Brexit tensions roiled the British government for the second time in two days Friday after Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was quoted as saying compromises may bind the U.K. to the European Union for years to come.
In a recording obtained by BuzzFeed news, Johnson said Brexit opponents, particularly in the Treasury, are so afraid of short-term problems that they may sacrifice long-term benefits such as Britain's ability to negotiate international trade deals and develop its own regulations.
There is a real danger that Britain may sign an agreement that leaves it "locked in orbit around the EU, in the customs union and to a large extent still in the single market," Johnson said. "So not really having full freedom on our trade policy, our tariff schedules, and not having freedom with our regulatory framework either."
The comments were recorded during a speech Johnson delivered Wednesday to a small group of Conservative activists. Johnson also praised U.S. President Donald Trump and offered his views on nuclear talks with North Korea and May's leadership.
Johnson said that he had spoken with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about the situation in North Korea, and his American counterpart asked Britain to "use our nuclear expertise to dismantle Kim Jong Un's nuclear missile."
He also revealed that May intends to use this weekend's G7 meeting in Canada to propose a "rapid response unit to identify Russian malfeasance ... whether it's cyber warfare, assassinations, calling it out and identifying it."
The threat is caused by the aggressive policies of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Johnson said.
"Putin feels a deep sense of shame that he's leader of a country that has been so greatly reduced in its global importance," he said. "When I was a kid, Russia really mattered. It's now got an economy about the size of Australia."
But it was Johnson's remarks about Britain's negotiations with the EU that drew the most attention at home, a day after Prime Minister Theresa May offered an end date for any interim customs agreement to quiet opposition from hardline Brexit supporters.
The EU is playing hardball to discourage any of the remaining 27 member states from pondering their own departure, he said.
"I think Theresa is going to go into a phase where we are much more combative with Brussels," Johnson said. "You've got to face the fact there may now be a meltdown. OK? I don't want anybody to panic during the meltdown. No panic. ... It's going to be all right in the end."
The Foreign Office did not immediately comment on the recordings.
Michael Howard, a former Conservative Party leader, described the comments as part of the "spills and thrills" of the EU withdrawal negotiations.
"He's certainly right to say we shouldn't panic," Howard said. "I don't know about a meltdown. I'm not as close to the negotiations as Boris is."
Please click to read our informative text prepared pursuant to the Law on the Protection of Personal Data No. 6698 and to get information about the cookies used on our website in accordance with the relevant legislation.
6698 sayılı Kişisel Verilerin Korunması Kanunu uyarınca hazırlanmış aydınlatma metnimizi okumak ve sitemizde ilgili mevzuata uygun olarak kullanılan çerezlerle ilgili bilgi almak için lütfen tıklayınız.