UK Foreign Secretary to highlight Brexit as cause for 'hope not fear'

BBC•GETTYBrexit news John Redwood trashes project fear post Brexit economic predictions

Umunna said: "Boris Johnson is totally unqualified to preach about the perils of fear and betrayal when he engaged in disgraceful scaremongering with his ridiculous assertion that Turkey was on the verge of joining the European Union and he has already betrayed millions of people by going back on his pledge to secure £350m extra per week for the NHS".

Emphasizing the benefits of leaving the EU, Johnson repeated a highly contested claim from the referendum campaign that Britain could use some funds now sent to Brussels to pay for its state-run health service.

But business leaders said Johnson's speech failed to spell out Britain's future relationship with the 27 other members of the European Union, which is by far its biggest trade partner.

While speaking at Policy Exchange in Westminster today, the the pro-Leave foreign secretary warned that any attempts to stop Brexit now or holding another referendum would be a "disastrous mistake and a betrayal". "We can not and will not let that happen".

British foreign minister Boris Johnson showed little sign of softening his tough stance on Brexit in a speech on Wednesday that was meant to soothe the concerns among pro-European Union voters about the economic impact leaving the bloc.

"This speech wasn't about the most important issue facing our country right now, this was about Boris' ambitions to become the next prime minister, and it probably wasn't much help on that front either". "I say in candour, if there was another vote, it'd be another year of turmoil and wrangling in which the country would be the loser", he said.

Writing in the Sun in advance of his speech Johnson claimed that European Union membership had led to the wages of "indigenous" British people to being suppressed.

"We need a Brexit that protects jobs and guarantees workers' rights".

"It is not some great "V sign" from the Cliffs of Dover".

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However, the prospect of a "Hard Brexit", a high degree of regulatory divergence from Brussels, and a new trade deal with the USA will fuel concerns that the government could in future seek to water down environmental standards. To some, the six seconds of muted applause he received added to the sense that members of Prime Minister Theresa May's government have still failed to agree among themselves on exactly what they want out of protracted negotiations with the EU, Britain's largest trading partner.

Pro-EU Tory MP Anna Soubry also accused him of having "broken collective responsibility".

Political commentators, who tend to have followers in the hundreds of thousands, led the conversation and were the most negative audience for Mr Johnson's speech with comments that attracted high levels of social engagement (retweets / likes).

Soubry claimed Johnson and other Brexiteers were "not proper Conservatives" in an interview with BBC Newsnight last week.

He's clearly stung by the criticism of his role campaigning to leave the European Union and spent time defending himself and insisting Brexit must not be seen as "a plague of boils".

He added: "The scaremongering, mistruths, lack of detail and utter disregard for the economic realities of Brexit were an alarming throwback to the referendum campaign".

By leaving the customs union, the United Kingdom has said it will have freedom to negotiate trade deals of its own during the transition period, while reducing tariffs on imports from developing countries.

Labour MP Yvette Cooper described the foreign secretary's speech as "waffly, bumbling, empty" in a tweet posted shortly afterwards.

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