Image: By FCO (CC-BY-2.0)
Just as stories emerge that Theresa May is about to make further Brexit concessions to the EU, up steps Boris Johnson to deliver a powerful 'Chuck Chequers' speech.
PLEASE WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW
A report in The Times has suggested that Theresa May is attempting to break the Brexit negotiating dead-lock by offering to restrict the UK's ability to strike trade deals after it has exited from the EU.
Something that the Chair of the Tory Eurosceptic European Research Group, Jacob Rees-Mogg, said would be an 'utter disgrace'. And he went on to say that extending the UK's involvement in the customs union beyond the 21 month transition phase, which ends at the end of 2020, would be "the most serious breach of trust between the Government and the governed I can imagine".
I have to ask how much longer can Rees-Mogg keep on supporting the prime Minister?
But today the former Foreign Secretary and committed Brexiteer, Boris Johnson, set out his vision of a post-Brexit UK that was as far removed from the PM's now evermore EU converging Chequers proposals as you could imagine. Well, apart from leaving on WTO terms of course.
Speaking at a fringe event organised by Conservative Home at the Tory Party Conference, he pointed to the constitutional dangers of Chequers and set out where we should be going as a nation.
Boris received an enthusiastic applause as he entered the stage and started off in good form by congratulating the Chancellor on getting one treasury forecast right – that Boris would never be PM, which Boris seemed to agree with, to a point. "It has the distinct ring of truth" he said.
Then down to business where he said that he saw it as his job to put the lead into the collective pencil and stop the seeping away of our self belief.
Then referring to the Labour party conference last week he said:
"Surely to goodness we can take on this Tony Benn tribute act and wallop it for six!"
He also pushed for more house building to give young people the chance to buy their own property. And he also said that good councils should be given the freedom to build houses.
And of course we've got to cut taxes, he said.
On Brexit he called Chequers a cheat and he also illustrated how EU-Centric we had become, by saying that he was the first UK Foreign Secretary to visit Peru for 52 years. And it had been 25 years since one had gone to Chile or Argentina he said.
And pointing to what we are already doing in these places he said just think what we could do with proper free trade deals. And that is why it is so sad, he said, that we are preparing to make it difficult, if not impossible to do such deals through the Chequers deal.
And he got a big applause for saying that the authors of Chequers risk prosecution under the 14th Century statute of 'praemunire', which prohibited foreign jurisdiction over the supremacy of the monarch in England.
Two big messages he had though, was firstly that there are those who think we can just bodge a Brexit now and then sort it out later, something that he said was dangerous and foolhardy as we would find ourselves locked in potentially forever. And secondly, he said don't be fooled into thinking Brussels won't take Chequers.
"It's a constitutional outrage," he said "It's not taking back control it's forfeiting control. And by the way, they know it in Brussels. Don't be fooled by the suggestion that the EU will ultimately reject these proposals.
"Because, what they want above all is to demonstrate to any other country that might dream of following suit, that you cannot leave the EU without suffering adverse political and economic consequences.
"And what the Chequers proposals shows, is that the United Kingdom for all its power and might and network of influences around the world. For all its venerable parliamentary history, was unable ultimately take back control.
"And instead of reasserting our ability to make our laws, the UK will be effectively paraded in manacles down the Rue de la Loi like Caractacus."
The Rue de la Loi is a principal road running through central and eastern Brussels and is home to many prominent EU buildings, while Caractacus is a first century British chieftain who resisted the Roman Empire, but was captured and taken off to Rome.
A powerfully humiliating vision for any true patriot and Brexiteer. And another Tory MP where you have have to wonder how much longer his support for this PM will last.
But this speech did not boost his chances of taking over as Tory leader, according to the bookies. Straight after the speech William Hill widened the odds from 7/2 yesterday to 4/1 this afternoon.
“Johnson remains the favourite to replace Theresa May but his speech at the Conference did not have quite the desired effect as we have pushed his odds of being the next Tory Party leader.” Said William Hill spokesman Joe Crilly.
“In fact the big winner in Birmingham appears to be Jeremy Hunt who’s odds of being the next leader have tumbled from 10/1 to 6/1.”
And Betway also moved Jeremy Hunt up the rankings and put it down to his hard stance on the EU and calling it the new USSR.
Betway’s Alan Alger said: "Jeremy Hunt's powerful responses to the EU in the wake of the Salzburg summit and his performance in recent press engagements have seen him gather much support with punters to be the next Tory leader."
And he went on to say that Hunt could well become the clear favourite to replace Theresa May before too long.
Finally, we now have calls for another statue of a historic figure to be removed.
The Telegraph reports that:
"Jeremy Crick, a social historian from Staffordshire, compared Cromwell- who led the Parliamentary forces against the King in the English Civil War – to the Taliban in Afghanistan for his anti-religious zeal and said there should be no place for him outside the Palace of Westminster."
Won't be long before we don't have any history at all on show for 'social historians' to talk about, will it?
So, please let us all know what you think by leaving a comment below.
Thank you for watching.