Boris Johnson has used his Telegraph newspaper column to blast the prime minister’s “chicken” government and appealed to her to “channel the spirit of Moses” and tell Brussels to “let my people go”.
“We are not leaving this Friday because the government has chickened out. For almost three years every Tory MP has chirruped the mantra that no deal would be better than a bad deal,” he wrote.
“I believed that the government was sincere in making that claim, and I believed that the PM genuinely had the 29th of March inscribed in her heart.
“I am afraid I misread the government. We have blinked. We have baulked. We have bottled it completely.”
Taking aim at May’s widely condemned shot at MPs last week, in which she accused them of blocking Brexit, he labelled the move “shameful and inaccurate”.
But it was the point on which he concluded which caught most people’s attention.
“Extend the implementation period to the end of 2021 if necessary; use it to negotiate a free trade deal; pay the fee; but come out of the EU now – without the backstop.
“It is time for the PM to channel the spirit of Moses in Exodus, and say to Pharaoh in Brussels – LET MY PEOPLE GO.”
A lot of people were confused by the biblical comparisons, which have crept their way into Brexit parlance fairly regularly, with the likes of European Council president Donald Tusk recently claiming there is a “special place in hell” for Brexiteers without a plan.
Jonathan Bergdahl wrote on Twitter: “If the PM channeled the spirit of Moses in Exodus, the United Kingdom would see more than just the decentralisation of power I can assure you.
“Biblical Brexit analogies are at best misguided (Moses, divorce etc) and at worst deeply offensive (hell etc).”
We’re obviously on the way with, if not the Nile, lines turning red; and something like the plague of frogs – ‘meaningful votes’ croaking. #Brexodus does indeed already feel like wandering around aimlessly for decades. And in the original yarn, Moses eventually got replaced. https://t.co/SZfTTeW3Bq— Richard Dixon (@Linguagroover) March 25, 2019
Claire McGing wrote: “Does Boris know how the story ends for Moses? A 40 year wander in the desert, never reaching the Promised Land, seems apt for the Tory Party if they leave with #nodeal.”
The Times columnist Hugo Rifkind tweeted: “If the EU is Pharoah and Theresa May is Moses then this means we now all have to spend 40 years in a desert living off scavenged bread before we reach the promised land and I for one am not keen.”
If no-deal warnings, reports of stockpiling and empty supermarket shelves are anything to go by, he may have a point.
Eventually Boris Johnson must run out of inappropriate & inapplicable pseudo-intellectual metaphors to apply, surely? Moses?!— Cen (@CenLD) March 25, 2019
Just a vacuous, crass individual trying to make himself sound clever - like Mogg & his latin nonsense.
Do they really believe we can't see through them?
I think he's appealling to a very specific section of society. Not me because I don't care for Churchill or Moses. I'm from a comprehensive school, I don't go to church, I voted remain, never vote Tory, hate all this Brexit malarkey, don't read the newspapers, can't stand Boris.— The Dominic Grieve Amendment (@wyt3fr0g) March 25, 2019
Wasn’t Boris the one responsible for the ‘Titanic Success’ comment? With that & now Moses (40 years in the wilderness) is it possible that this is a whole elaborate laugh at the electorate? Do it in plain sight, TELL them what I am doing, & still get away with it, for the LOLS?— Sarah Jenkins #FBPE (@saljenkin) March 25, 2019
Also, and perhaps the most important point: Moses didn’t exclaim to the hardhearted Pharoah “let my people go” on a whim. It was God who told Moses to say it, as the book of Exodus says.
(Which I guess might mean Boris sees himself as...you know what? Never mind).
a) This is the stupidest, most self-aggrandising piece of bluster that I’ve ever refused to pay to read.— Caroline Dodds Pennock (@carolinepennock) March 25, 2019
b) It was God who said ‘let my people go’, not Moses.
c) Has Boris Johnson forgotten that this was followed by 40 years in the wilderness? https://t.co/gr3de4Ekux
It comes as May held “lengthy” crisis talks with prominent Brexiteer backbenchers including Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg and David Davis at her country residence Chequers on Sunday.
The group discussed whether there is sufficient support among MPs for another vote on her deal.
Elsewhere, Foreign Office Minister Mark Field said he would support revoking Article 50 if it became an option in the event May’s beleaguered deal was defeated and free votes were granted.
But May insists that her deal is the best way to ensure an orderly exit from the EU.
And in a(nother) crunch week for Brexit, in which the PM could announce that she is bringing back her deal for a third vote, May is fighting to grip onto power as calls for her to step down grow louder.