LONDON: Foreign minister Boris Johnson will appeal on Wednesday to those who he says are seeking to reverse the result of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, saying Brexit “is not grounds for fear but hope”.
In the first of several speeches by government ministers that Prime Minister Theresa May hopes will set out a “road to Brexit”, Johnson will try to unite a divided nation by urging Britons to rally around a vision for a better future outside the EU.
Johnson, a prominent Brexit campaigner, and the rest of May’s team are under pressure from EU supporters who want Britain to keep the closest possible ties with the bloc, including remaining a member of the customs union. Brexit supporters say this would curb Britain’s power to negotiate free trade agreements with other countries.
“I fear that some people are becoming ever more determined to stop Brexit… I believe that would be a disastrous mistake that would lead to permanent and ineradicable feelings of betrayal,” Johnson will say, according to excerpts of his speech.
“I want to try today to anatomise at least some of those fears and to show to the best of my ability that they are unfounded, and that the very opposite is usually true: that Brexit is not grounds for fear but hope.”
The speech in London is being billed by aides as a chance for Johnson, who is credited with persuading many Britons to vote to leave the bloc, to show a path for “an outward-facing, liberal, and global Britain following our exit from the EU”.