Credit Stefan Rousseau
By Laura Hughes, Political Correspondent
11 September 2016 • 11:56am
Boris Johnson has thrown his weight behind a new group aimed at ensuring Theresa May delivers a ‘hard Brexit’.
The Foreign Secretary has declared he is backing the Change Britain campaign, whose aims include a “return” of controls over borders, laws, money and trade from the EU to Britain.
The group is being led by leading Vote Leave figures, including Michael Gove and Nigel Lawson, Baron Lawson of Blaby, the former Tory chancellor .
It comes as John Whittingdale, the former culture secretary, called on Theresa May to trigger the start of Britain’s formal withdrawal from the European Union within weeks.
In an interview with the Telegraph, he criticises the Prime Minister for delaying, warning that it leaves the door ajar for Remain campaigners hoping to stop Brexit.
Mrs May has said she will wait until early next year before triggering Article 50 of the EU treaties, which would begin the formal two-year negotiating process that culminates in leaving.
John Whittingdale MP called for the Prime Minister to start the process of leaving the EU sooner rather than later Credit: John Nguyen/JNVisuals
But Mr Whittingdale says he cannot see any reason to delay.
Last night Mr Johnson, who was a key player in the Brexit movement, recorded a video message supporting the new group, which is being led by his former Vote Leave colleague Gisela Stuart, Labour MP for Birmingham Edgbaston.
In his message he said: “On June 23 the people of this country voted to leave the European Union and they voted for change.
Prime Minister Theresa May has said she will invoke Article 50 of the EU treaties next year Credit: Nick Ansell/PA Wire
“They did so by a clear majority. But there were many people who also voted for remain. So it’s absolutely vital that we work together, Leavers and Remainers, as we seize the opportunities that this country now has to forge a positive and exciting new relationship, not just with the European Union, but also with the rest of the world; changing Britain and making it global again.
“Now more than ever we need to show the British people that as politicians we are listening to what they have to say.
“Brexit means Brexit and that means delivering on their instructions and restoring UK control over our laws, borders, money and trade.”
- Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon gives any EU member the right to quit unilaterally, and outlines the procedure for doing so
- There was no way to legally leave the EU before the Treaty was signed in 2007
- Gives the leaving country two years to negotiate an exit deal
- Once set in motion, it cannot be stopped except by unanimous consent of all member states
- Any deal must be approved by a “qualified majority” of EU member states and can be vetoed by the European Parliament
“Article 50 is a bit like The Bomb: best kept as an implicit threat.”
– Mats Persson, former special advisor to David Cameron
Tags: European Union, EU, John Whittingdale, Michael Gove, Theresa May, Nigel Lawson, Brexit, Vote Leave, Change Britain campaign, hardline Brexit campaign Change Britain, pressure from senior Tories builds on Theresa May, Baron Lawson of Blaby, Calls grow for Theresa May to trigger the start of Britain’s formal withdrawal from EU, Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon