Boris Johnson praises Theresa May over Brexit

  • 04/10/2017
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 03:  Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson delivers his keynote speech on day three of the annual Conservative Party conference on October 3, 2017 in Manchester, England. The Foreign Secretary gave his speech amid continued speculation of cabinet unrest and the leadership fragility of Theresa May.  (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
Photo credit: Getty

Prime Minister Theresa May will make a success of Brexit and the cabinet is united behind every syllable of her recent speech in Florence, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson says.

His comments come as Manfred Weber, the leader of the EU legislature's biggest party and a German ally of conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel, said British cabinet in-fighting was putting a Brexit deal at risk and called on May to sack Johnson.

Mr Johnson, who led the leave campaign in last year's EU referendum, had provoked the ire of cabinet colleagues by repeatedly attempting to portray himself as the champion of a genuinely "bold Brexit".

"Based on that Florence speech on whose every syllable, I can tell you the whole cabinet is united," Mr Johnson said.

"The whole country owes her a debt for her steadfastness in taking Britain forward as she will to a great Brexit deal."

The European Parliament savaged the British government's handling of Brexit negotiations on Tuesday, voting against opening talks yet on future trade and condemning disarray in May's team.

Some have criticised the European Union position as intransigent, but many others are critical of conflicting signals being given by Ms May, Mr Johnson and others on where negotiating "red lines" lie for Britain.

"Who shall I call in London? Theresa May, Boris Johnson, or even David Davis?" Mr Weber asked, describing Ms May's Conservative government as "trapped by their own party quarrels".

Guy Verhofstadt, the liberal leader and Parliament's Brexit point man, urged Ms May to offer "clarity" in her conference speech on Wednesday. But critics of the EU's approach were also vocal.

Hans-Olaf Henkel, a German industrialist who sits with the British Conservatives, called on Mr Verhofstadt to drop his "arrogance", on Mr Barnier to stop seeming to want to "punish" Britain -- and on Johnson to stop "stirring things up".

Nigel Farage of UKIP, the party he led to victory in last year's Brexit referendum but which saw its vote slashed in the June election, described Ms May's Florence speech as a "pitiful" attempt to "appease" a "bully" and said she should resign.