Thursday, 23 September 2021

MP won’t comment on Brexit resignations

MP John Howell

HENLEY MP John Howell has refused to comment on his predecessor’s resignation from the Cabinet.

Boris Johnson, who was Henley’s MP from 2001 until he became Mayor of London in 2008, stepped down as Foreign Secretary on Monday citing concerns over Theresa May’s proposed Brexit deal.

His departure came less than 24 hours after Brexit minister David Davis had quit. Davis’s under-secretary Steve Baker has also resigned as have two party vice-chairs.

Andrew Bridgen, MP for North-West Leicestershire, has called for a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister.

At a summit at Chequers on Friday, Mrs May won Cabinet approval for her proposal for the UK to trade independently while maximising access to European markets through a free trade area bound by common rules.

In his resignation letter, Mr Johnson claimed the deal would mean Britain was “headed for the status of colony” and might end up effectively paying for access to the single market. He also said he feared the deal might jeopardise the end of free movement between British and EU borders.

Mr Howell wouldn’t comment on the resignations and said it was too soon to comment on the Prime Minister’s proposals as the full details were due to be outlined in a White Paper, which was due to be published yesterday (Thursday).

He said: “The document will be about 100 pages long and will take time to read and thoroughly assess.

“The fuss that we’ve seen in the national press over this has been based on no actual knowledge of what is being proposed and, I have to say, a rather mendacious attitude towards the whole project.”

Mr Davis has been replaced by former health secretary Jeremy Hunt while Mr Johnson’s successor is Dominic Raab, formerly minister for housing and planning.

Mr Howell said: “I think they are both very good candidates for the roles and it will be a pleasure to work with them.”

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