You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Boris Johnson's resignation letter: Brexit 'dream is dying'

Sky News logo Sky News 09/07/2018
Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson (L), Britain's Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union (Brexit Minister) David Davis (C) and Britain's Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson leave 10 Downing Street in central London after attending the weekly cabinet meeting on July 3, 2018. (Photo by Tolga AKMEN / AFP)        (Photo credit should read TOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty Images) © Getty Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson (L), Britain's Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union (Brexit Minister) David Davis (C) and Britain's Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson leave 10 Downing Street in central London after attending the weekly cabinet meeting on July 3, 2018. (Photo by Tolga AKMEN / AFP) (Photo credit should read TOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty Images)

The former foreign secretary told Theresa May in his resignation letter that the Brexit "dream is dying", with the prime minister replying that she is "a little surprised" by his decision to step down. 

Theresa May has written to Boris Johnson to tell him she was "sorry" to receive his letter "after the productive discussions we had at Chequers".

LIVE updates: May meets new Cabinet after shock resignations (Evening Standard)

The prime minister held crunch talks at her Buckinghamshire retreat on Friday, where ministers agreed on a new UK-EU trade area and to step up preparations for a "no deal" Brexit.

But Boris Johnson has since resigned in opposition to plans to keep close ties with the European Union after the UK leaves the bloc.

In his resignation letter addressed to Mrs May on Monday, he wrote: "Brexit should be about opportunity and hope.

LONDON, ENGLAND - June 26: Boris Johnson, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs arriving with David Davis Brexit Sec (R) at the weekly Cabinet meeting in Downing Street on June 26 London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Steve Back/Getty Images) © Getty LONDON, ENGLAND - June 26: Boris Johnson, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs arriving with David Davis Brexit Sec (R) at the weekly Cabinet meeting in Downing Street on June 26 London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Steve Back/Getty Images) "It should be a chance to do things differently. "To be more nimble and dynamic and to maximise the particular advantages of the UK as an open, outward-looking, global economy.

"That dream is dying, suffocated by needless self-doubt." The prime minister is potentially facing a leadership challenge after the departure of Mr Johnson and the former Brexit secretary David Davis.

Mrs May, who has vowed to fight any attempts to unseat her, defended her plans in her letter of response to the former foreign secretary.

Boris Johnson's resignation letter - page one © Sky News Boris Johnson's resignation letter - page one She wrote: "It is a proposal which will honour the result of the referendum and the commitments we made in our general election manifesto to leave the single market and customs union.

"It will mean that we take back control of our borders, our laws, and our money - ending the freedom of movement, ending the juridisction of the European Court of Justice in the United Kingdom, and ending the days of sending vast sums of taxpayers money to the European Union."

Mr Johnson claimed that the UK has ended up postponing "crucial decisions" such as preparing for a no-deal Brexit.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May emerges from 10 Downing Street in Westminster, London, Britain, July 9, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson © Reuters Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May emerges from 10 Downing Street in Westminster, London, Britain, July 9, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson He warned that, as a result, the country risks heading for a "semi-Brexit" which will leave chunks of the UK economy locked within the trading bloc - without the country having any control.

And he said that the UK's inability to influence laws as they are made means "we are truly headed for the status of colony".

Mr Johnson went on: "It is clear that by surrendering control over our rulebook for goods and agrifoods (and much else besides) we will make it much more difficult to do free trade deals."

Suggesting the prime minister has little ambition to get EU negotiators to consider UK proposals, he said: "It is as though we are sending our vanguard into battle with the white flags fluttering above them."

Boris Johnson's resignation letter - page two © Sky News Boris Johnson's resignation letter - page two

Mrs May told Mr Johnson in her letter that it is "right you should step down", having earlier written: "As we have developed our policy on Brexit, I have allowed cabinet colleagues considerable latitude to express their individual views. "But the agreement we reached on Friday marks the point where that is no longer the case." Mr Johnson is the third person to resign in less than 24 hours, starting with Brexit secretary David Davis, who said he quit because he could not implement a deal he did not believe in.

Brexit minister Steve Baker also resigned on Monday.

Sky's political correspondent Lewis Goodall said Mr Johnson's letter "makes Davis' look like a love letter", describing the remarks as a "declaration of war".


AdChoices
AdChoices

More from Sky News

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon