Theresa May and Boris Johnson 'set for Brexit showdown' in NY

Aaron Brown
September 19, 2017

The article, which included points such as "Brexit will be a success", was widely seen as a challenge to May's leadership.

However, one of his most vocal critics was Home Secretary Amber Rudd, who accused him of "backseat driving".

Johnson argued against paying for continued access to Europe's single market - a possibility other ministers have left open.

But as tensions rose within Tory ranks Mr Gove went online to support the Foreign Secretary, tweeting: "In the debate on European Union contributions it's important people look at what Boris actually wrote in his Telegraph article, not headlines".

Sir David Norgrove said in a letter to Johnson that he was "surprised and disappointed" that the foreign secretary had revived the figure, which was misleading and represented a "clear misuse" of official statistics.

The article triggered anger among many MPs and there have been calls for his resignation.

Shortly after the article was published online, Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson tweeted: "On the day of a terror attack where Britons were maimed, just hours after the threat level is raised, our only thoughts should be on service".

Boris Johnson has received support from prominent Tory Leavers before showdown talks with Theresa May amid the fallout from his intervention in the Brexit debate.

May is expected to try to kick start Brexit negotiations in a speech on Friday by offering to pay the UK's existing commitments to the European Union, and by suggesting a transitional period.

That idea had been earlier rejected by May, and this time corrected by the head of the UK's statistics authority.

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Today, experts slammed his £350m claim, saying it was a "clear misuse" of numbers.

"I think she has a point - I had a very busy weekend dealing with what could have been a bad attack on our public transport", Ms Rudd told Andrew Marr.

But the Foreign Secretary's remarks are also "revealing about the state of opinion in the Conservative party".

May's deputy, Damian Green, also weighed in, saying that Johnson had written a "very exuberant" article but it was "absolutely clear to everyone that the driver of the vehicle in this instance is the prime minister".

But the intervention was interpreted by Number 10 advisers as an attempt by Mr Johnson to bind the Prime Minister's hands just a week before she delivers her own landmark speech on Brexit in Florence.

"I haven't got time for the rest of it", she said.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, the figurehead of last year's campaign to leave the European Union outlined what he called a "glorious" vision for the United Kingdom outside of the bloc, opening himself up to criticism he is undermining May's plan and possibly reviving his own leadership ambitions.

"To give you an example: when I was Mayor of London I thought it would be a good idea if we persuaded the Commission to spend £8m on the Emirates cable auto".

"Looking forward to PM's Florence speech".

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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