit Politics UK

Boris Johnson has become a hero to many Leave supporters as he presents himself as battling against a parliament dominated by MPs who never really wanted to accept the outcome of the referendum. Even the Brexit Party leader, Nigel Farage, has heaped praise on the prime minister for expelling the 21 Tory MPs who voted to take control of the order paper. Banging the dispatch box, the prime minister bellowed as he declared that he will never accept an extension; he could almost be Gary Oldman, in Darkest Hour, were it not for the messy hair and unfortunate and overtly obvious attempt at a poor Churchillian imitation.

While Brexiteers are cheering Mr Johnson, we cannot allow fact to be erased. It is a matter of public record that the prime minister has had a less than noble record since the referendum. Mr Johnson was the foreign secretary when the shabby Withdrawal Agreement was initiated between the British government and the European Commission. He participated in the negotiations that resulted in the document itself. He did resign in opposition to the treaty, but when push came to shove he voted for the Withdrawal Agreement in its last appearance in the House of Commons. This demonstrates that, ultimately, he is prepared to compromise, despite all his rhetoric and bluster, and kowtow to Brussels.

We should always beware a wolf in sheep’s clothing, as the old parable states. It should be noted, that prior to becoming a prominent Leave campaigner, the prime minister had to write two articles to help him decide whether or not he was indeed a Brexiteer! His whole political life has been one of self-advancement over principle. The only reason Mr Johnson is now prepared to support leaving without a deal is to hold off the real and deadly threat from the Brexit Party. But he was prepared to support Theresa May’s halfway-house Brexit, which would have rendered this country a vassal state. This position would have been totally unacceptable to our history and to the proud people of this country.

Since becoming prime minister, the usual Boris bluster has been ever prevalent. While he has regularly stated that he and his government are quite prepared to walk away from the negotiations and go for a clean Brexit on 31 October, we know that this is not his preference. Nor is it the preference of the majority of the Conservative Party in the House of Commons. While the Tories are perceived as being the pro-Brexit party, it is often forgotten that a majority of Conservative MPs backed Remain in the referendum and a substantial number supported the Withdrawal Agreement under May.

While many Brexiteers will see Boris Johnson as their champion in parliament, facing almost fearful odds, we have to examine the many public statements he has made and the briefings provided by his officials from Number 10. Repeatedly they have stated that a resolution to the issue of the Irish backstop would prove a way to settling on a deal. This suggests the prime minister would be content to accept the Withdrawal Agreement minus the backstop, which is not Brexit at all.

Contained within the Withdrawal Agreement, which is an embarrassment to our national prestige, is the ongoing jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice over British affairs. As well as questionable arrangements over freedom of movement, our payment of £40 billion to the EU, the selling-out of the fishing industry, regulatory alignment and our inability to settle our own trade arrangements. There is also uncertainty over the conclusion of any transition period. All of these things are wrong with this agreement and only when all of them are scrapped should Brexit supporters be satisfied. The prime minister has said he wants a deal. At present, it appears he would be happy to accept these facts so long as the backstop is gone, as no mention of them has been made. That will be his surrender document if and when he brings it before parliament.

Given that parliament has voted to prevent a clean Brexit, and given the prime minister’s questionable ethics and motivations, it is almost certain that we are yet to witness the biggest betrayal of all. Parliament will blame the executive and the executive will blame the legislature. Both will be complicit and both will be guilty. The Brexiteers who are today elevating the prime minister to an exalted place and affording him the fame of the truest knight of all will soon understand that he is not their salvation, but that he is in fact their curse.

Brendan Chilton is director of Labour Future and co-author of 30 Truths About Leaving on WTO Terms.

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A Game

12th September 2019 at 6:43 am

So, in writing a comment (and I’m still irritated… jealous, much?), I held off asking until I’d read the other comments.
I had formed the idea that those (yes, extremely obnoxious) concessions re freedom of movement and still being smeared with the ECJ smarm, was part of the WA, whilst the UK left. That once the withdrawal was complete, those concessions would end, and whatever arrangements were made during the withdrawal, they would kick in, including, none of those concessions.
Not so?
Are those concessions basically for a permanent soft Brexit?
And if so… then that has to be out there. A swifty is being pulled. But not as a shot at Bronco Boris, but as a pressure that he needs to pursue No Deal. People need to know any deal to leave cannot involve continued ties. ESPECIALLY the fishing industry. (Seriously, T May… and wouldn’t one of the masterminds of that hot steaming pile have been the advisor who is getting a knighthood?)

A Game

12th September 2019 at 5:29 am

How do you fortify the wobbly? Plenty of scaffolding. How do you fortify a wobbly politician? Lots of praise and validation to get some steel into their resolve.
I’m quite shocked that B Chiltern hasn’t been able to shelve his dislike of BoJo long enough to force him to see Brexit through.
By Boris taking the Spartacus approach, he has boxed himself in to take the Spartacus approach. That is now where any electoral support stands.
The Brexit Party is doing their bit to keep him pushed into that corner. It turns out its Remainers’ who have given him the escape route to a deal you say he only pretends not to want.

Where you sit tight and support a Tory, and support a politician you don’t care for, is when they are the ONLY politician who is saying they want what you want. If there had been no support for him from the public, do you think those traitor tories would still be out in the cold?

His Churchill aspirations can only be fulfilled if he stays in the job. Its come down to, really, the only way to stay in the job is to be the Captain of Brexit. His party, under pressure, have to follow or be annihilated.
This is democracy in action. These are the pressures that have to be kept up, including that he is the truest knight of all, who will deliver. It just obviously has to be turned that that title only comes with No Deal.
This path of discrediting him… that only works if you have faith that the Brexit Party can win enough seats to take Government.
Stick with Nigel. He gets it.

jessica christon

11th September 2019 at 7:58 pm

After he voted for the WA in MV3, I lost the little bit of faith I ever had in Boris Johnson and the best he’ll do is deliver some or other version of BRINO, because only vanity stops him from presenting Teresa May’s agreement back to parliament exactly as it was.

James Knight

11th September 2019 at 6:30 pm

Johnson maybe a bigger threat to Brexit than the Remoan sulkers.

One litmus test of Brexit is the role of the ECJ. Imagine if anyone suggested UK courts should have jurisdiction over EU affairs, there would be a total meltdown. But the suggestion the UK should fully escape from the jurisdiction of the ECJ is painted as extremist. Of how about if the UK charged the EU to access it’s markets?

steve moxon

11th September 2019 at 5:44 pm

Says a guy who thinks Liebore has a future! A director of Labour Future, indeed.
Certainly there is real danger of the Maybot sell-out being as near (that is, very far indeed) to Brexit as we get, but the Tawdries — seemingly including ‘the men in grey suits’ — have put a non-Tawdry Cummer-iner, a Brexiteer rottweiler, in charge, who surely is telling Bowis that the Tawdries are sunk without a deal with the Brexit Party to give each other free runs in quite a number of constituencies (notwithstanding he doesn’t get on well with Nidge). The Brexit Party can come through the middle between Liebore and a Remoaner-surging Glib Dems in quite a number of Northern and Midlands seats, where the Tawdries can’t, so the Tawdries are going to have to give these to the real Brexiteers in exchange for them not standing in Tawdry/Liebore marginals in the south. So actually ‘no-deal or bust’ is the reality, and it’s hard to see, then, how proper Brexit can’t be on the cards, for all the legitimate doubts.

Geoff Cox

11th September 2019 at 10:16 am

“Mr Johnson was the foreign secretary when the shabby Withdrawal Agreement was initiated between the British government and the European Commission. He participated in the negotiations that resulted in the document itself.”

I’d like to ask if that is really true? The way I read those events was that Brexiteers had been shut out of the negotiations. In any event he resigned over it.

I also wouldn’t read too much into him voting the WA the third time. The ERG etc were at a low ebb thinking this was at least better than nothing.

Finally, I keep hearing about the two speeches, but who is to say he wrote both becuase he was on a knife edge over his decision? The execise of writing a speech for the other side to improve your reasoning is widespread.

Either way, sadly I’m not holding out much hope for a clean break.

Jim Lawrie

11th September 2019 at 9:39 am

Boris had his Parliamentary supporters vote to eliminate any possibility of a run off with a Brexiteer because he did not fancy his chances in the Party wide vote against such an opponent. Just as the wider Parliamentary body have manoeuvred for Remain, so too has the Conservative Parliamentary Party.
He will try to continue the present charade by extending till January then have a General Election in the hope that people will fall for the plea that his hands were tied. If he signs May’s surrender before Oct 31, the sham is ended, he cannot win a GE and he paves the way for UKIP and TBP.

Like most of the 650, Boris sees a compliant media as a reflection a compliant, easy led, electorate. This view is reinforced by fear among Brexiteers that putting their head above the parapet could cost them their job. Remember the witch hunts and threats among employers immediately after The Vote?

I’d have Kate Hoey as Speaker, and urge people to ask Parliamentary candidates who they will vote for that post, and press hard for an answer.

Gareth Edward KING

11th September 2019 at 8:59 am

Chilton’s analysis is undoubtedly correct, but one is left with the impression that whilst he remains in the Labour Party, presumably he wants a Labour victory, why doesn’t he desert to the Brexit Party? I will be voting for the latter party come the (inevitable) general election as I cannot bring myself to vote for the Tories. Voting for the Labour ‘identitarians’ is not an option and most Northern Labour voters would’ve come to the same conclusion.

A Game

12th September 2019 at 6:04 am

The legacy of Tory austerity obviously runs deep in Labour heartlands. But the budget Javid presented… they will pursue it.
I read about a year ago, the great and mighty Paul Keating (anyone who hasn’t seen him do his, “do you slowly” bit… do so… and Blustering Boris should most certainly look at it… Keats holds Hewson, wolfish smile… everything is timing. Still got me signed coaster.) wrote that in the gap that has been left by multinational business not reinvesting profits – all gotta go to the shareholder – that governments need to initiate infrastructure projects to attract investment and get people working. The Tory budget seems to be pursuing this angle. Which means the fear that its empty promises… its sort of coming down to the wire with all the Euro economies. They have to start getting money in at the grass roots. Nurses etc do that. If they want to salvage the UK economy, they will deliver on that budget.
So Labour voters should take that leap of faith.
Secondly, with the Labour Party where its at, the only possibility of reform is they lose an election. Otherwise its more of the fake lefty middle class nirvana. Those Remainers abusing Leave voters, well, who were the Leave voters and who were most of those Remainers? Labour voters abusing Labour voters.
Labour has to learn that sometimes you don’t always get what you want, but you get what you need. Oh yeaaaah.

Jerry Owen

11th September 2019 at 8:49 am

A good article most of which I agree with.
BJ has always said he would prefer a deal, the MSM and anti Brexiteers continually whinge that he would ‘crash out’ of the EU.. that he wants a ‘no deal’ Brexit. The preferences of BJ are indisputable observations of the man that the ‘remainers’ refuse to see, their sensibilities having long since deserted them ( three years ago ).
Like many others I simply do not trust parliament or anyone in it now.
We won’t be leaving the EU.

Hana Jinks

11th September 2019 at 6:20 pm

This is how it’s gonna go down for you. I don’t like you at all.

Hana Jinks

11th September 2019 at 6:21 pm

You’re my bitch.

James Chilton

11th September 2019 at 8:44 am

Johnson is the biggest poseur in politics – which is quite an achievement considering how many MPs are competing for the honour.

John Millson

11th September 2019 at 7:51 am

“This demonstrates that, ultimately, *he is prepared to compromise*, despite all his rhetoric and bluster, and kowtow to Brussels”.
It’s this mentality which is damaging us.
I won’t vote for the Tories, but I hope sincerely he does ‘compromise’ for the good of the country.
For sure, a ‘clean’ (is there a more perfect misnomer?) WTO/No deal Brexit will inflict a shock, with continuing afershocks for who knows how long. We have been warned and warned (it won’t be like the immediate aftermath of the referendum when there wasn’t a recession despite ‘Project Fear’ – then everyone knew we had at least 2 years to sort things out). To push on regardless is deeply irresponsible and harmful.

Jerry Owen

11th September 2019 at 9:04 am

John Millson
You still don’t get it do you ?
You hope that Boris compromises for the ‘good of the country’ , don’t be so devious and deceitful, you want compromise to suit your ‘remain’ position, which you simply can’t let go of as we all see here with tedious monotony.
You lost the referendum, we voted ‘leave’ not ‘compromise’.
We voted for independence from the EU, it’s court’s superiority over ours, its diktats and claustrophobic stifling economic existence. Look what is happening to the German car industry right now, it’s almost in terminal decline because of the Germans adherence to the green / environment cult. Can you imagine the issues for the EU with a bust car industry ?
Leave voters see the big world markets the huge trades to be had on WTO terms that much of the world already trades on, we want a deal with America, we want our fishing industry back.. A little island in the Atlantic with no fishing industry because of the EU .. absolutely mad !
In short leave voters see a world outside of Europe ( as well as in Europe ) that can be traded with freely on our own terms, the most efficient form of trading.
Unlike you John we are not inward little Englanders that want an EU teat to suck on, we have an outward forward thinking approach to the rest of the world out there waiting for us to join in.

John Millson

11th September 2019 at 9:51 am

I get ‘it’ fully, Jerry. It’s not ‘devious’ or ‘deceitful’ to genuinely want what is best for the country, not just the 2016, 52% of the electorate.
Let’s be clear, had a Brexit-voting PM taken over in 2016, negotiated a withdrawal agreement, much like Theresa May’s, it would have been voted through by the ERG because they would have trusted the PM. After the 2017 election Theresa May was seen by most Tories as a liability, who had to be got rid of. She didn’t have any friends.
With a Brexiteer PM, assuming the timeframe was the same, i.e. out by March 29th 2019, the Tories would now be seen by most voters, Leave & Remain, as leading properly, with the UK on its way out of the EU, with a withdrawal agreement, which kept the UK economically secure but recognised it was no longer a member. (If you aren’t member of a club, why should you enjoy any voting rights or a say in how that club is run. The UK wants to leave the EU, the UK will have to accept a state of temporary humiliation, at least, while it builds up it’s global markets and influence. Humility, leading to growth, is not a bad thing.)
Careful with the EU ‘teat-sucking’ accusations. There’s a man with a fondness for union-jack socks and a tan coloured coat, strutting about, who continues to be the biggest sucker on that ‘teat’. ‘Man of the people’?… Do us a favour.

Jerry Owen

11th September 2019 at 10:32 am

John Millson
There you go…. yet again !
You want what is ‘best for the country’.. that is your only argument and you repeat it with such boring regularity.
Well I have news for you in case you hadn’t caught up, 17.4 million voted for what was ‘best for the country’, they voted leave, not partly leave or partly remain .. it was ‘leave’. Ordinary people with their feet on the ground, ordinary people knowing what was best for their communities, localism is what i call it, the EU being the complete unaccountable opposite. The more local power and accountability is held is the more democratic a society is. people see this.
You lost because the majority knew what was best for the country, you being in a minority should accept you hold a minority viewpoint.
As for Farage being a teat sucker, you show your ignorance for all to see.. how delightful !
The man gave up an extremely lucrative business in metals to go into politics because he couldn’t stomach the EEC.
Since when did taking a huge pay drop and then being vilified by the media to a stage where he has to carry security around wherever he goes make him any kind of teat sucker ?

Get real.

Jerry Owen

11th September 2019 at 10:35 am

John Millson
Further to my last post I note with some interest you do did not engage with any of my points about WTO trade etc or refute them.. how interesting !

Jim Lawrie

11th September 2019 at 10:47 am

The engineers of the German car industry knew the futility and impossibility of the green utopia they were being commanded to magic into existence, so they devised an exhaust and sensor system to fool them. They were caught, but the point was made.

The Greens have moved onto the environmentally disastrous electric cars. Dyson came a cropper there when he paid $90m for a battery pack that was flat.

John Millson

11th September 2019 at 11:20 am

Jerry Owen,
‘… they voted leave, not partly leave or partly remain .. it was ‘’leave’’ ‘. This is tiresome but it’s useful at the same time. If there had been no Article 50 negotiating period needed and a *Brexiteer* PM had got a withdrawal agreement, including a 20 month ‘transition’ period, much like Theresa May’s, within 6 months of the referendum, I am guessing this would be acceptable? If it’s ‘no’ then we are on different planets.

Jerry Owen

11th September 2019 at 12:11 pm

John Millson
Clearly you weren’t aware of the ramifications of article 50 .. just as well the grown ups won the referendum eh !

A Game

12th September 2019 at 6:15 am

Jerry’s showing that Lionheart!
I like the Little Englander jab. Ironic that Leavers are accused of being Empire loving Little Britons, but your description sums it up nicely. Remainers look to Europe thinking its a sign of cosmopolitan pizzazz, but its actually self hating mousiness.

Jim Lawrie

11th September 2019 at 10:30 am

” for the good of the country “. Patriotism, the last refuge of the scoundrel.

The 52% voted against the best interests of the country? Knowingly? Wallowing in ignorance? We need you to put us right?

BTW, that quote from Boswell was on the eve of the American War of Independence. Those who opposed American secession did so ostensibly on the basis of King and country, but really it was because they saw their own little import/export trade concessions about to disappear. America, a small economic unit with many predatory enemies and no manufacturing base, then set about governing itself and negotiating its own trade deals. And everyone agreed they had no chance.

Jerry Owen

11th September 2019 at 10:39 am

Jim Lawrie
John Millson is typical of the arrogance of remainers that have no valid arguments for the EU hence they lost the argument and the referendum.
He sounds like a parrot .. ‘for the good of the country.. for the good of the country’.

John Millson

11th September 2019 at 11:40 am

Jim Lawrie,
(Samuel Johnson made the ‘patriot’ statement.)
I’ve never said ‘I love my country’. Guess that makes me ‘traitor’.
I never implied the 52% voted *against* their country in 2016. I am talking about the situation now; how we move forward as one country.

Jim Lawrie

11th September 2019 at 1:32 pm

“love”? “patriot”? “traitor”? – where do I mention these in my reply to you?

You are coming over all emotional. Now.

Stephen J

11th September 2019 at 7:36 am

Whilst I agree with the general thrust of your argument Brendan…


I don’t think that you have been entirely fair about the chief brexiter, Nigel Farage. He never gushes about Boris, he doesn’t trust Boris, and he certainly isn’t about to take the pressure off of these slippery tories. It has to be accepted though that Boris did show a little bit of courage when he removed the whip from some people who had become Tory MP’s, despite being socialists… Some even referenced their grandfather as eveidence of their relevance and importance.

L Strange

11th September 2019 at 12:57 am

Considering your job, if there’s a GE before Brexit, are you actually suggesting Leavers should vote for the Labour Party?

I’d be hoping for a Boris/Nigel arrangement where BXP stands and Tories don’t in Labour-Leave seats and Tories stand and BXP don’t in Tory-Leave areas. If Boris then stays PM there’ll be Nigel & Co. keeping his feet to the fire.

Until we get a GE, there’s sod-all we can do, whatever happens.

Mike Ellwood

12th September 2019 at 2:03 am

Downing Street has said there will be no pact with the Brexit party.

Boris and Dominic Cummings have no time for Farage. I think they could be making a mistake, mind.

A Game

12th September 2019 at 6:22 am

L Strange:
It makes perfect sense and at least BP MPs in a coalition government can be relied on to hold the line for any Brexit votes. Those shaky Tories… their little hearts broken at some really selfish fwits being booted… nauseating.
Benyon’s take, having looked into the eyes of business people… that was compelling enough to overturn a referendum. They are losers. Those Brexit Party politicians are the bomb.
Ellwood, Mike:
Surely not. Or was this a month ago? Times have changed since then… Its the instability of the Tory MPs that dictate a pact is needed. On their track record, you wouldn’t rely on them to water a plant, let alone follow you into Agincourt.

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