Boris Johnson warns Remainers that stopping Brexit would be a disastrous 'betrayal'

Dan Kitwood / GettyBoris Johnson
  • Boris Johnson accuses anti-Brexit supporters of making a “disastrous mistake”.
  • The Foreign Secretary will warn those trying to stop Brexit of a “betrayal” of the referendum vote.
  • He will say Remainers are becoming “ever more determined” to stop Brexit
  • However, Johnson will say that “many” Remain supporters have “noble” aims.

LONDON – Boris Johnson will today warn campaigners against Brexit, that they are making a “disastrous mistake” that would lead to “permanent and ineradicable feelings of betrayal” among those who voted to leave the EU.

In a major speech later today, Johnson will accuse politicians, such as the Conservative MP Anna Soubry, of attempting to “frustrate” Brexit.

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

“I believe that would be a disastrous mistake that would lead to permanent and ineradicable feelings of betrayal. We cannot and will not let it happen.”

Johnson is expected use his speech to seek to disprove the “anxieties” of Remain supporters about Brexit.

“If we are to carry this project through to national success – as we must – then we must also reach out to those who still have anxieties,” he will say.

“I want to try today to anatomise at least some of those fears and to show to the best of my ability that they are unfounded, and that the very opposite is usually true: that Brexit is not grounds for fear but hope.”

However, in a partial attempt to reach out to Remain supporters, the Foreign Secretary will concede that “many” Remainers are motivated by “noble sentiments”.

“It is not good enough to say to Remainers – you lost, get over it; because we must accept that many are actuated by entirely noble sentiments, a real sense of solidarity with our European neighbours and a desire for the UK to succeed,” he will say.

Johnson is also expected to call on May to implement stricter immigration rules after Brexit.

Writing in the Sun in advance of his speech Johnson claims that EU membership had led to the wages of “indigenous” British people to be suppressed.

“We also need to ask ourselves some hard questions about the impact of 20 years of uncontrolled immigration by low-skilled, low-wage workers – and what many see as the consequent suppression of wages and failure to invest properly in the skills of indigenous young people,” he writes.

Johnson’s comments were described by anti-Brexit campaigners as “hypocrisy of the highest order.”

“He has so far failed to explain why he is campaigning in Cabinet to take the U.K. out of the customs union when there is no other solution to the Irish border issue and it will jeopardize the Good Friday Agreement settlement,” Labour MP and Open Britain campaigner Chuka Umunna said.

“He has failed to explain why the Government has failed to start negotiating new trade deals when the campaign he led promised we would do so immediately after the Leave vote.”

“Boris Johnson needs to come clean and concede that we cannot have our cake and eat it when leaving the EU. His speech is on Valentine’s Day, not April Fool’s Day.”

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