Johnson: We will stop talking about Brexit after January

By PA Political Staff

The Prime Minister has suggested that Brexit will no longer be talked about after January by which time he says the UK will have left the European Union.

Boris Johnson also denied that Conservative candidates were forced to sign up to his deal, describing the suggestion as “totally unfair”.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has previously said Mr Johnson’s promise to “get Brexit done” is a “fraud on the British people”, adding that Mr Johnson’s deal is “just the beginning of years” of negotiations.

Mr Johnson, asked on ITV’s Peston if everybody will stop talking about Brexit after the end of January, said: “Yes, and now let me say something.

“We will have got Brexit done and you will find that it moves, because what will happen is that the parliamentary agony will be over, and the political agony will be over, and the misery and tedium and procrastination that’s been going on will be over.”

It was suggested to Mr Johnson that he could not achieve Brexit within a year, and it was pointed out to him how long it took to negotiate Theresa May’s deal and a Canadian free trade deal.

The Prime Minister told Peston: “Have you ever known, have you ever known two countries start free trade negotiations or start negotiations on a new deal when they were already, already in perfect alignment in regulatory terms and had zero tariffs and zero quotas between them? That’s where we are.”

On the suggestion that Tory candidates were forced to sign up to his deal, Mr Johnson said: “I have not forced them, that is totally unfair, there was absolutely no lobotomy…”

Pressed on whether he did not say they could not be candidates, he said: “No, not at all.”

Last month, Mr Johnson said that all Tory parliamentary candidates have vowed to vote for his Brexit deal if he wins a majority at the General Election.

In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph, the Prime Minister said this pledge means that voters can be “100%” certain that a Conservative government will “unblock” Parliament and deliver Brexit.

Commenting on his interview with Mr Johnson, Labour’s Barry Gardiner said to Peston: “Quite honestly, if I wanted to see two men shouting at each other without listening, I’d go down to the local pub.

“All he did was bully, hector, and ignore the questions that you put to him. And that is the nature of this man who’s putting himself forward to be elected as our prime minister.

“As a prime minister, what I want to see is somebody who’s prepared to take on the hard questions and actually try and give you a serious answer to them.

“He didn’t do that with you. He certainly didn’t do it with Marr on Sunday, and he’s refused to do it with Andrew Neil.

“The guy’s running scared of any genuine sort of scrutiny that we could give to him.”

Boris Johnson has faced criticism over his relationship with Donald Trump (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

On the Prime Minister being questioned about Brexit, Mr Gardiner said: “You challenged him, you challenged him on how he was going to get it done. He didn’t have an answer, he just kept on repeating the slogan.”

Meanwhile, Labour’s John McDonnell has accused Donald Trump of having a “passing relationship with reality and truth” but insisted Jeremy Corbyn would work with the US president.

The shadow chancellor said “all the evidence” points to the NHS being on the table during trade talks with the US despite Mr Trump’s denials.

Mr Johnson said the NHS was not discussed with the US president when the pair met for talks and he described claims about the NHS being used as a bargaining chip as “complete nonsense”.

An alleged plot to “sell off” the public health service to US corporations during a post-Brexit trade deal has been a key message of Labour’s election campaign.

Mr Trump insisted America wants “nothing to do with” the NHS, even if it was “handed to us on a silver platter”, as he arrived in London for the Nato summit.

But Mr McDonnell said on Wednesday that “all the evidence that we’ve seen has demonstrated objectively that it is”, despite the denials of Mr Trump and Mr Johnson.

US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Boris Johnson met at the Nato summit being held in the UK (Steve Parsons/PA)

Mr Johnson said the NHS was not discussed with Mr Trump when the pair met, and asked if they spoke about the NHS, he told broadcasters in Milton Keynes: “I think everybody by now has rumbled all that for the complete nonsense that it is and the answer is no.”

The Prime Minister did not address a question about footage which appeared to show him and other Nato leaders mocking Mr Trump.

A huddle which included the Prime Minister and the Princess Royal was filmed apparently gossiping about the US president’s unorthodox style on Tuesday night, although Mr Trump is not mentioned by name.

Meanwhile, a Savanta ComRes poll for the Daily Telegraph, published with a week to go until polling day, gives the Conservatives a 10-point lead over Labour.

The poll has the Tories on 42%, Labour on 32%, and the Lib Dems on 12%.

According to voting analysis website Electoral Calculus, if the parties were to achieve these vote shares, it would result in the Conservatives having a comfortable majority of 48.

Chris Hopkins, head of politics at Savanta ComRes, said: “There’s still a lot to play for – including the sharp increase in those who have told us in this poll they’re likely to vote for minor parties or independent candidates – but time is running out for the established parties to make their pitch to voters that a cross should be placed next to their name in one weeks’ time.”