Boris Johnson attacks May’s “undemocratic” Chequers proposal in conference speech




Boris Johnson addressed a 1,500-strong crowd at the annual Conservative party conference in Birmingham on Tuesday, where he delivered a speech which widely criticised Theresa May’s Chequers Brexit proposal.

The ex-foreign secretary was speaking on the second day of the conference at a fringe event, where he continued to lay criticisms on the current state of his party, as well as the current state of Brexit negotiations, after already launching several public attacks on the prime minister’s Brexit plans via his column in the Daily Telegraph.

“If we get it wrong, if we bottle Brexit now, believe me, the people of this country will find it hard to forgive,” he told attendees, adding “If we get it wrong, if we proceed with this undemocratic solution, if we remain half in, half out, we will protract this toxic tedious business that is frankly so offputting to sensible middle-of-the-road people who want us to get on with their priorities.”

After roundly criticising May’s Chequers proposal, Johnson then told the crowds that the PM should now be reverting back to her plans original laid out in her Lancaster House speech, adding that the plan could be a “win-win” for both Britain and the European Union.

The ex-foreign secretary even went as far as implying that under the current proposal, the prime minister would be at risk of breaking a 14th-century law which states that “no foreign court or government shall have jurisdiction in this country”.

Politics update: Boris tears down Chequers, DUP threatens to pull the plug on May

Overall, Johnson’s speech veered from scathing criticisms of the PM’s Brexit strategy and thinly-veiled shots at her leadership, to warnings of the future of Britain under control of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party.

On the first day of the party conference on Monday, Scottish Conservative party leader Ruth Davidson urged her fellow party members to rally behind the prime minister, telling the crowds that May had a “practical, pragmatic and utterly Conservative approach” to Brexit.

The previous week, Boris Johnson had used his column in the Daily Telegraph to call May’s Chequers proposal a “collapse of will by the British establishment, to deliver on the mandate of the people.”

Johnson’s opposition to Theresa May’s Chequers proposal led to his resignation in July, the same day as former Brexit secretary David Davis. Since then he has launched thinly-veiled attacks on the proposal.

See Johnson’s full speech below…

Like what you’re reading? Leave us your email and get the Politics Update sent straight to your inbox, every weekday.


Share this


Daniel Cody

Daniel Cody is SEO Editor at the New Statesman, and the creator of No Majesty. He is the host of the podcast Britain on the Rocks.