Boris Johnson challenges Jeremy Corbyn to ‘come clean’ on Brexit

Boris Johnson has challenged Jeremy Corbyn to “come clean” about where he stands on Brexit as he accused the Labour leader of wanting to “go back to square one”.

In a letter to Mr Corbyn, the Prime Minister said voters deserve to have a “clear picture” of what each potential leader will do when it comes to leaving the European Union.

Mr Johnson said Mr Corbyn has “sought to avoid explaining” what his plan is and has instead “spent considerable time and energy seeking to undermine the negotiations”.

The letter, sent to Mr Corbyn on Monday night, includes five questions which Mr Johnson says he and the voting public await answers to, and comes ahead of a speech from Mr Corbyn on Tuesday in which he is expected to set out his Brexit plan.

The PM wrote: “Your current position seems to be that you want to go back to square one.

“You want to throw out the great new deal we have reached with our European friends, and instead negotiate a whole new treaty from scratch.

“Even assuming the EU agrees to go back to the very beginning, this will take months and possibly years to do – under your proposals, 2020 will be lost to more dither and delay over Brexit.

“Voters also have the right to know: what would your supposed Brexit ‘deal’ actually take back control of?

“For months you have refused to say what sort of ‘deal’ you want with the EU.

“Now the time has come for you to come clean, and explain what your plan really is so when the public vote on December 12th, they know what they are voting for.”

A Labour Party spokesman said: “Jeremy Corbyn has repeatedly laid out Labour’s clear and straightforward policy of getting Brexit sorted by giving the people the final say within six months and will do so again tomorrow in a major speech.”

The Prime Minister asked Mr Corbyn if he believes the result of the 2016 referendum should be respected and the UK should leave the EU.

He asked if it is the Labour Party’s policy to keep the UK in the customs union and would the party end free movement in any deal it negotiates.

Mr Johnson asked Mr Corbyn if he would commit to campaigning on his deal in a second referendum and questions him on what his supposed timetable is to renegotiate a new deal and then hold a second referendum.

General election timetable
(PA Graphics)

He asked him how much taxpayers’ money he will spend on holding a second referendum in 2020 and if this would comply with Electoral Commission guidance on holding referendums.

On the possibility of revoking Article 50, he wrote: “You rightly claim (for now at least) that the Liberal Democrat and SNP plan to revoke Article 50 is extreme – but if there is a hung Parliament you will depend on their votes. Will you confirm that, if there is a hung Parliament, you would never be willing to revoke Article 50?”

In his letter, Mr Johnson said: “It is already clear that your plan will result in years’ more expensive delay and will prolong the divisions in our society.

“If politicians force the public to vote again because they don’t like the result of an election, we will destroy all faith in our democratic process.

“Instead, we must show the British people that politicians can be trusted to honour their vote and get Brexit done immediately.”

The Labour Party has already been accused of being unclear regarding their stance on Brexit, but shadow chancellor John McDonnell has said the democratic way is to “let the people decide”.

Mr Corbyn has pledged to “get Brexit sorted” in six months, vowing to broker a new deal with Brussels and to put it to the people in a referendum.

Meanwhile, Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson has said her party will launch legal action if ITV does not include her in its televised leaders’ debate.

The party has already complained to ITV about Ms Swinson’s exclusion from an election debate between Mr Johnson and Mr Corbyn.

Shortly after Ms Swinson announced her plan to pursue legal avenues, it emerged that Sky News is proposing a live TV debate between Mr Johnson, Mr Corbyn and Ms Swinson on Thursday November 28.

Elsewhere, the Eastern Daily Press reported that Sir Henry Bellingham is the latest MP to stand down at the General Election.

The newspaper said that in a letter to the North West Norfolk Conservative Association, he wrote: “This really has been an agonising decision for me and the family, but I am quite convinced it is the right one.”