Boris Johnson's Brexit valentine offering rejected by Remainers

Boris Johnson's Brexit valentine offering rejected by Remainers

Boris Johnson is to attempt to reassure voters who are angry and alienated by Brexit that the UK's split from the European Union is a cause for "hope not fear".

In an attempt to connect with citizens who chose to stay in the EU, the foreign secretary is to assure during a speech that their trust in European unity has come from "noble sentiments".

"It is not good enough to say "you lost, get over it", he will say.

Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson attends a news conference in Brussels, Belgium January 11, 2018.

"I fear that some people are becoming ever more determined to stop Brexit, to reverse the referendum vote of 23 June 2016 and to frustrate the will of the people", he will say.

He will add: "I believe that would be a disastrous mistake that would lead to permanent and ineradicable feelings of betrayal. We can not and will not let it happen", Johnson said.

He said the project's success "will depend on what we make of it" - and said it would be "absurd" if Britain left the bloc only to align itself with all its rules in future, without having any say in them.


In an attempt to build bridges with the 48 per cent of the country who voted to remain in Europe, he will recognise their fears about Brexit.

He is also expected to dismiss the fears of Remainers as "unfounded" and claim that it would be a "disastrous mistake" for Britain to remain in the EU.

Extracts of Mr Johnson's speech were also met with a lukewarm response from Thorbjörn Sohlström, the Swedish Ambassador to the United Kingdom, who warned that the Government's Brexit red lines were "not so easy to marry with friction-free trade". Remainers are not wooed, however, and the foreign secretary has been accused of hypocrisy.

Ministers are under pressure to spell out how they can square their desire for frictionless trade after Brexit with the UK's exit from the single market and customs union, which EU officials say will create trade barriers.

Johnson set out his arguments for why Brexit could be seen as a liberal endeavour in a recent Guardian interview in which he claimed that the European Union was first and foremost a political project rather than being concerned with abandoning trade barriers.

The Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan, a founding member of Vote Leave, however, said Mr Johnson was aiming his speech at those who felt "alienated and angry" about the referendum result.

Yvette Cooper, the senior Labour MP and chair of the Home Affairs Committee in Westminster, said: "The problem with that is, from the point of view of a committee chair, we've got this speech being made which doesn't seem to set out any detail".

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