- Chris J Ratcliffe / Getty
- Boris Johnson believes that Theresa May will cave in to demands for a soft Brexit.
- He reportedly told friends the UK would be “better off staying in” than accept this.
- Boris is due to make a major speech calling for a “liberal Brexit.”
- Johnson’s comments follow Nigel Farage’s call for a second Brexit referendum.
LONDON – The foreign secretary has reportedly told friends that he would rather stay in the EU than accept a soft Brexit.
According to The Sun, Boris Johnson told allies that any Brexit result which left Britain outside of the EU, but still closely aligned to it, would be a “total waste of time,” adding that “I’d rather us stay in than leave like that.”
A separate report by Politico on Monday confirms this, stating that Johnson told allies that calls for Britain to remain closely aligned to EU rules and regulations after Brexit were “mad,” adding that: “You’d be better off staying in.”
He reportedly told friends that he believes Theresa May would be “worn down” by civil servants and persuaded to accept a bad Brexit deal that would leave Britain in a similar relationship to the EU as Norway.
Friends of Johnson have previously told Business Insider that the foreign secretary never had any intention of leaving the EU, but joined the Leave campaign purely out of his ambition to win the Conservative leadership.
Norway is not a member of the EU but retains full access to the Single Market in exchange for accepting freedom of movement and other EU rules and regulations.
The foreign secretary is due to make a speech in the coming weeks arguing for a “liberal Brexit” freed from ties to the EU.
Johnson’s comments follow those made by his fellow Leave campaigner Nigel Farage, who told the Observer newspaper at the weekend that Brexiteers were losing the argument on Brexit due to Remain campaigners “making all the running.”
A cross-party group of Remain-supporting MPs, including Labour’s Chuka Umunna and Conservative MP Anna Soubry, will today meet with chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier.
Farage also told LBC last week that he was moving towards backing calls for a second Brexit referendum.
“My mind is changing on this,” he told Channel 5 show “The Wright Stuff.”
“What is certain is the Cleggs, the Blairs, the Adonises, will never, ever, ever give up. They will go on whinging and whining and moaning throughout this process.
“So just maybe I am reaching the point of thinking we should have a second referendum on EU membership.”